Though bone-jarringly bumpy right now, East Main Street hill will receive a fresh surface and new traffic pattern, which gives local motorists, cyclists and pedestrians something to cheer about.
Released by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on Friday, the new lane configuration is for the portion of East Main Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to East Broadway.
Rather than the current pattern of two lanes in each direction, the new configuration will include one lane in each direction, a center turning lane and bike lanes on each side.
According to KYTC research engineer Adam Kirk, who advised the Franklin County Fiscal Court about a feasibility study the state conducted on East Main last year, an average of 15,000-17,000 vehicles travel the 2½-mile stretch of road each day.
He said that approximately 76 motor vehicle accidents occur on East Main each year and that converting the street from four lanes to three could eliminate half or more of the wrecks.
Not only will the new traffic pattern match that of East Main from MLK Jr. Boulevard to Versailles Road, but it will also provide a safe way for cyclists and pedestrians — especially Kentucky State University students — to access downtown.
Under the current configuration, bicyclists must ride with traffic. The two bike lanes will also provide a buffer of additional space between pedestrians on the sidewalks and motor vehicle traffic.
“This is a WIN for our community. WalkBike Frankfort proposed a few options to KYTC and we are pleased that they chose an option that is better for both pedestrians and cyclists,” said Leesa Unger, president of WalkBike Frankfort.
Through phone calls and emails, the group of outdoor enthusiasts lobbied to have the East Main Street hill lane configuration changed to three lanes with two bike lanes after the Transportation Cabinet originally planned on keeping the four-lane option.
It worked. KYTC reevaluated the traffic pattern and announced that milling and resurfacing of this portion of East Main Street is scheduled to begin in early November.
Kudos to WalkBike Frankfort and KYTC for making the right decision for our community.