Monday, February 16, 2015

Park Key West

The city commission has not been doing a brilliant job lately, but leaving that thorny issue aside for a day or two, the subject of parking comes to mind in winter when traffic gets heavy on this small island. Two miles by four miles with a bunch of salt ponds, an airport, a marina taking a large bite out of the north shore...doesn't leave much room for the 23,000 residents' vehicles and all those cars brought down by visitors. So parking is not only a job for some people in this city, it's also an issue.   
And, boy does it ever get people all riled up. Residents clamored because in winter they couldn't find parking within blocks of their homes so the city placated them by creating a residential sticker program. For someone like me who lives in the county and works in the city this has created quite the burden, which I side step by riding into town on two wheels...Only city  residents, with documents can get the sticker which allows them to park in spaces marked  "Residential." The number of other spaces available to everybody else offer not much free parking for the hard pressed worker bees who live in the county to save money. So then they have to pay tourist prices to park. 
 Or they can ride two wheels...Cheyenne was not too impressed by this example of free wheeling Art. Especially as the front wheel is flat.
I was walking Bahama Street and I saw this sign protecting the Episcopal parking lot behind St Paul's. What would Jesus do? Have them towed or moved on I guess judging by this sign, which never moves from this spot. 
St Paul's is a great landmark on Duval and I enjoy their noon concerts on the church organ too, when I am in town at the right time.
Then walking past the Hog's Breath, a popular bar I noticed this parking lot for the first time, convertibles or toy cars only I guess. Or perhaps cars with low hoods? Every space is precious even those covered by tree limbs.
There's a vast spacious parking lot off Caroline Street. known to dispatchers as the Steve Walker Lot (why, how or who I don't know), and I got to see it this empty because I was being dragged along by Cheyenne at a particularly ungodly hour of the morning. Normally it's packed.
I've seen these parking signs before, always threatening tows, and yet people still park in them and call the police department indignantly when their vehicle "goes missing." We didn't notice any sign, they'll say...Can you see the tow away warning?
Some signs are rather less obvious but hardly invisible. This one is behind Wendy's on Duval and thus  a toothsome place to leave your car. Don;t say you weren't warned.
Scooters and motorcycles do have an easier time of it but blatantly parking on the yellow like this may not be too bright unless you know someone or something that isn't obvious. I've seen people park on sidewalks which is almost as odd as paying to park in parking lots. There's lots of free legal street parking around town.
 And a sticker proclaiming the occupant's Coastguard status has nothing to do with parking. I wish it did though. That would be fun.
To park a ship like the Disney Wonder takes a fair bit of piloting skill, so I suppose all parkig problems are relative.
The best advice I have if you want to park a car in Old Town in high tourist season, is to expect to have to walk a bit. Which I find to be quite enjoyable, walking these streets; I do it for fun.