The newly released Move Louisville 20-year transportation plan is full of ambitious ideas for the future of the city. Among its recommendations are 16 priority projects that the city hopes to see built in the next two decades.
Some are already underway, like planning for a makeover to Dixie Highway or a road diet on Lexington Road, but others are new ideas, like making Broadway a complete street or redesigning the intersection of Story Avenue and Main Street.
Each of these projects hopes to push Move Louisville’s goals of fixing current infrastructure first rather than building new roads and reducing the astronomical number of miles Louisvillians drive each day by improving mode choice and reducing the number of short trips made by car. Also, don’t miss Broken Sidewalk’s critical analysis of the Move Louisville plan over here.
We like most of what we see here, with three notable exceptions: plans to build new roads with the intention of spurring development in rural parts of Jefferson County. No more sprawl, please! But the other 13 ideas make a lot of sense.
We’ve listed all 16 of Move Louisville’s priority projects below, using the language from the pages of the Move Louisville report (Click an image to make it larger). Take some time to peruse the projects and let us know which ones you’re looking forward to in the comments below.
And while you’re at it, please take time to drop a note to Metro Louisville during the plan’s public comment period to let them know that you support boosting transit and walkability and don’t want to see any more sprawl. The public input form is at the bottom of this page.
1. East/West Transit Corridors
A clear east-west/cross-town transit connection was a top request during the Move Louisville process and a top need for citizens and employers. A cross-town route connecting Dixie Highway to Westport Road has the potential to connect major work places around the city – from Riverport to UPS and from the Renaissance South Business Park to the Bluegrass Commerce Center – allowing easier and faster access from residential neighborhoods to job centers. Two major routes are proposed, one just inside the Watterson Expressway and one just inside the Snyder Freeway. Improved roadway connections, stop improvements and perhaps even new rights-of-way will be needed to implement clear and functional transit routes. Additional funds will be needed to cover the operational costs of these new and improved routes.
2. Transforming Dixie Highway / Bus Rapid Transit
Dixie Highway is one of Louisville’s major economic corridors and one of the most densely traveled, carrying the highest number of transit users in the system (when the Dixie- Preston route is considered as a whole). The corridor also is one of Louisville’s most dysfunctional and dangerous, with a fatal crash rate that is over 3 times the rate of similar roadways nation-wide. A redesign and rebuild is necessary
to create a safe, efficient and economically successful multi- modal corridor. The state has funded the first 2 phases of improvements to the corridors, and Metro received a US Department of Transportation TIGER grant for assistance in the installation of a BRT line. Additional funds will be needed to cover the operational costs of these new and improved routes.
3. Broadway Complete Street / Bus Rapid Transit
Move Louisville recommends a complete street retrofit of Broadway from Shawnee Park to Baxter Avenue to include fixed guide-way BRT, two-way cycle track and pedestrian safety improvements. The project scope should include the following:
+Changed roadway design to increase transit speed, reliability and efficiency
+Enhanced stations and rider amenities to improve the transit user experience
+Enhanced bicycle and pedestrian access to frequent high- capacity transit services
+Operational plan including extension of BRT line southeast on Bardstown Road
Given that Broadway is the location of the Kentucky Derby Parade, future plans should coordinate with the Kentucky Derby Festival.
4. Preston Corridor Premium Transit
While the land uses along Preston are not yet fully supportive of premium transit, much of the Preston corridor has the fundamentals for infill development that could allow it to transform over time into a true premium transit corridor.
In the short term, improving frequency and running times through approaches such as limited peak hour bus lanes and consolidated stops will help to maximize transit ridership and improve choice along the corridor.
5. Oxmoor Farm Bridges and Access
Transportation infrastructure is the key to unlocking this ideally situated undeveloped parcel of land. With multi-modal streets and a planned mixed-use, multi-generational dense development, this site – the largest of its kind in the city – could be transformed into a district of superior urban quality, livability and accessibility. New bridges and roads also have the potential to ease congestion in the area and provide new connectivity points. A mixed-use development plan has been approved for the site. Public investment in the infrastructure for this opportunity should be linked to significant density and a mix of uses.
6. Urton Lane Corridor Improvements
Completing the planned extension of Urton Lane from Middletown to Taylorsville Road, will provide a long-needed local thoroughfare expediting the movement of goods and services and facilitating shorter and more efficient commutes for residents working and doing business in the area.
7. East Louisville Connectivity
The rapidly-developing area around the newly opened Parklands of Floyds Fork will bring network connectivity issues. Transportation should be addressed holistically to accommodate new development and all modes of travel where appropriate. It is anticipated that many of the larger projects will be focused on Interstate improvements. For example, a new interchange and connector road from KY 148 to US 60 (Shelbyville Road) on I-64, will greatly increase accessibility. Strategically improving existing rights of way and building a limited number of new connector roads will accommodate access to the Parklands of Floyds Fork and adjacent areas.
8. West Louisville Connectivity
Conversion of one-way streets to two-way streets and improved maintenance of the street, bicycle and pedestrian networks will support reinvestment throughout West Louisville. Investments along Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Market Street near the West Louisville Food Port provide an example of how transportation infrastructure can support private development.
9. Downtown / Edge Neighborhood Two-Way Streets
Louisville’s downtown street network should be converted from one-way to two-way to increase the livability of the affected neighborhoods for both residents and visitors. Studies show that regardless of the size of the city, a one- way to two-way street conversion increases the efficiency of downtown networks, enhances economic activity and creates more walkable neighborhoods. The related conversion to two-way movement of Mellwood Avenue/Story Avenue and of 15th Street/16th Street – each made one way decades ago during construction of I-64 – will further support revitalization in the edge neighborhoods of Butchertown, Smoketown, Portland and Russell.
10. River Road Complete Street / Extension
Extending River Road westward from its current terminus at 7th Street will provide connections between east Louisville/ downtown and the Portland and Russell neighborhoods, and the future Waterfront Park Phase IV. Improvements to the existing portion of River Road need to make the road safer for all modes of travel.
11. Reimagine Ninth Street
The Ninth Street and the I-64/Ninth Street Interchange create a wall between downtown and the Russell and Portland neighborhoods. Reimagining the Ninth Street corridor as a true urban boulevard will preserve access to downtown Louisville and West Louisville while potentially creating nearly 10 blocks of development opportunities within and near the over-dimensioned footprint of the existing interchange and redevelop opportunities throughout the corridor.
12. Main Street / Story Avenue Intersection Redesign
The eastern terminus of Main Street is oddly designed, difficult to understand and unsafe for pedestrians. The reconstruction of the intersection at Story Avenue, Main Street and Baxter Avenue will improve safety and support the two-way operation of downtown streets. The project also supports economic development in the Butchertown, Phoenix Hill and NuLu areas.
13. Improved Sidewalk Connectivity
Sidewalks are the building blocks of an effective pedestrian network. There are currently more than 2,000 miles of sidewalks in Louisville Metro, yet many areas in the city do not have sidewalks at all. Metro is committed to increasing the connectivity of sidewalks by adding 150 miles of new sidewalks along corridors with high pedestrian demand. Examples of corridors include Dixie Highway, Preston Highway and Newburg Road
14. Central Bicycle Network
Reducing VMT, increasing the use of alternative transportation modes and acheiving the corresponding health improvements requires providing more options for short trips. Added to the goal of reduced VMT, Louisville residents expressed a desire to get around the city by bike. A network of extensive, yet inexpensive and relatively easy- to-implement bike facilities – connected to transit – in the downtown and the central neighborhoods is a logical first step. A strong, connected core network will also support the success of the city’s bike share program.
15. Louisville Loop
The Louisville Loop is a shared-use path system of more than 100 miles around Louisville Metro that will connect residents and visitors to parks, jobs, transit, schools and other destinations. The Loop network will also include connections via the Olmsted Parkways and other connecting trails. By early 2016, approximately 50 miles of the Loop has been completed. However, additional funding is needed to design and build approximately 65 more miles.
16. Lexington Road Complete Street
Reconfiguring Lexington Road as a complete street to address safety issues will improve efficiency and enhances future redevelopment opportunities.
I love these ideas, the renderings of Lexington Ave and Frankfort Ave, spark my imagination. To actually see street life people walking and interacting seems like a dream. I also love the idea of the expanded River Road, and Ninth Street Blvd, that mixed with the complete street improvements on Broadway, and we are talking about having a whole city instead of two separate parts. Can’t wait to see it and take part in it becoming reality.
At MoveLouisville’s release Mayor Fischer said we will not pursue light rail because Louisville lacks population density. He said nothing about combating the remote commercial and residential investment which serves only to reduce our population density further.
From MoveL’s home page … “Projects like completing the planned extension of Urton Lane from Middletown to Taylorsville Road …will make it easier for people to get around the city and will improve the quality of life in Louisville neighborhoods.” That sentence is a perfect example of how widely MoveLouisville misses the mark. Urton Lane only opens up forests and fields to remote investment, decreasing population density. Remote investment works against achieving the second priority stated by the mayor/MoveLouisville. That stated priority is to reduce the miles driven by Louisville citizens. That priority is achieved by increasing density, investing in public transit and creating walkable communities.
Increasing density, investing in public transit and creating walkable communities are inseparable basics in creating a sustainable city. MoveLouisville failed to grasp those basics.
MoveLouisville refers to infill and un-locking Oxmoor farms and Urton Lane. The terms clear-cut and pave-over are more appropriate. The city needs trees. The city needs greenspace. The city is doing an inventory of trees. Yet, the city enables clear cutting and paving over our remaining fields.
The reason given for “unlocking Oxmoor Farm” is “to relieve congestion on Shelbyville Road”. The way to relieve congestion is to service the corridor with excellent public transit with dedicated lanes. This kind of poor planning and intellectual dishonesty must stop.
The cost to redesign, rebuild our roads to the standard in the image below from MoveLouisville is prohibitive. The image is great, though it lacks a public transit element, but it is financially impossible. At the unveiling of MoveLouisville mayor Fischer said: “none of this is free…how do we pay for it?” Then he rolled immediately into “eat an elephant, one bite at a time.” Sorry, mayor. That is no fiscally responsible plan. That is no commitment.
Isn’t Oxmoor Farm under a conservation easement that prohibits development in perpetuity?
There is so much in here worthy of comment, but I’ll just say Broadway redevelopment holds a special place for me. That street is so in need of help — anything… *anything* would be an improvement.