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Street Patterns & Continuity

Improving Safety & Connectivity for All Users

Residents have repeatedly made it clear that they want safer transportation and more options. Lexington’s current regulations are designed for cars, and we’ve built precisely that; a car-centric city that produces congestion and discourages bike and pedestrian activity. The changes actually improve the conditions for cars through better traffic distribution, but also provide a street pattern that allows for a more walkable and bikeable environment.

This Subdivision Regulation Amendment, or SRA for short, is a direct implementation of Imagine Lexington, and is one of many projects that are in various stages of development to match our regulations to the vision of the Comprehensive Plan. This SRA will bring our regulations into alignment with:

  • Theme D – Connectivity - This theme is dedicated to policies that prescribe a complete and connected transportation network. A set of action items derived from these policies serve to guide the direct implementation of these concepts, as they call for amendments to the Land Subdivision Regulations (such as this one) and the continued employment of the goals within the Lexington Area MPO Bike & Pedestrian Master Plan.
  • Theme D, Connectivity Policy #1 and the associated action item
  • Theme D, Connectivity Policy #2 and the associated action item
  • Theme D, Connectivity Policy #4 

Shortcomings of Current Standards

Nationally, most new desirable neighborhoods provide a high proportion of four-way intersections, few dead-end streets and small street block sizes in the range of 250 to 600 feet. However, currently, in Lexington:

  • Maximum block lengths allowed are roughly three times the national standard
  • About 25% of all intersections lead to a cul-de-sac (the least connected)
  • Only 10% of all intersections are 4-way (the most connected), and most of those are located inside New Circle Road 

What is Changing?

A more connected street network creates safer, more desirable neighborhoods with reduced congestion and improved bicycle and pedestrian options. Traffic bottlenecks, emergency response times, walkability and overall network continuity can be improved by proactively looking at Lexington’s standards for new development street patterns:

  • Revised standards for more manageable blocks
    • Maximum block length from 1,600 ft to 1000 ft
    • Remove 500 ft minimum block length
  • Revised standards for cul-de-sacs
    • Prohibiting cul-de-sacs off of cul-de-sacs
  • Revised standard for access to adjacent developments
    • Require street connections into adjacent developments or vacant land in at least every direction
    • Existing or proposed public facilities (parks, schools, open spaces, greenways) must have the majority of the facility front onto a street in new developments

Note: These changes will take effect starting February 1, 2023.

Why Change It?

Improving the layout and continuity of our streets has a number of benefits:

  • Supports the Mayor’s Commission for Racial Justice & Equality goal of integrated, walkable, transit-accessible neighborhoods for all residents
  • Improves emergency service response time
  • Reduces severe and fatal crashes
  • Reduces congestion through better traffic distribution by increasing network capacity without adding extra lanes to major roads
  • Reduces speed on major neighborhood streets
  • Encourages the use of non-motorized transportation
  • Better transit access
  • Supports the development of desirable neighborhoods and sets up future development for success with ample access

Access the full list of resources related the benefits of street continuity in urban environments.

Notable Dates

  • July 30, 2020 - Planning Commission Work Session
  • Nov. 4, 2020 - Infill & Redevelopment Committee (presentation above)
  • Dec. 16, 2020 - Initial Stakeholder Engagement with Development & Design Community
  • Jan. 28, 2021 - Planning Commission Work Session
  • Apr. 8, 2021 - Planning Commission Public Hearing with Recommended Approval (video)
  • Jan. 27, 2022 - First Reading by Urban County Council
  • Feb. 10, 2022 - Second Reading and Approval by Urban County Council
  • Feb. 1, 2023 - Ordinance to become effective