Jul 012012

Planning for 2-way Lex

 By David Shattuck

The $465,000 “Traffic Movement & Revitalization Study” is now underway.  LFUCG gave final approval to the contract with Santec (formerly Entran) in mid-May.  According to its contract, the Santec study will “assess the ability of the Downtown Lexington street system to accommodate current and future year traffic conditions with all existing one-way streets converted to two-way operation.”  More specifically, “The study will help to determine if two-way conversion can reduce driver confusion, increase accessibility to downtown businesses, and moderate vehicle speeds for improved safety.”

One word that can’t be found in the contract for the “Traffic Movement & Revitalization Study” is “revitalization.” Indeed, an oft-repeated word in the contract is “mitigation”—a lessening, moderation—as in mitigating the traffic congestion caused by converting our downtown one-way streets to two-way traffic.  Other “r” words, however, are repeated throughout the contract:  roundabouts, right-of-way purchases, and a relocation of the Transit Center. Continue reading »

Apr 042012

By David Shattuck

Editor’s note: David’s previous two columns demonstrated that converting Lexington’s downtown streets to two-way traffic would result in unacceptable congestion at peak hours.  Currently, city leadership is once-again expending public capital to study two-way conversion as a means to improve the city.

Conversion proponents argue that slower traffic makes streets more “walkable,” thereby enhancing retail potential, and that retailers shun locating on one-way streets.  Slower traffic means fewer accidents, and is safer for pedestrians, they reason.  This column dispels these myths.

One would expect that conversion proponents would have evidence supporting their claims.  The Lexington Downtown Development Authority (LDDA), an entity that was created in large part to make conversion happen, offers none. Remarkably, as the LDDA wrote me last November, it “has conducted no research and has no information regarding the benefits and costs of converting Lexington’s downtown streets to two-way traffic.” Continue reading »

May 202010

CVS, ProgressLex and building a dignified city center

By Andrew Battista

“Progress” has always been a slippery concept. It’s difficult to critique an organization that collectively pursues “progress,” just like it’s unpopular to poke holes in a community that wants to valorize its own creativity as a linchpin of social improvement. It’s harder still to define what counts as progressive, especially when what’s at stake with the progress debate is actually the ability of the community in question to enjoy the amenities that most people in Lexington would deem essential.

Recently, a group of well-intentioned public activists have formed ProgressLex, a nonprofit dedicated to social justice and “smart and sustainable economic development” in downtown Lexington. Thus far, ProgressLex has mastered several bailiwicks: the architectural aesthetics of certain downtown buildings, the traffic flow of Lexington’s downtown thoroughfares, and the brand development of Lexington as an epicenter of brainpower and social industry. Continue reading »