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Kenton Connects is a countywide project, which examines and makes recommendations for bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation. Kenton County is home to nearly 169,000 residents that utilize all modes of transportation including cars and trucks, public transportation, bicycles, and by foot. While bicycling and walking are used less frequently than other modes of transportation, they are nonetheless important to Kenton County and have been identified in the Kenton County Comprehensive Plan as a priority.

The previous bicycle and pedestrian plans were created in 1999 and 2001, respectively. Bicycle and pedestrian issues and demand have changed in the last several years and those original plans have steadily become less relevant. The Kenton Connects study represents a comprehensive analysis of bicycle and pedestrian issues in Kenton County throughout 2017 and 2018.

Preparatory data collection efforts for the study began in early 2017 and included initial existing conditions research and a comparative jurisdiction analysis. This document describes the existing bicycle and pedestrian conditions in Kenton County in 2017 and 2018, the planning process, and methodology for the study. Information found throughout this text served as the basis for bicycle and pedestrian recommendations that are intended to be incorporated into the Kenton County Comprehensive Plan.

This research chapter examines the role of bicycle and pedestrian transportation in Kenton County and provides a comprehensive examination of these modes of transportation as they exist in early 2018.

The study officially commenced in July 2017 with the release of three bicycle and pedestrian public service announcements (PSA). The PSA’s were a project completed by Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) and made possible through the Paula Nye Grant. Funds from the grant were used to create three bicycle and pedestrian PSA’s designed to promote bicycle and pedestrian education and awareness. The three PSA’s covered topics including Bicycle Safety, Pedestrian Safety, and Driver’s Safety.

In preparation for the first Advisory Committee meeting, staff researched existing bicycle and pedestrian conditions such as bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and multi-use paths. The first Advisory Committee meeting occurred on August 30, 2017, and met approximately every other month throughout the end of the planning process.

The Kenton Connects survey was available to the public beginning on July 1, 2017, and was open for participation through October 9, 2017. The findings from the survey were presented to the Advisory Committee on October 25, 2017. The results of the survey provided guidance for the study moving forward and the next phase of the project, benchmarking.

Benchmarking was done to create goals and strategies for key measurables related to the study which can be reviewed in the future to evaluate success. The benchmarking portion of the study lasted from November 2017 through January 2017 and the results were used to begin crafting strategies and recommendations for the final plan. The recommendations were presented at a public open house on May 16, 2018. The final approvals of the plan began in May 2018 with subsequent public hearings in June and August. KCPC considered the recommendation from the study on August 2, 2018, and adopted it as an amendment of the Direction 2030 comprehensive plan.

Public Involvement

Public input is essential in every planning effort. The planning process included public input to create a plan that is reflective of their needs. The public input methods utilized are described below.

The Advisory Committee was created to provide the primary citizen and expert involvement during the study. The group provided guidance and oversight to staff and helped lead the general direction of the study. In the summer of 2017, an 18-member Advisory Committee was assembled, which consisted of local residents, business owners, elected officials, and professionals. Advisory Committee members were invited to participate based on their personal interest in bicycle and pedestrian issues or to provide professional expertise throughout the study. The group worked with staff to learn, contemplate, discuss, and make decisions on a variety of issues related to active transportation. The Advisory Committee recommended the plan be submitted to KCPC for their consideration as part of Direction 2030.

A public meeting provided additional opportunities for the citizens to provide input and have their voices be heard. The result of this input was presented to and considered by the advisory committee for inclusion in the plan.

A public meeting was held on May 16, 2018, at Dixie Heights High School. This meeting was an open house style meeting which provided the public with the opportunity to see key ideas from the study and provide comments on the plan. Approximately twenty-five people attended the open house and provided their thoughts. The open house style meeting provided participants the opportunity to view existing conditions research and key recommendation areas from the study: connectivity, safety, usership, and education.

The existing conditions and recommendation ideas from the study were displayed on boards that allowed participants to move throughout the meeting at their own pace and ask questions of staff and advisory committee members who were present at each station. Each participant also had the opportunity to submit a comment card providing their thoughts on the key ideas. General reaction to the plan, its ideas, and findings were positive and were reviewed by the advisory committee. A summary of the open house comment cards is provided in the Kenton Connects Public Comments Report.

Throughout July, August, and September 2017, a survey was conducted. The survey was designed to gather information about bicycle and pedestrian conditions and issues in Kenton County. The survey was open to the general public and gathered opinions of people ranging from novice pedestrians to expert-level cyclists as well as motorists who utilize the roadways. Questions were broad and included topics dealing with bicycle and pedestrian safety, education, and infrastructure improvements. A condensed version of the survey was provided to local high school students to gain a better understanding of bicycle and pedestrian concerns for that age group.

The survey was available electronically via the Kenton Connects website from July through September 2017. Paper forms of the survey were made available at Kenton County Public Library locations, Covington Housing Authority, and to those who requested it. Overall, 424 full length surveys were completed, and fifty-nine condensed versions were submitted by high school students.

The four key themes identified from the results of the survey were:

  1. Improving bicycle and pedestrian safety.
  2. Providing better access to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
  3. Improving connectivity of the existing bicycle and pedestrian system.
  4. Improving the convenience and usability of walking and biking as both a form of recreation and transportation.

The advisory committee moved forward with these key themes and used the results of the survey to help guide the direction of the final plan and recommendations. Results and details of the survey can be found in the Kenton Connects Public Comments Report


A project website was created to promote the study and inform citizens about bicycle and pedestrian related issues prior to the official kickoff of the Kenton Connects study. provided those interested in the study with the opportunity to sign up for an email list, which was used to inform people of the public meeting and updates about the study. The electronic version of the survey was hosted on this website and provided the main source of contact for users. Periodic updates to the website were made to inform citizens about bicycle and pedestrian related issues and inform citizens on the status of the study.

Paula Nye Grant Public Service Announcement’s

Coinciding with the kickoff of the Kenton Connects study, three public service announcements promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety and education were created. These public service announcements were made possible by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) through the generous award of a Paula Nye Grant. The grant is funded through citizen donations during the purchase or renewal of the “Share the Road” license plates and is awarded annually to organizations interested in informing and educating Kentuckians on bicycle and pedestrian transportation safety issues.

PDS staff generated three videos focused on educating the public about bicycle, pedestrian, and driver safety. They help teach the rules of the road and work to create a safer transportation environment. The final 5 seconds of the PSA’s were used to promote the Kenton Connects study and encourage people to visit the website where they could take the survey.

The three videos were advertised on the Spectrum television and digital media network and social media outlets such as Facebook and YouTube. The majority of the funds from the grant were used to pay for the advertising portion of the project. The creation of the PSA’s provided a great opportunity to educate the public about bicycle and pedestrian safety and promote the kickoff of the Kenton Connects study. The three PSA pages can be found at 

Study Overview, Vision, and Goals

A vision statement and study goals were established by the Advisory Committee to help guide the direction of the study. The following sections briefly review the considerations taken into account during the planning process.

Vision and Goals

The following vision statement and goals for the project were used to guide the development of the plan throughout the process and served as the framework upon which the recommendations were created.


The vision of the Kenton Connects Study is to improve bicycle and pedestrian conditions and usability in Kenton County by strengthening and building upon existing infrastructure, creating policies that encourage a friendlier bicycle and pedestrian culture, and ensuring Kenton County is prepared for a strong bicycle and pedestrian future.

Kenton County encompasses a total of 165 square miles and presents a wide array of issues for any type of planning process. The unique urban, first-ring suburban, suburban, and rural development patterns that exist from north to south requires the examination of a wide range of bicycle and pedestrian issues that are exclusive to certain parts of the county. A goal of this project is to create a plan that addresses bicycle and pedestrian needs throughout Kenton County and provide recommendations for future bicycle and pedestrian opportunities for all types of users.


The following study goals were established early in the Kenton Connects study process by the advisory committee. These goals were initially established with guidance from the existing recommendations and tasks found within the Direction 2030 comprehensive plan. They are intended to be achievable and attainable goals that would promote bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation in Kenton County.

  • Strive to create a friendlier and safer bicycle and pedestrian environment in Kenton County
  • through education, improved infrastructure, and establishing a bicycle and pedestrian culture.
  • Establish a record of existing bicycle and pedestrian conditions and facilities in Kenton County including identifying current gaps in the system and an inventory of existing infrastructure.
  • Identify problematic bicycle and pedestrian crash locations and craft strategies to improve these areas. Identify bicycle and pedestrian shed areas based on topography and ease of use.
  • Establish benchmarks to create achievable goals and to identify strategies which can be used to help determine the success of the plan in the future. Benchmarks can be established for different sets of data including the number of crashes, mileage of facilities, and bicycle and pedestrian usage at key locations.
  • Create bicycle and pedestrian policies that encourage and maximize the usership, convenience, safety, and functionality of these transportation options.


The Kenton Connects study is designed to address bicycle and pedestrian related issues in Kenton County. This section of the research report describes challenges and opportunities discovered throughout the public involvement and research phases of the project in 2017. To accomplish the goals of the study, implementation will need to be enacted on the local level and leadership will continue to be needed to bring these ideas to fruition. These respective subsections outline the most frequently mentioned topics discussed during the survey, public meeting, and advisory committee meeting.


Bicycle and pedestrian resources in Kenton County range from physical assets such as existing infrastructure like sidewalks and trails to advocacy and education organizations. The following subsections address bicycle and pedestrian resources that exist in Kenton County.

Physical Infrastructure

The infrastructure that exists in Kenton County is a solid foundation for the expansion of the system and to grow bicycling and walking modes of transportation. Resources that were identified through the research and survey phases of this project include multi-use trails, sidewalks, and mountain bike trails. These resources can be found sporadically throughout Kenton County in amenities such as Riverfront Commons, Licking River Greenway, Devou Park, and the Kenton County Park system. These areas, as well as others in Kenton County, were identified by survey respondents as great resources for active transportation. They provide access to sidewalks and other infrastructure that make these forms of transportation more accessible. Many of the ideas and recommendations identified in this study work toward strengthening identified existing bicycle and pedestrian resources and building upon existing assets.

Advocacy and Education

Advocacy organizations promote and encourage successful bicycle and pedestrian plans that will improve these modes of transportation in Kenton County.  Organizations that promote and advocate for bicycle and pedestrian transportation include Tri-State Trails, Queen City Bike, and Cincinnati Off Road Alliance. These organizations work toward educating citizens about bicycle and pedestrian issues and seek to advance a vision for these modes of transportation. Advocacy and education by these types of organizations promote the safe and effective use of active transportation, help bring awareness to related issues, and try to bring people together toward a common goal.


Numerous bicycling and pedestrian challenges were identified throughout the study. The result of the Kenton Connects survey identified four areas that present challenges to bicycling and walking in Kenton County. The following subsections address the challenges related to each of these four areas.


Safety was identified in the survey as a major barrier to bicycling and walking. The perception of safety, or the lack thereof, was something that prevented people from using these modes of transportation more often. The feeling or perception that bicycling and walking are not safe is a major challenge toward these becoming better transportation options. The survey results indicated that separation from traffic improves the feeling of safety and enhances the level of comfort. Identifying strategies and policies to improve the safety of bicycling and walking is an important component of this study.


Access to usable and desirable bicycling and walking infrastructure in Kenton County is limited. Comments from the survey stated that community members drive outside of the county to walk or ride a bicycle because the accessibility and usability of their trails and paths is better. These people are willing to travel a greater distance to access infrastructure that meets their needs. Providing better access to places people want to bicycle and walk is a challenge which should be addressed to create a better bicycling and walking environment. This plan has sought to create strategies that will improve access to desirable infrastructure that improves connectivity and encourages their use.


The connectivity of the current bicycle and pedestrian system was identified by the survey as another obstacle to using the current system. In many areas sidewalks only connect within a subdivision or community and do not connect to a larger network or to destination type places. The bicycle lane system in Kenton County is limited and provides little connection to places of interest. The challenge is to begin connecting these systems to create a network which better serves the residents of Kenton County.


Convenience refers to how easy, expedient, and friendly it is to use the current bicycle and pedestrian systems in Kenton County. Many people in the survey indicated that they do not bicycle or walk to work or for pleasure because it is not convenient to use these modes of transportation. This inconvenience is the result of the previous challenge areas including the lack of connectivity and access and the perception of safety. Working toward improving the other challenge areas will improve the convenience of bicycling and walking in Kenton County

The following subsections of this chapter provide information on research efforts and offer analysis pertaining to existing studies, plans, infrastructure, and facilities.

Review of Existing Studies

To ensure every effort has been made to create recommendations that will have the highest success, a review of previous bicycle and pedestrian related planning efforts in Kenton County was conducted. Reviewing these documents provides valuable insight into historic and previous conditions, concerns, and efforts related to bicycle and pedestrian modes. Seven plans were reviewed with respect to their relevance to the Kenton Connects study and how they relate to bicycling and walking in Kenton County.  The plans and their recommendations are noted to ensure any recommendations made within the Kenton Connects study are made in the context of other plans or activities already taking place.

Kenton County Bicycle Plan (1999)   Kenton County Pedestrian Plan (2001)
Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice   Kenton County Subdivision Regulations
Kenton County Transportation Plan (KCTP)   Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans
Tri-State Trails Regional Trails Plan   Tri-State Trails Covington + Newport Bike Plan

Current Bicycle and Pedestrian Trends

The advisory committee found it important to review other jurisdictions strategies to stay current on trends and create effective policies. Following other jurisdictions lead, Kenton County can learn and improve from their achievements as well as their mistakes. Effective bicycle and pedestrian strategies and policies can be adapted to fit Kenton County’s goals and needs.
Throughout the United States, numerous jurisdictions are adopting policies that create and encourage bicycle and pedestrian friendly communities.

Examples of infrastructure improvements, community education, and policy decisions can be seen on the local level throughout the country.
Infrastructure improvements are being made to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, and to increase the number of trails, bike lanes, and overall infrastructure miles. When undergoing road construction, roads are being retrofitted to accommodate wider sidewalks, bike lanes, separated shared use paths, or other improvements. Additionally, when planning for future streets or improvements, bicycle and pedestrian needs are being taken into consideration during the initial planning and design phase.

With infrastructure in place, many cities and organizations are taking the initiative to sponsor classes for bicycle and pedestrian education and safety purposes. They are also hosting community events that may include walking or biking guided tours that promote a positive pedestrian and bicycle culture.

Cities Identified in Direction 2030

As identified in Direction 2030, the cities of Portland, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Scottsdale, Arizona were determined to be comparable to Kenton County in either geographic size or in population. Portland, Scottsdale, and Kenton County are similar in geographic size between approximately 145 and 185 square miles. Eugene, Fort Collins, and Kenton County have similar populations of approximately 165,000 people according to the most recent public Census data.

An analysis of the five jurisdictions shows Kenton County has the least number of multi-use paths and bicycle lanes. Table 1 shows the number of trails, paths, and bike lanes accounted for in each jurisdiction.