Louisville is known for its beauty and rich history, including the River Road Corridor which runs through some of the area’s most significant and scenic landscapes. This seven-mile stretch represents Jefferson County’s only designated scenic byway and is a critical transportation link between northeast Louisville and the central business district. Through its Scenic Byways Program, a Federal Highway Administration grant enabled the Louisville Metro Department of Public Works and Assets to partner with Gresham Smith to examine the scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archeological and natural features of the corridor and recommend ways to safely accommodate vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists while strengthening and promoting the Corridor’s plentiful resources.
The City needed a consultant who not only understood corridor planning but also had an extensive level of broad public involvement efforts. With an active community voicing both support for and opposition to proposed changes to the Corridor, Gresham Smith was challenged with meeting the needs and requests of the client while also addressing the concerns of an involved and passionate neighborhood. We explored the details of the corridor and listened to each of the interest groups, determining where the community wanted the corridor to go and then breaking down strategies and objectives related to this goal. We also took into account the significant historical landmarks involved in this project, and a significant amount of time and effort was spent throughout the planning process reassuring property owners and other stakeholders that we heard and understood their fears. As a result, each of the proposed strategies and actions put forward in the plan takes into consideration the impacts to the Corridor’s intrinsic qualities and attempts to preserve and protect those qualities.
Gresham Smith carefully listened to public input through the assembly of advisory, focus and special interest groups. Coupled with our team’s compilation of regional needs information, we were able to successfully create multiple schematic plans, develop a concept plan and GIS corridor maps, and develop 78 implementation strategies based on the plan’s main goals. Gresham Smith’s final corridor plan successfully balances natural areas with passive uses and active recreation as part of Louisville’s healthy hometown initiative. Ultimately, it is a management plan that strengthens and promotes the scenic corridor and reinforces its place as one of the community’s most valuable assets.
The project received the award for Outstanding Plan by the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association as well as an Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Kentucky.