The South Limestone streetscape project gets underway this morning. Using Twitter, Lexington’s Mayor announced that the closure will result in traffic delays of up to 45 minutes.
From a public point of view, the closure seems hastily and poorly planned, although the promised streetscapes look wonderful. The project stems from a noble goal: to better connect the University of Kentucky campus with downtown Lexington.
But businesses lining South Limestone (SoLime) had little time to adapt to the closure, and I wonder how many can survive being starved of traffic for so long. When Lexingtonians realize that there is a “mess” surrounding SoLime, they will stay away in droves. (With a business just off of North Limestone, I’m concerned about the disruptions to our southside Lexington customers making it in to Lowell’s.)
There are a lot of great businesses along SoLime that would be a shame to lose: Sav’s, Pazzo’s, Tolly Ho, Failte, Sqecial Media, and many, many others. Some (maybe all) of these are Lexington institutions.
How long could they operate without significant customer patronage? How long could they retain employees? How long can they make debt / rent payments? How long can they pay bills? How long can they survive?
So, here’s a challenge for our readers: Let’s go out of our way to demonstrate that we care about those businesses.
Beginning today, and continuing through the next month, let’s pick one or two businesses to “flash mob” each day. Let’s get together to show, with our feet and our wallets, that we want those businesses to survive. Let’s show up. And eat. Or buy. Or drink. Let’s refuse to let these businesses fail.
If our LexMobs get too big, that’s OK – I’m sure that the plentiful nearby businesses would also love some of our overflow business.
Will this effort be well-organized and well-thought-out in advance? Not a chance. Will it be messy? Yes. Will it be chaotic? Absolutely. Will it be inconvenient? Certainly. Will you be too busy to interrupt your day? Undoubtedly.
But that is precisely the point: to go out of our way to demonstrate we care for these businesses.
Update: The inaugural LexMob will be Wednesday, July 22nd @ Pazzo’s Pizza Pub at 11:30 AM near Euclid on SoLime. Can’t make it? We’ll try for other times and places with future LexMobs!