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J-town Gets Funding For Bike Lane To Nowhere — For Now

Kentucky Street bike lane in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. Photo by Eleanor Hasken
Eleanor Hasken
/
Kentucky Street bike lane in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. Photo by Eleanor Hasken

In the next year, road crews will build a path specifically for bikes and pedestrians alongside the busy Watterson Trail in Jeffersontown.

The path will measure nearly a mile and run from Stony Brook Drive to Mulberry Row Lane.

Outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear announced last week that the path would be funded, in part, by about $1 million in federal congestion-mitigation funds. The City of Jeffersontown will contribute the remaining 20 percent of the cost, Mayor Bill Dieruf said.

"It connects the city to the outer parts and brings people into our city in a safe way," Dieruf said.

But the path seems to be more of an island than a connector, at least for now.

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/embed?mid=z5RSF6t3SE48.kavOxM4RfOXc&w=640&h=480]No similar paths await to meet the proposed route at either end — Stony Brook Drive or Mulberry Row Lane — maps show. And the path is along a largely residential corridor.

Dieruf said the new path is a "spoke in the wagon wheel" that includes future similar paths to connect downtown Jeffersontown to existing bicycling infrastructure within Louisville Metro's 21st Century Park system.

"This is the first step," he said.

The city has already been awarded a grant to connect those paths to others at the Parklands at Floyds Fork. Before construction can begin on the paths, expansive feasibility studies must be conducted. A second phase of the project will extend the path west toward Hurstbourne Lane, Dieruf said. The funds for that phase have not yet been secured.

"It's a healthier way of getting people on their bikes and into our town," he said.

Using congestion-mitigation funding for bike path construction is becoming increasingly popular in Kentucky, said Chuck Wolfe, a spokesman for the state Transportation Cabinet.

"The cabinet has funded many, many bike-ped projects around the state via the [congestion mitigation] program," he said.

Jacob Ryan is an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.