record crowds at OpenCoffeeLou 34
record crowds at OpenCoffeeLou 34

This morning’s Open Coffee kicked off with moderator Deborah Boyer asking attendees what infrastructural change they’d most like to see in Louisville. Answers included:

  • More people involved with schools
  • Mass transit improvements
  • Remove highways along waterfront
  • More chances for international students to study in Louisville
  • More meetings like this and spaces like the iHub
  • Improved wayfinders
  • More composting
  • Light rail
  • Motor vehicles eliminated from Olmsted parks
  • Free art classes brought back
  • More public art

Chris Harrell was our guest speaker today. He’s originally from Jeffersonville, but has spent much of his life in Louisville. Harrell has spent his career in the forefront of entrepreneurial, green, and focused urban development. Harrell, principal and founder at Lazarus Group, served as Brownfield Redevelopment Coordinator for the City of Indianapolis.

His recommendation was: more ways to connect east and west Louisville.

He also encouraged us to think regionally not Louisville-centric.

Harnell talked to us about the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a $60+ million bike/pedestrian way in the city. He had us watch this video, which is worth every one of the eight minutes it lasts:

Harnell said that at first he was opposed to the idea. He said: “Some rich guy gave $13 million for a sidewalk? Bad.” He changed his mind within a year. “We need to do it too.”

The trail is 11 miles, lighted, segregated bike/pedestrian path, linking multiple neighborhoods. He said it is and it feels safer and has encouraged many people who haven’t ridden a bike for a long time to start riding regularly. Green infrastructure enhances hardscape and landscape and provides storm run-off protection.

He said the trail cost about $60 million total money between private, grant, and city money. Gene and Marilyn Glick were the primary private donors.

He is a friend of Tyler Allen and was a proponent of 86/64. But obviously we’re going to get bridges and pay tolls. How can we minimize the impact on disadvantaged people? He says, “Let’s give those people it disadvantages something in exchange.” Create these trails and link neighborhoods safely. Take the operation and maintenance fund from the tolls.

Harrell says Indianapolis’s trails are “Cadillac” quality. We don’t have to make our trails as shiny, but we could make more of them.

There is $2 million commissioned art along the Indy trail. Some of it functional (bus shelters, bike racks) some of it aesthetic.

In downtown Indianapolis, the YMCA has the “Indy Bike Hub” facility, right next to City Market on East Market Street. At the Bike Hub, you can garage your bike (indoors), shower and even get in a workout (if you still need one) before work. The Bike Hub features a full bike shop for sales, rentals, gear and repairs. You can join as a full YMCA member and have access to all the facilities, or you can just join as a bike-and-shower member for $40 a month.

Indianapolis went from zero bike lanes in 2007 to 75 miles now.

There’s a waterway that connects Old Louisville through Germantown to Tyler Park, says Harrell. It meanders, but that might be a good place to start.

In many neighborhoods we have an oversupply of roadway– roads that have more lanes than traffic calls for them to have. This is always a wastewater concern.

The logical “test site” for this would be the Nucleus to NuLu– Harnell wants to make sure they see this idea before they finalize the plan.

Also would be nice to see it used on the K&I bridge.

“This is something good that people in the neighborhoods could hug and squeeze every day,” says Harnell.

Announcements and Coming Events

We welcomed 10 high school students (7 from Iraq, 3 from other parts of the United States) on a program through the World Affairs Council – Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange. Louisville is the site for students who chose “entrepreneurship” as their focus during their five-week visit. Jason D’Mello is their instructor. The students are working on individual social entrepreneurship projects and will be pitching their ideas at a dinner banquet on Tuesday evening.

The first Louisville Hardware Meetup is tonight at LVL1 6:30 p.m. (814 East Broadway)

Village Capital Venture Well accelerator is hosting a happy hour tomorrow at the BBC Taproom on Main. Come meet the companies involved with the accelerator and possibly other accelerators around the city. 5:30 p.m.

The first Louisville-based 5Across is Wednesday at Velocity at 5 p.m. $5 to see five pitches compete.

Thanks again to Heine Brothers for supporting the group with coffee. Next week we will have guest from GE speaking about design. We may have a location change. Stay tuned. Otherwise, we’ll be at the iHub, 204 S. Floyd, next Monday at 8.am.

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