COVINGTON, Ky. - The City of Covington has been awarded a $1 million Transportation Alternatives (TA) Grant from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The funds will go toward the reconstruction of a downtown alley into a safe and easily traversable pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The project involves closing Electric Alley, located between Madison Avenue and Scott Boulevard, from East 5th to East 6th Street to vehicular traffic, moving all utilities underground, constructing a new walking/biking bath, and installing new lighting.
The alley currently gets very little vehicle traffic. Due to its narrow width and poor visibility, any vehicles that do travel down it pose a safety risk to the frequent bicyclists and pedestrians users.
In addition, the design will be tailored toward providing a walking/biking path with complete ADA compliance so that all residents, visitors, and workers will be able to access the surrounding amenities.
Electric Alley runs through the center of Gateway Community and Technical College's Urban Campus. The surrounding area includes retail shops, businesses, restaurants, and the Kenton County Public Library. The pathway will serve as a connection between these educational institutions and the surrounding residences and businesses.
Gateway currently serves approximately 3,500 students at their Urban Campus. That number is estimated to reach 5,000 by 2020. The college expects the campus will attract over 20,000 individuals each year.
Covington's own urban growth includes new residential development at the Boone Block, the Doctor's Building, and the Mutual Building, as well as a host of new small businesses throughout the Madison Avenue corridor, anchored by the development of Hotel Covington.
"With the growth of Gateway's campus and Covington's downtown it has become a priority to create attractive and safe connections for non-vehicular traffic," said Larisa Sims, Assistant City Manager. "Many of Gateway's students and Covington residents don't have access to a vehicle and rely on alternative transportation. These types of projects help ensure those individuals have a safe and easy way to get where they're going."
The project also has the benefit of encouraging alternative transportation, such as walking and biking, for those who do rely on vehicles to get around.
"It has been repeatedly shown that transportation alternatives contribute to an overall healthier community by encouraging physical activity and reducing vehicle emissions that contribute to air pollution," said Sims.
The City will issue bids for design services to design the details of the improvements. Once the designs are completed, the City will then issue bids for construction.