City of Owensboro evaluating bike/ped lanes after CYP presentation

City officials are evaluating the possibility of installing bike lanes within city limits and bike repair stations on the Adkisson Greenbelt. The Chamber of Young Professionals (CYP) are leading the push for expanded bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure.

The CYP presented its proposal Tuesday to the City of Owensboro Technical Advisory Committee and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Jared Revlett, chairman of CYP’s Community Development Committee, said they are asking the city to use money from the $468,000 grant he received to reduce carbon emissions for the project.

Revlett said the committee began researching community interests in the summer of 2022, and those who responded to a survey expressed the importance of community walking and biking.

According to the survey results, the community prioritizes designated painted bike lanes, improving connectivity to the Greenbelt, and overall safety for cyclists throughout the county.

CYP’s proposal on Tuesday included two main ideas.

The first is adding 10 bike repair stations along the Greenbelt, allowing riders to fix their bikes and continue instead of having to leave and likely finish riding for the day. Each repair station would be equipped with screwdrivers, air pumps, tools to fix a flat tire, and other essential equipment. All crew will be chained to the station.

“They all come with a little QR code, so if someone doesn’t know how to change a tire or they don’t really know how to use any of the tools that are out there, they can scan that QR code, go online and look at those so they can do it that,” said Revlett.

After speaking with City of Owensboro Parks & Recreation Director Amanda Rogers, the committee found 10 locations that they said would be suitable for stations — such as near Owensboro Health Regional Hospital and Higdon Road, Kendall-Perkins Park , Smothers Park and Moreland Park.

Revlett said the “all-in” cost is estimated at $18,575 — but noted that’s not a tax-exempt estimate.

The second part of the presentation was the implementation of bike lanes, and the idea Revlett said started with GRADD’s unfinished bike/pedestrian plans from 2018.

“We’re trying to look at some of the areas that haven’t been completed,” he said. “Now with this grant of money to reduce [the City’s] carbon footprint, we want to see the possibility of getting these activated.”

Most of the proposed bike paths would connect the Greenbelt to other community amenities such as English Park, downtown and Chautauqua Park.

The proposed bike paths are:

  • Cravens Avenue to West 5th Street to Castlen Street/Hanning Lane, which connects the Greenbelt to English Park
  • Hanning Lane to West 1st Street, which connects English Park to Smothers Park
  • KY 54 from East Byers Avenue to Leitchfield Road, which connects the Greenbelt to Chautauqua Park
  • CS-1029 to Alsop Lane at East 4th Street / East 2nd Street, which connects the Greenbelt to downtown
  • Old Hartford Road at 22nd Street to Daviess Street, providing bike access from the east side of Owensboro to downtown.

“Everyone agrees that the Greenbelt is great, but it really doesn’t connect anywhere. This project would help connect the Greenbelt areas, some of the neighborhoods that are in the peripheral parts of our community to the downtown areas of the city, and those kinds of things,” Revlett said.

Daviess County Judge Executive Charlie Castlen said that in previous conversations, city and county officials have stopped developing plans for bike lanes because they would remove on-street parking.

“One of the big concerns we’ve had is the loss of street parking. There are already some neighborhoods that have very limited parking spaces,” Castlen said.

City engineer Kevin Collignon added that they have to find a way to compensate for the loss of traffic lane space. The standard road width is 30 feet, according to Collignon. With a bike lane recommended to be 5 feet on either side of traffic, that would leave only 20 feet of driving lanes.

“If you had a bike lane on each side, then your parking in many situations. That’s why we ended up with sharrows in many places – which is the marking in the center of the line that says share the road with cyclists Collignon said.

City Manager Nate Pagan noted that CYP’s proposal is also in line with recent survey results Parks and Recreation Master Plan on connecting the Greenbelt to other parts of the city.

“It’s very much in line with other feedback we’re getting from a similar master plan we’re doing for all of our parks,” Pagan said. “So that’s something we’re evaluating to a limited degree, but we’ll be doing more.”

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