A major impediment to the integration of the Waterfront district and the Louisville Medical Center into the whole of downtown is the intrusion of the I-65 Brook/Jefferson Streets off-ramp. While this ramp serves as the first and major Downtown exit of Southbound I-65, it has many problems. The current location of this exit ramp orients traffic in a westbound or northbound direction, making access to the Medical Center difficult. Additionally, the current location of the I-65 ramp is very land intensive and placed in a location after the bridge crossing and a major curve, which increases the potential for dangerous weaving and merging movements. Essentially two full blocks of the downtown core remain of marginal use as a result.
It is strongly recommended that this ramp be reconfigured and relocated slightly southbound, in the block bounded by Brook Street on the west, Liberty Street on the north, Floyd Street and I-65 on the east, and Muhammad Ali Boulevard on the south. Under this alternative, a new slip ramp would be constructed that would run parallel to the existing I-65 right-of-way and drop down to grade level as it passes east of the current Doctor’s Office building, then provide northbound access at the intersection of Muhammad Ali and Brook Street, and southbound access at First Street and Brook (if Brook becomes two-way).
This reconfiguration would greatly improve the clarity of access to the Medical Center. Furthermore, relocation of this ramp a block further south than its present location removes it from the bend in I-65, increasing visibility, providing longer merge and weave segments, and improving overall safety and efficiency of the ramp. Relocation of this ramp would also free up an additional two blocks for new development such as the expansion of University of Louisville’s Nucleus Bio-Medical Research Park. These two additional development blocks would also provide a much-needed connection between the medical center district and the burgeoning East Main and Waterfront Districts to its north.
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