Jessamine county history

I just noticed that the Jessamine County Historical and Genealogical Society has a new website. Their old one was sadly out of date.

The historical society has put together some excellent resources and are actively working to preserve Jessamine county history and heritage. If you visit the Applebee’s in Nicholasville you’ll notice a number of historical photos of the area, including some of High Bridge and its railroad station. I hope I will be able to obtain copies of these for use on the website and in promotional materials for the High Bridge–Wilmore Rail-trail. (Thankfully all these photos are out of copyright.)

Regional transportation planning

The January 28, 2003 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader had a front page article saying that under a proposed plan, Jessamine county would get a greater voice on the regional transportation panel. Jessamine has complained that it has no influence on the Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the group responsible for transportation planning in Fayette and Jessamine counties, and points to the lack of even a study for a connector road between Interstate 75 and Nicholasville as an example. Jessamine has only 3 votes to Fayette’s 18. Under the proposal, Fayette county would cut its voting members on the MPO to 10. Jessamine would retain its three voting members. The new MPO would have seven Urban County Council members, the Lexington mayor, the Fayette judge-executive, an official from LexTran, the Jessamine judge-executive, and the mayors of Nicholasville and Wilmore.

These changes to the MPO could benefit rail-trails in Jessamine County. In a sidebar, the Lexington Herald-Leader described the role of the MPO like this:

The MPO establishes transportation policy for the region and prioritizes which roads should be studied, improved or built. In addition to roadwork, the MPO also works on energy-conservation planning and oversees ride-sharing, van-pooling and air-quality programs.

The MPO also establishes bikeways and facilities for the disabled. This year, the MPO has a budget of $37.7 million in federal, state and local funds.

High Bridge historical marker

Across Kentucky there are sites that are marked by gold and brown historical markers. I found Signs Of History, a website which includes descriptions and pictures of a number of them. I sent them information about the High Bridge historical marker and they graciously included many links to my rail-trail page. I’m returning the favor. I hope to supply them with pictures of the other historical sites and markers in the area, including the Bethel Academy marker at Asbury College.

High Bridge walking tour

I found a terrific article describing High Bridge in 1940. The article takes you on a “walking tour” around the village and tells you about the people and places you’d have seen at the time. The map related to the article is apparently missing, but even without it you can generally find your way around. The article is from the April 2000 issue of Kentucky Explorer magazine. As I continue to work on the rail-trail, I love finding out more about the history of the area.

Make room for the bicycles

According to a July 19, 2002 press release, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will plan and build all new and reconstructed roadways with pedestrians and bicycles in mind:

Secretary of Transportation, James C. Codell, III recently signed the Pedestrian and Bicycle Travel Policy. This new policy will help guide the [Transportation] Cabinet’s evaluation of when, where, and how to include pedestrian and bicycle facilities as part of the overall transportation system. The policy guidelines give roadway planners and designers specific criteria for accommodating pedestrian and bicycle travel. Planners will bear in mind adjacent land use, existing pedestrian traffic, local bike plans, transit stops, and public input to determine the necessity for accommodating non-motorized travel.

This is great news for those that want to see additional facilities provided for bicycling, walking, running, and other non-motorized recreation. This type of planning combined with additional rail-trail development could help Kentucky build a nice interconnecting trail network.