After a months-long public feedback process, analysis and collaboration with Mayor Greg Fischer, Metro Council, Olmsted Parks Conservancy and other stakeholders, Louisville Parks and Recreation officials today announced the park loop road in Iroquois Park will reopen to the pre-COVID route, effective immediately.
Vehicle access to the Hogan’s Fountain and Rugby Field areas of Cherokee Park will be restored under a new plan in mid-June. Metro Public Works and Louisville Parks and Recreation will be installing traffic control measures, signage and newly painted lines in certain areas, prior to the reopening of the loop. (Please see the maps below for access to Cherokee and Iroquois loops.)
Parks officials recently announced their non-profit partners at Olmsted Parks Conservancy asked for a two-week delay in the decision-making process, in an effort to gather data on usage of the parks before and after the road closures. According to data provided by the Conservancy, the largest change in usage pre- and post-closure at Iroquois Park came from visitor origin: the percentage of park users visiting Iroquois who live within five miles of the park went from 26 to 41 percent. Due to the lack of events at the Iroquois Amphitheater that draw regional crowds because of COVID restrictions, this information was consistent with expectations. There were no other significant changes in usage reported in the Iroquois Park data.
Public Parking Areas in Cherokee Scenic Loop
According to data provided by the Conservancy, at Cherokee Park:
- The average user visit went from 30 minutes to 77 minutes following the closure.
- People from all over the city are continuing to use the park; the closure has not kept Cherokee solely for the use of those living nearby.
- Usage has increased 80% since the closure; March 2021 was the highest.
The demographic profile of the typical user at both parks remained similar following the closure.
In addition to the usage data, Parks and their partners received feedback from more than 10,000 respondents via surveys, phone calls and in-person and virtual meetings.
Approximately 67 percent of more than 7,200 respondents to a survey issued in March said they were in favor of keeping the Scenic Loop in Cherokee Park closed to vehicles. Out of nearly 3,000 respondents to a survey regarding Rundill Road in Iroquois Park, 85 percent said they would be in favor of temporary road closures and a majority said they were in favor of keeping them open with traffic calming measures in place.
Following the release of the survey results, the Mayor’s Office, Metro Council and Louisville Parks and Recreation continued to listen to public feedback, and many strong opinions came in from the public regarding accessibility, mobility and equity concerns relating to the road closures.
“Reopening the Iroquois Loop and ensuring access to public amenities in Cherokee Park while providing vehicle free recreational opportunities is a great decision for the entire community,” said Dana Kasler, Director of Parks and Recreation.
Additional information regarding parking, scenic drives and accessibility to amenities can be found on parks website: https://bestparksever.com
Officials said today that road re-openings will be evaluated over a three-month period, during which they will continue to get feedback from park users on the future of both roads. To share your views of the new plan, email [email protected].