Ninth Street. The Ninth Street divide. West of Ninth.
Mention any of these phrases to just about any Louisvillian and they’ll know what you’re talking about. In fact, there are people who are new to the city that would already know what you’re talking about.
The Ninth Street corridor is multiple lanes of traffic with a wide median. It’s a physical — and psychological — barrier between black and white. Rich and poor. It separates the predominantly black neighborhoods of West Louisville from the mostly white neighborhoods of the east. Many folks who live in West Louisville have to cross Ninth Street to work, shop and eat, while those who live elsewhere have few reasons to go “west of Ninth.”
Now, the city is considering proposals to “re-imagine” Ninth Street. They want to add parks, art and make room for food trucks. The proposals would slow down traffic and make it more pedestrian-friendly. Written in the concept plans for the city’s project, there’s this:
“As energy builds to re-imagine Ninth Street, it is crucial to understand how the corridor is used today and where it wants to go tomorrow.”
But what about yesterday? Can Louisville improve Ninth Street without acknowledging the divide and how it became divided in first place? Reporter Amina Elahi is covering this story for WFPL and she joins us today on Recut.