Gresham Smith Finalizes Transportation Plan for Historic Eastern Parkway

December 17, 2020

A new plan intended to update and honor the heritage of Eastern Parkway, one of Louisville’s most celebrated corridors, has been released by Gresham Smith.

Originally conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., Eastern Parkway is one of the six historic Olmsted Parkways that have been a part of the city’s fabric for over a century. Olmsted, who is often referred to as the father of American landscape architecture, envisioned the parkways as tree-lined corridors linking the city’s flagship parks. Gresham Smith was hired by Louisville Metro Government to study the makeup of the parkway and create a transportation plan to address its future needs with a focus on quality of life, historic design intent, safety and access.

The study covers 3.35 miles of Eastern Parkway from the intersection of Hahn Street to its eastern terminus at Cherokee Park. The project team analyzed the context of bicycle/pedestrian facilities, took inventory of current landscaping and other historic design elements, performed a traffic study, and conducted robust public engagement measures. Throughout the process, residents voiced concern for their safety along the mostly four-lane undivided highway that makes up the main corridor of the parkway. Residents also advocated for preserving the existing tree canopy and creating more options for walking and biking due to concerns about increasing traffic congestion.

“Eastern Parkway was initially designed as part of the Olmsted Parkways system to provide a park-like corridor to link the various Olmsted Parks and surrounding neighborhoods with a variety of transportation methods,” said Mike Sewell, P.E., LCI, active transportation service line leader at Gresham Smith. “This plan provides recommendations for the design of a rehabilitated Eastern Parkway that serves our modern transportation needs, all while preserving Olmsted’s original vision as a tree-canopied corridor for all. It will allow future generations to continue to enjoy the parkway in the way the original designers intended.”

The full report can be found at

Gresham Smith’s transportation professionals deliver comprehensive management, planning, design, environmental, and construction phase services for highway, transit, aviation and rail facilities throughout the Southeast. The staff of engineers, planners and scientists capitalize on the firm’s diverse blend of markets and disciplines to offer a truly integrated and sustainable approach that considers all perspectives and offers practical, forward-thinking solutions.