Old Louisville, Eastern Parkway to get public studies for traffic changes and improvements

intersection at St. Catherine and Seventh

This intersection at St. Catherine and Seventh streets is one of six that may change to four-way stops. | Google photo

Two neighborhoods may be seeing some traffic changes coming down the pike, as a pair of public studies are set for both Old Louisville and the Eastern Parkway corridor.

In Old Louisville, the city is considering replacing stop lights along Seventh and Eighth streets south of Broadway with stop signs; Eastern Parkway, meanwhile, might be in line for expansion. A public hearing on the potential Old Louisville changes is set for Monday night, while the public review of Eastern Parkway begins July 11.

An update from the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council notes that studies of traffic along segments of Seventh and Eighth indicate that traffic signals may no longer be needed in six intersections near downtown. The studies show traffic volumes and crash histories of those intersections are below levels that warrant traffic lights, the council said.

Those intersections are Seventh and York; Seventh and Breckinridge; Seventh and Kentucky; Seventh and St. Catherine; Eighth and Breckinridge; and Eighth and Kentucky.

Beginning on July 8, four-way stop signs will be installed to replace the traffic lights for a trial period, which will last for at least 90 days, after which a final decision will be made based on engineering data collected during the trial. The public meeting begins at 6 p.m. Monday, July 1, and will be held at the Old Louisville Visitors Center, 1340 S. Fourth St.

Eastern Parkway study begins July 11
Eastern Parkway

Eastern Parkway will undergo a federally funded study for possible expansion. | Google photo

Before turning lights were installed a few years ago, it was nearly impossible to turn left onto Bardstown Road from Eastern Parkway during peak hours. The Eastern Parkway corridor may be undergoing some significant changes in 2020, pending a public review that will begin July 11.

The reason is simple: The road isn’t designed for the amount of traffic it accommodates. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the corridor more than a century ago as a traffic link to Cherokee Park. The designers involved could not have foreseen the up to 17,000 motorists using the road every day, along with walkers and bicyclists.

The Eastern Parkway Transportation Study, which will be funded through a $500,000 federal grant, will examine elements such as sidewalk and curb improvements, pedestrian paths, bike connectivity and other alternatives designed to accommodate transportation through the corridor.

The length of Eastern Parkway between Bardstown Road and Crittenden Drive will be the focal point of the study, which is designed to make the road safer and more user-friendly while improving drainage and landscaping and maintaining the corridor’s characteristics.

Funding comes from the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program, which awarded Louisville the grant in 2017. The grant will be matched by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet toll credits.

The Gresham Smith engineering and design firm will lead the study under the direction of the Metro Louisville landscape architect John Swintosky. The first public meeting will be Thursday, July 11, from 5-7 p.m., at the Audubon Traditional Elementary School Gymnasium, 1051 Hess Lane.