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March 19, 2014

Jeffersonville eyes more sidewalks, bike lanes

City also looking into emergency notification system

JEFFERSONVILLE — The city’s streets may soon be easier to navigate, and not just for cars.

Jeffersonville City Engineer Andy Crouch presented four “mobility” plans that would add sidewalks, bike lanes and improve handicapped ramps around the city.

“This is an ambitious plan,” Crouch said, adding that the cost of $575,000 would be twice what the council budgeted last year in EDIT, or Economic Development Income Tax funds.

The first project would be the installation of sidewalks on one side of Middle Road between Pebble Creek Drive and Allison Lane, Crouch said. Crosswalks along Eighth Street would connect the new sidewalk to the existing one.

Two projects implement what Crouch calls a “road diet,” or trimming road space for cars on each side and using the space for other travelers.

Twelfth Street, which has four lanes, has low car traffic but high pedestrian traffic. Crouch said many residents in the area have expressed concerns at public works meetings about pedestrian safety.

“The area that we’re looking at is an area that has a lot of right-away, but not a lot of traffic,” Crouch said. “We’re trying to make the best use of it that we can.”

He proposes a “multimodal transportation alternative,” taking the road down to one lane for cars on either side and designating the two outer paved lanes for bicyclists. Sidewalks would also be installed on both sides and the center median would remain.

These multiuse lanes would extend from Spring Street to Quartermaster Station.

The second road diet on 14th Street would look similar.

As of now, the road has one lane on each side but an in-between width of 20 to 22 feet — not wide enough for two 12-feet lanes but too wide for one.

“It’s a lot of pavement [for one lane],” he said.

The plan would be to stripe the existing pavement on the outside for a bicycle lane and add sidewalks, extending from Spring Street to the railroad overpass.

Crouch said the fourth project would rehabilitate sidewalk ramps in the Claysburg district, with a concentrated effort on the “worst offenders,” in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act.

City Councilwoman Lisa Gill asked Crouch if they had looked into adding sidewalks on Allison Lane, but he said there is talk of widening the road, so sidewalk work may not may sense at this point.

“I hate to see us spend money to put in sidewalks to come back in the near future, widen the road, take those sidewalks out and put in more sidewalks,” he said. “There’s no doubt that [sidewalks] need to happen.”

Though Crouch’s plan has a large price tag, he said the city would get its money’s worth.

“For both safety and the ability of the city of Jeffersonville, anything we can do to promote safe walking, traveling, biking as well as not inhibit traffic — I feel like that’s a worthy cause,” he said.


The city is looking to implement Code Red, an emergency notifying service that would warn residents in real-time via text messages, automated phone calls or phone app notifications.

The contract with Code Red would last for four years and cost $15,000 annually. It will include alerts for weather disasters and national and local emergencies.

Those who have authority to send alerts can do so to an isolated community in the case of emergencies that don’t affect the entire city, such as a burst pipe in a neighborhood.

The program can also notify users of nonemergencies, such as traffic information during Thunder Over Louisville.

“This will bring another set of tools for us to use to alert the public of any impending emergencies or ongoing emergencies,” Amir Mousavi, public safety director for the city, said.

Anyone with a publicly listed landline, including those on the no-call list, would be automatically signed up for Code Red unless requested otherwise. Mobile numbers would have to be placed on the list by the owner of the phone.

Although most council members said they think Code Red would be valuable for the city, some expressed concern over the capabilities of the program as well as the lack of solid terms and conditions.

Gill said she doesn’t want Code Red to be used for too many nonemergency events because she anticipates a “boy-who-cried-wolf” situation.

“I want this to be informational to the constituents on an emergency basis. I didn’t want this to somehow be misused or abused,” she said. “... My concern was if we do things like that, they’re going to get all these texts or these alerts, and they’re going to ignore when [an emergency] really happens.”

Councilman Ed Zastawny said he was worried that the contract was too long because technology operates on a much faster timeline, changing every year.

The board approved an appropriation of funds from LOIT, or Local Option Income Tax that is used for public safety, under the conditions that Mousavi create a policy outlining what the service can and can’t be used for.

Jeffersonville Fire Chief Eric Hendrick said he supports using Code Red.

“I think it’s a resource to have in our toolbox for public safety,” Hendrick said. “To be able to use it to geographically like that, I think would be huge.”

Clarksville implemented Code Red last year, paying $42,500 for three years, which included a discount for paying for the entire contract up front.

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