Sunday, July 19, 2009

How Do You Let Folks Know About Downtown?

As I was leaving work this past Friday, I was confronted with a back-up of traffic on Limestone as it headed north toward Main St. Ahead of me I could see the flashing red and blue lights of a number of police cars and the Limestone traffic being detoured onto Main St, therefore I figured that there must be a problem at the Courthouse Plaza. Crossing Main, I saw the mobile command post and an event vendors tent being set-up along with not a few hay bales beside the road. I asked a couple of officers about the stree closure and was told "There is going to be a bike race".

A downtown, evening bike race. Lexington's own mini tour d' Lexington time trial. THis was something that I would have been all over about 30 years ago. But where was the promotion for it? Who was promoting it? What time was it going to start? And why could they not let the auto traffic get out of downtown before they closed the streets?

That last question was the toughie. The officers didn't know and one said that someone higher above him had set the closure time. Friday afternoon rush hour traffic is usually gone by 5:30 and the summer evening dinner traffic doesn't pick up for a while, so why the rush to close the streets?

Better yet, did any one of those afternoon traffic alert reports mention that the streets downtown would have lane closures? Did Officer Don say anything about it that morning OR afternoon? Lexington's Traffic Engineering Division does not grant these things on short notice so I doubt that this could not have been publicized. So, where was the Herald Leader and their cycling writer Tom Eblen? Was he out staking out Dudley's house?

I looked for a published report of the results of the race and for two days have come up lacking. I fear that this will be the way things are handled for the Spotlight Lexington events and the Re-medaling ceremonies of the WEG downtown. This, following so closely on the heels of the South Limestone streetscape debacle leaves a bit to be desired from the Office of Government Communications in the realm of transparency to the public.

I would have liked to stay downtown and watch the race(if only I had known about it) and hope that there will be others in the future. I also hope that it is handled differently at that time.


Alison said...

Yep, I saw some flurry on Facebook about the street closings on Friday. Finally someone posted an answer: the bike race.

I feel like a have a finger on the pulse of the city, between the H-L, Twitter, and Facebook, but I had no clue this bike race was even happening. Somebody needs to get on the publicity bandwagon.

David M. F. Schankula said...

there's this:

as far as background. i did see something in the HL about the Gorge race, and if this was part of it i guess they felt they didn't need to do a second story?

not sure, but yes, timing and lack of publicity seem a bad idea.