Friday September 26, 2008
Gov. Steve Beshear and Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced nearly $5 million in grants for bicycle and pedestrian improvements that will improve access and increase safety along Louisville’s roads and streets.
Mayor Abramson accepts a check from Governor Beshear for bicycle and pedestrian improvements around Louisville.
The investment will add miles of bike ways and sidewalks in Louisville, which will benefit an increasing number of people who are commuting to work and running errands without cars.
Funds will also be used to add safety signage along narrow roadways, educate citizens about bicycle safety and improve crossings near schools.
“With gasoline hovering at four dollars a gallon, more and more people are biking and walking instead of getting behind the wheel for every trip they make,” Beshear said. “These investments will provide better, safer connections across Louisville for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Louisville sought funding for a number of transportation improvement projects through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and federal programs focused on reducing congestions, improving air quality and enhancing transportation access. The $4.9 million investment includes about $850,000 in local matching funds.
“Now more than ever, Louisville needs to expand its network of bike paths, bicycle-friendly roadways and connected sidewalks,” Abramson said. “These investments are part of our long-term commitment to better connect our neighborhoods, parks and businesses with bike ways and sidewalks.”
Mayor Abramson presents Governor Beshear with a Louisville "Possibility City" bike jersey.
Biking is growing rapidly in Louisville and many cities across America, expanding from a weekend pastime to a weekday option for commuting and errands. Bicycling Magazine recently named Louisville one of the nation’s three most-improved cities for bicycling. Outdoor Magazine named Louisville one of the America’s best cities, in part because of its expanded commitment to biking.
Investing in better bikeways is an economic development tool in addition to a transportation improvement, Beshear said. Louisville-based Humana created Freewheelin’, a program which provides bikes for employees to use for work-related travel or for lunchtime exercise, has drawn national attention and is a central part of the on-going Idea Festival in Louisville this week.
“Companies like Humana are finding their investments in bike promotion help them recruit and retain young professionals who value the environmental and exercise benefits of cycling,” Beshear said.
The following is a list of grant projects:
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.