Unless you plan on riding your bicycle or walking, stay far, far away from Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue between 2-6 p.m on Oct.14. The city will close a three-mile stretch of Bardstown Road starting at Douglass Loop and ending at the intersection of Broadway and Baxter Avenue to encourage walking and biking.
The event, called CycLOUvia, is modeled after an event in Colombia called Ciclovia, in which streets are blocked off for an entire day to encourage residents to participate in healthy activities such as walking, running, and bicycling. To be clear, I am all for advocating a healthier lifestyle. But as someone who lives off of Douglass Boulevard and frequently drives on Bardstown Road, I’m not sure closing down a three-mile stretch of one of the city’s busiest roads is the best way to go about doing it.
All promotion of healthy lifestyles aside, one of my main concerns with the event involves the city’s claim that it will promote economic development on Bardstown Road, which is the location of many local businesses.
While all of this sounds nice in theory, it just seems like more of a headache than a help. How much economic development does the city hope to promote by closing three miles of Bardstown Road for four hours on a Sunday? I fully support local businesses (I can usually be found at Highland Coffee or Heine Brothers), so I applaud any efforts the city makes to help them out.
At the same time, however, I can’t help but wonder if this event will do more harm than good to the businesses. Sure, they’ll be open that day, but only to those people walking or bicycling along the closed stretch. For those who don’t want to walk three miles or fight traffic on side streets, shopping at the businesses from 2-6 on that day is most likely out of the question. Of course, many businesses could also see a huge surge in sales that day, and not be affected negatively at all by the road closing. Only time will tell how much of an economic impact CycLOUvia will have.