Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lunacy at Lunchtime

Earlier this week there was an e-mail circulated about the traffic situation for the rest of the week. In short, it encouraged those of us who park in the various garages around the downtown area to walk to lunch and only drive if you could part with your parking space. Oh, and also be courtious to our visitors for the boys Sweet Sixteen basketball tourney. Unfortunately, that did not get to some of our local delivery personnel.

Today, on my lunchtime ramble, I saw a beer delivery truck blocking a lane of traffic, directly in front of Cheapside, where the demolition and improvements have commenced. Right behind it were two other vehicles from the same distributor, apparently some sort of supervisory trucks. All were sitting with their flashing lights and doors open, just to deliver their product to places that were either busy with the lunch crowd or would not be open for some time. What was most ironic, was that they were blocking a Lextran stop(it was that or block the N. Mill St turn lane) when they could have parked on Short St. which has 1/10th the traffic and is the same distance from all customers for which they were delivering.

One of my pet peeves is the growing size of the delivery vehicles in the downtown area. The beverage deliveries now come in very extended trailers, some in excess of 110 feet in length. I understand that the reason for this is that one man may deliver to more places on a single route, thereby cutting costs and manpower. The three people-three vehicles-one delivery stop seems to discount this theory. The downtown area should have more compact delivery vehicles, preferably electric powered.

And the timing of the deliveries is another point of contention for me. Delivering during the noon dining time is bad enough, but when they arrive and idle on the street in close proximity to the sidewalk tables occupied with diners it is shear lunacy.

Downtown Lexington is compact, with a tightly packed area of dining and entertainment places that have few "back door" delivery options and where they do exist, they are little used. I have seen deliveries to the food court in the Lexington Center being done from the pull off on Vine St instead of the extensive loading dock area in back. We need to have a set time periods(which avoid the dining times) and set delivery spots(loading zones of the past, if you will) and enforce them. We have company coming in less than two years as the countdown clocks will tell you(they blocked a lane of Vine St to effect repairs on one just Tuesday noon, by the way) and we need to be on our best behavior when they get here. Mucking up our downtown traffic in their presence will not endear ourselves to them in the least.

And speaking of traffic and our guests, I hope that they will not be too put out at our not having an advanced transportation system as they might expect. One can zip around Europe by rail and connect to the streetcars to get around the cities and town, but you cannot get to Cincinnati or Louisville except by auto and the resulting traffic jams. Rail lines run to both of those places, but you can't hop a train to get from there to here. Even with all the grandiose road plans in the works, if we don't get started soon we will be too late.... real quickly.

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