Louisville Wants Residents’ Thoughts for New Long-Term Transportation Strategy

Louisville is creating a long-term transportation strategy that will be included in the state’s six-year road plan—meaning the ideas would get funding.

The strategy, called MoveLouisville, will consider every aspect of how Louisvillians may get from one place to another—motor vehicles, bikes, feet, bus or even train.

The process to develop the strategy begins next week with a series of public  comment sessions to get ideas for what, exactly, residents want in a long-range transportation plan. 

The strategy will be developed over 10 months.The San Francisco-based transportation consulting firm Nelson/Nygaard is leading the planning process, which will cost $750,000. 

The public input process is needed to ensure that the strategy aligns with what Louisvillians want in mobility—and to ensure that people will actually use the results of the strategy once they come to fruition. That hasn’t always happened in other projects throughout the country, said Paul Moore, a principal from Nelson/Nygaard.

“As a result, communities have gotten projects that maybe didn’t work for all the people that they were intended to help out,” Moore told WFPL on Tuesday “So, really, we’re trying to do this the right way and make sure that we understand what’s going to help the community move forward.”

The funding of the stratetgy comes from $600,000 from the state, $125,000 from the city and $25,000 from TARC.

Vision Louisville Connection

MoveLouisville stems from public input for  Vision Louisville—the city’s 25-year plan—much of which focused on transportation. Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer, said city officials hope to hear more “granular” ideas for transportation focused on transportation than in the Vision Louisville process.

“We know we heard a lot that we need more bikeways, we know we need better transit—and for some people better transit means better buses, for some people it means light rail, for some people it just means a better bus shelter to stand under,” Poynter said.

The Nelson/Nygaard consultants are looking for broad ideas and specific issues, Moore said. The possibilities range from new transportation concepts (think: light rail, a common Vision Louisville suggestion) to more bike paths to road intersections that cause issues for motorists.

On the light rail note, Moore said the consultants  next week will discuss cities have have undertaken those projects and the factors that made light rail work—or not work. And then they’ll ask Louisvillians whether this city has what’s needed for light rail to work.

“Really drill down into—aside for the idea of wanting light rail—what would make it practical, or could make it practical, in Louisville,” Moore said.

The process will look specifically at Jefferson County. It’ll also consider other transportation-focused projects already in the works—the Parklands project, the Louisville Loop, TARC’s long-range planning and the Connecting Kentuckiana strategy from the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency, or KIPDA.

Nelson/Nygaard has developed or helped develop transportation for cities including Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Santa Monica, Calif., the city said.

What It Means

The MoveLouisville strategy should be complete by August or September, Moore said.

It’ll be incorporated into KIPDA’s regional plan—which is part of the state’s Six-Year Road Plan. That’s the way transportation projects in the Louisville area get state funding, Poynter said.

On a related note, the mayor has made a big push also for the state to move forward with a local option sales tax, and he’s stated the transportation could be a part of locally financed projects. 

WDRB’s Marcus Green has raised questions about whether expanded public transportation would someday steer away traffic—and toll revenue—from the Ohio River Bridges Project. Poynter said the MoveLouisville strategy would focus solely on Jefferson County.

In a city news release announcing MoveLouisville, TARC executive director Barry Barker said the strategy process “will result in an action plan for guiding transportation investments that provide social, economic and environmental benefits for generations to come.”

TARC is having public comment sessions of its own next week focused on a new fee payment system.

Public Input

Information about MoveLouisville is here.

The public meetings are:

  • Monday, November 11, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Nia Center, 2900 W. Broadway
  • Tuesday, November 12, 12:30 to 2 p.m. at Hardscuffle Gallery, 324 East Main  St.
  • Tuesday, November 12, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Valley High School Auditorium, 10200 Dixie Highway
  • Wednesday, November 13, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Jeffersontown Community Center, 10617 Taylorsville Road

“Whether you commute by car, live on your bike or rely on mass transit, we need to hear your input so this plan works for you,” Fischer said in a statement.

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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