After all the controversy over Mayor Abramson’s proposed Downtown bike station, this Streetfilms video emerges showing how Chicago’s famous McDonald’s Cycling Center in Millenium Park works. Many loved the idea of a similar center in Louisville, many more thought it was a waste of money, and others thought the money could be better spent on more basic infrastructure. Whatever your opinion of the proposed project, it’s helpful to see how such an easily misunderstood facility actually functions and what Chicagoans think of it.
Here’s a portion of a letter the Mayor wrote supporting Louisville’s Bike Station:
For the past two years, there has been a national buzz about Louisville as a city redefining itself—a city of great arts and culture, a city of sports, a city of parks, a city that is an affordable and exciting place to live. This has not happened by accident.
We’ve devoted special efforts to make our city more attractive to young professionals, a key, educated demographic that keeps cities vibrant. It’s why we’ve invested in downtown—and it’s why, during the last three years, we’ve strived to make our city more bicycle friendly.
Part of that strategy has included discussions of building a downtown transit center that could bring together, all under one roof, major bus lines, a cab stand and car rentals. It could also serve as a cycling center for commuters, casual riders and tourists who want to explore downtown, bike the Louisville Loop to Southwest Louisville or cycle into neighborhoods like Old Louisville to view the spectacular Victorian architecture. The center could also include space for a coffee shop, a restaurant and small retail stores.
This truly would be a transit center, not just a bike station. And it would continue our effort to make our city “go green” and encourage alternative transportation.
The Louisville bike station is on hold while a feasibility study is going on and the city plans on conducting a public opinion survey on the transit center soon.
I've had the benefit of using similar facilities in Washington State (although they were probably smaller than the one in the video appears to be), and they were quite handy facilities. They were great bike park and rides as a part of bus transit centers.
I absolutely do not understand the backlash against the facility proposed for downtown. I think it would be great. In fact, I think that the plan doesn't go far enough. The city really could use more transit hubs where people can bike/walk/drive to and multiple buses travel out of. Oxmoor Center is just about the only place other than downtown where that happens, and there is a weird tension between the mall owners and the buses and bus commuters that would not exist if there were a dedicated "East Louisville Transit Hub"…
You know, I just had the thought that the UofL Shelby Campus (newly rebranded the ShelbyHurst Office and Research Park) would make an awesome place for a useful, dedicated bike/bus transit center if UofL could work a few acres to that purpose into its master plan… Maybe I should find someone to suggest that idea to. It would seem to fit with some the University's existing plans for "ShelbyHurst".
Yes, it is the Stansbury "pavilion" and the "very complete streets" initiative of ShelbyHurst (the new sidewalk along Hurstbourne alone is quite nice) seems to indicate that if any group can lead smarter transit thinking in the city the University is certainly on the closest track to doing so.
Shelbyville Road and Hurstbourne Lane is a conundrum. They are truly homages to some of the least walkable places in Louisville: busy streets with crosswalks that are few and far between (and unlikely for more to show up because most people like them being 70mph raceways and oppose new lights) and large stretches lacking anything resembling a sidewalk. With the number of businesses in the area, it is almost a surprise that so much unrealized potential exists.
Middletown has made progress in adding bike lanes and sidewalk to stretches of Shelbyville road. If only The City of Hurstbourne would stop trying to be a magical gated community out of touch with the rest of the Metro area and put as much complaint power to adding sidewalks (and maybe even bike lanes) to the parts of Shelbyville Road and Hurstbourne Lane that they touch!
I believe there is a plan to include a “bike pavilion” (not sure if that means the same as the bike station) in the new Stansbury Park project (read more here) whenever that gets underway. It was proposed for Fourth Street, but that’s pretty close to the Belknap Campus.
The “East End Transit Hub” seems a little further off, but could be a great goal. Shelbyville Road would probably be better served initially with some new infrastructure like bike lanes and sidewalks before a sizable bike/pedestrian component will feel at home. There is a lot of potential for that corridor as a new walkable part of the city with a little work, though.