So let me share one glittering visual that has been kaleidoscoping through my brain: A Grand Legacy.
Central Kentucky's most well known example of a multi-use path is the relatively recent Legacy Trail. It came out of the greater developments surrounding the World Equestrian Games in 2010 and is 12 miles long: from downtown north to the Kentucky Horse Park. The current vision* is to extend it to connect Sadieville to Berea through Fayette and Jessamine Counties.
A couple of weeks ago I met with Keith with LFUCG, who has been instrumental in getting the Legacy Trail to the point where it is today, and some folks from Grant County which is just north of Sadieville there in northern Scott County.
The Grant County folks want to connect up with Legacy too. As soon as I heard this my mind started scrolling through the mental map, but there are some holes in northern Kentucky so I whipped out the ole smarty-smartphone and pulled up goggled maps.
Scott...Grant...then you're just the common county line of Boone and Kenton Counties away from Cincinnati. Lexington...to Cincinnati...on a multi-use path. NO! Berea to Cincinnati on a multi-use path.
It might be 20 years off, but I think this is a vision worth pursuing. I think this is the kind of long term project and thinking that can really focus the efforts and tactics of the Kentucky cycling community.
Tomorrow I'll be attending a meeting that begins the process for a regional bicycle and pedestrian plan for the Bluegrass Region. It's being led by a chief district highway engineer that really "gets it." I spoke to him and our statewide bike-ped coordinator informally on Monday about this even more extended Legacy Trail. The idea is picking up momentum.
Some might scoff at the idea of focusing so much time, money, and energy on a multi-use path, but if you look at the north-south commuter traffic along the I-75 corridor it makes a lot of sense. A whole lot of people move up and down 75 to Cincinnati from northern Kentucky and to Lexington from all over the state. A built-out Berea to Cincinnati Legacy Trail is an obvious trunkline for a cycling network that has real practical benefit as well as being a huge recreational draw.
And by reaching out toward Cincinnati we'd be connecting up with Ohio's amazing network of trails.
Let that stew in your beanpot for a while.
*The report is dated 2010, and is dated. Since that time the Scott County folks involved have been actively working toward stretching the trail into Georgetown and beyond.