A few thoughts come to my mind here:
- The Yogi Berra effect; one of his famous sayings was "Nobody goes
there anymore because it's too crowded." Even in Tallahassee,
temporary downtown street closures for festivals are very popular
(crowded)--unfortunately, this also involves street-side parking
covering a massive radius around the site.
- Unfortunate as that ambulance incident was, Joel's website mentions
maintaining a clear access lane for emergency vehicles. I can imagine
this being done similar to the "fire lanes" found on streets in
Manhattan: a lane that has to be cleared immediately for emergency
vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists could use it, but I'd imagine it
would have to be off-limits to things like pallet trucks, which can be
awkward to move out of the way quickly. And obviously, no attended
vending carts, unattended vending machines, or restaurant tables.
Just recently, I changed jobs, trading a 1000-foot commute in for a
1.0-mile commute--I walk from my house at one edge of downtown to my
office on the other edge of downtown. Fortunately, it's a quite
pleasant walk, most of it going straight down the Park Ave. "chain of
parks". Making this one-mile walk twice a day, I've realized the City
of Tallahassee's interest in non-vehicular traffic anywhere, even in
- I have seen flower bed irrigation system was operating in one of the
parks during morning and afternoon rush hour. A few places on the
surrounding grass were actually getting soggy/muddy, so the irrigation
system had obviously already done its job. I'm just glad I don't have
to wear a suit to work. They should have chosen flora that doesn't
require irrigation, or they should water by hand. If they must use
automatic irrigation, it should be run late at night--the parks are
"closed" from 0230 to sunup.
- It is not an uncommon occurrence to see zero pedestrians in the
course of one mile--through the CBD, during rush hour. Typically, the
only people in the park are homeless and sitting on the park benches,
generally keeping to themselves.
- The "chain of parks" is in the Park Ave. median, and goes for
several blocks. At the worst point, I have to cross US 27 during rush
hour. Unpleasant, smelly, and noisy. Five lanes, speed limit 25 mph.
- At one time in the past, state employees could get transit passes
for $10-15 per month--now they have to pay $41.50 like everybody else.
If I had a parking space at my office, I'd be paying $4 per month for
a garage space--which is most likely a lot less than the cost to the
state. Chalk this up to Jeb's legacy.
Several of these problems can be chalked up to local politics--nobody
wants to narrow or introduce traffic calming to any of these streets,
and there's no way the City Commission would consider making any
downtown streets carfree. Same goes for irrigation--they're more
concerned with making a flower bed look perfect (to drivers going by
at 30+ mph) than with the park's actual usability.
The homeless "problem" is a separate issue, practically beyond the
constraints of this discussion board. A lot of people are driven away
from walking anywhere in "fear" of being near "them", and resistance
to making an area carfree will probably include how we'll suddenly be
forced to come face to face with "them". Not to mention that nobody
wants to live or have a business anywhere near the homeless
shelter--and efforts are made every once in a while to relocate the
homeless shelter to some suburban strip mall about 3 miles away from
downtown (on a bus route, of course), thus freeing up the area for
something more "useful".
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, Simon Baddeley
> The Greek English speaking news reports that pedestrian only areas
> causing problems!