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Versailles traffic focus Monday

Robin Reed has a front-row seat when observing traffic congestion in downtown Versailles.

"It's pretty much bumper to bumper in the afternoons" after schools let out, said Reed, owner of Cornerstone Pharmacy at Main and Lexington streets. "In the mornings, it's the same way."

And big trucks turning from Main onto Lexington will sometimes rip a piece of the pharmacy's awning — or more.

"They take out the 'Walk/Don't Walk' sign every couple of months," she said. "And they usually don't know they do it, and they just drag it on with them."

So the city of Versailles, with $200,000 in funding from the state, is conducting a study to explore what can be done to ease downtown traffic congestion.

The study will be the topic of a public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Falling Springs Arts and Recreation Center in Versailles. During the meeting, public comment will be solicited and questions will be answered.

Tom Creasey, transportation planning engineer for Entran, the Lexington firm conducting the study, said Monday night's discussion is not about a proposed bypass around the western edge of Versailles. Some opposed that idea when it surfaced two years ago.

"The focus is not on the western bypass, per se," Creasey said. "The focus is on anything and everything that could improve traffic congestion in downtown. We will be looking at a bypass as one of the options, but it's not the only option."

He added: "We understand that a lot of people don't want it and there are a lot of people that do. So this will be a public vetting process to look at all the options and then weigh the advantages and disadvantages."

At this stage, the focus is on how to best move people and goods, Creasey said, "and not so much focus on a predetermined solution. So we will be addressing all the options for trying to make it better."

State traffic counts have been "quite constant" since 1992, he said, ranging between 12,000 and 12,800 vehicles per day traveling Main from Rose Hill Avenue to Broadway.

Versailles City Council member Ann Miller said congestion fluctuates with the time of year and the time of day. Morning and afternoon rush hours can clog downtown as people head to and from jobs, and as school buses shuttle students.

"Some days are heavier than others," she said. "Some days, you can get straight through."

Funding for the $200,000 study came from the state Transportation Cabinet to the city of Versailles, which contracted with Entran, formerly known as American Consulting Engineers.

"We are not presuming that there is a definite need" for a bypass, Miller said. "Entran will be able to help us answer that question. I feel very confident they will help us answer that question."