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gwwill2

New Lexington Expressway (Three Digit Interstate)

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Being a senior this spring at the University of Kentucky, I have noticed great changes in the Lexington area through these four years; some fantastic, and some not so much. One of the major "not so much" changes that really bothers me, along with numerous other Lexington residents, is the commuting problem. There really isn't an expressway that can take you from one end of lexington to the other, or the interstates.

Let me say that even though there are two major interstates running through the metro, I believe it is fair to say that the average Lexington resident does not frequently use them while trying to navigate the city. The interstates are geographically located to the east of downtown. Coming from Georgetown (north) or Frankfort (west), drivers are able to look back towards the west (after the 75/64 connector exchange) and get a glimpse of downtown. That is as close to downtown as any "pass by" driver will get. Most of the time, people I have rode with/drove through Lexington mention they have never even recognized downtown from the interstates until then.

With this being said, I believe that an expressway route (three digit interstate) would be crucial for the area. It could provide those "pass-by" drivers an alternative route to their destination, show them new views, encourage new business growth, and act as a form of advertising for some of the cities major attractions such as: newly renovated Fayette Mall, a growing Blue Grass Airport, an upgrading University of Kentucky, historic Keeneland, beautiful horse farms, Rupp Arena/ Heritage Hall, and the downtown financial districs.

Personally, I believe this would be great for the Lexington metro area. However, there could be much debate over where to put such a route, and how the route would be constructed (elevated through downtown or a long bypass). Please give your comments and suggestions on whether or not you believe this concept would be good or bad for the area, what weighs on your decision, and where you think such a route should be placed.

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Let me say that even though there are two major interstates running through the metro, I believe it is fair to say that the average Lexington resident does not frequently use them while trying to navigate the city. The interstates are geographically located to the east of downtown. Coming from Georgetown (north) or Frankfort (west), drivers are able to look back towards the west (after the 75/64 connector exchange) and get a glimpse of downtown. That is as close to downtown as any "pass by" driver will get. Most of the time, people I have rode with/drove through Lexington mention they have never even recognized downtown from the interstates until then.

Interstates 64 and 75 function fine as a bypass for through-traffic. I would hate to see what traffic would be like if Lexington had sprawled out and developed around the interstates, especially in the multiplex. The LOS rating for the multiplex is a dismil C to D, meaning that it frequently congests and has a higher accident rate. Not to mention that once you close a lane, the LOS goes straight to hell.

I don't know if anybody remembers, but it was much, much worse. I-64 and I-75 in the southern interchange had ONE lane. As you traveled in any direction, one lane was for I-75, the other being for I-64 which diverged. The I-75 through lanes were widened from one-lane to two in 1981. The I-64 through ramps and the I-75 mainline was widened again in the late-1980's.

With this being said, I believe that an expressway route (three digit interstate) would be crucial for the area. It could provide those "pass-by" drivers an alternative route to their destination, show them new views, encourage new business growth, and act as a form of advertising for some of the cities major attractions such as: newly renovated Fayette Mall, a growing Blue Grass Airport, an upgrading University of Kentucky, historic Keeneland, beautiful horse farms, Rupp Arena/ Heritage Hall, and the downtown financial districs.

Personally, I believe this would be great for the Lexington metro area. However, there could be much debate over where to put such a route, and how the route would be constructed (elevated through downtown or a long bypass). Please give your comments and suggestions on whether or not you believe this concept would be good or bad for the area, what weighs on your decision, and where you think such a route should be placed.

I would not advocate for any new interstate loops around Lexington because the horse farm owners are great lobbiests against this project. For now:

a) Complete the Nicholasville-I-75 connector, which would relieve US 27 of some interstate-bound traffic and would also form an outer-bypass for those wishing to go to north or east Lexington, especially near Hamburg. This is in the planning stages.

b) Widen US 27 and close off access points by constructing frontage roads.

c) Extend the Bluegrass Parkway to I-64. From my research (I am a transportation hobbiest), there was never any planned extension north. It was to end at US 60, since US 60 west to Frankfort and east to Lexington (and New Circle to the interstates) was adequate at that time. I do not see this happening, though.

d) Widen New Circle to six through lanes minimum with one acceleration/deceleration lane that would continue from one exit to another. Parts will be widened soon, on the west side, in a few years.

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I agree with Seicer, I would hate to see Lexington tore up with a new interstate spur/by-pass going into/by downtown. I definately see your point gwwill2 about people not seeing Lexington and all it has to offer, but most folks who are interested in investing or moving Lexington will check it out, otherwise the odds are most of those type folks won't be swayed just by driving through the city (in my estimation).

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I totally agree with your suggestions Seicer. New Circle definitely needs widened. I'm not very familiar with the extension for Nicholasville Road...could you give some information about that? All I have heard is that it is a possibility, though I haven't heard anything about what the road would be like (freeway vs. red light blvd) or where it would connect at to the interstates. Having lived in Southern Kentucky my whole life (near London and Corbin) I always found it to be a pain going to Lexington because I had to fight traffic and re lights getting to places such as Rupp to watch the Cats play, to the mall for Christmas shopping, and to the airport. I just think a quicker route to these places would help risdents in Lexington get from one place to another quicker and be less hectic. It just seems that Lexington is beginning to grow rapidly and other cities would be pushing to significantly upgrade their road systems to help with the growing process. I saw where urban land is decreasing so fast that planners are trying to figure out what to do with that situation. It just seems like sprawl is highly likely (seeing how we're only growing out and not up).

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I totally agree with your suggestions Seicer. New Circle definitely needs widened. I'm not very familiar with the extension for Nicholasville Road...could you give some information about that? All I have heard is that it is a possibility, though I haven't heard anything about what the road would be like (freeway vs. red light blvd) or where it would connect at to the interstates. Having lived in Southern Kentucky my whole life (near London and Corbin) I always found it to be a pain going to Lexington because I had to fight traffic and re lights getting to places such as Rupp to watch the Cats play, to the mall for Christmas shopping, and to the airport. I just think a quicker route to these places would help risdents in Lexington get from one place to another quicker and be less hectic. It just seems that Lexington is beginning to grow rapidly and other cities would be pushing to significantly upgrade their road systems to help with the growing process. I saw where urban land is decreasing so fast that planners are trying to figure out what to do with that situation. It just seems like sprawl is highly likely (seeing how we're only growing out and not up).

I have several articles on the transportation system in Kentucky but all are off-line for now.

As for traffic in Lexington, commuting times are one of the lowest in the nation for major cities. I have no idea how this is possible, but I surmise it is because the suburbs are really quite short and the development that does ensue is quite dense.

The US 27-I-75 connector: I have no more information other than what I provided. It is proposed as an expressway, limited-access with no traffic lights, which is good. After what happened to the @#$% that is the western Nicholasville US 27 bypass that was completed in the late-1980's, the state needs to learn their lesson. The bypass was designed quite well when it was opened, with limited-access (only at designated intersections and interchanges, not at every driveway), however, development has sprawled westward choking the bypass to LOS levels B and C.

An eastern bypass is planned and I hope they do a better job with it. But that would only funnel that much more traffic onto four-lane US 27 (since development will ensue on the east side of Nicholasville), making that essentially eight lanes squeezing onto four.

You can't really put a freeway in there, since you would not decrease net travel time since the distance is so short. And with no northern end point that is suitable, it would not connect anywhere. I would upgrade US 27 to six-lane urban standards, eliminate many business entrances, construct frontage roads, upgrade traffic signals, and consider putting in single-point urban interchanges at the Business US 27 intersection in Nicholasville (where there are two left-turn lanes) and at Brannon Crossing.

I would then reconstruct the I-64/75 - US 60 interchange mess. Traffic congests frequently between the two interchanges because of the heavy on-ramp traffic (due to the traffic light that dumps vehicles literally onto the interstate at certain intervals), so I would install a 'weave'. Traffic in the left lane of the new US 60 onramp would direct to I-75 northbound; traffic in the right lane would go to I-64 eastbound. Traffic on I-75 northbound to I-64 eastbound would 'flyover' the US 60 to I-75 northbound connection. Traffic that is staying on I-75 northbound (to the multiplex) would stay in the left lanes and ignore all that mess.

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Did you know?

I-64 was originally planned to cut Lexington in half when it was built? Yes sir it was. The residents lobbied against it and the route was moved north of the city( thank God!). But the orignal design was for I-64 to take, roughly, the same route as Versailles Road takes and then over toward the Winchester Road area and meet up around Mt. Sterling with the eastern leg of I-64.

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Did you know?

I-64 was originally planned to cut Lexington in half when it was built? Yes sir it was. The residents lobbied against it and the route was moved north of the city( thank God!). But the orignal design was for I-64 to take, roughly, the same route as Versailles Road takes and then over toward the Winchester Road area and meet up around Mt. Sterling with the eastern leg of I-64.

Yes, there is a map floating around somewhere in the downtown library. Had it been built, it would have been constructed in the early-1970's along the Vine Street route when those tracks were taken out. Why not earlier? Opposition. You still had too many wealthy people living in the Gratz Park area and in South Hill, and 'slum clearance' would not have happened most likely. Be built too much later would have too much 'NIMBYism'.

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Yes, there is a map floating around somewhere in the downtown library. Had it been built, it would have been constructed in the early-1970's along the Vine Street route when those tracks were taken out. Why not earlier? Opposition. You still had too many wealthy people living in the Gratz Park area and in South Hill, and 'slum clearance' would not have happened most likely. Be built too much later would have too much 'NIMBYism'.

I still think that Newtown Pike should be limited access, instead of the current system on it. THe new extension will just be another haven for stoplights and traffic jams. The benefits of getting people to downtown from the interstate fast and easily far outweigh the benefits of a stoplight riddled four lane "parkway" through the center of town.

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I still think that Newtown Pike should be limited access, instead of the current system on it. THe new extension will just be another haven for stoplights and traffic jams. The benefits of getting people to downtown from the interstate fast and easily far outweigh the benefits of a stoplight riddled four lane "parkway" through the center of town.

I totally agree with you on that Lexy. The newtownpike extension is a wonderful project. The problem is that it really isn't going to do anything to help thin traffic. How many large cities in the United States don't even involve their interstate system (for the most part)? I64 should've went straight through downtown Lexington. Citizens of Lexington that are traveling from one side of the city to the other won't hardly ever use the interstate because even though the interstates are technically in Lexington, the bottomline is that they really are not.

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The interstates "ring" the outside upper corner of Lexington and provide those in Georgetown an easier way to get to Hamburg Pavillion. They serve no purpose for Lexingtonians really. And that is a shame, because that is what they are there for. Lexington could benefit from an outer ring interstate spur from the city of Frankfort, down past Versailles/Lawrenceburg, and around by Nicholasville, and over to Richmond. Far enough away that it preserves the farms, but directs traffic around the city in a faster/safer fashion. They have got to do that, or get a better mass transit system quick. The way the city is starting to densify, the lack of a decent transit system coupled with a piss poor traffic flow will literally choke the city off. I saw that when I lived there and I see it more now.

You know what the real problem is? Get Frankfor to stop handing the city of Louisville money for more roads and useless bridges and get some in the Lexington area to lobby better for that money. All the transportation money goes to either Northern KY. or Louisville. Lexington hardly ever sees a major investment in its roads from Frankfort. If, and it's a big IF, it does get attention from the big dogs in Frankfort, they drag their feet like what has happened with this stupid Newtown Pike Extension crap. How freakin long does it take to discuss, design, build a road that is less than five miles long? I know it passes through, and past, historic neighborhoods, but come on. This isn't rocket science people. I think that stupid arena in Louisville is really pulling attention, and money, away from the Bluegrass and it's immidiate needs in the capital. Whoever wins the mayorship in Lexington next, needs to show a serious backbone to the crap in Frankfort and a desire to "Go Get" money and support from politicians at the Capital. That has been lacking in Lexington since the mid 80's. Teresa Isac hasn't done a doggone thing for the city, and to think I used to like her when I worked at 590-WVLK.

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The interstates "ring" the outside upper corner of Lexington and provide those in Georgetown an easier way to get to Hamburg Pavillion. They serve no purpose for Lexingtonians really. And that is a shame, because that is what they are there for. Lexington could benefit from an outer ring interstate spur from the city of Frankfort, down past Versailles/Lawrenceburg, and around by Nicholasville, and over to Richmond. Far enough away that it preserves the farms, but directs traffic around the city in a faster/safer fashion. They have got to do that, or get a better mass transit system quick. The way the city is starting to densify, the lack of a decent transit system coupled with a piss poor traffic flow will literally choke the city off. I saw that when I lived there and I see it more now.

You know what the real problem is? Get Frankfor to stop handing the city of Louisville money for more roads and useless bridges and get some in the Lexington area to lobby better for that money. All the transportation money goes to either Northern KY. or Louisville. Lexington hardly ever sees a major investment in its roads from Frankfort. If, and it's a big IF, it does get attention from the big dogs in Frankfort, they drag their feet like what has happened with this stupid Newtown Pike Extension crap. How freakin long does it take to discuss, design, build a road that is less than five miles long? I know it passes through, and past, historic neighborhoods, but come on. This isn't rocket science people. I think that stupid arena in Louisville is really pulling attention, and money, away from the Bluegrass and it's immidiate needs in the capital. Whoever wins the mayorship in Lexington next, needs to show a serious backbone to the crap in Frankfort and a desire to "Go Get" money and support from politicians at the Capital. That has been lacking in Lexington since the mid 80's. Teresa Isac hasn't done a doggone thing for the city, and to think I used to like her when I worked at 590-WVLK.

I couldn't agree more. I worked as an intern for Frankfort for this past session and saw all of the money pouring into the Louisville area. I agree that Louisville needs attention thrown their way, considering it is the largest city in the state. However, they currently have many major projects going their way: the downtown arena, reworking the speghetti junction near downtown, reworking I64 through the Watterson Expressway, extending Snyder Freeway, and rebuilding bridges...not to mention another downtown skyscraper along with building new hotels near the University of Louisville. I saw the lack of support from not only Lexington officials trying to "go get" money, but also from the citizens of Lexington and the surrounding region. I think it is sad that the Newtown Pike extension is taking so long. It is on the verge of hilarious, truthfully. I definitely think that a by pass from south I75 (Richmond) towards west I64 (Frankfort) is a must. Along with that, I believe an interstate "spur" route would be fantastic. It could connect to that "wanted" freeway bypass route to the I75/I64 connector. The population is growing in Lexington, and I think it's time that we get our fair share of money and projects. And by the way, I have heard Jody Richards trying to get a three digit interstate to run through Bowling Green. I mean...HELLO! There's what?...50,000-60,000 people in Bowling? Last time I heard, their population isn't close to that of Lexington. Something else could be done to else Bowling Green because money for that project would be much better spent on helping the current and future situation in Lexington.

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Jody Richards is an idiot IMO. He is so hung up on this industrial park site in Warren County. This new "Interstate" in Bowling Green will help solidify its place in the I-66 discussion of the future. I can see why he is doing it, but is it really needed? Not really.

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So I did some poking around the development and transportation plans for Lexington, ranging from 1966 to 1990. There was a planned East-West Expressway that would have either followed Vine Street (called the Vine Street Freeway), or between High and Maxwell (through South Hill). Another plan pushed it further north to 2nd Street. The interstate-quality roads would head northeast along the Eastern Freeway, having an interchange with New Circle north of the current US 60 interchange, and terminating just north of the existing southern Interstate 64/75 interchange.

The North-South Freeway would have followed the general location of the Norfolk-Southern line. It's northern terminus ranges from the planned Newtown Pike extension at Bolivar to somewhere near Pine and High. It would terminate south of the city at the Lexington Circle Freeway (New Circle Road today), and could have been extended southward to the Lexington Outer Loop. This was also called the Crosstown Freeway.

There were also freeways planned along Georgetown Road, Newtown Pike, and a short freeway along Versailles, under the Wilbur Smith's 1980 Major Route Plan.

Around downtown, there would have been a revamped UK University Drive collector road. Where University Drive ends rather abruptly now, it would have gone north to Euclid, then make a sharp left onto Euclid and down today's Avenue of the Champion's to Bolivar. The road would have been four-lane with a curbed median, similar to the short constructed segments of University today. And Eastern Boundary Road would have connected Clay Avenue at Euclid to somewhere south of Cooper, probably towards Mt. Tabor and Tates Creek.

The Lexington Outer Loop would have began north of the Athens-Boonesboro interchange (KY 418) and headed west, with interchanges at KY 418, Tates Creek Pike (KY 1974), Nicholasville Road, Harrodsburg Road, Versailles Road, then head north, with interchanges at Leestown Pike, and Interstate 64 west of the existing Interstate 75 interchange. Another map shows more interchanges at future arterial connectors that would have connected with the then proposed Man o' War Blvd.

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