Damaged sign indicates only girls can walk

February 19, 2004|Liz Maples

It's a girl. It's a boy. No, it's broken.

A pedestrian signal on Walnut and Fourth streets has drawn some curious looks. The figure on the lighted sign that faces Walnut Street appears to be a female, complete with a ponytail and bangs.

But the signs don't come in male or female, only unisex, according to David Thacker, an information officer with the state Transportation Cabinet.

Calls to the cabinet by the newspaper have brought the light to the state's attention. Now it will soon be replaced with a uniform unisex figure.


The cabinet believes that someone has altered the sign.

The figures are etched onto black plastic plates. When a light bulb shines through the plate a figure shows up to tell pedestrians it is OK to walk.

When the newspaper e-mailed a picture of the light to Thacker, who works out of Lexington, he said it looked like the plastic plate has been scratched or broken. The damaged plate, curiously, makes the figure look like it has a feminine hairdo.

It's the cabinet's position that the plate isn't a girl, it's broken, and should be replaced, Thacker said.

A call to the city engineer's office didn't yield many facts, but it incited a lot of laughter.

A girl? Was the newspaper sure? A ponytail? Bangs?

The sign is maintained by the city, but the state buys the light.

Erica Engle, administrative assistant to the city engineer, said that if it was up to her then for every boy light there would be a girl light.

The female lights aren't an option. Thacker said the lights don't come in female and male, only unisex.

City Engineer Earl Coffey asked if the newspaper was sure the ponytail meant it was a girl. After all, he said, he had long hair at one point.

The Walnut Street sign, though, has a little flip in its ponytail and bangs that is distinctly feminine.

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