Controversial road project gets the green light

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - From day one, it's been a controversial road project, pitting some Louisville business owners against the city.

Now, there's a decision: It's happening.

That means folks along lower Brownsboro Road from Ewing Avenue to Drescher Bridge Road must prepare to slim down, from four lanes to three.

Many business owners don't like it, telling WAVE 3 News, even though they've had their chance to sound off over the years, in some 15 public meetings, they feel the decision could have been more transparent.

For months, business owners worried approval of the so-called "Brownsboro Road Diet" Project would drive away their customers. The group "Save" argues going from four lanes of traffic down to 3 to add sidewalks and cut down on accidents, will instead hurt access to businesses and change drivers decisions to use lower Brownsboro Road.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tells us, he listened to their input and took a hard look at all the data, but when finally making it official Friday, he decided the sidewalks are going in.

"In the end," he said, " I came down on the side of public safety."

The mayor is backing Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh's longtime push to help visually impaired residents as well as students from the Kentucky School for the Blind to have safe passage home.

Jim Dahlem, the Chairman of owns the Kroger shopping center and the neighboring McDonald's and says businesses never had an issue with sidewalks. "We don't believe that this adequately solves the issue of pedestrian accidents of getting across efficiently," he said.

Dahlem contends accidents happen as people continually try to cross the busy road, something he says, sidewalks won't address.

It was something WAVE 3 News witnessed in the area. Dahlem says his group proposed putting in dedicated crosswalks and pedestrian activated traffic lights.

"That was one of our solutions," Dahlem complained, "the city apparently didn't like that and it wasn't apparently feasible they thought.

The mayor says those ideas were studied, but didn't prove to be a viable or cost effective way to improve safety.

The $400,000 dollar project begins this summer.

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