Louisville “Streets for People” series is worth a read by New Albanians, because two-way traffic is only the end of the beginning.


We covered the first in Chris Glasser’s informative Insider Louisville series here:

Us, too: “Louisville’s roads need to be designed for citizens, not cars.”

 … To take (Louisville mayor Greg) Fischer at his word and judge him by his own standard, our city is falling well short of the administration’s stated top goal. Fischer’s annual budgets speak volumes on this matter — they’re his defining action, louder than his words. Yes, there is a small amount allocated to build a bike network — a pittance that Metro Council undercuts every year during the budget review period — but beyond that, there is virtually nothing that will begin to push us toward achieving Fischer’s goal of 25 percent of trips occurring on foot, bike or bus by 2030.

Glasser’s second installment offers an interesting twist on downtown Louisville’s “9th Street Divide.”

… Much has been made of the city’s “9th Street Divide” — the supposed invisible racial line that separates black Louisville to the west from white Louisville to the east. The city’s segregation (and inequality) is a matter of fact, but the “9th Street Divide” is a fallacy — or at least, a simplification of a broader, more complex idea. What we have, actually, is a crater of surface parking lots in our western downtown, creating a void in what could be a thriving city center.

Yesterday’s third and final essay raises a point critical to Jeff Gahan’s program of road reworkings in New Albany (in general) and the soon-to-be-finished Downtown Grid Modernization Project (specifically).

The central point is enhanced and in bold.

Streets for People: A missed opportunity on Lexington Road

This month and next, Metro Government will be completing work on the Lexington Road Safety Project — a repaving and redesign of the corridor between Grinstead Drive and Payne Street.

As stated in the city’s press release, the “new configuration is intended to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents as previously demonstrated by similar projects across Louisville.” Bike lanes will be added, and the project will improve drainage along the roadway, which neighbors Beargrass Creek and sits partially in a floodplain.

The colloquial term for a project like this is a “road diet.” It will look like this:

Road diet for Lexington Road.

While a project like this is progress to a certain degree, it’s also a huge missed opportunity — one that falls short of the original goals of the plan and fails to keep pace with what’s being implemented throughout the country. With “progress” like this, we can simultaneously be moving forward and falling behind.

The last sentence neatly summarizes the issue for New Albany. Judging from their past exploits, we can rely on our leadership cadre to declare victory and erect self-congratulatory plaques, but the fact is that the long overdue implementation of two-way streets is only a partial victory. It is the end of the beginning, and there is far more to be done.

There are walking issues, biking issues and connectivity issues. Dan Coffey will disagree, but he’s an irrelevant anachronism, a sort of ideological love child spawned by Strom Thurmond and David Duke, to be breast-fed by the Thoreau Institute.

Does Jeff Gahan have a plan for the next phase of street modernity?

If so, let’s see it. This whole thing about waiting to reveal designs until the milling begins is so very Ceausescu, isn’t it?