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Lexington's heavy holiday traffic gets a light touch

If you have been frustrated by holiday shopping traffic, Lexington officials want you know that traffic tie-ups could be a lot worse and more frequent if it weren't for a special coordinated effort between city engineers and the police department.

Maybe you haven't noticed, but on Thursday and Friday evenings and all day on Saturdays and Sundays, the timing of some of Lexington's traffic signals has been modified to keep traffic flowing smoothly, particularly around Fayette Mall and Hamburg Place.

Timing changes and updates to nearly 100 Lexington traffic signals and other changes designed to improve traffic flow began Nov. 28, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving known as "Black Friday," and will continue through the weekend after New Year's Day, said Steve Cummins, traffic signal systems manager for the local government's division of traffic engineering.

Undoubtedly, most drivers will spend less time sitting in traffic because of the modifications, Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry said at a press conference Monday.

The changes also keep Lexington traffic police officers from having to stand at intersections directing traffic and allow them to focus instead on any accidents that might occur, officials said.

"It's sure made our job much easier," Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said.