Bike Trail update

Message from Stuart Kearns, AICP, Associate Director of Transportation, UK Parking & Transportation Services and Shane Tedder, Sustainability Coordinator, University of Kentucky

In March of 2012 the University of Kentucky’s Bicycle Advisory Committee began the process of preparing a design for a shared use path through the western edge of the Arboretum woods that would connect University Court to Shady Lane. Dozens of commuters cycle from Lexington’s southern neighborhoods along this corridor daily and at present there is no dedicated infrastructure in place that provides a safe and efficient connection across/around the UK Arboretum. The lack of such infrastructure, combined with the opening of the Kentucky Children’s Garden and request for assistance from Arboretum Staff prompted the UK BAC to prioritize the design of this proposed shared use path. This connection is also identified as a priority project on the LFUCG Greenways Master Plan, the Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and the University of Kentucky Campus Bicycle Plan.

After 2 years of discussions with neighbors, neighborhood associations, Arboretum Leadership, and city planners, we have finalized the alignment and major design elements of the proposed trail. Click here to see the design schematic. We will continue to work with the city and the neighborhoods to determine what changes would be needed on the neighborhood streets to promote safe conditions from the intersection of the trail with Shady Lane to the existing bike route on Bellefonte.

As designed, the trail would intersect with Shady Lane at its current intersection with Wildwood Court and remain within approximately 30 feet of the Arboretum property line until it connects with University Court. The trail would be 8 feet wide with 1 foot, graded gravel shoulders on either side and would be constructed of concrete. Multiple surface materials were evaluated on the basis of storm water impact, construction disturbance, longevity, cost, and user experience. To avoid the root zones of key trees along the trail corridor, five low wooden bridges are proposed as part of the design. A four-board, black wooden fence matching the fence on Shady Lane will run parallel to the trail on the Arboretum side from its intersection with Shady Lane to just beyond the sitting bench in the southwest corner of the woods. The purpose of this fence is to discourage bicyclists on the proposed shared use path from using the existing unpaved footpath through the woods. The fence ends at a point where vegetation and distance between the existing and proposed paths were deemed sufficient to discourage cyclists from crossing over.

At present, neither the timetable nor the funding for the construction of this project has been identified. As additional details are known we will distribute them to this group. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.