Mayor Linda Gorton and members of the Urban County Council this morning celebrated the completion of the city’s 100th mile of paved bikeway with a news conference along West Hickman Trail in Veterans Park.
“This Thanksgiving week, many of us will be talking about what we’re thankful for,” Gorton said. “There are many things I’m thankful for in Lexington, including the people who had the foresight to start investing in bike trails and bike lanes many years ago. As a result, citizens today have opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy some exercise, or to bike to work or school.”
The 100 miles includes paved surfaces designated for bike use, such as bike lanes, lanes shared with vehicles, and shared use trails.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but 100 miles is a significant achievement,” Gorton said. “This puts us over one-third of the way to the full buildout of a bicycle network.”
The City reached mile 100 along the West Hickman Trail in Veterans Park. The trail is a shared-use, greenway trail that connects Veterans Park and Veterans Park Elementary School to an existing on-street bikeway system. The project consists of a 12-foot wide asphalt trail, which includes a 100-foot steel bridge that crosses West Hickman Creek.
“What an honor for the 100th mile mark of bike trails to be located in the 12th District, which offers our city’s most scenic views,” said Councilmember Kathy Plomin, whose district includes Veterans Park. “This milestone exemplifies the benefits of a city that values connectivity of neighborhoods, parks, green space and historic sites.”
Councilmember Susan Lamb also represents Veterans Park. “There are so many benefits to having over 100 miles of trails,” Lamb said. “Lexington is healthier, happier and more productive thanks to our ability to be outside exercising, enjoying the fresh air and nature, all things that our trails provide."
City Engineer Keith Lovan has been part of building and planning Lexington’s bike lanes and trails for two decades. Many more miles of projects are scheduled for construction over the next couple of years, Lovan said.
“It is always exciting to see new projects completed, and the fact that we are now connecting neighborhoods to schools and, other trails and shopping areas shows how far we have come as a community,” he said.
The West Hickman Trail also connects to the mountain bike trails in Veterans Park. “This is the first time that we have connected two different types of bike trails, another milestone in the construction of bike facilities,” Lovan said.
The city’s first bike lane was installed on Waller Avenue in 1995. In 2000, there were only 6.1 miles of paved bikeways in Fayette County. Today, bike lanes can be found on many roads, including Main Street.
One of the most exciting trails under construction is Town Branch Commons, which will run through downtown and link the City's two major trails, Town Branch Trail and the Legacy Trail. When Town Branch Commons is complete, Lexington will have 22 miles of uninterrupted bike and pedestrian paths that connect downtown to the rural landscape. Some 8,000 users a month now ride the Legacy Trail, a shared-use greenway trail that connects downtown with area neighborhoods, parks and historic sites as it winds northward to the Kentucky Horse Park.