Op-Ed

Project does not include safety for pedestrians

Downtown pedestrians walked in the street to avoid wet concrete poured as part of the major streetscape project. The work is two weeks behind schedule but is to be completed before next month's Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Downtown pedestrians walked in the street to avoid wet concrete poured as part of the major streetscape project. The work is two weeks behind schedule but is to be completed before next month's Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

At issue | Aug.10 Herald-Leader article, "Downtown rundown; 5K race changes course to avoid disarray, but city official says end is near"

I work in the First National Building on the corner of West Main and North Upper Streets, next to the old courthouse.

My building does not have parking for its tenants, so I park at the Lexington Library. Getting from my vehicle to my office and vice versa each day has been quite an adventure since the streetscape project began.

Too many times I have had to walk in traffic lanes to circumvent the construction.

I have had to walk across unsteady boards, chunks of concrete and holes in the sidewalk.

I have had to either duck around or wait for clearance from front-end loaders and other construction equipment.

All this I have endured with relative good humor, all in the spirit of community — "the Games are coming" — and we need to present a beautiful downtown to impress the visitors.

However, on July 7 I was truly at a loss as to how to walk from the parking garage to my office building.

All four corners at Main Street and Limestone were torn up and blocked off, And not just covered with gravel but otherwise passable — completely torn up, large craters in the ground.

There were no pedestrian lanes. I had to walk into traffic lanes three times to get to a sidewalk that was at least partially traversable.

It was the same situation at the end of the day. At Main and North Limestone in front of the courthouse plaza, I was in the street in the left-hand turn lane waiting to cross.

That space was made even riskier by the fact that a worker's truck was parked at the beginning of the turn lane and the drivers of cars whipping around it to get into the lane could not see me until the last second (and I am by no means a small target). Crossing with me were a woman and her two young boys, five or so years of age.

I realize the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are coming to Lexington, and that this event can bring a much-needed rejuvenation to downtown Lexington.

But at what price?

Rushing to finish the project in time for the Games has obviously resulted in a lack of care and concern for current Lexington workers and residents.

Will completing the project be worth the rush if someone is injured or killed? Will a nice bronze marker be put at the corner where someone died commemorating the death for all the world visitors to see?

I challenge the mayor and council members to walk from their offices up Main Street to Rupp Arena and back on the other side of Main Street.

And ladies, do it wearing heels or dress shoes like many of the attorneys have to do when going to court.

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