Taking steps toward pedestrian friendly

We're getting there.

Progress in Kentucky to create complete streets that allow for pedestrian and bicycle as well as automobile traffic has, to many advocates, been slow in coming.

In Fayette County, home to thousands of students, it's been particularly frustrating to see a map of disconnected walking and cycling trails or lanes that offer a chance for a leisurely outing on foot or bike but not much hope of getting anywhere.

That's changed through local efforts in recent years, public and private. Gov. Steve Beshear's proposed road budget includes projects that can make Lexington a much-more friendly place for healthier, low-carbon transport. They include:

■ Adding bike lanes on Southland Drive from Rosemont Garden to Nicholasville Road; on Rose Street from Rose Lane to Euclid Ave.; and on University Drive from Cooper Drive to Alumni Drive.

■ Building a bike and walking trail connecting the Tates Creek school complex to Gainesway Park and Millcreek Elementary.

■ Adding sidewalks on the south side of Loudon Avenue from Newtown Pike to Russell Cave Road.

■ Building another section of Town Branch Trail, from New Circle Road to McConnell Springs Park.

Just this week. Mayor Jim Gray noted that construction will finally begin this year on the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Park, the long-awaited trailhead at Third Street and Midland Avenue for the popular Legacy Trail to the Kentucky Horse Park.

With sidewalk and street improvements around the new Bluegrass Community and Technical College location at Newtown and Third, the former site of Eastern State Hospital, there will now be a safe, secure route for cyclists, walkers and runners between downtown and the restricted-access portions of the Legacy Trail.

Another local project, long in the making and adding a critical link in the system, is almost complete. The 1.6 miles of sidewalks along Tates Creek Road between McMeekin Place and the Landsdowne shops are essentially complete.

Add all this to the 28 miles of bike lanes already on Lexington streets and the community's 24 miles of shared use trails and the reality of a city that truly sees cycling and walking as important to the transportation infrastructure begins to emerge.

These are big steps toward a more connected, healthier, cleaner and more attractive city. Let's keep moving.