Lexington is repeatedly compared and contrasted with Madison, Wisconsin. Both are big, small towns with major universities. Both are also cities without an interstate highway slicing through town. In both cases it was a conscious decision to leave the interstate out.
What is different is that the local officials in Madison realized that their residents and visitors still needed to have local access. Madison's city planners began to plan for (and implement) a much more multi-modal transportation network. Those investments are still paying off.
When the attitudes about transportation and urban living shifted, as they have over the past decade, there was not a mad scramble get a solution in place. There were several options already available. Not so in Lexington, the attitudes are changing but the viable options are not there.
The average Madison city resident drove 18 percent fewer miles in 2011 than in 2006 — from 8,900 miles down to 7,300. It would be nice to know the comparable statistic for the Lexington area. Bus ridership is up and I do see many more cyclists than I used to, but just imagine if we had the foresight that they displayed in Madison.