Welcome to the Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Top 10 Stories for 2020
By Chris Hamilton, Sunday, December 20, 2020; Photo of an empty Duval Street, a sign of the times this past year.
Let’s begin with acknowledging that 2020 hasn’t been a good year for anyone. Not for individuals, businesses, non-profits, Key West, our country or even for the planet. We’d all just as soon turn the page and get on to a 2021 that promises, with a vaccine and a fresh start with a new president, to be a better year.
What we hope to do over the next two weeks is bring you the most important Key West, bike, walk, transit and streets for people stories of 2020. We think it important to document where we’ve been, celebrate any progress and call attention to efforts that have faltered.
2019 Was a Good Year for Progress on Our Issues
We hope you’ve enjoyed our look back at 2019’s Top 10 as last year a lot got done in our little town. We adopted ambitious bike/ped and transit plans. Added a new pedestrian pocket park on Duval and rebuilt the bike/ped path on Atlantic Boulevard. Installed activated red lights on N. Roosevelt at five pedestrian crossings. Implemented some progressive parking strategies. Conducted some fun and useful Mall on Duval street closings. And we took some initial baby steps towards a bicycle greenway, Duval Street revitalization and closing the gap at the Admiral’s Cut. (To read each of 2019’s Top 10 just go to our “Recent Blog Posts” section in the right-hand column of this web page.)
But 2020 Hasn’t Been Quite as Good
Again, and we won’t belabor the point, but the COVID Pandemic interrupted a lot of progress. And while we can’t tie everything to the pandemic, we should acknowledge that often, for many people in government, who have responsibility over these issues, the focus, appropriately, was elsewhere.
So, while in 2019 progress was seemingly being made on finally closing the gap at Admirals Cut, a whole year has gone by and nothing more has been done. In fact, there may now be less chance of something happening then a year ago, as the owners of that property seem to be fighting with everyone over cruise ships.
Another example, perhaps perpetrated by the business turndown, is the seemingly lost opportunity to do something positive when a developer built a giant, nearly 100-car parking lot, in the middle of our historic downtown, right on our main street – on Duval at United. The parking lot does nothing to enhance the attractiveness of the area and misses out on addressing things from affordable housing to helping revitalize Duval. It seems the City got caught flat-footed in not realizing the use was allowed and now we have a parking crater in the middle of our beautiful main street.
As we count down the Top 10 stories you may notice that a few of our stories have an element of lowered expectations, even as we may be extolling something that should generally be positive. But that seems a theme here in 2020. Two steps forward and one step back. Let’s make 2021 a better year.
With that being said, starting tomorrow we’ll count down our Top 10 stories of 2020. Please let us know in the comments on our Facebook page where you agree and where you don’t. We always appreciate the feedback.