Transportation planners to consider including bicycle, pedestrian traffic
BY JAMES MAYSE
In Fiscal Year 2022-23, federal officials are asking the Owensboro Metropolitan Planning Organization to consider ways to include bicycle and pedestrian traffic when designing road projects, look for ways to reduce public transit’s reliance on petroleum and to strive for more transparency in its decision-making process.
The guidelines were discussed in MPO’s unified planning work program for the coming fiscal year. The document is required for the agency, which provides transportation planning for Owensboro, Daviess County and Whitesville.
Members of the MPO Technical Advisory Committee discussed the draft document last week. Some of the federal recommendations are already being done, officials said. For example, the plan calls for officials to consider designing “complete streets,” which include sidewalks, medians and bicycle lanes, when doing road projects. MPO coordinator Tom Lovett told board members that kind of planning is taking place with the Kentucky 54 widening project. “They are not saying you have to do your projects as complete streets,” he said. “They do want you to at least talk about it as projects develop.”
When city Mayor Tom Watson asked if there was any potential for federal money for “complete streets” projects, Lovett said those kind designs are a federal priority “I do believe there is funding attached to this concept through the Biden administration,” Lovett said. “As far as everything I’ve heard, they are going to back it up with actual
The federal government also recommended the MPO work with public transit agencies like the city bus ser vice to “reduce reliance on petroleum-based fuels, in favor of alternate fuels.”
The city has already taken action in this regard with the purchase of its first electric bus, Lovett said. The bus has not yet been delivered.
“ There are dollars behind (the recommendation) as well,” Lovett said. The city doesn’t need to replace any buses for three years, but Lovett said he and transit officials would
watch for opportunities.
“A priority for the new administration is promoting alternate fuels,” he said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303,