Proposed downtown Paducah project would add bike lanes, two-way streets

The Paducah City Commission wants to try to get more people downtown.

Two years ago, consultant Jeff Speck toured and inspected Paducah’s walkability potential. Speck had several recommendations, but said one of the biggest problems was that one-way streets needed to be converted into two-way streets.

That’s one of the first points listed in the proposed plan. Broadway and Jefferson streets would be turned to two-way streets from Fountain Avenue to Water Street. As for bike lanes, the engineering company would study where would be best for the lanes downtown.

Businesses would benefit, because the two-way roads would get more people downtown in their cars, and it would get more people walking and biking to be downtown. A business owner and bike enthusiast says this could be the best thing for downtown.

Whether folks are just learning how to ride a bike, or a seasoned cyclist, Bike World co-owner Martha Emmons says Paducah is a bike-friendly town. “We are so excited about the possibility of Jefferson and Broadway becoming two-way streets.”

She says, though, that it’s not what it could be. Emmons says she remembers talks of expanding the Greenway Trail, incorporating bike trails in town, and slowing traffic on the one-way streets. "When you slow traffic down, then we feel much more comfortable," she says. 

Edmonds says bringing more walkers and cyclists downtown would mean more money, and she was disappointed when the updates didn’t happen sooner. “It didn’t happen after one year and it didn’t happen after two years, so we feel, finally, to take some action on it, we are overjoyed.”

By installing bike and walking trails, Emmons says the effects could be even longer lasting. “Build it, and they will walk and ride and run and become more physically fit," she says. 

As for where the bike lanes could go downtown, the plan lists several potential roadways for traffic studies. But the Paducah city commission has to get approval to hire the engineering firm first.

The cost for the engineering services is listed at $6,300.

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