As of now, Louisville has around 64 miles of bike lanes. The “bikeway” network is much larger, but that includes sharrows, multi-use paths, and neighborways. These lanes are largely located within the urban service district, and only the bike lane on Castlewood in Tyler Park is protected. 

Louisville Metro is currently working on two protected bike lane projects, one on Ellison and one on Lexington, that will increase the amount of protected bike lanes by 456% (.23 miles to 1.28 miles approximately). Lexington’s bike lane will be the first to take advantage of a new ordinance that allows bike lanes to be located between street parking and the curb, becoming parking-protected bike lanes.

The parking protection doesn’t have to stop at Lexington. There are many other bike lanes in the city that can be parking protected. Of the 64 miles of bike lanes, around 20 of them are located outside of street parking. If every bike lane located next to street parking were converted into a parking protected lane, which only requires repainting the road, it would increase the size of Louisville’s protected bike lane network by 1411%.  This is something that could theoretically be done overnight (with a lot of coordination), and is the cheapest possible way to build out protected bike infrastructure. Some additional safety infrastructure is worth adding if possible, such as posts or concrete curbs, that prevent the cars from going into the bike lane entirely.

This would be a radical transformation that would have profound positive effects for micro-mobility within the city. One of the major issues with our current network is lack of protection, as perceived safety is one of the primary barriers preventing people from biking. It would feel safer for many people to get downtown from Old Louisville and the west end using bicycles if these lanes were protected. These new lanes also form connections with planned projects that would feature protected bike lanes such as Broadway all the Way and Reimagine Ninth Street. All of this can form a quickly-made foundation for a strong bike lane network.

Getting more residents to take a bike to work instead of their car would be beneficial for public and personal health. Commuting by bicycle has been shown to benefit the user’s physical and psychological health. Outside of the user, commuting by bike or any other micro-mobility method will produce significantly less carbon than if they were driving; this is widely beneficial to the city as a whole as it increases air quality and decreases all the negative health effects associated with bad air quality.