I spent 2018 diving into a changing Louisville, following major stories such as the November election, and exploring my personal interest in technology and transportation. From Metro Government to scooters, and sexual harassment to data, here are some of my favorite stories from 2018.
In a city where increasing traffic is a frequent complaint, the bus system remains underfunded and limited in scope. That has the dual effect of failing to ease congestion on the roads and forcing people who rely on buses to often have very long commutes, sometimes for low pay. This piece included a creative interactive tool comparing transit times between cars and buses that readers said they found illuminating.
Louisville’s Metro Council has 26 members who write laws and make major spending and regulatory decisions through committee and council meetings. When the councilperson for District 21 announced plans to run for national office in his native Nigeria after losing a re-election bid, his attendance record came under scrutiny. But a WFPL analysis of minutes from the year’s meetings found that some other Council members had attendance rates that were as bad or worse.
This story, produced in partnership with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, laid out results from a broad open records request of sexual harassment complaints employees of Louisville Metro filed against their coworkers in recent years. It involved data and records analysis along with speaking with city officials, attorneys and — most challenging — women who said they had been assaulted by people they worked with.
Are dockless, electric scooters fun? Yes. Are they necessary? Debatable. Are they equitable? Perhaps not. When Bird launched its scooter service in Louisville unannounced, it raised questions about regulation and safety. But a follow-up chat with Jonese Franklin on the Recut podcast led to a conversation about how people living in lower-income areas of the city, where car ownership rates are lower and public transit-reliance higher, may not have the same level of access to these new vehicles.
“It’s the people’s data, it should be open,” Mayor Greg Fischer said that to WFPL in January. His administration releases data about the city and services regularly online, and celebrates both its use of that information and the fact that it makes it available for free. Experts and others agreed that having access was a good thing, but that the average person may have trouble making sense of data in its raw form.