Good news: Louisville is launching a great bike share program.
Bad news: Louisville failed to calm traffic before making the investment and introducing novice cyclists into our traffic. Count the days before an out of control motor vehicle hits a bike station or rider. Twenty is Plenty – 20 MPH.
A recent pedestrian/cyclist incident on a Louisville sidewalk mirrors the history of the Big Four Bridge and the daily struggle in Louisville streets between cars and cyclists. The sidewalks, streets and alleys, like our parks and libraries, are part of The Commons – that public space that we share with each other. The Big Four Bridge, when put back into service as a car-free facility for pedestrians and cyclists, had a bike lane. Immediately pedestrians complained when cyclists were outside of the bike lane. Cyclists complained that pedestrians when were in the bike lane. The Big Four Bridge bike lane turned the public into squabbling siblings in the back seat of the family car: “She’s on my side!!!”. The bike lanes on our streets result in the same squabbling with drivers yelling “Get back in the bike lane!!” and cyclists yelling “Get out of the bike lane!!”.
Spacial segregation often escalates beyond squabbling to name calling and sometimes physical conflict. Spacial segregation is counter productive to community. The Commons is a space to be shared, respectfully. Cyclists need to respect pedestrians. Drivers need to respect cyclists and pedestrians. Urban traffic needs to be calmed so cyclists can share the road with cars.
The city’s best traffic calming tool is a bicycle in the travel lane. Removing bike lanes and establishing a 20 mph urban speed limit will calm traffic, helping to turn The Commons from a place of conflict to a space of community.
East End corporation moves to urban Louisville. This is what we need….
From the Courier-Journal: “One of Louisville’s leading health management companies plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to the West End and will develop the long-vacant 18th Street and Broadway site, where many residents and city officials had previously hoped a Wal-Mart superstore would be built.
Four sources who either have been briefed on the negotiations or have intimate knowledge of its details told the Courier-Journal that Passport Health Plan, a Medicaid managed care organization, is expected to announce Wednesday morning that it plans to move to the former Philip Morris site.
Passport spokesman Michael Rabkin confirmed that the company is poised to make a “good announcement” this week, but he declined to share details. He said the health care company is “constantly evaluating our efforts and our infrastructure to ensure” it is meeting the needs of its members and providing employees a good place to work.
“We’re a growing company and we anticipate a lot more growth, and we’re committed to Kentucky and to Louisville,” Rabkin said.
Louisville is not ready to face the 21st century. And we are already 17 years into that century. We are not taking action to minimize global climate change. Neighborhoods have failed or are failing. Citizens are despairing, killing each other with guns and drugs at record numbers. Our remote warehouse economy pays poorly. Food insecurity threatens too many. Our convention economy, in a non-walkable city, is not accessible by passenger rail, nor do we have a plan to link Louisville to Cincinnati, Nashville, Saint Louis, and Indianapolis by passenger rail. We are losing our historical identity as we bulldoze dozens of historic structures. Surface parking lots are over-heating downtown. We are not resisting state intervention in our local schools. Our land use and transportation systems are straight out of the 1960s. We are afraid to use the word “sanctuary”. We have lost both urban grocery stores. We have made no improvement in TARC service. Too much of our urban soil is contaminated. We are not reducing our community’s dependence on fossil fuels. We are losing 54,000 trees a year and still have no comprehensive tree ordinance. Pedestrians and motorists are dying on our streets at record numbers as we refuse to take simple, inexpensive traffic calming measures. The commons are filthy. Our air is laden with fine particulate and we had unhealthy smog levels on 19 days in 2016. We give away too much to out of town corporations. We are not proactive on the location of the VA Hospital. We have too few solar panels on city properties. We tolerate the recruitment of our children as the military breaks the health of our veterans. We continue to promote sprawl to the east end and southern Indiana. We are not seeking a return of more of the tax dollars sent to Frankfort. General public health is poor. We are not effectively creating affordable housing. Louisville is not ready to face the 21st century.
Louisville needs a mayor who is committed to making the changes that will meet the challenges of this century.
Fischer and Louisville are not making the grade according to the Courier-Journal article “Green City”, by reporter James Brugger, 2 April 2017.
“…after examining such factors as transportation, water and air quality and climate, the Courier-Journal’s review finds the city’s overall environmental performance a C at best.”
“He is so impressively good at talking the talk, but he’s not as good at walking the walk. We are hearing climate talk, but are not seeing action.” (Sarah Lynn Cunningham)
“…not done as much as other city mayors.” (Tim Darst)
Louisville is “heating up faster…than any other major city in the country”, “had unhealthy smog levels on 19 days in 2016”, has “local waterways (that) aren’t safe for swimming”, is “losing 54,000 trees a year” and “still lacks a comprehensive tree ordinance.”
And while Louisville’s overall grade is C, Louisville’s transportation grade is D.