A major widening of the KY 536 corridor from the Boone County Line to KY 17 has been planned for at least a decade and will provide much needed east/west connectivity to that portion of Kenton County. Extending that corridor to the Licking River and ultimately to US 27 in Campbell County is the focus of a scoping study initiated earlier this month by OKI and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
That 6.5-mile segment of KY 536 is the only remaining section of the entire corridor that does not have a preferred alternative or improvement plan in place.
“According to Transportation Cabinet officials, this segment was left until last because of its fragmented connections, drastic elevation changes, poor sight lines, broad range of environmental factors, and, most importantly, extremely high crash rates,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS’ executive director.
“The crash rate for this segment of 536 is almost 3.4 times the statewide average for similar roadways across the Commonwealth. This means that drivers are more than three times as likely to have an accident on this stretch of road when compared to other similar roadways in Kentucky.”
This scoping study has been undertaken by OKI on behalf of the entire region to identify improvements that are needed to improve safety.
“We’re committed to making improvements that meet existing and future needs of the traveling public and the urban and rural communities KY 536 serves,” said Robyn Bancroft, AICP, project manager for the study at OKI.
“We are currently in the first phase of the study—data collection and analysis. Safety is our primary concern; however, traffic volumes are also being analyzed to determine not just what is needed today to make the corridor safer, but what will be needed in the future.”
This first phase of the study will identify the problems of the roadway and form the foundation upon which the study’s improvement alternatives will be drafted for public review. As the study progresses, additional information will be posted on the study’s webpage.
The KY 536 Scoping Study itself will not involve new or altered land use plans or zoning amendments for the corridor. That is a separate process. PDS planners will begin working with University of Cincinnati planning students next month to examine the potential impact that expansion of KY 536 will have on adjacent neighborhoods and communities.
This separate PDS project, which is being funded by a grant from the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation, will study how the expansion of KY 536 will impact adjacent land uses. Students will document the existing conditions, explore primary planning elements (mobility, land use, environment, community facilities/utilities, concept map, economy, and housing), and address the potential for economic development, nodes of activity, connectivity, and community character.
A key component of the project will be to engage the public in these discussions, with a number of different opportunities being explored. The third year undergraduate studio work will conclude in April.
“The widening of 536 is critical to the continued economic stability of Independence,” said Chris Moriconi, Independence City Administrator. “In particular, [the KY 536 improvement project] will provide a much needed east/west corridor for our residents and businesses by providing a safe and improved corridor to I-75.”
“This will provide a unique experience for the UC students and for PDS,” said Andy Videkovich, AICP, senior planner at PDS and project manager for this study. “The students will get to work with a number of different agencies and jurisdictions to see how they coordinate large multi-jurisdictional projects. PDS will be able to tap into the energy and enthusiasm that the students will bring and use their work to further plan for the region.”
“It’s not very often that we get to plan for a roadway corridor like this,” concluded Gordon. “Looking at transportation and land usage at the same time is the way this is supposed to be done—and everyone benefits. Unfortunately, timing rarely work out like it will with these two efforts.”