Fourth Street Retail Plan Could Lead to Changes in Parking, Traffic

by Gabe Bullard on January 9, 2012

The Louisville Downtown Development Corporation is considering various adjustments to South 4th Street to make the area a retail hub.

The organization hopes to recruit small and local businesses to set up in the two blocks of 4th Street north of Broadway. A loan program and a study showing high potential for retail downtown could help, but DDC officials say some adjustments should be made to attract suburban shoppers.

Planned infrastructure improvements include enhanced lighting and renovations to long-empty buildings. And while there is an abundance of parking downtown, DDC Director Alan Delisle says shoppers who are used to malls want a specific kind of parking—well-lit, clean and free.

Delisle says the DDC hopes to make certain garages near 4th Street free at night and on weekends. But he promises the corporation will not try to over-suburbanize downtown.

“It is an urban environment and we’re proud of that and we want it to be that and we’re going to take advantage of all the assets that come with that,” says Delisle.

In addition to shoppers who drive to 4th Street, the DDC hopes to attract visitors from downtown hotels, and that will require adjustments to make pedestrians feel more comfortable as they travel through underdeveloped blocks.

And Delisle says there’s a third type of shopper he’d like to attract…the type of shopper who lives on the block and will add a nighttime presence to the area.

“The essence of the plan has been focused on retail, but we have been working on the residential piece a well,” he says. “Every piece of property has a life of its own, and in some cases, there are discussions of residential use above the first floor.”

Other changes to 4th Street include the re-opening of Guthrie Plaza as a street and the addition of the long-dormant Derby Clock at Theater Square.

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