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 »

Jun 252012

Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet

By Captain Comannokers
NoC Transportation Czar

There are a shit ton of people out there who are not very good drivers. I am SO in favor of making it tougher to get a license. You should need a 90 percent or higher on your written test. If you don’t know the laws and how they apply to the road, should you be out on it?

Add our modern-world distractions that folks love to tinker with while behind the wheel, and the recipe is like adding sour milk to a rotten egg omelet. Continue reading »

Mar 302011

City infrastructure on North Broadway and Limestone

By Dave Cooper

After much community discussion and debate, construction will commence this summer on the construction of 1.6 miles of sidewalks on both sides of Tates Creek Road, from the Lansdowne Center to an expensive-sounding housing development called “The Enclave.”  The project is supposed to be completed by Fall 2011, at a cost of just over $1 million dollars.  There was initially some controversy about the project, even though the need for sidewalks was clear from the well-worn dirt path along the side of the busy road.

I’m happy for the pedestrians in the Tates Creek Road area, and I’m happy that the Enclavians can now easily walk to the Embry’s in Lansdowne in order to purchase coats made from the carcasses of small, tortured dead animals.  But I feel discouraged that it has taken almost four years from the time that the need for the sidewalks was first identified (via a public survey in 2007) until the time the concrete will be poured. Continue reading »

Aug 252010

Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet

By Captain Comannokers
NoC Transportation Czar

Back to school means back to some cycling basics. Specifically, do NOT ride in the wrong direction in a bike lane. On a recent ride down Euclid Avenue, the proof was on the pavement.

A cyclist had just been to Kroger and was riding west on Euclid back toward campus – unfortunately, in the wrong bike lane. This happens a lot on Euclid. Folks pick up a couple of things from Kroger and instead of waiting and making a left hand turn to get in the proper bike lane, they unwisely choose the improper bike lane.

This particular cyclist was hit by a car pulling out of 5/3 Bank near Park Avenue – crash, boom, bang – and the freshly purchased eggs were splattered on the Euclid Avenue asphalt.

Officer Howard Florence, who patrols Lexington streets on bike, chimed in on the situation. “I’ve seen that happen too many times. Most people ride the wrong way because it’s a bit quicker or easier for them at that moment. Maybe their street is a block away or traffic was heavy and they were too impatient to cross. That’s just human nature sometimes.”

If this is your human nature, do not follow it: it is trying to get you seriously injured. Time to trade in your human nature for a dose of common sense.

“Pointing out how things can go really bad seems to get the idea across,” Florence said. “I don’t just tell someone they’re in the wrong lane. I’ll take a moment and explain that when you go the wrong way, cars aren’t looking for you.”

Euclid has landmines everywhere – side streets, businesses, heavy pedestrian traffic. It’s a tough enough street to ride even with bike lanes. So, keep the Evil Knievel stunts at the skate park or on the cul-de-sac in your comfy neighborhood.

In addition, when students return Euclid is one of the epicenters of the city. Can traffic get heavy on it? Yep. Is it easy to get impatient when travelling on it? Yep. But those are not reasons to improvise your navigation of it. If you do improvise, your eggs (or brains) could wind up on the street, too.

Luckily, this young man seemed to have only scrapes, but another situation was unfolding. The driver was obviously shaken from just hitting someone. He didn’t want to call the police and offered to help pay for the damage to the bike and the lost groceries.

First, it was not the driver’s fault. He owed this cyclist nothing.

Second, Officer Florence explains why it is important to have the police on the scene after an accident.

“If there is more than $1,000 damage or if someone is injured, a police report is required by law. If you decide to make a claim on someone’s insurance, they almost always require a report so you would have to call us anyway.”

“Often in these situations a person may not realize that they are injured until a day or two later. The hospital is required by law to contact the police. It’s difficult to take a report that far after the incident. Too many people just exchange information and, at first, say they will work it out between themselves only to have one of the parties not follow through. Someone then wants a report, but any possible evidence or witnesses are gone,” Florence said.

To borrow from chicken riddle lore – Why did the cyclists cross the road? To get to the other side (where they will ride in the correct bike lane, save their lives and get their eggs home safe and sound).

Illustrations by Noah Adler

Get on noclexington.com or email the Captain at ShareTheRoadLex@gmail.com to continue the discussion. Ask questions. Voice frustrations as a pedestrian, cyclist or driver. Let’s work though our differences in sharing the road. Captain Comannokers over and out.

Aug 112010

Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet

By Captain Comannokers

NoC Transportation Czar

Despite the growing support for alternative transportation in Lexington, we are not suddenly going to find ourselves in a Norman Rockwellesque utopia where everyone waves, tips their caps, and rings their bicycle bells. It’s a nice idea, but the reality is that sharing the road can be a frustrating, tricky, and dangerous proposition.

The simple goal of this column is to create dialogue between everyone who shares the road. I invite you, as a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist, to send in specific concerns related to the flow of traffic or laws of the road. If you’ve given a hand gesture or were forced to yell a curse word or two because of a traffic predicament, let me know—let’s see if we can clear the air on what went down. In turn, hopefully readers will learn something they didn’t know and take the corrective measure next time they’re out and about. Continue reading »