NKAPC, OKI team for new Kenton transportation plan

In the spring of 2003 gasoline prices hit a near-record high of $1.72 a gallon nationally, light rail transit was a regional hot button topic, and the global economic crisis was still five years away. It was against this backdrop that Kenton County adopted a new transportation plan—a document that guides transportation projects and provides the basis for federal funding. A lot has changed since 2003; the transportation plan hasn’t, until now.

NKAPC and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) are embarking on a year-long process to update the Kenton County Transportation Plan. “A lot has happened in Kenton County that impacts transportation needs. Our intent is to take a comprehensive multimodal look at current needs and what is anticipated over the next 30 years,” said Robyn Bancroft, AICP, Strategic Planning Manager for OKI.

Work on the new transportation plan coincides with the Direction 2030 process that is currently examining all aspects of Kenton County’s growth and development.

“We’ve heard lots of comments in numerous Direction 2030 meetings about mobility,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, NKAPC’s planning manager. “Transportation is one aspect of daily life that affects everyone whether they walk, ride a bicycle, drive, or take the bus. We’re going to use all the information we have collected to date to help paint a picture of what mobility means today and what people want in the future.”

Aside from looking at mobility issues, this new transportation plan will seek to identify the impacts adjoining land uses have on the transportation network. Future anticipated land uses will be studied and included as a metric to help score and prioritize recommendations.

James Fausz, AICP, NKAPC’s lead on the project elaborated. “Hypothetically, let’s say an area is somewhat rural now but is anticipated to grow within the next ten years. Our goal is to identify areas like these, examine appropriate future recommended land uses, and help plan for what mobility upgrades might be needed.”

Ultimately, the document will produce a prioritized list of projects that will describe potential funding sources, a timeline for implementation, and agencies responsible moving parts of the plan forward. Projects contained in the plan will be considered for inclusion into OKI’s Regional Transportation Plan, which allocates funding for improvements.

When asked about project financing, Bancroft added, “Funding today is tight and we have to make smart decisions about where to invest to best meet the needs of our citizens and businesses. We want a healthy and prosperous Kenton County.”

The plan officially kicked off on July 1 and will continue through June, 2014. An extensive outreach campaign is planned for the project that will include traditional public meetings, social media events, and electronic surveying.