Fayette County

Proposal would put sidewalks along Tates Creek Road

Lexington wants to build sidewalks along both sides Tates Creek Road, but residents of the corridor are saying not in my front yard.

Sidewalks would destroy the pristine corridor that looks like it's in the country, not the city, said Steve Kesten, who lives between Robin Road and Lansdowne Drive. "I do not see any need for this and neither do any of my neighbors."

The sidewalks are needed for public safety, said Urban County Councilman David Stevens, chairman of the city's corridors committee. "Tates Creek is a heavily traveled street with cars going 45 miles per hour. It's dangerous for people to walk on the street."

Before moving forward with the project to put sidewalks along Tates Creek between Lakewood Drive and New Circle Road, the city wants to take public input on the proposed sidewalks. A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Immanual Baptist Church.

The city has received a federal grant from the state for the sidewalks, said Kenzie Gleason, the city's bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. With the city's local match, about $1 million has been set aside for the project.

That money is enough to add sidewalks to both sides of the road, which has 10 to 12 feet of right-of-way, Gleason said.

So far, the city has not begun the designing process for the sidewalks, said Stevens, whose district includes the east side of Tates Creek. The city will avoid taking down any trees for the sidewalks, he said.

Stevens attempted to get sidewalks added to Tates Creek in 2001, but that effort died because of neighborhood opposition.

Residents along Tates Creek still don't want the sidewalks, which would create more storm-water runoff, Kesten said.

"Sidewalks will lead to the destruction of many old mature maple and pine trees all along that road, in front of all the houses on the right side going south," Kesten said. "It desecrates the beauty of the area and also, those roots absorb a lot of water, which then will go into our basements."

The sidewalks would also create a larger mess on the lawns of the houses on Tates Creek, Kesten said. Currently, people stopped at red lights "throw cigarette butts, beer cans and soda bottles on our lawns. With sidewalks, this will only be worse."

Also, many of the residents along Tates Creek are seniors who do not want the additional burden of repairing sidewalks or shoveling them during the winter, Kesten said.

The neighbors aren't the only ones opposed to the idea of sidewalks. Councilman Julian Beard, whose district includes the west side of Tates Creek, is also against the sidewalks.

"I just don't see the need," Beard said. "It doesn't make sense to me. It's money that can be spent elsewhere."

Sidewalks aren't needed because foot traffic on Tates Creek is minimal to non-existent, said Beard. "I don't see foot traffic or anybody trying to create foot traffic there for any purpose."

But there is foot traffic on Tates Creek, because pedestrians have created a worn dirt path along the road that's visible in aerial photographs, Stevens said.

Beard said he has seen the dirt path, but that it's not much of a path, not enough to kill the grass."

If sidewalks must be added to Tates Creek, then it should only be on one side of the street, Beard said.

The city's intention is to add sidewalks on both sides, Gleason said. "There are studies that show streets with no sidewalks are the least safe for pedestrians. Those with sidewalks on one side are safer, but not as safe as sidewalks on both sides."

Also, in areas where sidewalks are on only one side of the street, there are visible, worn paths where people have walked on the other side, she said.