Letter to U.S. Rep John Yarmuth

Dear Representative Yarmuth, (by email 3/30/09)

Residents of the Clifton neighborhood have been working for over thirty years to improve pedestrian safety on Brownsboro Road between Ewing and Clifton Avenues.  Finally a pedestrian safety project has been planned in detail by Metro Public Works, funding from several sources was in place, and bid packages assembled, when a large enough portion of funding was cut in Mayor Abramson’s across-the-board budget cuts in December to put the entire project on hold.  We urge you do what you can to assure that this “shovel-ready” project be funded by the Economic Stimulus transportation funding so it can commence as soon as the bidding process is complete.

With the economic downturn, this project has become even more urgent, as more people are forced to walk and use public transportation.  These improvements will make it possible for residents of Clifton and Clifton Heights to safely cross the street to do simple errands like shopping at the grocery story or the dollar store, and to have safer and more convenient bus stops.

Background
Eight years ago, the Clifton Community Council Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Committee identified Brownsboro Road as “the most dangerous and inconvenient place for pedestrians and bicyclists in our neighborhood”.  I personally raised this issue more than ten years ago, and members of Clifton’s blind community have been working on it for more than thirty years.

Since 2002, our committee, along with the Clifton Heights Community Council, has worked with Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh on the most urgent and most problematic piece of this problem: to complete the sidewalk on the north side of Brownsboro Road, at the cliff across from Kroger between Ewing and Lindsey.  Completion of this sidewalk would make it possible to cross Brownsboro at the existing traffic light at Clifton Avenue, benefiting pedestrians, both blind and sighted, in both our densely populated neighborhoods.

Over the years, two different plans to make room for a sidewalk at the cliff across from Kroger were considered and rejected by Public Works: one to cut into the cliff and one to move the entire roadway south toward Kroger.  Finally, in summer of 2007, after careful traffic studies, Public Works proposed a much more cost-effective pedestrian safety project for this area: to narrow Brownsboro Road west of Ewing to three lanes (a center turn lane and two traveling lanes) to make it possible to build a sidewalk on the north side without expanding the right of way.

Three public meetings were held on this proposal, and at a May 2008 follow-up meeting Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh and Public Works with presented a first phase plan to be sent out for bids.  I understand there were subsequently some state approvals needed and other delays, which we knew were to be expected for such a project.

As you can imagine, we were very disappointed when funding was cut enough to postpone this important project indefinitely.  With the announcement of the Economic Stimulus funding for transportation projects, we believe that this sidewalk is the ideal “shovel-ready” project – ready to be bid out and to start work immediately.

Members of my committee and I would be glad to show you this area on foot and describe the specific problems pedestrians in both neighborhoods have crossing the street if this would help you understand the importance and urgency of resolving pedestrian problems in the area.

We appreciate your interest and concern for the people of Louisville and hope you can help us ensure the completion of this important project.

Sincerely,

Cassandra Culin, Chair
Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Committee
Clifton Community Council
185 N. Bellaire Ave.
Louisville, KY  40206
502-895-5727; fax 502-896-9760; cell 502-594-4405

cc by email:

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh
Councilman Tom Owen
Councilman Ken Fleming
Mayor Jerry Abramson
Ted Pullen, Director, Metro Public Works and Assets
Nina Walfoort, Chair, Active Living Committee, Mayor's Healthy Hometown Movement
Anne McMahon and Dave Vislisel, Clifton Heights Community Council Board


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