The city of Bowling Green spends about $500,000 each year on sidewalk projects, which generally translates to three or four projects. City engineers score projects based on residents’ requests, potential to connect sidewalk gaps and proximity to parks, bus stops, schools and amenities. Then, they show the pre-design plans to the public.
This year, the city proposed five sidewalk projects: Loving Way from U.S. 31-W By-Pass to Rodes Drive; Patrick Way from Smallhouse Road to Westen Street; North Lee Drive from Old Barren River Road to Trent Way; Highland Way from Smallhouse Road to Westen Street; and Holly Drive from Dennis Way to Catherine Drive.
Residents provided feedback during a pre-design open house Thursday at the Neighborhood and Community Services building in Bowling Green. Four of the projects seemed to be favored, but the Patrick Way sidewalk project gained more negative than positive comments.
“People are worried about their yards. It’s the typical concerns that we see,” said Kyle Hunt, assistant city engineer.
Paul Sexton, who lives on Patrick Way, supports the sidewalk project. He watched his son have to cut through yards when walking to school, and he’s experienced communities where sidewalks were prevalent.
“I grew up in Louisville, in a city with sidewalks,” said Sexton, who has lived in his current house for 11 years. “I think it’s a positive thing. I’m for them, personally.”
Lisa Burden was undecided on how she feels about a new sidewalk in her Highland neighborhood.
“I think it’s a good idea overall,” Burden said, but she wants to know what the long-term plan would be for development – such as the placement of a bus stop.
Trent Forshee, who also lives on Highland, generally supports the sidewalk project but respects that people are protective of their properties. “The only reservation would be whether there would be more pedestrian foot traffic,” which could potentially translate to more litter, said Forshee, who has lived on the street for more than two decades.
The city created the annual sidewalk improvement project in 2008. At the current funding level, the city can complete about a mile per year, or a few projects from a list of potential projects. There are 180 locations left on the list.
If a project doesn’t get passed, it gets put at the bottom of the list – which essentially means that the homeowners probably wouldn’t see a sidewalk constructed during their lifetime, according to Hunt.
Residents should receive cards that they check for or against the projects. The cards must be mailed by June 21 to be considered.
After reviewing the public feedback, the city will submit some or all of the projects to the Bowling Green City Commission, and then hold a post-design open house for an additional round of public feedback.