The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development and Tourism was held on Thursday, November 16, 2006, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Eddie Ballard, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Eddie Ballard, Co-Chair; Senators Julian M. Carroll, Julie Denton, Denise Harper Angel, Ray S. Jones II, Richie Sanders, Jr., and Katie Stine; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Carolyn Belcher, James Carr, Larry Clark, W. Milward Dedman, Jr., Mike Denham, Bob M. DeWeese, Ted "Teddy" Edmonds, Jim Gooch, Jr., W. Mike Harmon, Mary Harper, Dennis Horlander, Dennis Keene, Thomas Kerr, Stan Lee, Thomas M. McKee, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, David Osborne, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Tanya G. Pullin, Ancel Smith, John Will Stacy, Mike Weaver, Robin L. Webb, and Ron Weston.
Guests: Deborah Stigall, Executive Director and Tiffani Jackson, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Office of Special Programs, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; Wally Pagan, Southbank Partners; Barry Zalph, Executive Director, Bicycling for Louisville, Inc.; Captain Erick Walker, Commander, Governor's Highway Safety Program, Kentucky State Police; Wendy Trimble, Pedal the Planet; Wendy Carlin, Program Coordinator, Obesity Prevention Program, Cabinet for Health and Human Services and Monica Froedge, Parent Volunteer, Save Kentucky Summers.
LRC Staff: John Buckner, Committee Staff Administrator; Karen Armstrong-Cummings and Louis Pierce, Legislative Analysts; and Dawn Johnson, Committee Assistant.
A motion and second made by Representatives Harper and Smith to approve the October 19, 2006, minutes was approved by voice vote.
Ms. Deborah Stigall, the Transportation Cabinet's Executive Director of the Office of Special Programs, and Ms. Tiffani Jackson, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator provided an overview of what the Cabinet does to promote bicycling in the Commonwealth. Ms. Stigall said that the Cabinet places emphasis upon bicycle safety initiatives, such as using the Transportation Enhancement Program to construct sidewalks within a two-mile radius of all elementary and secondary schools. The Office of Special Programs is also interested in maximizing efficiency by seeking ways in which programs may be designed to be complementary.
Mr. Wally Pagan with Southbank Partners gave a DVD presentation on waterfront developments along the Ohio and Licking Rivers in northern Kentucky. These developments are designed to dovetail with the recently completed Northern Kentucky Aquarium and Newport on the Levee. The DVD presentation illustrated a variety of apartment, condominium, retail and office developments, as well as the usage of bicycle and pedestrian trails to connect these developments with surrounding communities within Kentucky and Cincinnati. Mr. Pagan said that local, state, and federal funds are being leveraged and used for transportation enhancements.
Dr. Barry Zalph, Executive Director of the non-profit organization "Bicycling for Louisville," gave an overview of the importance of bicycling and transportation enhancements designed to assist and promote safe bicycling. He said that bicycling can offer potential solutions to traffic problems while simultaneously reducing problems associated with poor physical health and obesity. Mr. Zalph noted that too often bicycles are viewed as toys or as something having second-class status to automobiles, but that in actuality bicycles can become an integral part of a solution to traffic congestion. He cautioned, however, that highway signage and other safety-related features are very important and needed throughout the Commonwealth. Mr. Zalph said that educating bicyclists is also as important as educating drivers about the rights and responsibilities of all highway users.
Captain Eric Walker, Commander of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, Kentucky State Police, gave a presentation on bicycle and pedestrian accident data. The data showed, in part, that while there was an overall decrease in bicycle and pedestrian injuries caused by collisions with motorized vehicles, the fatality rate increased in 2005. He said that this was a major concern, and that the State Police was working with other agencies and local governments to provide better education and awareness programs, such as the “Share the Road” program. Captain Walker said that bicycle helmet usage was a key factor for bicycle safety. He called upon the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring bicycle helmets for children under 16 years of age. He also said that driver inattention was a key factor in causing accidents, and that requiring bicycle riders to use flashing red lights when riding at night or on roads having a posted speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour would greatly reduce collisions.
Ms. Wendy Trimble, owner of Pedal the Planet bicycle shop, Lexington, gave a presentation on the importance of bicycle trails, trail development, and bicycle tours to the state’s tourism economy. Citing data from a variety of states and localities, she provided materials showing the positive economic impact of bicycling and encouraged committee members to support the development of bicycle trails. Ms. Trimble noted that Kentucky ranks near the bottom of all states in railtrail development. She also encouraged the development of “Share the Road” signage and said that it was an effective mechanism for reminding drivers to be alert for bicyclists.
Ms. Wendy Carlin, program coordinator for the Obesity Prevention Program, Cabinet for Health and Human Services, gave a presentation on her office’s mission to help alleviate the rapidly escalating problem of obesity in Kentucky. Ms. Carlin presented slides showing that Kentucky traditionally has one of the nation’s highest rates of childhood obesity. She used a model developed by the Center for Disease Control to illustrate how confronting the epidemic of obesity requires a multifaceted approach, beginning with individual initiative and responsibility and going through public policies designed to confront the epidemic on a societal level. She used the example of tobacco usage to show how a concerted effort on many fronts can effectively reduce harmful behavior. Ms. Carlin said that encouraging physical activity is not only a highly effective way to reduce obesity, but that by doing so, other physical and psychological health problems are simultaneously addressed.
The meeting closed with a presentation by Ms. Monica Froedge, a parent volunteer from the group “Save Our Summers.” Information was presented showing that when the school calendar is moved to earlier in August, that it also has the effect of reducing economic activity in the state, particularly in the tourism industry. She said that the group does not seek to reduce the number of educational days in a school calendar, but the group does seek to have a statewide uniform school opening date that begins after Labor Day. Ms. Froedge said that several other states have done this, and that one result has been increased economic activity in the state. She said that the group is new to Kentucky, but that they are working with other groups throughout the nation to gather information on this initiative.
There being no further business, the committee adjourned at 3:15 p.m.