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
2019’s top story was the adoption of a far-reaching Bike/Ped Plan in March.

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. 

Admiral’s Cut

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.

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

Recap of Friends of Car-Free Key West Top Stories of 2019

By Chris Hamilton

This is our January 1, 2020 recap story sharing all of our Top 10 Stories of 2019 as counted down on our Facebook page (click on the links below to go to each story):

#1 Adopting a Key West Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (Dec. 31, 2019)
#2 Adopting Ambitious 10-Year Key West Transit Plan (Dec. 30, 2019)
#3 New Duval Pocket Park for People Replaces Parking Lot for Cars (Dec. 29, 2019)
#4 Mall on Duval (Dec. 28, 2019)
#5 “HAWK” Signals Installed at Five N. Roosevelt Crosswalks (Dec. 27, 2019)
#6 City Implements Progressive Parking Strategies (Dec. 26, 2019)
#7 Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project (Dec. 23, 2019)
#8 Duval Street Revitalization Help Sought Via RFQ (Dec. 22, 2019)
#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path (Dec. 21, 2019)
#10 City Addresses Closing Admiral’s Cut (Dec. 20, 2019)

What were your top 10? Are we missing something? Have them in the wrong order? We always love to hear what you think. Share in the Comment section.

Taken as a whole, this was a pretty good year. What brings many of these items together is a push from our City’s Mayor. She’s big on developing plans AND she’s big on testing and trying things out to get things done. The new City Manager and his staff get it and seem to be moving forward too.

It may be odd that two planning documents top our list. But both of these plans are once in a decade and once in 23 years in the making. It just so happened they were both adopted this year. As both of these plans are fairly bold and ambitious, if they are actually implemented, our little City could be transformed into a true biking, walking and transit paradise. It is up to us as citizens to keep pushing for the improvements already contained in the adopted plans. We must emphasize with NIMBYS and naysayers that these actions have been vetted and approved by the City Commission. 

Why is it important we keep pushing? Our island is small and built out. Traffic and parking congestion are a drag on our quality of life. If more people walk, bike and take the bus it makes our streets more efficient. Research shows it is better for our environment and helps combat climate change; It spurs local business; makes us healthier; more equitable; and happier too. 

While Key West s unique, we hope to show through this page that we can learn from others by sharing best practices from around the world. We want to shine a light on positive efforts and call out areas where we need to improve. We’ll hope you’ll join us by following our Facebook page, sharing our page with your friends, participating in the discussions our stories spark and helping us by bringing your own knowledge to these issues.

Thank you and Happy New Years! 

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

2019 Top 10 – #1: Adopting a Key West Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan

Before we bring you the Top 10 Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Stories of 2020 we are counting down last year’s 2019 Top 10 to refresh our memories of where we’ve been. Especially as many of the 2019 stories carry over into 2020. Each day we’ll share another story until we get to 2019’s #1 on December 18. THEN we’ll build on that and begin counting down 2020’s Top 10 till the end of the year. We hope you enjoy our 2019 Recap and our new 2020 stories throughout December. Thank you.

By Chris Hamilton; Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Picture it. Clearly marked separated and protected bike lanes, greenways or bike boulevards, and off-street paths connect throughout the city, forming a seamless, uninterrupted network of bicycle facilities allowing safe travel through and around the island for everyone of all ages and abilities. Signs show bikers and walkers where they are and how to get to their destination. Bike boxes at busy intersections create space for bicycles ahead of the cars. Ample bike parking is found within a block of all work, shop and play destinations. Wider sidewalks in busy downtown areas, intersections with bump outs and mid-block crosswalks, traffic calming to slow the cars, and places for people to sit, watch, chat and eat in more places. This is the vision the Key West Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Transportation Plan paints for our future. If implemented, could we in five to ten years, get to half of all work trips within the City made by biking and walking? – more than doubling the current percentage of 23 percent (15% bike/8% walk).

As one of the Key West’s preeminent bike advocates consistently says, the island is warm, flat and small, so our focus should be on getting more people to bike and walk, because that’s cheaper than accommodating cars and ramping up transit. We agree. An island that is safer and easier for more people to bike and walk would be healthier, more equitable, cleaner for our environment, combat climate change, increase prosperity for local business, and would make us happier too. The Plan adopted by City Commission in March is an amazingly straightforward blueprint to make it happen. 

The Plan was 23 years in the making, as the last time the City adopted one was in 1996. Sadly, many of the recommendations from that era are in this plan again because they were never taken up. The good news is this version, written by the foremost planning firm of its kind, Toole Design Group, undertook painstaking field assessments and data collection to undergird its recommendations. They then vetted these ideas with multiple online, email and in-person surveys, public meetings, outreach at community events, public bike rides, boards set up around the island at shopping centers, intercepts along the trails and streets and further meetings with city officials, commissioners and stakeholders – including a citizen Project Advisory Team and the City Commission’s Parking and Alternative Transportation Group. They even had an interactive online map so citizens could pinpoint trouble spots and sketch out solutions. And then for good measure more public meetings. This plan has been thoroughly vetted and is ready to go. In fact, the City has already shown progress with the Crosstown Greenway (#7 Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project, Dec. 23) and Atlantic Boulevard (#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path, Dec. 21) projects.

To the plan’s credit it includes a Multimodal Connectivity chapter that looks at larger policies and community goals and puts the bike and walk actions in context of traffic, parking, transit and other modes. It addresses the need for safety education and marketing. It presents a vision of the future and breaks down bicycle and pedestrian network recommendations into short, medium- and long-term actions. It includes a section on Complete Streets, best practices, evaluation, funding and maintenance. In short, all City staff have to do is pick up the document and go through it step by step.

Lots of people already bike and walk by default in Key West because our island is flat, small and warm. But if we are going to get more people to bike and walk that is going to be because we make it safe and easy by design. While there are many low-cost action items included in the plan, there is a cost associated with the substantial infrastructure changes. However, we must think of these costs as an investment in our future. All we need is the will to take this excellent document and get going.

Are we ready Key West?

KW Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan 2019 (1)
Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Appendix
Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Master Plan Phases

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#2 City Adopts Ambitious 10-Year Key West Transit Plan (Dec. 30, 2019)
#3 New Duval Pocket Park for People Replaces Parking Lot for Cars (Dec. 29, 2019)
#4 Mall on Duval (Dec. 28, 2019)
#5 HAWK” Signals Installed at 5 N. Roosevelt Crosswalks (Dec. 27, 2019)
#6 City Implements New Parking Strategies (Dec. 26, 2019)
#7 Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project (Dec. 23, 2019)
#8 Duval Street Revitalization Help Sought Via RFQ (Dec. 22, 2019)
#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path (Dec. 21, 2019)
#10 City Addresses Closing the Gap at Admiral’s Cut (Dec. 20, 2019)

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

2019 Top 10 – #2: City Adopts Ambitious 10-Year Key West Transit Plan

Before we bring you the Top 10 Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Stories of 2020 we are counting down last year’s 2019 Top 10 to refresh our memories of where we’ve been. Especially as many of the 2019 stories carry over into 2020. Each day we’ll share another story until we get to 2019’s #1 on December 18. THEN we’ll build on that and begin counting down 2020’s Top 10 till the end of the year. We hope you enjoy our 2019 Recap and our new 2020 stories throughout December. Thank you.

By Chris Hamilton, Monday, December 30, 2019

Free fares. Simplified, more direct routes. Service every 15 minutes, seven days a week. Wow! 

With the community’s input, Key West Transit and their consultant, Tindale Oliver, drafted a 10-year Key West Transit Development Plan that will transform the City’s bus service in the coming years. It is bold, ambitious and in line with a more environmentally sustainable, walk, bike, transit friendly city. The City Commission approved the TDP at its meeting on August 6.

The Plan calls for building upon the wildly successful Duval Loop model and adding a new series of “Loop” routes in Old Town, Midtown and New Town; adding a circulator route on Stock Island; and then linking those with a series of “Connector” routes from New Town, the airport and a new Intermodal Center (with parking) at the transit facility on Stock Island. The plan also calls for doubling the Lower Keys Shuttle service in the Lower Keys to Key West. Best of all, these new, simplified routes will span 7 days a week at 15 minutes frequency instead of every 90- or 120-minutes City routes operate on now. The plan is also including provisions for making all City bus service (except the Lower Keys Shuttle) free.

THIS is all fantastic news. Kudos to the Key West Transit Director, his staff and the City Commission for boldly moving forward. The hard part, implementation, starts now. We think this is the sleeper story of the year as it hasn’t received much press nor much talk around town. Perhaps because the City doesn’t even have this plan on it or Key West Transit’s web site. Hey guys, can you please share this wonderful plan so all can see! 

Key West TDP Draft Report (Large File)
PPT Presentation of KW Transit Developement Plan TDP August 2019

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#3 New Duval Pocket Park for People Replaces Parking Lot for Cars (Dec. 29, 2019)
#4 Mall on Duval (Dec. 28, 2019)
#5 “HAWK” Signals Installed at Five N. Roosevelt Crosswalks (Dec. 27, 2019)
#6 City Implements Progressive Parking Strategies (Dec. 26, 2019)
#7 Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project (Dec. 23, 2019)
#8 Duval Street Revitalization Help Sought Via RFQ (Dec. 22, 2019)
#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path (Dec. 21, 2019)
#10 City Addresses Closing the Gap at Admiral’s Cut (Dec. 20, 2019)

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

2019 Top 10 – #3: New Duval Pocket Park for People Replaces Parking Lot for Cars

Before we bring you the Top 10 Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Stories of 2020 we are counting down last year’s 2019 Top 10 to refresh our memories of where we’ve been. Especially as many of the 2019 stories carry over into 2020. Each day we’ll share another story until we get to 2019’s #1 on December 18. THEN we’ll build on that and begin counting down 2020’s Top 10 till the end of the year. We hope you enjoy our 2019 Recap and our new 2020 stories throughout December. Thank you.

By Chris Hamilton, Sunday, December 29, 2019

Where once stood a dozen plus parking spaces in the middle of our main street, with an ocean view to boot, now stands a beautiful park on the ocean where people can stroll and sit. Here’s how Michael Halpern described the parking lot next to his Southernmost House Hotel: 

“It’s a traffic nightmare: traffic gets in and can’t get out,” said Halpern. “There is a crime and drug problem on the street on a constant basis. And it’s unattractive, and it’s dirty, smelly and it floods regularly.” The rotting seaweed problem is consistent in the summers, making the street fetid-smelling, and the street often floods. The scant parking spaces are difficult to navigate in and out of, and the big green Dumpster has held center stage in recent years.” Most people agreed. 

Plans had been made by the City to do something for over a decade and nothing ever seemed to get done. Halpern stepped up to pay about $1 million for renovations in exchange for leasing part of the property for outdoor café seating, similar to the deal the Southernmost Beach Resort has next door. Following some good discussion about the use of public space for private interests (there could be a whole series of articles on this alone) the concept passed City Commission last summer, 2018. This May the City Commission agreed to Halpern’s design plan, construction started in the summer and the park was recently, for the most part, completed and has been open for a couple months.

It’s a beautiful addition to Duval Street. And they fixed the drainage problem too. Success!

While we don’t minimize the issues inherent in leasing public property and perhaps wish the City had found the money to do the project on their own, the fact is they didn’t get it done for over a decade till someone stepped up with some cash and a good idea. We hope the final execution, which will include the café seating for Southernmost House food trucks (on their own property), will be as thoughtful and well executed as what’s been built to date. The four art benches are wonderful. Most important of all is that people gravitate to and love this park already. 

This is #3 on our list for many reasons, including the mere fact of something getting done (like numbers 5, 6 and 9). It’s on our list foremost because it shows how much better we can make our main street when we get rid of a little car parking. We hope the success of this project informs future plans for the revitalization of Duval Street (see #8 Duval Street Revitalization Sought Via RFQ (Dec. 22)) and that we continue to repurpose car parking for pedestrians and people strolling, shopping, sitting, watching and eating. 

Kudos to Michael Halpern and the City.

#4 Mall on Duval (Dec. 28, 2019)
#5 “HAWK” Signals Installed at Five N. Roosevelt Crosswalks (Dec. 27, 2019)
#6 City Implements Progressive Parking Strategies (Dec. 26, 2019)
#7 Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project (Dec. 23, 2019)
#8 Duval Street Revitalization Sought Via RFQ (Dec. 22, 2019)
#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path (Dec. 21, 2019)
#10 City Addresses Closing the Gap at Admiral’s Cut (Dec. 20, 2019)

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

2019 Top 10 – #4: Mall On Duval

Before we bring you the Top 10 Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Stories of 2020 we are counting down last year’s 2019 Top 10 to refresh our memories of where we’ve been. Especially as many of the 2019 stories carry over into 2020. Each day we’ll share another story until we get to 2019’s #1 on December 18. THEN we’ll build on that and begin counting down 2020’s Top 10 till the end of the year. We hope you enjoy our 2019 Recap and our new 2020 stories throughout December. Thank you.

By Chris Hamilton; Saturday, December 27, 2019

On February 15, with a big ribbon-cutting ceremony and much fanfare, a pilot project dubbed “Mall on Duval,” where the 500, 600 and 700 blocks of Duval where closed to car traffic between 5 pm and midnight, was born. 

In a report at the time by Gwen Filosa for the Miami Herald: “City leaders hope the big change, will please visitors and also attract locals who have sworn off Duval Street because of maddening traffic that at times pits cars, bikes, scooters, pedicabs, skateboarders and pedestrians against each other. The car-free zone was created to “stimulate economic activity, and provide lessons learned for potential expansion of restricted vehicle events,” according to a memo from the city’s engineering. The plan emulates other pedestrian malls such as Lincoln Road in South Beach; St. Augustine’s George Street; Boulder, Colorado’s Pearl Street; San Diego’s Seaport Village; and parts of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. “This is not a tourist attraction,” Mayor Teri Johnston said at the Feb. 5 City Commission meeting when the decision was made in a 6-1 vote. “This is for us, the people who live here every single day.”

Restaurants and shop keepers got involved. Local radio stations came out. City leaders and staff set up weekly booths to talk to residents. Most importantly of all, it did draw locals downtown to see what all the fuss was about. People liked the convivial, car-free atmosphere. We’ve posted many pictures, week after week, of happy, smiling people enjoying the car-free weekends.

The pilot, which was to last through April 27 was popularly extended into the summer. But the positive energy created in the winter and spring didn’t seem to last. At least, for some. When that pilot was ending mid-summer, some business interests balked at further renewals and said they were losing money. This time the extension only passed by a 4-3 vote and when implemented, was done only once a month to appease vocal business opponents. Recently, City Commission extended it on a 4-3 vote through mid-February but compromised on only every other weekend. 

We give the Mayor, Commissioner Weekly and others kudos for trying. Is the pilot a home run? No, perhaps it’s a double. The project is likely too complicated to succeed for everyone without some corresponding changes to the infrastructure of the street. Or without the help of a dedicated group, like a business improvement district (BID), to help orchestrate and run it and coordinate with the City. But the reason Mall on Duval is important and comes in at #4 on our list is because, as Mayor Johnson has said, it HAS succeeded in getting more locals to come downtown. Surveys show people have liked it and had some fun. It has gotten the Duval businesses AND the community at large talking about how to take better care of our main street and stimulate economic and social activity that benefits everyone. Most importantly, the conversation that has been generated about what works and what doesn’t has made everyone realize we need help (in the form of some expertise), we need a plan of action, we need to define success and then measure it. Item #8 on our list, Duval Street Revitalization Sought Via RFQ (Dec. 22), would never had happened were it not for the Mall on Duval Pilot Project. That’s why this pilot was a good thing.

#5 “HAWK” Signals Installed at 5 N. Roosevelt Crosswalks (Dec. 27, 2019)
#6 City Implements Progressive Parking Strategies (Dec. 26, 2019)
#7 Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project (Dec. 23, 2019)
#8 Duval Street Revitalization Sought (Dec. 22, 2019)
#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path (Dec. 21, 2019)
#10 City Addresses Closing the Gap at Admiral’s Cut (Dec. 20, 2019)

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

2019 Top 10 – #5: “HAWK” Signals Installed at Five N. Roosevelt Crosswalks

Before we bring you the Top 10 Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Stories of 2020 we are counting down last year’s 2019 Top 10 to refresh our memories of where we’ve been. Especially as many of the 2019 stories carry over into 2020. Each day we’ll share another story until we get to 2019’s #1 on December 18. THEN we’ll build on that and begin counting down 2020’s Top 10 till the end of the year. We hope you enjoy our 2019 Recap and our new 2020 stories throughout December. Thank you.

By Chris Hamilton; Friday, December 27, 2019

Two years after they were installed and with City officials demanding safety action for seemingly every day during those same two years, the five mid-block crosswalks along N. Roosevelt Boulevard were finally signalized, making it safer for both drivers and pedestrians. When the crosswalk initially went in, flashing yellow lights were installed to alert drivers of the crosswalk’s whereabouts. But it was confusing for both pedestrians’ and drivers. Often a car would stop in one lane, while the other lane kept going, creating havoc for someone trying to cross. Drivers who stopped risked getting rear-ended by unsuspecting cars behind them. Everyone agreed red lights were needed, but since this wasn’t standard protocol – yet – for FDOT, City officials had to scream and protest. 

It worked. FDOT relented and completed the six-month, $1.6 million project in October. “HAWK” or High-intensity Activate Crosswalks are always green for vehicles, until a pedestrian pushes the button and activates the crosswalk. Drivers get a flashing yellow and then red so a pedestrian can cross. As the pedestrian finishes, the solid red flashes red to let drivers know they can go once the intersection is clear and then it returns to green. People in vehicles seem to have adapted quickly. Pedestrians have been a bit slower to realize they need to push the button to activate the system, however, everyone agrees this is better and safer for all.

As a side note, the crosswalks themselves created a lot of controversy that needs to be pushed back on. It was often heard that pedestrians should just go to the next signalized intersection and cross there, so as not to inconvenience drivers with another potential stopping point. Even some city officials took this position, expecting people on two feet to walk another two, three or four blocks just to cross the street. In building a more walk, bike, transit friendly city we need to reverse that kind of thinking. We applaud FDOT for looking out for people on two feet by building the crosswalks, despite some opposition, and finally getting it right on the signals too. 

#6 City Implements Progressive Parking Strategies (Dec. 26)
#7 Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project (Dec. 23)
#8 Duval Street Revitalization Sought Via RFQ (Dec. 22)
#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path (Dec. 21)
#10 City Addresses Closing the Gap at Admiral’s Cut (Dec. 20)

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

2019 Top 10 – #6: City Implements Progressive Parking Strategies

Before we bring you the Top 10 Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Stories of 2020 we are counting down last year’s 2019 Top 10 to refresh our memories of where we’ve been. Especially as many of the 2019 stories carry over into 2020. Each day we’ll share another story until we get to 2019’s #1 on December 18. THEN we’ll build on that and begin counting down 2020’s Top 10 till the end of the year. We hope you enjoy our 2019 Recap and our new 2020 stories throughout December. Thank you.

By Chris Hamilton; Thursday, December 26, 2019

Transportation researchers know that if you want to encourage more walking, biking and transit and to make a dent in traffic and parking congestion, cities must apply the right parking strategies. That means manage the parking you have to its maximum. Don’t give it away or subsidize it (underprice it), as this just encourages people to drive and park. This year, the city showed it understands by:

• Increasing the Resident Parking Permit from $10 to $20 annually
• Increasing the Workforce Downtown On Street Parking Permit from $120 to $175 per month
• Re-metering Smathers Beach, where everything is currently free, creating about 80 paid parking spaces on the beachside of S. Roosevelt Boulevard between Bertha Street and the end of the seawall
• Turning about 49 spaces near the Casa Marina (14 spaces in the 1500 block of Reynolds Street and 35 spaces in the 700 and 800 blocks of Seminole Street) from free parking into metered parking
• Turning approximately 135 formerly free spaces in the after-hours and weekends parking lot in Jackson Square and the 500 block of Thomas Street to metered parking (various permit parking holders get 4-hours free)

That’s more than 260 formerly wasteful, free parking spaces that people, mostly tourists, will now rightly have to pay for. It brings in some money for too. The City’s Parking Director should be applauded for recommending these progressive actions and the Manager and Commission for supporting them to help make our historic downtown more people friendly. 

#7 Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project (Dec. 23)
#8 Duval Street Revitalization Sought Via RFQ (Dec. 22)
#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path (Dec. 21)
#10 City Addresses Closing the Gap at Admiral’s Cut (Dec. 20)

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

2019 Top 10 – #7: Starting the Crosstown Greenway Project

Before we bring you the Top 10 Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Stories of 2020 we are counting down last year’s 2019 Top 10 to refresh our memories of where we’ve been. Especially as many of the 2019 stories carry over into 2020. Each day we’ll share another story until we get to 2019’s #1 on December 18. THEN we’ll build on that and begin counting down 2020’s Top 10 till the end of the year. We hope you enjoy our 2019 Recap and our new 2020 stories throughout December. Thank you.

By Chris Hamilton; Monday, December 23, 2019

In November the City, with the help of the urban planning firm Street Plans from Miami, who brought along a $30,000 grant, introduced the first major project from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan adopted by City Commission in March. The “Crosstown Greenway” Pilot Project will create a neighborhood greenway along Staples Avenue/Von Phister Street between 12th and Reynolds. This is just part of the larger Crosstown Bicycle Route that stretches from S. Roosevelt through the heart of the city, including the bike bridge, to downtown. The pilot project will be designed to slow cars, reduce cut-through traffic and make it easier and safer while providing priority for bikes and pedestrians along the route. It will test temporary, short-term, low cost, scalable interventions such as painting new crosswalks, bulbouts and bikeways, traffic circles, pavement art, planters and wayfinding.

Things that work can be scaled for use along the entire route and things that don’t can be discarded. This is the beauty of testing via tactical urbanism. Public meetings were held November 5 to gather input with follow-up workshops on December 11 and 12 to share proposals, based upon the earlier input. The public will be invited to help implement the project later this winter. We applaud the City Engineering Department, in particular the Transportation and Sustainability Coordinators, for getting started on the Bike/Ped Plan using this method of involving the public to test ways to make it safer to bike and walk. Nicely done. We’d love to see these kinds of safety improvements more often please.

#8 Duval Street Revitalization Sought Via RFQ
#9 City Rebuilds Atlantic Boulevard Bike Path
#10 City Addresses Closing the Gap at Admiral’s Cut

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

2019 Top 10 – #8: Duval Street Revitalization Help Sought Via RFQ

Before we bring you the Top 10 Key West Bike, Walk, Transit and Streets for People Stories of 2020 we are counting down last year’s 2019 Top 10 to refresh our memories of where we’ve been. Especially as many of the 2019 stories carry over into 2020. Each day we’ll share another story until we get to 2019’s #1 on December 18. THEN we’ll build on that and begin counting down 2020’s Top 10 till the end of the year. We hope you enjoy our 2019 Recap and our new 2020 stories throughout December. Thank you.

By Chris Hamilton; Sunday, December 22, 2019

On November 21, 2019 the City of Key West released a Request for Qualifications for firms to develop and implement a plan for the revitalization of Duval Street to the benefit of the community and visitors alike. The City is looking for a firm with broad-based experience creating entertaining, lively and commercially successful public streetscapes in a historic setting. The goal of the project is to “renovate and revitalize Duval Street to increase opportunities for public use as an iconic civic space for leisure, commerce and tourism; address the infrastructure which will allow for reasonable maintenance frequency and reduce costs to businesses and taxpayers; improve safety for pedestrians and vehicles; and maintain mobility for desired transit operations for all users.” Proposals are due February 21, 2020. 

We all love our main street and want to see it prosper and bring our community together. Says Mayor Johnston about the RFQ, “Mall on Duval brought locals downtown who haven’t been there in years, prompting a conversation about what improvements need to be made, including widening sidewalks — they range from 8 to 18 feet — and adding planters and benches. There are street designs that have the sidewalk on the same level, and you divide it off by concrete planters. The street can be cobblestone and the sidewalks can be different materials. … We also need shade, benches and water fountains.” 

With the plan likely to include more room for pedestrians, benches, planters, space for tables and chairs and trees. So, yes, we think this is a big deal. The hard work will come in agreeing to a plan and implementing it. We hope adopting a Plan and even starting to implement it, tops our list in 2020. Thanks to the Mayor, Commissioners and City Manager for addressing this and taking such positive action.

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Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.