Last Tuesday night, an ordinance was introduced building on the Jeff Speck visit in 2014, that would authorize securing the services of an engineering firm to conduct a study of Speck’s recommendation that Broadway and Jefferson be converted back to two-way streets as well as add bike lanes to both roadways. I will be interested in the study results and hearing the opinions of city residents along with those who have made investments in and around these streets. Independent (and I do see some independence between these issues) of the street conversion issue, I am very much in favor of creating urban paths and a bike route to our downtown. Ideally, these urban paths would link to Noble Park and Greenway expanded which would close, when completed, a nine and a half mile loop.
This extension connects not just parks, but would add neighborhoods to the trail mix (see what I did there?) and would, in my opinion, be game changing in terms of accessibility for walkers and bikers alike. The Greenway expansion planned for 2018 would deliver trail goers through Schultz Park to Madison and Monroe streets, again–toward neighborhoods. It would seem the logical extension from there is westward linking schools, more neighborhoods, etc. a concept I ponder and advocate for here.
Many forward thinking city leaders deserve credit for the trail progress thus far (and make no mistake, Greenway is an outstanding facility), including Mayor Kaler and City Commissioners Rhodes, Abraham, Wilson, and Gault, leadership past and present from the city planning office including Director Steve Ervin with excellent support from City Grants Administrator, Sheryl Chino, as well as Parks Director Mark Thompson and many others. I hope the momentum we have currently will carry us a little more quickly toward the goal. A more bikeable walkable city is at the very top of my priority list as a candidate for Paducah city commission and, if elected, I would work hard to keep this priority consistently on the front burner.
When walking is safer, bicycling is safer and when your city has many walkers and bicyclists, your city is not only safer, it’s a more desirable place to live and spend time.
I think these proposed plans are an excellent addition to our already changing city. Anytime you can provide safe areas to walk or ride, you will see more involvement from community members. This is a MUST for our children to encourage healthy lifestyle habits. I’m so proud of our city!