Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness has released the “State of Food” report for the city (PDF link).
The report finds large food deserts in west Louisville and east downtown. These are areas where fresh food is hard to come by. Further limiting access is the fact that many households in these areas do not have vehicles, making a trip to one of the few grocery stores more difficult.
There is access to food in these areas, but the report says it’s not the right type of food:
Although West Louisville and East Downtown lack supermarkets, they have a tremendous amount of access to fast food. The report indicates that along Broadway, which runs from East Downtown to West Louisville, there are a total of 24 fast food restaurants in a 2.8 mile stretch, the highest concentration in the state of Kentucky (Figure 2).21 Interestingly, this report even finds that first tier national supermarket chains sell lower quality goods in low-income neighborhoods.22 In addition to being underserved by supermarkets and grocery stores, West Louisville and East Downtown residents also have significantly less access to a vehicle than residents of other parts of the city. In Jefferson County as a whole, only 13% of households lack vehicle access. However, 28% of West Louisville households do not have access to a vehicle and a striking 51% of households in East Downtown lack vehicle access.
The above paragraph accompanies a map of fast food outlets on Broadway:
To touch on a previous topic: neighborhoods in the deserts–including downtown–do not follow the federal government’s definition of livability, because it is not possible to access grocery stores without a motor vehicle.