Every now and then the editorial in the Key West Citizen manages to surprise me with its common sense. That used to happen a lot more often, for some reason, when Tom Tuell was at the helm but this week the newspaper managed to come up with a brilliant commentary. It was all about passing zones on US One.
First let me say I was glad to note that I am not the only one who has seen massive amounts of traffic almost year round on the Overseas Highway. That's was good to see mentioned. Clearly tourism is a ten month a year phenomenon these days -lucky us! but gentrification and spiraling house prices have pushed more and more workers out to the "suburban islands" creating much heavier commutes to and from Key West every weekday. I notice much much heavier traffic coming to Key West at six in the morning nowadays.
The newspaper also did a good job of pointing out that Highway One is a shared route and the only way for everyone to get around between the various islands. This situation leads to people who need to get places being blocked by visitors with no urgent hurry to get anywhere at all. I find it ironic that some people's idea of "island time" is slow time when you are on vacation. My idea of "island time" is do your own thing and don't get in anyone's way while you do it.
I do believe the newspaper's editorial board agrees with me on this one because they are suggesting the state get off their backsides and look for places suitable for turn outs so slower traffic can get out of the way of people rushing about to provide services to the slow poke visitors...Good job Citizen. Furthermore the newspaper is calling on the Florida department of transportation to increase the number of passing zones instead of cutting them back as they have been busy doing. I never thought I'd see the day where a sensible newspaper would put out such a call for change!
I was going to take a few pictures of the precise places where the state has painted over passing zones in recent memory and they haven't done us any favors. I stick to my own rule of not crossing solid lines but I see people who pass wildly, and frankly I don't blame them. There again there are lots of drivers who engage in what I call "poor man's passing" which is actually tailgating in effort to get the day dreamer to get a move on. Frankly that seems a lot riskier than allowing more passing on more open stretches of highway.
I hope someone who can make changes reads the Citizen's editorial and understands it's not an April Fool's story. This winter the lines will be endless and passing will be difficult because of that but I wish they'd give us a better chance of getting where we are going and on time. Change in this case would be a great thing.
And maybe I will take a few pictures of places where passing zones make sense around the Lower Keys, and also places where they have inexplicably been removed. And there is tons of room for properly signposted pull outs. That would be fabulous. Well done The Citizen.