As you know I have been a proponent of a car free Key West. Especially in the Old Town area where the narrow streets, throngs of tourists, and frequent events have no room for cars, trucks, and other monstrosities of the road. Anytime I bring this up to anyone, I always hear arguments to the contrary. People have to be able to drive here, nobody is willing to walk, it can’t be done. Well, it can be done, and in fact it has been done and for a very long time. Take this island for example: Mackinac Island up around Michigan.
Mackinac Island is a slight bit smaller than Key West. It is not attached to the mainland by bridges, and since the invention of the horseless carriage, Vehicles Have Never Been Allowed On The Island. Yup, back in 1898, and no, I wasn’t there smart ass, the town council of the island took one look at the noisy smokey new fangled inventions, and said, “No way in hell are we allowing these things on our island.”, and it has been that way ever since.
So how has that worked out for the little speck of land on Lake Huron? Well, take a look at the photos from the links. Nice buildings, clean streets, no parking issues, quiet, no fumes, no motors running, no irritating sound systems blasting from the dashboards, looks pretty damn nice to me. Everyone gets around by bike, foot, or horse. There are a few emergency vehicles, understandable, but that is it. No other vehicles. And from what I can see in the articles, everyone is happy and doing just fine without the need for internal combustion engines.
I say it would work here in Key West. Sure, there would be some adjustments to be made. And you could allow some roads to remain. The military would want access out to the bight. Keep South Roosevelt open to the airport. North Roosevelt as far as the shopping. Beyond that, there is no need for vehicles anywhere else on the island. I can only imagine how much more better Key West would be if they got rid of the cars. I can only imagine because short of a national catastrophe, it will never happen. But at least we know it is possible. Mackinac Island is proving that.