After nearly two years, Bellepoint residents will be reconnected with downtown Frankfort. The city announced Friday that the pedestrian bridge over Wilkinson Boulevard, which was dead-ended as part of the Capital Plaza redevelopment project, will be completed with both a stairway and elevator.
The pedestrian bridge, which provided safe passage to downtown, River View Park and Bellepoint, was severed prior to the demolition of the Capital Plaza Tower in early 2018 and has been a blocked artery ever since.
According to city officials who sat down with representatives from the state to iron out the specifics of the project, the contractor constructing the new state office building will build a stairway to connect the pedestrian system at ground level. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, an elevator or handicap-accessible ramp must also be installed to make the bridge compliant with federal regulations.
This is good news for folks on both sides of the river as it reestablishes accessibility and encourages walkability for those who live, work and play in Frankfort. With the state picking up the tab for improvements, it would seem like a win-win for all involved, with the exception of one segment of the population who have had a bumpy ride of late — bicyclists.
Last week, Brent Sweger, president of WalkBike Frankfort, penned a letter to the editor (“What will become of pedestrian bridge, stairway to Leslie Morris Park?, June 15-16) in which he explained that the most advantageous solution would be to add a ramp. It could be used by both wheelchair-bound citizens and bicyclists to link the bridge to ground level.
Sweger makes a great point. While an elevator may look better aesthetically, a ramp would likely be a less expensive option as well as make the pedestrian bridge more accommodating for a greater number of users.
With the recent city commission vote to disallow bicycles in Leslie Morris Park Hill, it seems Frankfort is quickly getting a reputation for not being bike-friendly. This is one simple change the state and city could make to improve relations with our two-wheel friends.