Walking, cycling, riding the bus and driving will soon be a little easier in Lexington thanks to over $23 million in stimulus funds that will be divided among the Newtown Pike Extension, Legacy Trail, LexTran and downtown streetscape projects, Mayor Jim Newberry said today.


“These projects mean solid progress and real jobs,” Newberry said. “These are exactly the kinds of projects that the stimulus is intended to fund.”


The Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, involving officials from both Fayette and Jessamine counties, voted Wednesday to allocate the funds, including $12 million for Newtown extension; $5.4 million for LexTran; $4.7 million for the Legacy Trail; and $1.1 million for the downtown streetscape project.


Newtown Pike Extension

Newberry said the $12 million for Newtown Pike Extension will be used to help construct the section of road that connects Main Street (at Newtown Pike) to Versailles Road . The 1700-foot-long section will be the first part of the four-lane boulevard to be built. “Newtown Pike has been on drawing boards for roughly 30 years. It’s great to actually begin construction,” Newberry said. A key partner in work on Newtown Extension is the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and its local District 7 office.


The project also includes a bridge over Town Branch, approximately 2,500 feet of new sidewalks, bike lanes, curbs and gutters and new street lights.



LexTran General Manager Rocky Burke said the $5.4 million in stimulus funds LexTran will receive will be used for new buses, shelters, scheduling software, communications, conversion of buses to hybrid technology and for other needs.


“This will allow LexTran to move forward in its continuing effort to provide additional amenities and enhanced information technology to our riding public,” Burke said. “Our board feels these projects are vital to the bus system’s continuing success.”


Legacy Trail

Steve Austin, director of the Legacy Center at the Blue Grass Community Foundation, said the funds for the Legacy Trail will allow for completion of the first two phases of the trail from the Kentucky HorsePark to the Northside YMCA on Loudon Avenue , more than seven miles, the longest trail in the county. The final phase stretches from the Northside YMCA to the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden on Third Street . Newberry said he is actively pursuing funding sources for the final phase so the entire trail can be completed in time for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010.


The Legacy Trail was identified by citizens as a priority “legacy” initiative, a permanent project that could grow out of the World Games. The other legacy project identified by citizens is the revitalization of the Third Street corridor. The termination point for the Legacy Trail, at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, is part of that corridor. The Legacy Center is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Downtown streetscape

Harold Tate, President and Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority said the $1.1 million for the first phase of the downtown streetscape project, Main Street from Broadway to Elm Tree Lane , will enable the city to move forward with a plan to install curbside rain gardens, wider sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes and non-peak “parking lanes.” The wider sidewalks will accommodate sidewalk cafes and gathering spaces.

Posted on 2009-03-26 by