Bike lanes proposed for hill

City wants to hear from motorists about idea for Louisville Road

By Ryan Quinn Published:

The city wants public input – especially from motorists – on Walk/Bike Frankfort’s proposal to add bike lanes to Louisville Road hill.

The proposal submitted to the City Commission would alter the hill from two upward lanes and one downward lane to one upward and one downward lane with bike lanes. It would create lanes from the beginning of Louisville Road in South Frankfort – at the intersection of Taylor Avenue and West Second Street, near Second Street School – to Lafayette Drive, said Public Works Director Jeff Hackbart.

The uphill side would have a separate bike lane, and the downhill side, where bikes can better keep pace with traffic, would feature a wide shared-use lane for cars and bicycles.

Hackbart said there are possible advantages to keeping the road as is, and that’s why they want to hear from motorists.

The two current uphill lanes serve as an evacuation route, and cars can move to the other lane in case a stalled vehicle or falling rocks – common along the stretch of road – have blocked one lane, he said.

Creating bike lanes would cost virtually nothing because the road must be repaved and restriped anyway due to the Sewer Department’s installation of a 48-inch stormwater pipe, said Sewer Director Bill Scalf. The hill section of Louisville Road will be closed starting Monday, and the installation will take up to 10 weeks, Scalf said.

“A lot of that is weather dependent,” he said, adding that good weather could mean completion in 6-8 weeks.

Taylor Avenue, where the Sewer Department is currently working, will reopen next week. It must finish before Louisville Road can be closed.

Brent Sweger, president of Walk/Bike Frankfort, said his group is trying to take advantage of necessary construction to improve the ability of residents to cross the city without cars.

“We’re trying to find a project that’s already going on and trying to get some changes done with that project,” Sweger said.

Hackbart is planning to request residents’ input at an Oct. 15 City Commission work session at 12:30 p.m. That way, the commission could vote the following week to ask the state for permission to alter the road. Louisville Road is part of U.S. 60, so the decision is ultimately the state’s call, Hackbart said.

The new bike lanes would basically connect to those already on West Second Street, and would fit into Walk/Bike Frankfort’s effort to eventually create bike lanes along much of U.S. 60 leading toward the city.

On West Second, the bike lanes were also painted on as part of an existing construction project at essentially no cost. But Hackbart said converting Louisville Hill from three lanes to two lanes would probably be more contentious, so the city is seeking input on this project.

The $1.18 million sewer project coinciding with the proposed bike lanes is mandated by the state. It will install a pipe that will divert stormwater into the river instead of the sewers, where it is unnecessarily treated and drives up sewer bills, Scalf said.

This project is part of a roughly 15-year effort, required by the state and begun in 2007, to divert more stormwater from city sewers, Scalf said. The total cost was estimated at $75 million in 2007, and monthly sewer bills have gone up about $2 – from $6.92 to $8.97 – since then to help pay for the work, he said.

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  • KLy- The questions you ask are addressed in an ongoing master plan created, with extensive public input, several years ago by Walk Bike Frankfort. Please check out their web site,, and see what has been done and still needs to be done in order to make Frankfort a better community for pedestrians and cyclists, both casual and otherwise! The plan is that one day all those dead ends will be connected and link with the currently disparate bike lanes and trails to make it possible to ride a bike (or walk) all around Frankfort. To accomplish that goal, Walk Bike Frankfort continues to work with, and receive assistance from, the City Streets Dept., Frankfort Parks and Recreation and the Kentucky Department of Transportation.

  • I dont understand this town. I get it that you have bike lanes downtown to encourage people to ride to work. I dont work downtown, or bike downtown. Why waste MORE money on making bike lanes in the STREET when you still dont have a safe place for the casual biker to ride? Not one of the parks has a bike path (Im not talking about mountain bikes) that connects to anything. There are several that go to dead ends and thats it. Who wants to ride to a dead end, or around the parking lot? If done properly you could build a path that is safe to ride out of traffic and you could get from one end of town to the other. You dont need to consult with the road dept you need to consult with the parks dept.

  • Fact: Most cyclists are motorists, too and therefore contribute, via gasoline taxes, etc. to the transportation budget. Fact: Both cyclists and motorists have equal rights and responsibities under Kentucky traffic laws. Fact: As more cyclists use roadways, the incidence of accidents actually decreases as their presence becomes routine and anticipated. Fact: Each piece of infrastructure, i.e. bike lanes, trails, bike racks, etc. is an integral component of the big picture of building a transportation system. Fact: Bicycling accomodation has a positive economic impact on the communities that provide it. Fact: Cities that are accommodating to cyclists are the kinds of cities that attract young, well-educated and intelligent citizens who want to invest their time, energy, creativity and money in those places.

  • This is just a big NO. It is enough to avoid a wreck with a car or truck. It is not even good thinking to bring this up. Frankfort has plenty of places that a bike can be ridden in ssssssssssssssssssssslower traffic .

  • anonymous_1713: For the last 40 years, Lafayette Drive has always reminded me of one thing. My brother rode his bike on Lafayette, going downhill, one day in the early 1970s. His brakes went out. He was very lucky to have navigated that curve at the bottom and not have anyone hit him. You can imagine how fast he must have been traveling. And back then, people didn't wear helmets much.

  • I am always wondering what you city dwellers are drinking with your water. A bike lane on Louisville hill is another in the dubious Hall of Fame city buffoonery. Cars already can't see a much larger, broader and faster motorcycle as they travel our highways and city streets. Now a few and I mean a very few environmentalist want to add a bike lane to a curvy steep 45 mph road with poor sight lines. I rarely see anyone riding their bike on second street. About as often as I see riders of the $300,000 federal tax dollar paid for Trolley. These tree huggers think if you build it, it will get used. Thats has proven again and again to not be true. Lets keep expending tax dollars, whether state or local, on these environmental projects. We need to keep governing to the few, not the many. This is truly the squeaky wheel getting the grease. Does Sweger and his activists traverse Franklin County on their bicycles? Probably not. Do they use coal fired electricity, Yep! Do they use oil produced products like gasoline, bicycle tires, even their bicycles? I love reading about the city residents, all 25,000 of you, who cannot afford free garbage collection, are regulated and ordinanced to death, have to ask the gov't if you can paint your house or get new gutters then they tell you what to use. Then worst of all a very few spend your hard earned dollars to create stupid projects all in the name of environmentalism. Worst of all, the blacktop you ride your bikes on is so dirty and full of oil products, its the worst thing of all. A real environmentalist would ride on dirt paths but they cant even do that because they might kill an ant or run over an endangered plant.

  • Like others on here, in my youth I have ridden a bike down Louisville Hill many times and could keep up with the traffic very easily. However, this presents unacceptable risks as mixing with cars where sight distance is limited IS dangerous. That is why I prefer to take Lafayette Drive. I have never considered riding up Louisville Hill, as it is far too long, slow and blind. LaFayette Drive is my preferred route to go up too. It IS steep, but modern bikes have a low low spizzle gear which makes it very doable for a conditioned rider. LaFayette has much better sight distance and requires nothing for bikes to ride it, although a painted line could be applied. Bikes can easily go just as fast as cars going fact, one must ride the brakes all the way down to keep from going too fast. There is plenty of room to the right side going up until the very top where it narrows down with islands. There is a sidewalk that can be ridden on at the top though for a short distance, or the rider can simply look back at the oncoming traffic and time their entrance to US 60 accordingly. You can easily hear cars coming up the hill behind you. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ I don't think that the very low traffic volume of bicycles up Louisville Hill would justify designating a car lane on the uphill route for bicycles only. Plus, it would make it less safe for cars going uphill to boot. Overall, as a bicyclists, I think that we need to think this thing through a bit more. LaFayette Drive is my preferred alternate. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ BTW, apparently ihateoxygenthieves hates more thieves that steal his oxygen (I am still trying to figure out that metaphor?) bicyclists. Whew! Where did all that come from?

  • A man I worked with in the 70's lived on Leawood Drive. He rode his bike to the office downtown nearly everyday. One morning a car pulled out in front of him from the overlook. He went airborne over the back of the car and bounced when he hit the pavement. He still has a scar where it split his chin and is lucky it didn't do more damage. As soon as he could he got back on his bike and I'm sure went down Louisville Hill to conquer any fear. Coming up Louisville Hill might not be a problem but going down? You have no where to go. Granted Lafayette Drive is steeper but at least walkers and riders can be seen.

  • No!! This dream of everybody riding their bike to the local farmers market instead of driving their car to their local "big box" store is not reality. Thr lanes on 2nd St are rarely used and most of the riders I do see on 2nd st are riding on the sidewalk or in the middle car lane. Now they want a lane on a HILL, CURVEY, ROCKSLIDES. Ye that's a great place for one. Maybe we should just shutdown the interstate and make it bikes only. Get real people this is a waste of time, money, resources.

  • And yes, back in the day, I walked and rode bikes up and down Louisville Hill quite a bit, but more often Devils Hollow Road.

  • One way to solve this problem (but would probably add too much expense) would be to remove another 15-20 feet of hillside, also allowing room for the numerous, inevitable rocks that everyone admits fall to the roadway.

  • No way I would want to walk or bike that curvy section of road. I've seen people walking down L-ville Hill and it scares me to death that someone will lose control and take them out. I'd prefer Lafayette. Steep yes but straighter and cars would hopefully see the bikers easier than the curves on L-ville Hill.

  • Buffer between cars and pedestrians? Are you meaning a couple of extra couple of feet? Empty space isn't what I would call a safe buffer between a two ton machine going from 35 to 45 MPH and a walking pedestrian. BTW, I'm not knocking bike riders. I was one for many years. I use to start at the top of Shelby St and zip down the road to 2nd St. Also would go from Louisville Hill, to 2nd St, Capitol Av, Todd, Big Eddy, US127 and then back to Thiselton. Many bike rides to Millville and Versailles. I could go on but ya get my point a_1881. Regarding walking, many times kid. Good for Swegar being an engineer and his experties. I as many others who have driven Louisville Hill for more than 40 years can also be considered an expert on "that stuff". So in my humble opinion, it's a crazy idea.

  • Steve, I was thinking Tanglewood. Not ideal, but better than Louisville Rd. Louisville Rd has a high amount of faster-moving traffic. There is no room for widening the road. I would certainly take steep Tanglewood over steep, much-more-dangerous Louisville Rd. Be interested in seeing how they can add safely add a bike lane to Louisville Rd without taking away a lane.

  • As I understand the proposed bike lanes, I think this is an idea that is long over due. Not only will it make things much safer for a cyclist to go up Louisville Rd., but there would be a greater buffer between cars and pedestrians, making it safer to walk up/down Louisville Rd. As someone who commutes from South Frankfort to the west end by bike on a regular basis, I am thrilled that this is being proposed and saddened by the negative comments which seem to dismiss the idea as "stupid". Try riding up Louisville hill on a bike (currently a scary experience) or walking up and down it before passing judgement. Also, Brent Sweger, president of Walk/Bike Frankfort, is a transportation engineer and happens be a subject matter expert on this stuff. Thanks, Walk/Bike, for your efforts to make Frankfort more walkable and bikeable. I know that I am one of many who appreciate your efforts!

  • Adding a bike lane to Second Street seemed like a terrible idea to me -- until I saw it in practice. Adding a bike lane to Broadway seemed like a terrible idea, too -- until I saw it in practice. But adding a bike lane (which really equals REMOVING a car lane) from Louisville Hill seems like a terrible idea! The aforementioned roads are level, short and have a low speed limit. Louisville Hill is somewhat steep, fairly long and is (currently) 45 mph. @ 1847: They're not really spending any extra money. The story says "Creating bike lanes would cost virtually nothing..." And I'm curious to which route rky84 is referring -- Lafayette (steep)? Tanglewood (steep)? Devils Hollow (curvy)?

  • Adding a bike lane there is a good idea. I drive that section of road a lot and it is never close to having both uphill lanes full, even during morning and afternoon rush hours. Also, this is a very short section of road that is only one lane at the bottom to begin with (I think it becomes two lanes AFTER you start up the hill), and would not create a bottleneck. In addition, that section of road does not have any driveways or side-roads to cause issues with cars turning off of, or on to, that stretch of road. There will be almost no impact on uphill traffic flow of cars, and no impact for the downhill lane. Bicycles are already permitted to share the lane with cars, and due to many drivers’ (of cars AND bikes) lack of compliance with laws, sharing the driving lane remains to be more dangerous. Thank you to the motorists and cyclists (and to those that are BOTH a motorist and a cyclist) that share the road with one another safely and with respect. Luckily, we live in a community big enough to require these changes, but still small enough to do it without getting at each other’s throat. Also, what is the other better alternative for cyclists mentioned below…Tanglewood, Lafayette, Devils Hollow?

  • Very Bad Idea!!! It will create additional safety issues and an additional traffic bottleneck. In addition, it seems a poor choice to spend money for this, especially when it benefits so few.

  • Very poor and unsafe idea. There is at least one safer alternative for cyclists to get from South Frankfort to West Frankfort.

  • That is one of the more stupid Idea's that I have heard in a while. That road isn't very safe to begin with, and now were are talking about putting in bike lanes? The only result of this will be more accidents, and it will be only a matter of time when either a person on a bike gets hit, or causes a car to have a head on crash.