Second Sunday event previews design for Legacy Trail completion

October 7, 2014

2ndSunday 2014 Handout-R1This rendering shows the proposed design for completing the Legacy Trail along Fourth Street between Jefferson and Shropshire streets. One-street parking would be eliminated to create a 10-foot, two-way bicycle land and 10-12 foot lanes for cars and trucks. People can test the concept 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday during the annual Second Sunday event. Photo Provided

 

This year’s Second Sunday event will offer a preview of what planners propose as the design for finishing Lexington’s popular Legacy Trail: a two-way path along Fourth Street separated from automobile traffic.

The free public event is 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, beginning at the corner of West Sixth and Jefferson Streets, at the Bread Box building and Coolivan Park. Festivities will include kids’ activities, but the main event will be bike riding, running, walking and skating on a coned-off lane of the south side of Fourth Street for 1.6 miles between there and the Isaac Murphy Art Garden under construction at East Third Street and Midland Avenue.

Eight miles of the Legacy Trail between the Northside YMCA and the Kentucky Horse Park were finished in 2010. But bringing the trail into town has been more complicated. The city secured $2.4 million in federal transportation funds to finish the trail, but it has taken time to work out all the details of bringing it into town.

Keith Lovan, a city engineer who oversees trail projects, said the cheapest and safest way to extend the trail across the Northside is what is known as a two-way cycle track on the street, separated from car and truck traffic by flexible posts.

To make room for the 10-foot-wide cycle track, on-street parking would be eliminated. Each car lane would still be 12 to 14 feet wide.

Sunday’s ride will extend to Shropshire Street, but Lovan said Elm Tree Lane and Race Streets also are being considered as ways to connect the Legacy Trail along Fourth Street to the art garden trailhead.

A citizens advisory committee of about 30 people has been mulling this design and other Legacy Trail issues. Detailed work will be done this winter and construction is to begin in the spring.

Lovan expects some controversy, because some on-street parking will be lost and because adding the trail will make street entry and exit from some driveways a little more complicated for drivers.

“I expect we’ll start hearing some of that Sunday,” Loven said of the Second Sunday event, when the trail will be marked off with orange cones. “We intend for this to reflect what the cycle track will look like.”

The hardest part of finishing the Legacy Trail, he said, “Will be getting the support to do this. We’ve had a lot of stakeholder meetings already.” Public meetings will be scheduled later this fall, and planners are going door-to-door talking with residents and businesses on affected streets, Lovan said.

The only other Lexington trail that uses this design is the short section of the Legacy Trail on the bridge over New Circle Road. In addition to cost-savings and improved safety, Lovan said, the two-way cycle track design has been shown in other cities to increase bicycle usage.

“These have been introduced across the country with great success,” said Loven, who oversaw design and construction of the rest of the Legacy Trail. “It provides the user a little more security. You don’t feel like you’re riding in traffic. But it’s more of a visual barrier than a protective barrier.”

I have ridden on cycle track in several American and European cities, and it feels safer for both cyclists and automobile drivers, because they are separated from each other.

When this is finished, there will be only one section of the original Legacy Trail left to do: a short connection between Jefferson Street and the YMCA. Lovan said the city has acquired an old rail line for part of that and is negotiating with the Hope Center to complete the connection. He expects that to be done next year.

The Legacy Trail demonstration marks the seventh year Lexington has participated in Second Sunday, a statewide effort to use existing built infrastructure to promote exercise and physical activity. In most communities, that has meant closing a street for a few hours so people can bike, walk, run or skate there.

The University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service started Second Sunday and has coordinated activities. The service plans to do several Second Sunday events next year, depending on grant funding, said spokeswoman Diana Doggett.

“We have a community that is willing and interested,” she said. “We just have to nudge that along.”


Second Sunday back at Blue Grass Airport this weekend

June 9, 2011

Last year’s popular Second Sunday event at Blue Grass Airport will be repeated this weekend. People are invited to bring their bicycles, skateboards, rollerskates, sports equipment and walking shoes to have fun and get some exercise on the airport’s 4,000-foot runway Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

The free event will offer a number of activities, including a batting cage from the Lexington Legends, sports equipment from the YMCA and a display of various aircraft and safety vehicles, including fire engines, police vehicles, helicopters and unusual airplanes.

Participants can register to win tickets to one of three Florida destinations, courtesy of the airport and Allegiant Air. They also can bring picnics to enjoy while watching aircraft take off and land. During the event, aircraft will be using the airport’s main 7,000-foot runway, so there will be no interruption in flights.

Second Sunday participants should plan to enter the airport grounds from Versailles Road, near the Fire Training Center across from Keeneland Race Course. Parking will be adjacent to the runway. Leashed pets are welcome.

Second Sunday offers monthly events in Lexington and annual events statewide to encourage all forms of physical activity and fitness. Last year, 115 counties participated in the annual Second Sunday program in October, in which a section of road was closed in each county for the afternoon so people could use it for exercise and recreation.

Click here to see reports from last year’s event, which was a lot of fun.


Miss airport Second Sunday? Watch the video

July 26, 2010

Several thousand people came out June 13 for the Second Sunday event at Blue Grass Airport. The almost-finished new runway was opened to bikers, rollerbladers, skateboarders and walkers. It was a great community event to encourage people to get outside and exercise

In case you missed it, organizers commissioned the video below. For more information about other Second Sunday events, go to the website.


Second Sunday draws big crowd, despite heat

June 13, 2010

What’s a little heat and humidity when you have a chance to play on an airport runway?  That’s what more than 2,500 people seemed to think this afternoon when they came out to Second Sunday to bike, skate, walk and run down Blue Grass Airport’s nearly finished 4,000-foot runway.

Some, like me, rode out from home on their bikes. Most drove out, filling the main 1,200-spot parking lot. Others were sent to an overflow lot and were shuttled in on LexTran buses. There was plenty of water to drink and several interesting old planes from the Aviation Museum of Kentucky and airport emergency vehicles to see. Plus, you could watch planes take off and land on the airport’s main runway nearby.

(LexTran boss Rocky Burke was there on his bike. I also saw Urban County Councilman Jay McChord, one of the organizers of Second Sunday, and Council at-Large candidate Steve Kay.  Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President David Adkisson was there on a bike with his three grandchildren, one of whom he was pulling in a little trailer.)

It was a great family outing, and a fun way to get some exercise. That’s the whole point of Second Sunday.

Click on each thumbnail to see complete photo:


Play on the runway during Second Sunday

June 9, 2010

I was in college before I took my first airplane trip, so when I was a kid, there was always something magical about flight.

My father would occasionally take me to what was then called Blue Grass Field to watch airplanes come and go. And the whole family would go out to see him off to his annual convention of college bookstore managers.

As Dad’s plane would roll down the runway, faster and faster until finally taking flight, I would wave and wonder: If I could pedal my bicycle fast enough down that runway, would I take off, too?

I have learned enough about aerodynamics since then to know it is highly improbable. Still, on Sunday afternoon, I plan to give it a try. You should, too.

From 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Blue Grass Airport will open its nearly completed 4,000-foot runway, which is 75 feet wide, and the parallel taxiway, which is 35 feet wide, for people to bike, skate, walk or run on.

Some of the fresh pavement will be reserved for chalk drawings. Big chalk drawings.

Families are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and picnics and watch at least 15 scheduled commercial flights come and go on the airport’s 7,000-foot main runway nearby. Fire trucks and a police helicopter will be on display. You can bring leashed pets, balls and Frisbees, but no kites.

The free event, dreamed up by Urban County Councilman Jay McChord and the airport’s executive director, Eric Frankl, reminds me of the Blue Grass Field community days that I went to as a kid. But this is the first time the airport has ever let the public play on a runway.

“It should be a lot of fun,” Frankl said. “It will allow people to check out the airport from a different perspective.”

This is part of the Second Sunday series of monthly events throughout Kentucky designed to get average people outdoors and exercising.

Like me, McChord has fond boyhood memories of going out to the airport to watch airplanes come and go. But Second Sunday isn’t so much about nostalgia as about dealing with Kentucky’s modern problems. We eat too much and exercise too little, helping to make Kentucky first in the nation in cancer, No. 3 in heart disease and smoking, and No. 9 in premature deaths of all kinds.

Usually, Second Sunday involves closing a street to cars for a few hours, or having a monthly family bike ride escorted by police. Those rides are much like the recent 10-mile tour through downtown and the University of Kentucky campus that attracted more than 2,500 people of all ages during Bike Lexington on Memorial Day.

The statewide Second Sunday event this year will be Oct. 10 — 10-10-10, for those who pay attention to calendar symbolism. Simultaneous street closings are planned throughout Kentucky to encourage people to take to the pavement and move.

Seventy counties participated in the inaugural Second Sunday, in October 2008; last year, 107 counties participated. Diana Doggett, a Fayette County extension agent and statewide coordinator for Second Sunday, hopes to get all 120 counties involved this year.

Lexington’s plans are still being developed. If you live in another county, ask your extension agent about local plans.

No matter where you live, you are welcome to come out Sunday to Blue Grass Airport. Parking will be available next to the runway. Vehicles should enter near the airport’s rescue training center on Versailles Road, just west of Keeneland. If parking fills up, LexTran will provide shuttles to and from an overflow location, and Pedal Power bike shop will provide bike shuttles.

Based on the crowd at Bike Lexington, Frankl expects several thousand people to come out to the airport Sunday, if the weather is nice, to play on the $27 million runway before it opens to aircraft.

“Obviously,” he said, “this is a unique event.”

If you go

Second Sunday at Blue Grass Airport

When: 2-5 p.m. June 13

Where: Enter near the training center on Versailles Rd. west of Keeneland.

More information: www.2ndSundayKy.com


Second Sunday to become monthly event

October 7, 2009

At least 104 of Kentucky’s 120 counties will close a major street for several hours Sunday afternoon and invite people to come out and exercise: run, bike, walk, jog, skate — whatever they like.

In Lexington, Main and Short streets between Rose Street/Elm Tree Lane and Broadway will be closed from about 2 to 7 p.m.

More than 75 local organizations have activities planned around Second Sunday in Lexington — everything from dance classes to bike polo demonstrations. Plus, Biggest Loser TV show finalist Mark Kruger will speak about how he lost 129 pounds by exercising more and eating less.

For details, go to the city’s Web site, www.lexingtonky.gov and click on the Second Sunday icon. For statewide information, go to www.2ndsundayky.com.

It will be a big afternoon. But what happens after that?

In Lexington, a smaller version of Second Sunday will become a monthly event.

Beginning Nov. 8, organizers plan to sponsor a police-escorted bicycle ride on the second Sunday of each month, said Urban County Councilman Jay McChord.

“For a year we’ve been talking about how to make Second Sunday a once-a-month thing, and eventually a once-a-week thing,” McChord said. “This is a start.”

McChord has been one of Second Sunday’s biggest boosters, seeing it as a way to curb Kentucky’s horrible health statistics, which include being a national leader in heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The hope is that these events will inspire people to exercise regularly and adopt healthful lifestyles.

The new monthly 10- to 12-mile bike rides for cyclists of all abilities who are at least age 12 will begin at Cheapside. Each month, the ride will go to a different Lexington park or neighborhood.

The November ride will begin at 2 p.m. and go out Harrodsburg Road to the Beaumont neighborhood, where old farm roads have become trails. Details of each monthly ride will be posted on the city’s Web site, including cancelation information if the weather turns nasty.

Each event will cost organizers about $750 for a police escort, money that will be covered by sponsors. November’s ride is being sponsored by downtown developer Phil Holoubek and his wife, Marnie. Future sponsors include the Legacy Center and Pedal the Planet bike shop.

“The idea is to showcase the bike lanes and trails we already have and the ones we are building,” said Wendy Trimble, co-owner of Pedal the Planet. “We want to get people out more often and maybe give them the confidence in a group setting to get out later on their own. We also hope it will make people realize that 10 miles on a bike isn’t really that far.”

Holoubek said Mayor Jim Newberry and Lexington police officials have been very supportive of the effort. Eventually, the monthly escorted rides could lead to other activities that will get people outside and exercising all year around.

“We can really change the health culture of Kentucky,” McChord said.


Second Sunday event grows to 100 counties

September 3, 2009

With Second Sunday a little more than a month away, 100 of Kentucky’s 120 counties have plans to participate.

Each county plans to close a street or highway for a few hours Sunday afternoon, Oct. 11, and invite residents to come out to walk, bike, run or jog — and to think about how regular exercise could make them healthier and happier.

That was the basic idea used to launch Second Sunday last year, when 70 counties were involved. This year, though, many communities have more ambitious plans.

“It’s becoming a platform for all kinds of health-related events,” said Diana Doggett, a county extension agent in Lexington who is coordinating the statewide effort.

Dogget said many counties are planning health fairs, “fastest kid in town” races and even arts events.

Lexington will close a mile-long loop downtown — Main to Mill to Short to Deweese streets — from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Related events include bike polo demonstrations, health screenings and martial arts and yoga classes. A bike valet service will be available for cyclists to check their bikes while participating in other activities.

Jessamine County plans similar events downtown, plus a 6k run between West Jessamine and East Jessamine high schools to memorialize a popular coach and student athlete who recently died, Dogget said.

Elliott County’s events include speeches by House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, a cancer survivor, and a local man who lost 140 pounds without surgery. Festivities end with a concert by bluegrass star Don Rigsby.

Allen County citizens are building a two-mile bike and walking trail on property surrounding a Civil War site, Dumont Hill. Second Sunday activities there will include canon ball bowling.

Newport plans to close Monmouth Street between Fifth and 10th streets. Taylor County will include canoeing on the Green River. Franklin, Scott, Green and Adair counties all have big festivals planned around Second Sunday events.

UK’s Cooperative Extension Service is coordinating Second Sunday plans across the state, and some counties haven’t gotten involved because of vacancies in their extension offices, Dogget said. But anyone can step up and organize local events in those counties — and she hopes people will.

But the point of Second Sunday isn’t to get people outside exercising one day each October; it is to inspire them to start a regular exercise habit.

“What we need to do is change people’s lifestyles,” said Jay McChord, a Lexington councilman who helped create Second Sunday.

McChord also wants Second Sunday to attract national attention — and money — to Kentucky’s effort to shed its ranking as one of the nation’s least-healthy states.

He hopes exposure will attract millions in grant and foundation money to build a trail system throughout Kentucky so communities large and small won’t have to close streets for their citizens to have safe places to walk, run or bike.

Dr. Rick Lofgren, a physician at the University of Kentucky Hospital, appeared with McChord, Legacy Trail organizer Steve Austin and UK Agriculture Dean Scott Smith at the Lexington Forum’s monthly meeting Thursday to talk about trails, better health and Second Sunday.

Lofgren said he practiced in academic hospitals in many parts of the country before coming to UK five years ago. He noted that Kentucky ranks high nationally in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes and lung cancer — all of the health problems nobody wants.

“This is the sickest group of patients I’ve ever taken care of,” Lofgren said. “Much of what I see is preventable. It has to do with the lifestyles we have around here.”

Lofgren said regular exercise would help a lot — on Second Sunday, and every other day of the year.


Second Sunday backers rally Tuesday in Frankfort

March 9, 2009

Second Sunday, the effort to get Kentuckians off the couch and exercising in the street, is gearing up this week for a statewide event in October that will be bigger and better than last year.

Second Sunday organizers will rally at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort to promote the effort. House and Senate resolutions supporting Second Sunday will be introduced by en. Katie Stine, a Republican from Southgate,  Rep. Tanya Pullin, a Democrat from South Shore, and Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat.  Gov. Steve Beshear also plans a declaration.

A major street was closed for the afternoon last Oct. 12 in 70 of Kentucky’s 120 counties and more than 12,000 citizens got out to walk, run, bike, rollerskate and participate in other health-related activities and programs. In Lexington, Limestone Street was closed from Third Street to the Avenue of Champions and it was filled by more than 2,000 people, including Mayor Jim Newberry, several Urban County council members and their families.

This year’s statewide event is planned for Oct. 11, although promoters hope to open a major street to pedestrians in some communities more often – ideally, on the second Sunday of every month. Related activites are being organized throughout the year.

The Second Sunday movement began in Bogotá, Colombia, and has been copied by many other cities, including New York. Kentucky’s Second Sunday last year was the nation’s first coordinated statewide event. It is being coordinated by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s extension service, and the statewide coordinator is Diana Doggett of the Fayette County extension office.

Jay McChord, an Urban County Council member and one of the forces behind Second Sunday, sees the event as a low-cost, fun way to get notoriously unhealthy Kentuckians to be more physically active and more involved in their communities.


State parks also plan Second Sunday events

October 8, 2008

In addition to the Second Sunday road-closing events on Oct. 12 in 71 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, several free activities are planned at Kentucky State Parks.  Here’s a summary of them from a parks press release:

Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas

Barren River staff will lead an interpretive hike along the 1-mile Connell Nature Trail.  This hike takes approximately 1.5 hours and goes through a heavily wooded area. Participants will see a variety of trees and possibly some of the wildlife, which could include our triplet and twin white tail deer fawns.  Participants should wear comfortable clothes, hiking boots or tennis shoes (no flip flops). Bring along drinking water and apply sunscreen.  Hikers should meet in front of the lodge at 1 p.m. CST.  Terrain is easy-to-moderate.

Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, Mount Olivet

Blue Licks will close a major portion of the park to vehicle traffic from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Children and adults can enjoy walking the park roads, riding bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, etc.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park’s first 2-mile Back to Nature Walk begins in front of the lodge at 2 p.m.  Most of the walk will be on blacktop, with a small portion on gravel.   In addition, local health departments and clinics will provide services and tips.

Columbus-Belmont State Park, Columbus

This is the weekend of the Civil War Days event.  Festivities will include a “ghost walk” on Friday night that goes through park trails, which are earthworks built by Confederates during the Civil War.

Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, Burkesville

Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park will offer a guided hike to Eagle’s Point at 4 p.m. This is a moderate 1.6-mile hike out to a beautiful overlook of the lake.  Learn about park and lake history and native wildlife, and see the fall foliage.

Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, Greenup

A Fern Valley hike begins at the trail head at the Jesse Stuart Parking Lot at 2 p.m. The walk will be at an easy pace and last about an hour. Greenbo also has hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails for all levels of expertise.

As for almost every other day of the year, Kentucky’s state park system has more than 250 miles of hiking trails of various levels of difficulty.  Find more information at www.parks.ky.gov.


Closing streets to cars, opening them to people

October 8, 2008

Kentuckians are among the nation’s least healthy people. All of the surveys show it. Many of us smoke, most of us don’t get enough exercise and almost all of us have a deep and abiding love for fried, salty and sugary food.

We also know Kentucky is a poor state, with little money available to build gyms, pools or trails for walking and biking.

All of that is why many people who attended Lexington’s first Bike Summit a year ago were struck by a presentation from Gil Peñalosa, the former parks director of Bogotá, Colombia.

“He said, ‘You have the best bike and pedestrian infrastructure in the world already in place. You just have cars running up and down it all the time,'” Urban County Councilman Jay McChord recalled.

Peñalosa is famous for starting Ciclovia, an event that since 1976 has closed 70 miles of Bogotá’s streets to motorized traffic for seven hours each Sunday so people can come out to walk, bike, exercise and socialize. (Click here to see a short video of former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa discussing these issues.)

Several American cities have followed Bogotá’s lead. On three Saturdays in August, New York City banned motorized vehicles from seven miles of Park Avenue, all the way from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. Thousands of New Yorkers came out to walk and roller blade and to ride bikes, skateboards, strollers, wheelchairs and even grocery carts.

No state has tried such a thing — until Kentucky, this Sunday.

The event is called Second Sunday, and between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., at least 1 mile of a prominent street will be closed in 71 of Kentucky’s 120 counties for a street party that focuses on health and fitness.

In Lexington, Limestone will be closed from Third Street south to the Avenue of Champions. There will be a band playing at each end, and musicians will stroll through the crowd.

The courthouse square will be have a health fair and games for all ages. There will be stationary bikes for those who don’t want to ride in the street, and tandem bikes for those who want to ride with someone whose eyesight is better than theirs. There will be tai chi and bike polo demonstrations, a stroller workout and a dog bone hunt.

At 4 p.m., police will escort ambitious cyclists who want to ride out to Paris Pike — some even plan to ride to Paris and back.

“We want to make this a 21st-century parade where there are no bystanders,” said Diana Doggett, a University of Kentucky extension agent in Fayette County.

Lexington’s effort has been championed by McChord and Mayor Jim Newberry, with a lot of work being done by Doggett and Kenzie Gleason, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, among others. A dozen Lexington companies and organizations have signed on as sponsors of Second Sunday, and the Downtown Lexington Corp. has coordinated with businesses on and near Limestone to be open.

UK’s Cooperative Extension Service, which is coordinating the statewide effort, put out the challenge at a meeting in June that included teams of officials from 50 counties. Doggett said the response has been overwhelming, and many counties that couldn’t get something together for Sunday are already planning events for the second Sunday of October 2009.

The initial goal is to make Second Sunday an annual event. Or maybe a monthly event. In some places, it could even become a weekly event, giving small towns a hook to attract visitors.

McChord sees even bigger possibilities.

One of his interests is building more walking and bike paths. McChord, 40, grew up in the south Lexington suburbs and remembers how important the ball fields built at Shillito Park in the 1970s were to him.

“So I’ve thought, what could I do that my daughter’s generation would look back on?” he said.

McChord decided it was building recreational trails. His first effort has been a proposed 8-mile, multi-use path in his south Lexington district that he’s calling the HealthWay trail. It would connect Waveland State Shrine, Shillito and Wellington parks and major shopping centers in the area. He’s also among those working to create the Legacy Trail, which would connect downtown Lexington to the Kentucky Horse Park.

With the small amount of money now available, it would take forever to build a decent multi-use trail system in Kentucky. For example, McChord said, state officials last year had $13 million in various funds to build bike and pedestrian trails, but got requests for $75 million. And many counties didn’t bother to ask, because they knew funds were limited.

So, what if Kentucky could tap into more of the millions and millions of dollars that private foundations across America give each year to promote health, wellness and community life?

“What Second Sunday is designed to do is make a national statement that we are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” McChord said. He thinks Kentuckians could use Second Sunday “to cast ourselves as the lovable big loser” — like the characters in the popular weight-loss TV show.

“At the end of the day, we can take our biggest liability and turn it to our advantage,” he said. “We can make a statement that allows us to ask for help.”

So, think of Second Sunday as a first step — or pedal stroke — to a healthier Kentucky.