The Key West Citizen has a nice article concerning proposals on changing the look of Duval St. The consultants have come up with an idea that does move things in the right direction at least. They propose removing the curbs altogether and creating a more “festival/people” type of street. This design, while not banning motor traffic, would give the street a badly needed facelift and make it more better to walk up and down.
Duval is in bad shape, everyone knows that. It’s dirty, has poor drainage, or in some cases, none at all, and could use some upgrading. Creating something that everyone would enjoy walking on, and spending more time at, and of course spending more money in the stores, would really improve the whole experience. Duval is one of the most famous streets in the country, and one of the top tourist attractions in Key West. It’s been neglected far too long and it’s definitely time for changes. At least what these consultants are proposing is a step in the right direction. However….
I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it. There should be no motorized vehicles running on Duval….at all. Some of the cross streets, at Truman, Fleming, Southard, Eaton, Caroline, and Front, sure, so at least commercial and emergency vehicles can move across, but north and south on Duval, from Truman to Front, they have no business being there. There is no parking on Duval, or at least it is very limited. The road is narrow, the sidewalks are jammed with people. Every time the city closes down Duval for a special event, you can feel a positive change in the mood of everyone. There is room to walk out on the street, the festival atmosphere sets in, and there are smiles aplenty on those touristy faces. And when the tourists are happy, the cash registers ring.
Duval begs to be like some of those new outdoor malls, with kiosks, outside tables in front of restaurants, and plenty of trees and plants providing a bit of shade and a cooling effect. Right now, it’s a dirty city street filled with garbage, lost drivers, and the smell of exhaust fumes competing with the garlic shrimp in the nearby restaurants. There is absolutely no need for motorized vehicles to be on Duval. Close the street off to traffic, open it up for the tourists to enjoy, fix the drainage, clean it up, and Key West can have something that the island can be proud of again.