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.
Policies Related to Transportation
Theme A - Density Policy 1 - High Density Corridors & Downtown
Theme A - Density Policy 4 - Density to Support Transit
Theme A - Design Policy 1 - Utilize a People-First Design
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
Theme A - Design Policy 11 - Utilize Single Loaded Streets
Theme A - Design Policy 12 - Neighborhood Commercial
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Theme B - Restoration Policy 4 - Reduce 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
When people decide how to get from one point to another, it is very important to provide them safe and competitive options.
Theme B - Sustainability Policy 2 - Promote Transit 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Parking demands operate on a peak and off-peak schedule depending on related land use.
Theme C - Prosperity Policy 4 - Fiber-Optic Broadband Infrastructure
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Theme D - Connectivity Policy 6 - Holistically Design Streets
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Theme E - Growth Policy 11 - Land Use Changes
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.