Bustling Bellevue's got a good traffic problem: Too many people want to visit

Posted at 1:26 AM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 01:26:13-04

BELLEVUE, Ky. — The city’s brand-new transit advisory board will spend its first year attempting to solve a good problem: More riverfront development is bringing more cars carrying more people into Bellevue, causing traffic congestion downtown.

The board’s members just need to find a way to handle the influx safely, preserving the community that’s rooted there even as they encourage visitors to stop by from out of town. Fairfield Avenue, where a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle over the summer, is a focal point of the ongoing planning efforts.

The central question, according to Councilman Ryan Salzman, is this: “What can we do in terms of enforcement and infrastructure of roads to calm traffic? To calm it to where the natural tendency is to drive a bit slower? That can be the big difference for someone being safe when it’s all said and done.”

It’s a big difference Salzman said will be made of small pieces, including clearly painted, well-lit cross walks and a larger police presence at pedestrian crossings.

Near longtime resident Sarah Horn’s home, children ride their scooters in a “play alley” painted with multicolored polka dots of various sizes. The design catches drivers’ eyes and — hopefully — slows them down. Marking it was a recent thing, Horn said, but a good one.

“The local community making the alleys safe, and walkways near the school safe … is new,” she said. “It seems like the busier Bellevue got, the more people realized we needed to make it safe to be a walkable town.”

Salzman said the city wants to encourage the creation of more play alleys.

He takes walks himself, he added. When he does, he tries to stay conscious of the way cars move around pedestrians and how the city’s system for regulating all kinds of traffic — foot, vehicle, bicycle, Horn's children on their scooters and more.

It’s an issue he’s grateful to even have to consider, he said.

“We’re a small town in the shadow of the big city, but it’s exciting that pedestrian safety is important for all of us,” he said.