New Covington walking, biking path gets $1M

Posted at 8:31 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 20:31:08-05

COVINGTON, Ky. — A dedicated walking and biking path is coming to the heart of Covington's budding central business district, and now the city has $1 million to help pay for it.

The funds come in the form of a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Transportation Alternatives grant, city officials announced Tuesday.

The entirety of the funds will go toward developing what city spokeswoman Liz Barlik described as “a safe and easily traversable pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists” along Electric Alley, which currently runs parallel to Madison Ave. and Scott Blvd., between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Electric Alley, as it exists today, is narrow and open to vehicular traffic. (Google Maps)

Officials said the development is part of a larger plan to build up the block surrounding Gateway Community and Technical College’s new urban campus: The path will run through the center of the college’s Downtown Covington campus.

“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, Covington’s assistant city manager, in a statement Tuesday. “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 plan calls for closing the alley to all vehicular traffic, moving utilities underground and installing new lighting, in addition to paving the new walking/biking path.

In addition to GCTC’s downtown campus, the path will be less than a block away from a number of restaurants and retailers on the 500 block of Madison Ave., as well as the Kenton County Public Library’s Covington branch, located at Fifth and Scott.

The TA grant comes just a few months after the city received roughly $4.5 million toward its share of the Riverfront Commons trail project, which will connect Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton and Fort Thomas via a dedicated, riverfront walking and biking trail.

Covington was also the site of Red Bike's first six Northern Kentucky bike share stations earlier this year — the first of their kind in the state.

Officials said the next step is to commission designs for the pathway before requesting bids for construction. Officials did not estimate how much the pathway would cost to construct.

Follow Pat LaFleur on Twitter (@pat_laFleur) for the latest on all things bicycling and living car-free in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.