City applying for grant with hopes of improving safety along Veterans Memorial Lane
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – City officials in Bowling Green are hoping to improve the safety of Veterans Memorial Lane with an $11 million grant from the federal government.
The Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program of the Department of Transportation administers grants with hopes of removing barriers to opportunities for disadvantaged communities. The city of Bowling Green is hoping to redesign Veterans Memorial Lane, which currently has five lanes and a posted 55 mph speed limit with no traffic lights or crossing areas.
“We also recognize that over the last several years there’s been a few fatalities in this area – pedestrians walking in this area,” said Brent Childers, the Bowling Green Director of Neighborhood and Community Services. “We knew we needed to do something.”
Childers said data show higher concentrations of low income and minority populations in the neighborhoods along Veterans Memorial Lane.
“You also have a higher concentration of people that are just walking that don’t have access to a vehicle, that are on a bike or rely on public transportation,” Childers said. “The pedestrian environment is very important if you don’t have access to a vehicle. As you’re trying to access a job, you’re trying to access services, you’re trying to access even going to the park, those things become more challenging.”
Childers compared the five-lane highway to a river, saying it cuts off traffic from one side to the other. He also said motorists are challenged when it comes to tasks like making a left turn and merging onto the road.
The grant is expected to be submitted next week, detailing plans of how the $11 million would be used if awarded to the city. Those plans include large pedestrian median islands, road narrowing, lowering the speed and building a roundabout.
“As we slow the cars down, you reduce the amount of conflicts that are there, and then you provide better access for pedestrians to cross the street when they’re crossing it at four or five different intersections along this corridor.”
The city likely will be notified about whether they win the grant next spring, Childers said. Construction could potentially begin within two years.
“We’re really trying to forecast where’s this going to be at some point in the future,” Childers said. “It’s still important for us to identify opportunities and make investments in the community to make our neighborhoods feel safer and improve the overall quality of life for everyone in Bowling Green.”
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