LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A decision on whether to reopen the scenic loops at Cherokee and Iroquois parks to vehicle traffic is looming.

The loops closed to drivers at the start of the pandemic in an effort to help manage crowds. During lockdown, the parks became more popular and saw an increase in foot and vehicle traffic. In an effort to allow runners and walkers the ability to properly practice social distancing on the roadways, Rundill Road and Scenic Loop were closed to drivers.

Leaders are now considering several options: keeping the loops closed, reopening them completely, alternating the days they're open, or closing just parts of the loops.

There is also concern with keeping them accessible to everyone in the community, as well as parking.

"If people drive into Hogan's Fountain, and there's no parking there, where are they going to go from there? And really trying to think about putting yourself in the mind of a park user and trying to come up with alternatives," Layla George, president and CEO of Olmsted Parks Conservancy, said. "Parking is a huge issue with the closure. There's no question. Damage to the grassway, underneath the trees, I mean it's been a real mess."

Residents who live near both parks voiced their concerns to city officials during two public meetings on Tuesday. At the heart of both debates: ensuring both parks are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Last month, Louisville Parks and Recreation launched two surveys to gauge public opinion regarding vehicle traffic at the two parks. The results showed 70% of more than 7,000 respondents in favor of keeping Cherokee Park's scenic loop closed.

Of the 3,000 people who completed the Iroquois Park survey, 63% said they feel safer when the road is closed to vehicle traffic, and 63% said their park access has not been restricted by the closure. Nearly 28% of respondents were in favor of keeping the park open to vehicle traffic regardless of conditions, while 34% said they don't want it open under any condition.

Louisville Parks and Recreation and Olmsted Parks Conservancy will consider the feedback from both surveys. They plan to make a decision soon. 

Related Stories:

Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.