Sunday, October 4, 2009

Roadways And Traffic Delays

Lexington's traffic is a mess. At least that is what quite a few twitterbugs are saying.

There are a lot of roadway projects being done along a lot of main thoroughfares and all at the same time. But is that at all different from any other city our size. And the comments run the gamut, from this road is a bottleneck to this road widening is a pain... now I'll never be able to get to work. Part of the problem is that so many of Lexington's residents only know of one way to get from where they are to where they want to be. Very few people want to find alternate routes to their most popular destinations. That and nobody want anyone from outside the neighborhood driving through my neighborhood.

The ends of the new Bolivar St(aka.Newtown Pike Extension) being built at W. Main St. and Versailles Rd. respectively are expected to be disrupted for the month of October only. Manchester St/Old Frankfort Pike from Cox to Forbes Rd could be upset for longer if they get their TIF approved. Old Frankfort and Alexandria will be a mess until the first of next year, but the completion will make a grand entrance to the urban area.

And then there is the South Limestone rebuilding project. Rebuilding the antiquated sewer systems(to satisfy the EPA), putting the utilities underground(we are asking for it everywhere else), new consistent, coordinated sidewalks(the college-town concept) and rain gardens in the right of way are an added bonus. This is a much smaller version of the project that made Main and Vine one-way streets back in the early '70s and honestly, I don't remember this much hue and cry about having our two busiest roads upset for so long. Sidewalks downtown were impassable for weeks on end and there were more people and businesses operating there in these days.

I have seen a call for better traffic control(manual control) at the S. Lime/Avenue of Campions intersection during the mid-day congestion period, but from what I've seen(on at least two occasions) there needs to be a curtailment of commercial deliveries during such times. Both the timing of the deliveries and the size of delivery vehicles has a lot to do with the backlog in circulation in this area. Forcing large delivery vehicles into tight urban spaces is not dis-similar to forcing a suburban development model on the downtown street scheme, it is just out of place.

Is there a better way to do all of this roadwork? Maybe. Should we put it off until a better time? Definitely not, it has been put off for too long now. Can we make adjustments to all of our schedules and just try to get through this? By all means. This reminds me of a trip that I took to New England, some 25 years ago, all the road were being repaired between almost all the tourist spots. When I asked why, I was told that tourist season was also road repair season as it was the only time that they could get the material and the ground was not frozen.

I know that we will get through this and I will say to those coming from the south end of town. Figure out a better path to Rupp Arena( and a back up plan) now, while you still have time, because nobody wants to miss tip-off this season.

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