Council members Holton Stewart, Fowler and Triplett issue statement on the current situation with Iroquois Park’s Rundill Road

May 13, 2021

Louisville – Councilmembers Amy Holton Stewart (D-25), Cindi Fowler (D14) & Kevin Triplett (D-15) issue a joint statement regarding the continued closure of Iroquois Park's Rundill Road:

"In representation of all our constituents and in the interest of equity for all our Louisville citizens whether young, healthy, elderly or disabled, we implore Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Parks to reopen Rundill Road to vehicular traffic, immediately.

Now closer to the summer solstice than the spring equinox and after over a year since the road was closed to anyone but able-bodied, pedestrians & cyclists, it is imperative that we restore equal access to the population that has been prohibited from enjoying the beauty of our majestic Southend gem, Iroquois Park.

To the countless that have called our offices asking why they are not permitted to utilize the park because they are unable to walk or bike, to those asking when they will be able to enjoy a Sunday drive with their parent or grandparent, to those that have patiently waited after constantly being told an announcement was coming soon, to those that fear that they will never again have equal access to Iroquois Park, we stand with you, and we choose this fight for you.

Metro Parks' statement today announcing, "The Olmsted Parks Conservancy is gathering data regarding park usage in Cherokee and Iroquois parks pre and post COVID-19 which will take a couple of weeks," delays the planned reopening of Iroquois Park. The residents of South Louisville overwhelmingly made clear in multiple public input opportunities that they will not wait for Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Metro Parks to decide how and whether Cherokee Park will reopen. The reopening of these two parks is being treated uniformly when both are very distinct and unique parks and situations. Iroquois' 30ft multi-use path with dedicated 10ft two-way lanes and 10ft walking/cycling path provides ample opportunity for pedestrians and vehicular traffic to equally share the park.

Mayor Fischer, on April 8, 2020 you announced the closure of vehicular traffic along Iroquois Park's Rundill Road. How long will Louisville Metro Parks use COVID as a reason to deny taxpayers access to our parks?

Today, May 12, 2021, in reverence of equity, we ask you to restore equal vehicular access to Iroquois Park for our forgotten and underserved constituency."

To see a survey results from the public about accessibility to the Iroquois Loop, click here!

Below details actions and conversations with Council members over the closing of the Iroquois Loop.

TIMELINE:

April 8th, 2020 - Mayor Fischer, Louisville Metro Parks and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy announce closure of vehicular traffic along Iroquois Park's Rundill Road.

Spring - Fall 2020 - We were told the decision to close Iroquois Park's lower loop was made out of consideration for all residents to properly social distance at a time when each of us were looking for safe outlets to escape the pandemic's required confinement to our homes. Throughout all of 2020 we heard from elderly and disabled constituents asking when they too would be able to utilize the Park by driving through its scenic beauty. We were told to expect Parks to announce the reopening in early Spring 2021.

January-February 2021 - Parks and the administration reached out to the Councilmembers surrounding Iroquois Park to assist them in determining the future vehicular traffic in the park with an expected action to occur by early April 2021.

March 12-21, 2021 - A survey was distributed online from garnering input from constituents. The survey overwhelmingly favored reopening Rundill Road with 2,291 responses supporting opening whether through no additional traffic control conditions, certain traffic calming measures such as speed humps, the creation of a one-way traffic pattern or limited vehicular access on certain days. Of the responses, 1026 said they would not support reopening no matter what traffic calming conditions were implemented. Finally, 249 voted "other" specifying their options in written responses to Metro Parks. 

March 30, 2021 - Following the survey, Metro Parks supported garnering additional responses from parkgoers utilizing Iroquois Park. On Tuesday, March 30th, 33 additional survey responses were collected in Iroquois Park by Councilmembers Blackwell and George.

April 6, 2021 - Then Metro Parks turned to social media to hear from the Public regarding the results of the survey and any additional input they had to ensure any passionate individual could make their voice heard. On Tuesday, April 6th from 6pm-7pm Councilmembers joined Parks leadership to facilitate this dialogue. No official actions were determined after the discussion, but input was incredibly similar to the survey results garnered 2-3 weeks prior.

April 16, 2021 - Ten days after the meeting Metro Parks leadership held a conversation with the Metro Councilmembers representing areas surrounding Iroquois Park on Friday, April 16th to announce Iroquois Park would soon restore vehicular traffic to Rundill Road as it was pre-pandemic with additional traffic studies and data to be collected throughout the year to identify future traffic calming measures to balance the needs of pedestrians and motorists wanting to utilize Iroquois Park. We were told to expect an announcement within a week of that discussion.

May 2021 - Our offices continue to receive calls and questions regarding the opening and we encouragingly alerted constituents an announcement was coming. That announcement still has not come.

May 12, 2021 - Only today after nearly a month of our offices persistent questioning has Metro Parks announced they are working with the Olmsted Conservancy and plan to make an announcement by the end of May, pushing the goalposts ever further from an official action.

 

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