Fayette County

New bike sharing program to start this summer

A new generation of yellow bikes will be rolled out this summer on Lexington streets because of a $177,000 grant the city received for a community bike system.

"This is a professional and permanent system," said Phil Holoubek, a downtown developer who helped start the yellow bike program four years ago with $12,000 in private money.

Bikes, locked into bike stands, can be borrowed for a couple of hours with a swipe of a credit card and then returned to another rack. Six to eight racks will be located around downtown, Chevy Chase and the Kentucky Horse Park at the end of the Legacy Trail. Bikes and racks will be custom-made.

Holoubek did not know how many would be on the streets this summer.

"As we get more money, we can add more bikes and more stations," Holoubek said.

The rack vendor will be chosen through competitive bidding.

Bikes from the city's yellow bike program were sold to the University of Kentucky's Wildcat Wheels program that provides bicycle use to students, faculty and staff.

The new community program was announced at the Creative Cities Summit on Thursday, which also saw a ceremony that marked the beginning of the construction of the 12.5 mile Legacy Trail. When completed, it will connect the Kentucky Horse Park with downtown via a 12-foot-wide trail designed for biking and walking.

Though construction began last week, first lady Jane Beshear and U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler joined city officials to celebrate the trail. The first two sections — from the Kentucky Horse Park to the Northside YMCA — are scheduled to be completed by Sept. 25, in time for the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games.

Public art will be placed along the trail.

The completed trail will begin at Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Park on East Third Street near Midland Avenue. It will run west to Jefferson Street where it will veer north to the Northside YMCA on Loudon Avenue, then west to Coldstream Farm and on to the horse park.

The trail's cost — $8.5 million — will be shared by local, state and federal governments, with the city putting up about 20 percent, the state 70 percent and the federal government the rest, said Keith Lovan, project manager for the city.

Groundbreaking for the park, named in honor of the African-American jockey who was born in Fayette County and won three Kentucky Derbys, will be in June. Officials said it will be completed by WEG.

Additionally, Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry announced that Lexington and Louisville are ranked among America's Top 50 bike-friendly cities in the current issue of Bicycling Magazine.