Installation started this week on wayfinding signs designed to make Lexington a more walkable and pedestrian-friendly city.
More than 50 signs will be installed at 25 major intersections throughout the downtown core during the first phase of the WalkLEX program. During the second phase, at least 64 additional signs will go up at 32 intersections near the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University.
All the signs in both phases are expected to be installed within four to six weeks.
The signs not only will give pedestrians directions to major landmarks or districts, they will indicate how long it will take to walk there — such as, Rupp Arena is a four-minute walk from a certain location.
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"There is so much to see and do in Lexington, and our vibrant downtown is one reason our city is a special place to live and visit," Mayor Jim Gray said in a written release. "With the WalkLEX signs, businesses and restaurants will see more foot traffic, and residents and visitors will discover events and attractions they might otherwise not have known about."
The WalkLEX program is a joint project by VisitLEX, the city's convention and visitors' bureau; the Lexington Downtown Development Authority; and the Downtown Lexington Corp. It's part of a broader citywide initiate called livableLEX.
"Our livableLEX initiative aims to develop quality streets and public spaces that are essential to a livable, creative and vital downtown, and pedestrian wayfinding is one piece of this puzzle," said Brandi Berryman, project manager for the Lexington Downtown Development Authority.
"We are trying to make it friendlier and make it easier for people to walk," Berryman said. Through a different pilot program, the city installed temporary pedestrian wayfinder signs this summer. Those temporary signs will augment the permanent signs, Berryman said.
The WalkLEX program also will be key to helping visitors navigate the city, tourism officials said.
"The new WalkLEX signs will help visitors locate and enjoy the attractions, dining, arts districts and nightlife opportunities located within the downtown area," said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX.
The idea began in 2013 as a pilot project under Leadership Lexington, a leadership training program.
"As downtown Lexington has grown and developed, we saw a need to help connect Lexingtonians and tourists with all of the great places our downtown has to offer," said Andy Shea, Leadership Lexington team chairman. "Our group researched hundreds of cities and wayfinding setups. By partnering with respected downtown entities, that vision is now a reality."