Conch Republic Regulars Up In Arms Against Changing The City’s Signature Street
A petition to halt a redesign of Duval Street has started and is getting several signatures from several Key West regular tourists.
The petition has appeared on the Key West group Facebook page, a group with 56K members.
The post, from member Patricia, states: “Please sign this petition to SAVE DUVAL STREET! & for those saying ‘There is a forum planned…’ ‘Why start a petition?’ I know there is a forum & say ‘Why not start a petition?’ The more who know & state their POV the better, to help the city & developers understand people’s concerns or support.”
Here are a few of the comments on the page opposing the redesign:
The street NEEDS to stay as it is!!!!!
Please don’t redesign Duval St
You have a timeless treasure
Keep it as is!!! Signed and shared!
That’s a disgusting design. Leave Duval Street as it is. Let Key West be itself. Missourian who loves Key West and visited it every year, 2 weeks at a time, for over 30 years.
Here is a link to the petition: Petition · Save Duval Street! · Change.org
Within four hours of its posting, 716 had signed the petition.
The city put out an Request For Quotation (RFQ) and selected KCI Technologies, an engineering, planning and construction company headquartered outside of Baltimore, to implement changes.
The city hopes to attract older and more upscale tourists with the redesign, taking away a part of the existing charm of the street. And that has long-term visitors upset and they are opposing the change with the petition. Click here to read my opinion of the redesign.
According to the RFQ, “the goal of the project is to renovate and revitalize Duval Street to increase opportunities for public use as an iconic civic space for leisure, commerce and tourism; address the infrastructure which will allow for reasonable maintenance frequency and reduce costs to businesses and taxpayers; improve safety for pedestrians and vehicles; and maintain mobility for desired transit operations for all users.”
KCI’s responded with this proposal: “Our approach to the transformation of Duval Street will include identifying design elements to bring visitors from the Lower Duval Street area all the way to the Upper Duval Arts District.
“Imagine art suspended in the air along the middle of Duval Street coaxing visitors to explore the entire street, the paths with shade trees, with flexibility for all modes of transportation.
“When we design streetscapes, we need to plan for cars, delivery trucks, trolleys, golf carts, bicycles and pedestrians. We also design for the special celebratory events that turn great streets into linear pedestrian plazas.
“Our approach will take into consideration the residents surrounding Duval Street, the cultural arts businesses, the retail and dining opportunities, and the entertainment establishments.”
KCI and the city will invite public input beginning about mid-March. They don’t need to wait that long from input from some long-time tourists.