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Policies Related to Transportation

Theme A - Density Policy 1 - High Density Corridors & Downtown

The highest density of our residential development should be directed to our major corridors and downtown.

Given Lexington’s ever-increasing population, the community’s expressed desire to create exciting walkable places, and the goal of preserving valuable agricultural land, density is very important. However, high density development is not appropriate in every context.

Theme A - Density Policy 4 - Density to Support Transit

Generally, locate high-density areas of development along higher capacity roadways (minor arterial, collector) to facilitate future transit enhancements.
This plan recommends that the highest density development should be concentrated toward the major corridors and downtown to facilitate transit-oriented development that would begin to support Bus Rapid Transit opportunities.

Theme A - Design Policy 1 - Utilize a People-First Design

Utilize a people-first design, ensuring that roadways are moving people efficiently and providing pedestrian infrastructure that is context sensitive to the vehicle environment and land uses.

People-first neighborhood design requires the provision of transit/transportation infrastructure that places pedestrians, bicycle riders and mass transit users on the same level as automobiles. Mass transit infrastructure should be considered essential.

Theme A - Design Policy 10 - Neighborhood Focal Points

Provide neighborhood focal points accessible to all residents.
Neighborhood focal points can be a gathering space such as a park, greenspace, a shopping center, a community center or public square. To the extent possible, new residential development should be developed with new focal points in mind by allowing for easy, multimodal access from the neighborhood instead of development that turns its back on the community hub.

Theme A - Design Policy 11 - Utilize Single Loaded Streets

Single loaded streets should be utilized in order to establish clear public access to neighborhood focal points.
Even passive greenspace requires clear, visible access in order to fulfill the needs of a neighborhood. A focal point should be clearly delineated from private lots in order to be welcoming to all residents. Development of focal points on single loaded streets removes any opportunity for them to be tucked away unsafely in the backyards of private homes.

Theme A - Design Policy 12 - Neighborhood Commercial

Support neighborhood level commercial areas.

In many neighborhoods developed decades ago, the commercial areas designated to serve as neighborhood focal points have become poorly utilized or have slowly deteriorated and need additional investment. Proactively rezoning these sites from Neighborhood Business (B-1) to Commercial Center Zone (B-6P) would afford new flexibility at a neighborhood scale.

Theme A - Design Policy 13 - Connect to Stub Streets

Development should connect to adjacent stub streets and maximize the street network.

Connected streets provide direct, continuous routes and multiple route options. This reduces response times for emergency vehicles and improves access and efficiency for transit, school buses, and service vehicles, including solid waste trucks and street sweepers. Creating a robust street system with multiple routes to neighborhood destinations is unquestionably a best planning practice.

Theme A - Design Policy 2 - Fire & Police Service Access

Ensure proper road connections are in place to enhance service times and access to fire and police services for all residents.

There is often opposition to connecting roads between developments, as residents believe that the increased traffic will negatively affect their property.

Theme A - Design Policy 4 - Context Sensitive Development

Provide development that is sensitive to the surrounding context.

Context-sensitive development is compatible and complementary to adjacent neighborhoods and communities. It enhances the existing neighborhoods through land uses and development patterns that are sensitive to the nearby built and natural environments.

Theme A - Design Policy 5 - Pedestrian Friendly

Provide pedestrian friendly street patterns and walkable blocks to create inviting streetscapes.

Street design matters. Creating a neighborhood environment that is not only able to be walked, but is actually inviting and walkable is vital to providing a safe way for people to move from place to place.

Theme A - Design Policy 6 - Lexington Area MPO Bike/Ped Master Plan

Adhere to the recommendations of the Lexington Area MPO Bike/Pedestrian Master Plan, adopted in 2018.

The 2018 Bike/Pedestrian Plan, called ConnectLex, envisions “a network of high quality walkways and bikeways that connects communities and fosters economic growth and regional collaboration. People of all ages and abilities will have access to comfortable and convenient walking and biking routes, resulting in true mobility choice, improved economic opportunity, and healthier lifestyles.

Theme A - Design Policy 7 - Parking Design Aesthetics

Design car parking areas so as not to be the primary visual component of the neighborhood.

New residential development should minimize the visual appearance of parking lots on streets to preserve that space for use that will activate the front yards and sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists. This can be achieved by placing parking lots to the rear or interior of the site, so that the building fronts along a public street.

Theme A - Equity Policy 3 - Up-Zone near Transit

Add residential opportunities by proactively up-zoning areas near transit for populations who rely solely on public transportation.
In transit opportunity areas identified in subsequent corridor studies, the government should consider up-zoning properties to allow and encourage more intense uses that support transit. Where neighborhoods already exist along these corridors, appropriate transitions and step-downs should be used, but should not otherwise deter development of additional housing.

Theme B - Restoration Policy 4 - Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)

Improve air quality by reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Reduction of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is an official goal of the U.S. Government policy, as stated in sections of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Vehicles (or mobile sources) are a major contributor to urban air pollution. Technology (cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels) will continue to reduce vehicle pollution, but more people living in an area generally equates to more vehicles on the road.

Theme B - Sustainability Policy 1 - Regional multimodal Transportation

Develop a multi-modal transportation network and infrastructure; seek collaboration with regional transit partners for the commuting public.

When people decide how to get from one point to another, it is very important to provide them safe and competitive options.

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Theme B - Sustainability Policy 2 - Promote Transit Connectivity

Promote roadway, pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.

Development is encouraged to locate near high connectivity areas with connected street networks and diverse community uses (Infill and Redevelopment Area), so that the adjacent amenities can be fully utilized and supported by customers. Within developments, projects should be designed and built such that internal connectivity is maximized, balancing the geographic terrain.

Theme B - Sustainability Policy 3 - Transit-Oriented Development

Encourage Transit-Oriented Development, increase density along major corridors and in the Infill and Redevelopment Area to support transit ridership, thus reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) refers to communities with high quality public transit services, good walkability, and compact, mixed land use.

Theme B - Sustainability Policy 5 - Reduce Vehicle Oriented Development

Reduce / discourage vehicle oriented development patterns, such as drive-through businesses within the Urban Service Boundary, especially in the urban core areas. Reduce parking footprints.

Vehicle idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more CO2 compared to restarting the engine. Countries around the world are concerned with the impact of transportation on the environment and human health. Messages to reduce unnecessary idling are therefore a key component of many national sustainability programs.

Theme B - Sustainability Policy 6 - Telecommuting & Flexible Work

Apply traffic mitigation programs, such as communication with employers, to encourage flexible work schedules or telecommuting.

Traffic creates headaches for commuters. At the same time, it generates more air pollution than drivers may realize. However, improving available technology and sustainable initiatives by corporations, such as telecommuting and flexible work schedules away from rush hour, have come into play in many areas.

Theme B - Sustainability Policy 8 - STAR Community Rating Program

Encourage Lexington to join the STAR Community rating program.

STAR Communities is a nonprofit organization that works to evaluate, improve, and certify sustainable communities. They administer the STAR Community Rating System (STAR), the nation’s first framework and certification program for local sustainability. Cities and counties use STAR to measure their progress across social, economic and environmental performance areas.

Theme C - Livability Policy 2 - Rural Bluegrass Gateways & Roadways

Emphasize the preservation, protection, and promotion of the iconic Bluegrass landscape along rural gateways and roadways serving as primary tourist routes.

Visitors to Lexington frequently remark about the scenic beauty observed while driving through the farmland on the way to a destination. Trips to horse farms, distilleries, breweries, or any of the other tourist hot spots become as much about the journey as the destination.

Theme C - Livability Policy 4 - Coordinate Transit Logistics for Special Events

Continue to coordinate transportation logistics and traffic control for recurring special events, festivals, and parades.

The Lexington Area MPO regularly meets with the Traffic Safety Coalition subcommittee, the Transportation Technical Coordinating Committee, Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and the Transportation Coordination Committee to review security of the transportation systems.

Theme C - Livability Policy 7 - Multimodal & Mixed-Use Community

Continue to create a true multimodal and mixed-use community with safe and quality access to community facilities, greenspace, employment, neighborhoods businesses, shopping, and entertainment.

Walkscore is a website that scores neighborhoods based on a formula that assesses a neighborhood’s walkability, bikeability, and multimodal service on a scale from 1 to 100. In reviewing local Lexington scores, some areas scored much higher in walk and bike scores than others.

Theme C - Prosperity Policy 10 - Flexible & Shared Parking

Encourage flexible parking and shared parking arrangements.

Parking demands operate on a peak and off-peak schedule depending on related land use.

Theme C - Prosperity Policy 4 - Fiber-Optic Broadband Infrastructure

Encourage installation of fiber-optic broadband infrastructure for high-tech and other industries.

Nearly every aspect of modern society is becoming increasingly web-dependent and, like the Interstate highway system connects communities, digital broadband infrastructure is essential for any 21st century community to thrive in areas of commerce, health, education, entertainment, and government.

Theme D - Connectivity Policy 1 - Street Design by Place-Type

Street design should reflect and promote the desired place-type.

Designers of the built street environment must work to address the functionality of the space to ensure compatibility with surrounding land uses as well as transportation network connections. True multimodal street designs must acknowledge how adjacent land uses and building forms influence user perceptions, needs, and safety.

Theme D - Connectivity Policy 2 - Multimodal Streets for All Needs

Create multimodal streets that satisfy all user needs.

A safe, fully-connected multimodal transportation system is not about moving vehicles, but about moving people and supporting the community by improving the quality of life for everyone. Achieving this goal requires all modes of transportation be considered equally during the design of rights-of-way.

Theme D - Connectivity Policy 3 - Multimodal Access Equitability

Provide equitable multimodal access for those who do not drive due to age, disability, expense, or choice.

Mobility, social interaction, and physical activity enhance the quality of life of children, the aging population, persons with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged. The removal of barriers to independent travel reduces the need for more costly alternatives such as paratransit, private transportation services, and ‘hazard’ busing for school students.

Theme D - Connectivity Policy 4 - Provide Alternative Routes

Design street networks that provide alternative route options, which reduces traffic congestion.

Public surveys consistently identify traffic congestion as a major perceived concern in Lexington. In general, there is insufficient understanding by the public on how a more connected street network could help alleviate traffic congestion.

Within disconnected street networks, traffic is concentrated along major roads because there are not alternative route options for commuters.

Theme D - Connectivity Policy 5 - Design Streets for the Desired Speed

Streets should be designed for the desired speed, using built-in traffic calming measures such as roundabouts, narrower street widths, chicanes, medians, etc.

In Lexington, speeding is a common complaint on wider streets, particularly those classified as collectors. These streets, which are wider by design, create faster vehicle speeds, regardless of the posted speed limit, due to the driver’s perception of a wide open space.

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Theme D - Connectivity Policy 6 - Holistically Design Streets

Take a holistic approach to designing context-sensitive streets, addressing them within the framework of the countywide network context and the needs of all users.

The benefits of context-sensitive multimodal street design are many, but all encompass the responsibilities that designers ensure the health, safety and welfare of the people who will use this public space.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 1 - Town Branch Commons Strategic Master Plan

Implement the Town Branch Commons Strategic Master Plan as an element of the Comprehensive Plan.

Town Branch Commons will be a strip of Bluegrass running through downtown Lexington, roughly following the path of Town Branch, Lexington’s first water source. It will link the city's two major trails, Town Branch Trail and the Legacy Trail, to provide 22 miles of uninterrupted trail connecting downtown to the rural landscape.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 12 - Underutilized Commercial Property

Analyze underutilized commercial property through corridor land use and transportation studies.

The goals and objectives of this comprehensive plan very plainly call for an intensification of the major corridors. Other proposed policies throughout the document have taken aim at the regulatory side of the equation. Another critical aspect of this policy framework is to engage the public along these corridors about these issues and what forms these intensifications may take.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 13 - Downtown Master Plan

Update the Downtown Master Plan.

The current Downtown Master Plan focused largely on specified projects and proposed infill locations. Since its adoption, the identified projects have largely either been completed or jettisoned for one reason or another. Further, the broad focus on infill lot identification did little to provide guidance on how those properties should develop.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 2 - Retrofit Incomplete Suburbs

Retrofit incomplete suburban developments, incorporating elements that create complete neighborhoods.

For decades, Lexington embraced strong Euclidian zoning as a way to protect residential uses from the negative externalities of incompatible land uses. However, the market has seen a significant shift in residential consumer preferences, to which Lexington must respond and address with more modern zoning regulations.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 3 - Placemaking Design Standards

Establish design standards for placemaking.

Having thoughtful design standards that are both flexible and responsive to diverse conditions is an essential component of moving toward a community filled with special places that are inviting and memorable.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 5 - Review Regulations for Walkability

Review zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations to create more walkable places.

As was prominently discussed in Theme A, from a standpoint of developing great neighborhoods, there should be a focus on creating pedestrian-friendly streets and walkable blocks that make traversing them on foot a desirable activity.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 6 - Expansion Area Master Plan

Amend the Expansion Area Master Plan to update the remaining residential area to reflect the 2018 Comprehensive Plan’s Goals and Objectives.

The adoption of the Expansion Area Master Plan (EAMP) in 1996 created a framework for zoning and public infrastructure that was entirely new to Lexington. However, there has been a significant shift in development patterns and land costs since that plan was adopted.

Theme D - Support Policy 1 - Integrate School Sites with Neighborhood

Ensure school sites are designed to integrate well into the surrounding neighborhood.

Theme A (Growing Successful Neighborhoods) highlights the large role that design plays in successful neighborhoods, whether it be on a large or a small scale, and Lexington’s schools are no exception.

Theme D - Support Policy 6 - Multimodal Access to Services & Facilities

Ensure all social service and community facilities are safely accessible via mass transit, bicycle, and pedestrian transportation modes.

While connectivity and accessibility are important for all places within the community, they are especially vital for the places that provide services to our more vulnerable populations. A great many people that require social services rely on alternative forms of transportation aside from single-occupancy vehicles..

Theme E - Accountability Policy 2 - Modernize the Zoning Ordinance

Modernize the Zoning Ordinance to reflect the direction of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, proactively planning for the next 20 years of growth.

The last major overhaul of Lexington’s Zoning Ordinance in 1983, much needed in the wake of the City and County merger, also included significant revisions to the Land Subdivision Regulations. There was a focus on raising the bar for future development and ensuring that public infrastructure be built to standards that more adequately addressed public health and safety.

Theme E - Accountability Policy 3 - Implement the Placebuilder

Implement the Placebuilder, which includes criteria for zone change applications, based upon the goals and objectives, to ensure development compliance with the Comprehensive Plan.

Imagine Lexington is full of policies that guide how development should occur throughout the city, and all of them are important. However, it can be difficult to ascertain by simply glancing at the text of the plan what developers should be aiming for with new proposed development or redevelopment.

Theme E - Accountability Policy 4 - Develop Benchmarks & Metrics

Develop growth benchmarks and determine best measurable methods to monitor them and report progress on a regular basis.

Plans are only as good as their ability to gauge measurable results in a timely fashion. To know if a plan is reaching desired outcomes, it is imperative to track the successes and failures so future adjustments can be made and successes replicated. Imagine Lexington is crafted as a policy-based plan with very specific goals in mind.

Theme E - Accountability Policy 5 - Increase Alternative Transit Facilities

Increase dedicated bike lanes, pedestrian and transit facilities in the existing right-of-way, focusing on moving people rather than exclusively single-occupancy vehicles.

Historically, public infrastructure has been focused on creating the easiest and fastest means of transit for single-occupancy vehicles. This resulted in abundant wide lanes of paved asphalt, but limited pathways for pedestrians, cyclists or transit riders.

Theme E - Growth Policy 1 - Infill & Redevelopment Area Regulations

Revisit Infill and Redevelopment Area regulations to ensure they are compatible with Imagine Lexington and are encouraging desired development.

The first Infill & Redevelopment Committee was created in 1996, which led to the 2001 Residential I/R Study, official adoption of the defined Infill & Redevelopment Area in the 2001 Comprehensive Plan, and subsequent regulatory changes to implement the Plan.

Theme E - Growth Policy 10 - Underutilized Property

Support the enhancement, reuse, and/or redevelopment of underutilized property to fit the changing retail landscape, increase development viability, and bolster enhanced mass transit options.

Since the beginning of the century, the United States has seen significant growth in annual e- commerce sales. Shifts in consumer behavior, particularly among millennials, have contributed to a near 15% increase in online sales revenue every year since 2010.

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Theme E - Growth Policy 11 - Land Use Changes

Imagine Lexington anticipates a variety of land use changes will occur throughout the Urban Service Area and recommends those that are in agreement with the goals, objectives, and policies within this Comprehensive Plan. Land use changes alone in an area are not sufficient to constitute major changes of an economic, physical, or social nature as provided in state statute for the approval of a zone map amendment.

State statue provides direction on the findings necessary for proposed map amendments or zone changes. The primary threshold to clear is that the proposal must be in agreement with the adopted comprehensive plan.

Theme E - Growth Policy 7 - Autonomous Vehicles

Lexington should be proactive, highly agile, and adaptable in pursuing changes to transportation and land use policy that harness the benefits of autonomous vehicles (AV) and limit the potential detriments.

While computer technology has improved rapidly and dramatically over the last 20 years, conversely, automobiles have traditionally followed a much more deliberately slow-paced and methodical development process, primarily to ensure that safety is enhanced with every iteration of advancement.

Theme E - Growth Policy 8 - Proactively Rezone Properties

Identify catalytic redevelopment opportunities to proactively rezone properties, clear regulatory hurdles, and expedite redevelopment in key areas that will ignite further economic growth.

Previous small area plans, which contained future land use recommendations, have been critical to facilitating future development in those locations. Recommendations in the South Nicholasville Road Small Area Plan led the way for The Summit at Fritz Farm, an area that had been the subject of numerous failed zone change attempts in the past.

Theme E - Stewardship Policy 2 - Connect Regional Economic Hubs

Capitalize on the diverse economic development, housing, and tourism opportunities throughout the Bluegrass Region and engage in discussions to further connect regional economic hubs.

As Lexington’s economic and social capital grows, there will be impacts on surrounding counties and cities. The latent effects of these successes can change neighboring communities in a variety of ways, including their economies, housing stock, and industrial development.

Theme E - Stewardship Policy 3 - Facilitate Inter-county Connectivity

Increase regional transportation cooperation and pursue multimodal transportation options, to facilitate inter-county connectivity.

A regional transportation network provides for the movement of goods and people though a multimodal system, which includes trains, trucks, buses, cars, bikes, and pedestrian options. As the regional transportation network grows, a viable system of accessible transportation alternatives should be implemented for residents and commuters alike.

Theme E - Stewardship Policy 7 - Consult with Adjacent Counties

Consult with planning departments of adjacent counties to find common Comprehensive Plan goals, objectives and implementation items where shared benefits could be gained by working together.

Regional planning efforts in the past have been difficult endeavors for many reasons; however, there is a shared goal among staff from all of Lexington’s regional neighbors to advance the basic principles of urban planning.

Theme E - Stewardship Policy 8 - Sustainability for Present & Future

Address economic, environmental, and social sustainability of new development to thoughtfully utilize Lexington’s resources for present needs while considering those of future generations.

The focus of sustainable development is to raise the standard of living for current residents without precluding the same opportunity to future generations. There are three facets to sustainability through which all proposed development should be reviewed: Economic, Social, and Environmental.