In Conversation

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Whether by car, bike or electric scooter, transportation is changing in and around Louisville. This week on In Conversation with Rick Howlett, we looked at construction, cancelled projects and plans to change how people get around in Louisville.

Our guests were:

  • Ferdinand Risco Jr. — Interim Executive Director of the Transit Authority of River City
  • Cathy Hinko — Executive Director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition
  • Jeff O’Brien — Director of Develop Louisville

Metropolitan Housing Coalition Executive Director Cathy Hinko said transportation intersects with housing, and is often critical for people in Louisville to succeed. But she says there is disproportionate access to public transit, and that decisions through the Transportation Policy Committee, which decides how federal transportation money is spent in Louisville, disenfranchises west Louisville residents.

“We know that this Transportation Policy Committee, which meets at a time and place that no one using public transit can get to, is making decisions about making left-hand turns into Walmarts instead of enhancing transit,” Hinko said. “The one thing they’re genius about is keeping people from attending [their meetings].”

Since the Transit Authority of River City changed its farecard system, some people say the service has improved. Ricky Lester at a bus stop on Bardstown Road said TARC’s new card system has worked well for him and has made things more efficient. The same goes for Jamal White, who was refilling his card’s balance at TARC’s downtown building.

But both say there could be improvements, such as more timely bus schedules and a means to monitor bus locations. For some people in Louisville, transportation improvements are vital towards deciding whether or not they can work, and for almost any route in the city, travel via car is faster than by bus.

Using the interactive map below, compare your destination by bus and by car.

TARC Interim Executive Director Ferdinand Risco Jr. said a tool allowing people to monitor their scheduled bus’ location is coming, and acknowledged the organization’s rapid transit system could improve.

Looking forward, Develop Louisville Director Jeff O’Brien said updates to Dixie Highway and promoting other forms of transportation — like bicycles — will provide “critical” improvements and modernize the city.

“We really see bike lanes as an opportunity to provide an alternative option for people to get to and from work or school,” O’Brien said, adding that plans for a light rail were shelved years ago. “What we’re focused on now is in terms of any sort of premium transit option via bus rapid transit, rail, etc.”

Next Friday on In Conversation we’ll talk about medical marijuana and how the industry might affect Kentucky.

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There’s a lot going on in Louisville, and WFPL’s “In Conversation” with Rick Howlett gives people a platform to talk — both to each other, and with the larger community — about the biggest issues facing our city, state and region. Live at 11 a.m. every Friday on 89.3 WFPL. Call 502-814-TALK to join the conversation.

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