Mary Ginocchio, the owner of Mulberry & Lime at 216 N. Limestone, where two one-way streets meet, described Tuesday the route customers must take to reach parking spaces behind her building.
They drive past her business to Third Street where they turn right and drive to Martin Luther King Boulevard, make another right to Constitution, turn right yet again and, when they've almost reached Limestone again, they pull into the parking behind her building.
Ginocchio was speaking to the Urban County Council's Planning and Public Safety Committee, which had just heard a comprehensive study of the traffic impact of converting streets downtown from one way back to their original two-way traffic flow.
She didn't ask the obvious question but we will: Why, after more than a decade of study at great expense, is Lexington's city government still torturing business owners like Ginocchio and their customers?
We can go further: Why are we dawdling about a measure that will reduce serious car accidents, make it easier to find your way around, and make streets more welcoming and safer for pedestrians and cyclists?
Councilman Kevin Stinnett said it well: It's time for action.
The first action is to approve the money — something in the range of $100,000 — to get down into the nitty gritty of designing the two-way conversion on North Limestone and Upper, West Short and Second. That will include working out the safest, most efficient ways to handle the crowds that converge on the Opera House and Lexington Children's Theater on Short, and Sayre and Lexington Traditional Magnet schools on Limestone.
The study presented Tuesday included some suggestions about how to deal with those areas but there's still fine tuning to be done, working with representatives of those institutions and neighbors.
The three-year, $490,000 study by Stantec divided the urban core into three areas: north of Main Street, encompassing North Limestone and Upper, Short and W. Second streets; the core of Main and Vine streets; and the south side near the University of Kentucky, including High and Maxwell streets.
The results found that changing the streets on the north side will have little impact on traffic flow. On the south side it found potential backups during rush hours and little support for a conversion from UK or businesses in the area.
On the downtown core, it seemed wise to wait until the Newtown Pike extension, which should divert some traffic from downtown, is complete and plans for the Town Branch Commons along Vine are more advanced.
But there's no reason to wait on the north side.