In the late 1700s, the city of Lexington, Kentucky was founded along Town Branch Creek. However, after several Cholera outbreaks the stream was buried beneath the city’s streets and still remains out of sight and out of mind. Alongside SCAPE Studio, Gresham Smith is designing Town Branch Commons, a multi-modal trail, greenway and park system in downtown Lexington that traces the route of the city’s original water source. When complete, the project will serve as the centerpiece of a city-wide park system, linking Lexington’s urban core with the Bluegrass countryside while honoring the city’s history.


Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government


Lexington, KY


FHWA 2022 Environmental Excellence Award


services Gresham Smith is providing


planned miles of greenway


miles of protected bike and pedestrian paths

A Complete Streets Design

A Complete Streets Design

The greenway will accommodate pedestrians and cyclists, creating more than 22 continuous miles of protected bike and pedestrian paths. Our project team will also improve pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular safety but integrating a complete streets design, including separated bicycle and pedestrian facilities, enhanced pedestrian crossings and intersection safety improvements.

From City to Countryside

From City to Countryside

In addition to the downtown park system, Gresham Smith will also design an urban bike network, additions to the city’s Legacy Trail and Town Branch Trail system and improvements to the Lexington transit center frontage. When complete, the system will connect urban, suburban and rural parts of the city, meaning residents who live near the 22-mile corridor will have safe, healthy mobility choices.

Introducing Environmental Benefits

Introducing Environmental Benefits

In additional to improving connectivity and traffic, the greenway will also introduce a number of environmental benefits. The project will incorporate green infrastructure throughout downtown using features such as bioswales, stormwater-capturing green streets, pervious paving and educational signage.

Our team will also plant as many as 2,000 trees along Town Branch Commons. Although it’s difficult to measure the impact, we can confidently say that the trees will take a substantial amount of pressure off the stormwater system, improve microclimates during summers and provide more enjoyable spaces for residents and visitors alike.

Celebrating Lexington's History

Celebrating Lexington's History

The project also emphasizes placemaking and honor’s Lexington’s natural history. The urban park will trace the route of Town Branch Creek, the city’s original water source that was moved underground due to flooding and health issues. Before it was buried, Town Branch Creek was a gathering place for the citizens of Lexington and we hope that Town Branch Commons will soon be a gathering place once again. We broke ground in the summer of 2018 and are excited to see this project come to life.


Groundbreaking for Town Branch Commons July 2, 2018. 
Photo by Amy Wallot

Project Contact

Our team is committed to improving the places we call home.

Bring genuine ingenuity to your community.

Mike Sewell, P.E., LCI
Mike Sewell, P.E., LCI
Director of Innovation