After looking back at the wins (and losses) from 2017, we wanted to provide a list of opportunities for the year ahead. While it’s tempting to create a list that includes “Open the K&I Bridge” and “Two-way all the one-way roads”, we wanted to focus on attainable projects for this year.
What we came up with was a list of 15 suggested projects — each of which could be implemented this year based on existing funding resources and a realistic amount of political will on the part of our city leaders. Each is a project that we at B4L believe would be a truly safe, convenient facility for people on foot and on bike, as we continue to try to build a network of viable multimodal travel options for the people of Louisville.
To share these 15 project suggestions, we have situated them on a StoryMap — complete with pictures, maps, example facilities, and diagrams: http://arcg.is/15Kmy10
In each case, a four lane road was trimmed to three, adding a middle turning lane and buffered bike lanes on the sides. Road diets are great for traffic calming and for improving safety for all road users — drivers, bikers, and pedestrians — and each of these projects is a nice step forward in the city’s efforts to implement better “complete street” road design.
Despite the similarities in the projects, our advocacy efforts for each were very different. We began pushing for the Lexington Rd project in 2013, along with a number of other groups, and nearly four years later (after countless public meetings, delays, and internal debates within Metro), the project finally hit the road this fall. Continue reading “2017 Year in Review”
This is the first in a series of articles written for Insider Louisville focusing on Louisville’s street design. Written by Bicycling for Louisville’s Executive Director Chris Glasser, the “Streets for People” series will be published with the goal of encouraging a (polite and civil) online discussion of these topics.
In Louisville, it’s easy to drive just about anywhere. I live in the inner Highlands, and a car ride downtown takes 5 minutes, to my mom’s house (near the zoo) 10 minutes, to my in-laws’ (Norton Commons) 20 minutes, and to the far reaches of the county (Jefferson Memorial Forest) 30 minutes.
This is a problem. And it’s one we as a city need to talk about.
It’s so easy to get around Louisville in a car that we’ve sacrificed our ability to travel in any other way: transit, biking, and walking are not even options for most people in most areas.
One-way streets, traffic signals timed to 35 mph, abundant surface parking lots, and arterial intersections where there’s nary a traffic jam. These design choices compromise our city’s ability to do what great cities do best: bring people together. They undermine walkability by making the public space of the street inviting only to cars. Instead, I’d like to see us design streets for people.
What we’ve gained in efficient traffic flow and easy access to parking, we’ve lost in places actually worth arriving at. In a town where we have (a) bad public health, (b) poor air quality, (c) an urban heat island problem, and (d) dilapidated urban infrastructure, we’re incentivizing driving in a way that only exacerbates each of these problems.
In our first piece on the new planned parking charge at Waterfront Park, we attempted to make the argument that:
a) a parking fee is not the same as an access fee, b) parking does come with a cost, and c) providing free parking incentivizes driving — a practice that is costly (both for cities and individuals), bad for our air quality, and bad for our health
As a commenter to the article pointed out, “When accessibility equates to free parking … this is a clear indicator that the public discourse is dominated by a car-centric mentality.” Agreed. 100%.
To chalk the debate up to “car-centrism,” though, only gets at part of the issue. The central argument against the parking fee at Waterfront Park hinges on access — particularly the burden a fee would place on poorer families. Yes, there is an assumption that people will be arriving by car, but given Louisville’s current dependence on the automobile, that’s probably a fair assumption. So, let’s consider the issue of ensuring access for all, while also looking for ways to lower the necessity of arriving by car.
Why Access is Important As is well-understood at this point, Louisville is a segregated city — poor, urban, and black in the West End; rich, suburban, and white to the East. (To say nothing of the rural, poorer populations at the southern edges of the county or the overlooked, incredibly diverse, largely immigrant population of South Louisville.) Continue reading “On Waterfront Park and Ensuring Access for Everyone”