Road Changes A Cause For Concernby Adrian Freund
As new development in Jefferson County changes our landscape, cyclists try to adapt. On a recent club ride, we experienced the new intersection of Flat Rock Road and Shelbyville Road, at the Gardiner Park subdivision. Our traditional route from Long Run Park takes us along Flat Rock Road, and across Shelbyville Road to Eastwood Cutoff. This route allowed us to make a straight crossing of busy Shelbyville Road, where we had a good view of high speed eastbound and westbound traffic.
The new intersection, altered to accommodate the developer is neither bicycle- nor auto-friendly. We approach Shelbyville Road on Flat Rock, and must look left to see oncoming 60 mph westbound traffic scarcely 100 yards away as it crests a hill. After turning right, we must cross the westbound lane within a hundred yards and then cross the eastbound lane to turn left onto Eastwood Cutoff. The first time a group of us did this, we were confronted with honking horns and hand gestures from hotfooted westbound motorists. There is no “safe zone” in the middle of Shelbyville Road if eastbound traffic prevents us from turning left. Even as a motorist, I find the new right hand turn from Flat Rock onto Shelbyville to be a hazard due to the short sight distance as westbound traffic crests the hill.
Unfortunately, many of our transportation engineers have a myopic view of the world as they work for the development community, or for a government that believes almost all development is good development. Take an objective look at the Flat Rock-Shelbyville Road intersection, and you realize that neither cyclist nor motorist wins. The developer, however, regained a triangle of land.
More of these changes are on the way. For example, a newly introduced development plan would close Chamberlain Lane at Mint Spring Road, forcing cyclists to take a circuitous, traffic and intersection-laden route from Wolf Pen Branch to Sleepy Hollow (KY 1694). Although the proposed “Norton Commons” development is an enlightened “new Urbanist” plan, the multi-modal principles such development is supposed to advance are forgotten when it comes to the cyclist. And who knows what will become of Springdale Road (our corridor to the other end of Wolf Pen Branch) when Main Street Realty constructs its mega-center. As you recall, we lost Simcoe Lane some years ago when Springhurst was developed. Highway 22, in the vicinity of Chamberlain Lane, has long since been removed from our catalog of rideable roads.
The list goes on. New road improvements planned and proposed in the Fern Creek Area Study, and the Old Henry Road Area Study would lead to a gradual loss of our ability to cycle in those areas of the county.
It is remarkable that America’s top cycling cities are also the nation’s most economically viable, and generally recognized for their high quality of life.
The traditional engineering vocabulary does not recognize cyslists (there are enlightened engineers). Some of the development community stakeholders in the County’s Cornerstone 2020 plan process were openly hostile to provisions to sustain and enhance cycling.
What should you do? First, let Cheryl Brawner, our VP-Advocacy know of your concern about the increasingly cycling-unfriendly atmosphere in Jefferson County. Then:
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Web posted: 13 March 2000
last updated: 13 March 2000
by Duc M. Do