With both the UK Wildcats basketball and football seasons having started, every citizen of Fayette County knows one rule: don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere on game day. Traffic in the city when the Cats are playing a home game can reach astronomical heights, but that doesn’t mean you have to hide away at home to avoid getting hopelessly trapped in it. If you’re new to the area, here are a few tips for getting around even on Lexington’s busiest days, courtesy of a lifelong Lexingtonian.
Use a GPS, even if you know where you’re going.
Gameday traffic can turn a fifteen-minute drive into a forty-five-minute one, but navigation apps are great for finding lesser-traveled alternative routes to your destination. Apps like Waze, for instance, are specifically designed to help avoid traffic and keep you updated on jams, wrecks, and other road-related phenomena. Many GPS systems will allow you to select certain roads and roads to avoid or view a range of different routes that could fit your needs– a very helpful feature when New Circle is the last thing you want to be merging onto. This brings us to the next point:
Know which streets to avoid.
During the busiest time of the day, you’re likely to find all the rush hour classics bumper-to-bumper full of cars, but the major roads to avoid are Nicholasville and New Circle. You’ll also find that Man ‘O War and Alumni Drive are troublesome to pass through. While your GPS should be able to give you alternative directions, depending on where you’re headed, one of the best ways to get around without quite so much chaos is to take the scenic back roads in and around Lexington’s beautiful countryside. Traversing through the city’s suburbs rather than main roads can also save you some time, and around the holidays you might catch a glimpse of participants in the various neighborhood lights and decor contests.
If you can, get out during the game.
This advice might be hard to follow if you’re a big sports fan, but the best time to get around on game day is when everyone’s busy watching the actual game! Some areas of Lexington can even feel like a bit of a ghost town during a game, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a grocery store that’s not at least a little quieter than usual when the Cats are playing. The traffic prior to a game is usually the worst, and while the crowds afterward aren’t insignificant, you’re far more likely to get to where you need to be at a reasonable time in the evening rather than the morning of game day.
Walk whenever possible.
The good news about the start of the college sports season is that it coincides with fall– the perfect weather for picturesque walks around downtown. And while Lexington is big, many of the city’s biggest landmarks aren’t far from one another in the heart of the downtown area. If you’re itching to get outside, you may be better off leaving your car behind for a day and getting some fresh air.