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Public Works & Assets Newsroom

Fully buffered bike lanes now on Kentucky and Breckinridge streets

Saturday June 7, 2014

The unique characteristics of Breckinridge and Kentucky streets made them good choices for the installation of Louisville’s first fully buffered bicycle lanes in June. The new bike routes provide the first east/west connection between two of our great neighborhoods, Old Louisville and The Highlands.

New bike lane on Breckinridge StreetThe new paths are the first to have buffer strips on both sides of the lanes. Other bike lanes in the city, because of location characteristics, have either a buffer on only one side or no buffer at all.

The design of the Breckinridge and Kentucky facilities includes a bike lane that is 4 feet wide and has on each side a 2 ft. wide strip separating the lane from the motorist traveling lane and the parking lane. That results in greater safety for cyclists and mitigates the tendency for motorists to exceed the speed limit.

Motorists and cyclists should treat the solid lines and dashed lines of bike lanes the same way they treat those lines anywhere else they're found on the road. A solid line means you are generally not allowed to cross it.

Installation of the bike lanes also serves to calm traffic speeds by reducing motorist traveling lanes on both streets from three to two lanes during peak hours and one during off peak hours. The lane reductions are possible because of the traffic volumes on Breckinridge and Kentucky streets.

Peak traffic in the morning on Breckinridge Street averages 768 vehicles across its eleven intersections and ranges from a low of 289 vehicles at Eighth Street to a high of 1,153 at Floyd Street. The numbers are lower across Kentucky Street.

Each lane can readily carry 750 vehicles per hour on a one-way street. So having three driving lanes on each of those streets during peak hours left plenty of excess capacity that could be captured for bicycle lanes. The new two-lane peak hour configuration is still able to accommodate 1,500 vehicles per hour—well above the current rate of traffic. Midday traffic on both streets is well below the 750 cars per hour that a single lane can handle.

Two public meetings were held April 14 and April 16 at the Shelby Community Center to discuss these two projects. While there were some who expressed concerns, the vast majority of people at those meetings were in favor of putting in these bike lanes.