Project at a glance
The High Street Corridor Safety and Mobility Improvements initiative addresses critical needs related to vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian safety for a highly trafficked area of downtown Lexington. This project was prompted by a significant crash record that has increased at an alarming rate with the tragic loss of life and its convergence with the growing convention and commercial district. Safety concerns have accelerated efforts to improve this roadway and address connectivity for adjacent neighborhoods and district visitors. The district, including the convention center, Rupp arena, new Town Branch Park, and a proposed 17-acre mixed-use redevelopment, will continue to grow as a regional attraction, resulting in increased activity for all modes of travel throughout this entirety corridor. This project also brings a pivotal opportunity to more safely connect nearby underserved neighborhoods that have lacked equitable access to recreational opportunities and job centers that are more readily available in other areas of the City.
High Street, formerly U.S. 60, was acquired by the City through a roadway swap with KYTC completed in 2018. This transfer effectively paved the way for the arena, convention center, and park improvement efforts that are currently ongoing. The following High Street project segments comprehensively address the current and future needs for corridor safety through improved roadway geometrics, traffic calming measures, and roadside hazard mitigation, which promote safe mobility and connectivity for the surrounding areas. These segments improve accessibility while modernizing the infrastructure to help create a sustainable infrastructure for people of all ages and abilities.
The City of Lexington has applied for federal transportation grant funds through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). If awarded, RAISE funding will help Lexington improve safety and mobility on a corridor that has experienced multiple fatalities since April 2021. The proposed project is described in more detail in the City's RAISE Grant Application.
LFUCG has formed a coalition of project partners to help cohesively achieve these important community initiatives' overarching goals and objections. The project partners support the project through monetary contributions, safety countermeasures, emerging technology research, new and improved transit service, and workforce development training opportunities for area research.
Project partners are:
- Kentucky Transportation Cabinet project
- Lexington Center Corporation
- Town Branch Park, Inc. non-profit
- Lextran public transit authority
- Workforce Development Partners: OWL, Bluegrass Community & Technical College, and Bluegrass Local Workforce Development Area & Kentucky Career Centers
- Utility, Broadband & Small Cell Partners
- Kentucky Transportation Center at the University of Kentucky
Key project outcomes
The key project outcomes LFUCG seeks with RAISE grant funding include:
Safety: Implementation of safety countermeasures on this corridor will address roadway departure and pedestrian crashes. In 2021, there were three fatal roadway departure crashes on the corridor and one fatal pedestrian crash just outside the corridor. The Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) calculations show over $102 million in safety-related benefits from implementing safety countermeasures.
Environmental sustainability: The project encourages a modal shift with new transit, bike, and ped facilities; addresses water quality and heat island concerns with the permeable pavement; incorporates electrification with a new electric bus and EV charging stations; and further reduces emissions with adaptive signal technology.
Quality of life: Through improved multimodal connections to Historically Disadvantaged Communities and Areas of Persistent Poverty, accessibility to livable recreation, jobs, and services areas will be enhanced through this project.
Mobility and community connectivity: The project provides a new accessible and grade-separated entry to safely access the county-wide trail network, enhances existing roadway crossings, and establishes a new transit service.
Economic competitiveness: Increases economic competitiveness of the area by enhancing the safety and attractiveness of Lexington to potential employers and talent while fostering and supporting approximately $2.4 billion in projects completed since 2015 and projects ongoing and announced in the downtown area.
State of good repair: The project incorporates a comprehensive improvement strategy for century-old infrastructure, including rehabilitation/upgrades to pavement, storm and sanitary facilities, and implementation of new signal technology.
Partnership: LFUCG has formed a coalition of project partners to help cohesively achieve the overarching goals and objections for this important community initiative. The project partners support the project through monetary contributions, safety countermeasures, emerging technology research, new and improved transit service, and workforce development training opportunities for area research.
Innovation: Upgrading to adaptive signal technology in over 30 signals that serve the downtown signal grid results in approximately $4 million in value of time benefits (See the Benefit Cost Analysis) while reducing an estimated 33,000 hours per year of emissions delay.
The following project segments comprehensively address the current and future needs for corridor safety through improved roadway geometrics, traffic calming measures, and roadside hazard mitigation that promotes safe mobility and connectivity for the surrounding areas. These segments improve accessibility while modernizing the infrastructure to help create a sustainable infrastructure for people of all ages and abilities.
Segment 1 – Manchester Street: Roadway reconstruction from High Street to Oliver Lewis Way to accommodate grade-separated access to the county-wide trail network and Town Branch Park, which will serve as a major trailhead for the County’s bikeway system. The improvements to Manchester Street will also include traffic calming roundabouts designed to increase safety and accessibility. Bus/vehicular drop-off zones will be incorporated to accommodate trail access for rideshare and pedestrian user classes.
Segment 2 – Oliver Lewis Way: Multi-modal enhancements with off-road trail infrastructure and landscaping will be constructed to support the Davis Land Trust Area together with a direct connection to the Speigle Heights Neighborhood located on the west side of US 60. These facilities will connect to the new Farmers Market and grade-separated trail access to the Distillery District jobs center and Town Branch Park Downtown Trailhead. The improvements will also support establishing a new transit service for the area with a new EV bus.
Segment 3 – High Street & Patterson Street: Roadway reconstruction and streetscape enhancements from Broadway to Oliver Lewis Way along High St. reduce roadway hazards, provide traffic calming, and encourage transit, bike, and pedestrian travel. Patterson St roadway reconstruction will accommodate increases in vehicular traffic from redevelopment while improving bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. Two new signals are planned for traffic control, further complemented by converting over 30 signals downtown to adaptive signal control.