Why KYTC’s Plan to Add Two Lanes to I-265 Should be Stopped

A Half-Century of Data Says Widening Highways is Expensive, Wasteful, and Will Only Worsen the Problem it Purports to Solve

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is considering a plan to widen I-265 (the Gene Snyder Freeway) from I-71 to Taylorsville Road and is asking the public to weigh in.

The cabinet has created a project overview page with info on the proposal, as well as a survey for interested parties to fill out. KYTC will be holding a public meeting on the project Tuesday, May 8, 5:30 to 7:00pm, at Ascension Lutheran Church on Shelbyville Road.

A project overview image provided by KYTC.

“Widening I-265 is the State’s top priority,” KYTC says in an online statement about the project that, if implemented, would add a single 12-foot lane in each direction over an 11.5 mile stretch of the interstate. “During 2017 KYTC implemented a statewide ranking system of highway projects based on needs: including traffic volumes, congestion, safety, economic benefit, and other factors. The widening of I-265 from four lanes to six lanes ranked as the highest priority project statewide.”

Simply put, this plan needs to be stopped. It’s fiscally short-sighted, environmentally negligent, and comes wrapped as a solution that will only perpetuate the problem it purports to solve. Continue reading “Why KYTC’s Plan to Add Two Lanes to I-265 Should be Stopped”

Advocacy Alert: I-265 Widening Community Meeting

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is considering widening an 11.5-mile stretch of the Gene Snyder Freeway (I-265) between Taylorsville Road and I-71. (Oh no!!!)

The KYTC I-265 Widening Project page is here: https://transportation.ky.gov/DistrictFive/Pages/Interstate-265-Widening-Project.aspx

The online comment form is here: https://qk4.typeform.com/to/mZAE1C

The community meeting for this project is Tuesday, May 8 from 5:00 to 7:00pm at Ascension Lutheran Church, located at 13725 Shelbyville Road in Louisville.

We invite you to write-in with your comments or attend the public meeting. This is a key opportunity for telling our state transportation officials that they should not (repeat: NOT) widen Gene Snyder.

There’s plenty of great research into why road widening does not alleviate traffic congestion and why it increases traffic speeds. Check out this article from Vox: The “Fundamental Rule” of Traffic: Building New Roads Just Makes People Drive More. And this recept op-ed in the New York Times: Cars Are Ruining Our Cities.

Advocacy Alert: Bardstown Road Redesign

On April 19th, the city presented its redesign concept of Bardstown Road at a public meeting. You can find the city’s presentation here and our write-up of the plan for Insider Louisville here.

There’s a lot to like about the plan, especially the removal of the “ping pong” lights and redesign from Douglass Loop to Broadway. Here are our overall, high-level thoughts on the proposal.

The Good:

  • Making a large section of Bardstown Road a two-lane road (one lane in each direction) is an excellent move that will make the street safer for all users.
  • Likewise, dedicated turn lanes at major intersections will reduce the number of crashes and make those intersections safer for everyone.
  • Paid parking and the removal of the rush hour parking restriction will be great for businesses, drivers looking for parking spots, and pedestrians (oh…and al fresco dining too!). Parked cars provide a safety buffer between moving vehicles and walkers, and are great for traffic calming.
  • “Curb bumpouts” at some crosswalk locations will make it safer for pedestrians by reducing the length of the crosswalk. We love it!
Initial recommendations proposed four changes to the roadway.

 

The Meh:

  • Keeping Bardstown Road as 4-5 lanes from I-264 to Douglass Loop will continue to encourage speeding. With high traffic volumes, minimal parking demand, and wide shoulders, the roadway does not lend itself to a pedestrian-friendly experience, and there’s little in this plan that changes that.

 

The Suggestions:

  • Crossing Bardstown Road on foot will continue to be a problem. One problem is that there are stretches of the street where one must walks hundreds of feet in between crosswalk opportunities. The city’s design could do better by providing more crosswalk opportunities — particularly at locations adjacent to TARC stops.
  • Another difficulty with crossing Bardstown Road is that the walking signals do not trigger automatically for pedestrians, but instead require the pushing of a “beg button.” The plan should replace all “beg buttons” with automatic crossing signals.
  • The city acknowledges that there are not any suggested bike facilities in their plan for a safer Bardstown Road, despite bike safety being one of the original goals of the study. (Kudos to them for being up-front about this.) As a remedy, the city should invest in protected bike lanes on adjacent/parallel roads — Norris, Douglass, and Baxter — in order to make the corridor more accessible to people on bikes.

Now that you know our thoughts, we encourage you to let the city know what you think by completing this online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PRGL3SD

Metro Proposes an Ambitious Redesign of Bardstown Road

Metro Government unveiled a plan for a redesign of Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road at a public meeting last Thursday night at Highland Community Ministries.

Michael King, a planner for Metro Develop Louisville, and Tom Springer, an engineering consultant with Qk4, presented the plan, which proposes a number of changes aimed at improving traffic and pedestrian safety along the Baxter/Bardstown corridor from Broadway to I-264.

The Bardstown Road/Baxter Avenue Safety Study, which was commissioned by District 8 Metro Council Member Brandon Coan, suggests four primary changes to the roadway:

  • Removing the rush hour “ping pong” traffic lights, adding turning lanes at major intersections, and making on-street parking permanent from Broadway to Douglass Loop
  • Adding a two-way left-hand turn lane (TWLTL) between Douglass Loop and Taylorsville Road
  • Building sidewalks between Taylorsville Road and Tyler Lane
  • Adding a TWLTL between Tyler Lane and the Gardiner Lane shopping center
Initial recommendations proposed four changes to the roadway.

Continue reading “Metro Proposes an Ambitious Redesign of Bardstown Road”