Reviewing the State’s Bike Grant to Louisville

As you may well know, last Friday Governor Steve Beshear and Mayor Jerry Abramson announced that the State of Kentucky will be providing $4.9 million dollars in grant money to Louisville for bicycling and pedestrian improvements (from the Courier-Journal). As we’ve been critical in the past of the city’s bike policy (specifically the Mayor’s propensity to pat himself on the back for what is at best a mediocre city plan), we were naturally curious as to what projects would be enabled because of the grant.

LEO‘s blog General Sense of Outrage published a more-complete list of the improvements than the C-J, so let’s take a look:

Bike Lanes and Safety Signs and Markings $250,000

Kentucky and Louisville will invest $250,000 to restripe roads to add bike lanes and to post Share the Road signs. The investment will help fill in the gaps in the existing bike corridors and create more cross-community pathways to improve safety for cyclists.

Louisville will add about 20 miles of bike paths in the coming year – five miles of striped bike lanes and 15 miles of signed bike routes. Louisville currently has 30 miles of bike lanes, 100 miles of signed bike routes and 30 miles of multi-use off-road paths. Some of the roadways that are priorities for bike lanes are Taylorsville Road, Poplar Level Road and Stonestreet Road.

The city will post Share the Road signs along roads and streets throughout the community that are too narrow for bike lines but are often used by cyclists. Some of the roadways that are priorities for signage are River Road, Frankfort Avenue, Stony Brook Drive, Old 3rd Street Road and Johnsontown Road.

Education and Safety Campaign $125,000
With more cyclists and pedestrians using our roads, education is critical to making our roadways safe. KYTC and Louisville will spend $125,000 on educational efforts, including public-service advertisements, brochures and training classes that underscore the rules for motorists, cyclist and pedestrians and promote the Share the Road theme.

Louisville Metro will begin running a new round of public service announcements in early October through a partnership with Insight Communications. A more comprehensive communications campaign will be launched next year.

LaGrange Road Bicycle & Pedestrian Improvements $1,035,000
This project includes widening a 1.5-mile section of LaGrange Road from Lakeland Road to Bowen Elementary to provide bicycle lanes and add a sidewalk on the north side of roadway.

It will provide connections to several other planned transportation improvements including turn lanes and pedestrian crossings at LaGrange Road and Whipps Mill Road near Bowen Elementary, bike lanes at University of Louisville’s Shelby Campus and the Louisville Loop, a 100-mile multi-use trail encircling the city.

Olmsted Parkways Multi-Use Path System $1,200,000
The grant will be used to design and construct a 0.6-mile multi-use path along Algonquin Parkway from Winkler Avenue to Sharp Street. The project will improve access for pedestrian and cyclists to this residential neighborhood and adjacent businesses.

River Road Corridor Bicycle Improvements $1,217,375
This grant will be used to design and implement bicycle paths along the River Road corridor between Zorn Avenue and US 42 in Prospect. Improvements will accommodate all modes of travel, with a focus on the growing number of bicyclists who are attracted to this scenic corridor along the Ohio River and numerous public parks.

A corridor management plan for the route east of Zorn Avenue will be completed next year and construction of bike paths is planned for 2010 and 2011. The project is a segment of the 100-mile Louisville Loop project.

Bluegrass Industrial Park Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail $656,766
This grant will help fund development of a bicycle and pedestrian trail system along Bluegrass Parkway, Tucker Station Road and Plantside Drive. The total includes matching funds from the City of Jeffersontown of $131,353.

Walkable Communities Improvements $375,000
This grant will fund sidewalk improvements identified during the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement Pedestrian Summit and included in the Community Walkability Plan. The focus is on heavily used TARC routes and corridors for pedestrian commuting and local-destination trips.

Newburg Middle School Safe Routes to Schools $126,550
This grant will fund a number of safety improvements around the 1,000-student school including enhanced lighting, additional stop signs, a crosswalk, on-street bike lanes along Exeter Avenue and a renovated walking path to Petersburg Park and a nearby Boys and Girls Club.

Overall we’re pretty pleased with this list, though we wish there were more specifics as to where the 20 additional miles of bike paths will be going. One thing we’d really like would there to be more bike lanes heading south from downtown, which we feel is definitely underserved (and important for our commute!). Additionally, some of downtown’s existing bike lanes are in bad shape: yesterday we rode along East Market, and a good three blocks or so of the bike lane has been torn up due to sewer work (we’d guess), forcing bicyclists to move into the right auto lane. Given that car drivers in Louisville tend to treat one-way streets as speedways, this is pretty dangerous.

Anyway, though we live in Schnitzelburg, part of the old city of Louisville, it is a good thing that many of these improvements will be made outside the Watterson. And a new bike path along River Road will be pretty awesome, most likely.

In other biking news, apparently there’s a Critical Mass in Louisville? Who knew? Well, according to this blog milkyboots, there was one last Friday in Louisville, and as a result some SUV driver’s car got spray-painted. It goes without saying that this illustrates exactly why we have no interest in ever participating in Critical Mass.

UPDATE 9:30 PM: The Courier-Journal is reporting that a bicyclist was struck this afternoon on Bardstown Road and Grinstead Avenue:

A woman on a bicycle was hit by a van at Bardstown Road and Grinstead Avenue this afternoon.

She was transported to University Hospital with what appear to be life-threatening injuries, said Officer Phil Russell, a Metro Police spokesman.

The accident happened about 3:40 p.m.

Russell said the woman and the van were traveling southbound on Bardstown Road in the right-hand lane, and it appears the van hit the cyclist.

He said police are awaiting toxicology reports and other findings to then consult with the commonwealth’s attorney in regards to any potential charges.

We’ll have more on the story tomorrow, hopefully.


6 Responses to “Reviewing the State’s Bike Grant to Louisville”

  1. […] $4.9 million dollar grant from the state for bike friendliness improvements. Thanks to the [Review] of the State’s Bike Grant to Louisville over at State of the Commonwealth, I now know that some of those improvements are slated for Taylorsville Road (near my home) and the […]

  2. […] State of the Commonwealth Politics and Culture from KY « Reviewing the State’s Bike Grant to Louisville […]

  3. […] Abramson showed a little more leadership in terms of driver education and traffic enforcement. The transportation grants from the state announced last week are nice, but — as we’ve said repeatedly — clearly more must be done to make […]

  4. About that Critical Mass comment..
    There is no proof vandalism ever happened; it is an absurd claim. Everyone is knocking Critical Mass because of Milkyboots’ blog. Why shouldn’t everyone ride together with a strong sense of solidarity to help improve our biking community? Taking one negative report and saying that it shows what Critical Mass is trying to accomplish is neglecting to realize what it’s capable of. Come to a ride before you make judgments.

  5. stateofthecommonwealth Says:

    This was posted weeks ago, so I didn’t get a chance to follow up, but yes, it appears that blog post about the spray-painted car was pretty bogus. Or at least un-verifiable.

    That said, as someone who commutes by bike nearly every day and doesn’t own a car, I still have no interest in riding in Critical Mass here in Louisville. I’ve lived other places with more active CMs, and had no interest in them, either. Mass cycling just isn’t my thing, sorry.

  6. Missing a place to bike…
    The city of Louisville (KY) is closing Otter Creek Park as of Jan 1. As you know, they are doing all these budget cuts. There is a possibility Meade County will try to take it over on the condition that they can turn at least part of the park into commercial development. Hopefully the Army won’t let them do that. See the Army gave that land to Louisville under the condition that it only and always be used for a recreational park. Meade County is even talking about logging out the timber.

    Is there anything I can do to stop it from closing? I’ve been going there for 29 years and I can’t stand to think it won’t be there to show my children.


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