Bardstown Road traffic lights hit the auction block

Now’s your chance to own a piece of Highlands history.

Mayor Greenberg delivers a press conference showing off two Bardstown road lights

The lights look a whole lot bigger when they’re not suspended 10 feet in the air.

Photo by WHAS11

Start your engines, a former fixture of the Highlands neighborhood is up for auction, and bids close March 5.

The iconic, if confusing, square reversible lane signals that once hung along Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue hit the block last week. The sale of these uncommon traffic lights is part of an initiative suggested by Maggie Harlow, rapper Jack Harlow’s mom and a long-time Highlands resident.

The lights hung for decades, switching traffic patterns along the thoroughfare during rush hour driving times. In fact, for a time Bardstown Road was the only street in the nation with both lane lights and on-street parking.

In 2018, a safety study recommended removing them in favor of adding dedicated parking + turning lanes, along with expanded sidewalks and more crosswalks. Most of the lights were removed in 2022 as part of a redesign project, but a handful still remain on the stretch of Bardstown Road between Woodford Place and Bonnycastle Avenue.

Bonus: Louisville is not the only city to remove reversible lanes in favor of more traditional traffic patterns. Washington D.C. removed reversible lanes in 2022, as did Charlotte, North Carolina.

An old hanging reversible traffic light from Bardstown road

The old lights switched between red X’s and green arrows depending on traffic flow needs.

Photo by WHAS11

If you’re thinking about adding the Bardstown Road lights to your living room decor or annual Christmas light display, the traffic signals will cost you at least $300-$350. A total of 25 lights are listed on the municipal auction site GovDeals. The small lights have more bids, which makes sense given they’re only about 2-sqft. The larger lights are closer to 3 ft tall, making them almost the height of your kitchen counter.

Money from the auction will be split between the city’s Complete Streets coalition and major sidewalk repairs. If you want a piece of Louisville traffic history, you’ll need to act fast — the auctions are scheduled to close Tuesday, March 5 throughout the afternoon and evening.

What would you do with one of these giant street lights?