A study of possible improvements to Bowling Green’s Kentucky and Adams streets has recommended the cost-effective approach of making Kentucky Street a one-lane road as a way of enhancing safety for motorists and pedestrians.
Stantec, an international design and consulting company with offices in Lexington and Louisville, conducted the study of the parallel one-way streets that form an artery between downtown and Western Kentucky University’s campus.
After looking at such possibilities as making Adams Street two-way or widening the roads, Stantec Senior Transportation Engineer Dan O’Dea presented the idea Tuesday of one-laning Kentucky Street and keeping Adams Street as is.
“Our project team decided that was the best option,” O’Dea said during an online meeting of the Bowling Green-Warren County Metropolitan Planning Organization. “It’s cost-effective, and it has the benefit of making crosswalks safer for pedestrians.”
“That option (one-laning Kentucky Street) met most of the goals for the study,” said Greg Meredith, director of public works for the city of Bowling Green. “Reducing to one lane on Kentucky Street will make it safer for pedestrians, and a lot of folks cross that street.”
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the one-laning solution in these uncertain budgetary times is that it will come with no added cost other than regular re-striping of the road.
“There’s no additional cost,” said Joe Plunk, chief engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 3 office in Bowling Green. “We’re going to be re-surfacing that road anyway.”
Like Meredith, Plunk believes making Kentucky Street one lane will improve safety for WKU students and other pedestrians who use the street’s crosswalks.
“The traffic on that street doesn’t really warrant having two lanes anyway,” Plunk said. “Because of the type of roadway that is, especially going through campus, there are a lot of concerns with pedestrian crossings.
“There are too many instances of one lane of traffic stopping for the crosswalk and the other lane not stopping.”
Plunk said eliminating one of the lanes heading toward downtown would allow for the inclusion of a lane for bicycles and pedestrians on Kentucky Street.
“Right now, Kentucky Street has parking along the street,” he said. “With this (one-laning) we’ll be able to have a parking lane, a driving lane and a bicycle lane.”
Plunk expects the streets will be resurfaced sometime in 2021.