Woodland Ave. construction may mean better bike, pedestrian safety


Construction has been completed on Woodland Ave in front of Chellgren Hall in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | File photo

Rick Childress

Ongoing minor road construction along Woodland Avenue near The 90 will soon yield new short-term parking and bike lanes in front of two central campus dorms, UK announced via a press release last week.

Drivers and pedestrians will notice that the white lines along the street are being redone to adjust for new 20-minute parking spaces in front of Chellgren Hall and Woodland Glen II. The bike lane has been brought farther into the street to accommodate for the new spaces.

Lance Broeking, UK’s Director of Transportation Services, said the new spaces are long overdue, as drivers who were in a hurry or were waiting to pick people up would often block bike lanes with their cars. But now the new spaces will allow drivers a quick spot to park without endangering others.

“People were constantly parking in the bike lane and that’s of danger for folks that ride bikes because they’re trying to maneuver around vehicles and they’re getting into the travel lanes and it just creates all these conflicts,” Broeking said.

For students, Broeking said the spaces will be perfect for “that 15, 20 minute run up to your room to drop your groceries off or get your laundry.”

According to Sandra Broadus, UK’s Alternative Transportation Manager, there’s a one-foot wide buffer space between the parking spots and the bike lane so that bikers will be more out of the way of suddenly opening doors on parallel-parked cars.

Broeking said that these changes are just the first phase of a major overhaul of the area. In 2019, work will begin on a raised crosswalk similar to the one that crosses University Drive near the Lewis Honors College and other central campus dorms.

“Our intention was always to create a more safe, pedestrian-focused environment as well so it’s got all these things— pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, reduced vehicular conflicts,” Broeking said. “We were finally able to implement a plan where we are able to reduce the distance where pedestrians have to cross the road.”

Melody Flowers, the executive director of strategic analysis and policy, said this the pedestrian-focused shift for Woodland Avenue is the “first fruits” of a major land swap where UK gave 250 acres of land near Coldstream Park to the Lexington local government in exchange for control of multiple lanes and alleys around campus and downtown. Woodland Avenue is one of the streets that UK gained in the swap.

“I very much see this project on Woodland Avenue as the first big success for the university demonstrating why we wanted control of the roads,” Flowers said. “Because we want to make these pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure improvements and because of that land swap we can now move ahead.”