Key West vs. Reality

There is a whole lot of construction right now on North Roosevelt Boulevard, the main road into and out of the city, as well as the main shopping corridor for anybody who lives in paradise. This project – redoing the road and rebuilding the sea wall – is supposed to take three years. It is a big, fat mess right now.

How it could possibly take three years to do this work is beyond me. Someone must be making a killing on it. But that is not my issue. My issue is this: It is all people talk  complain about. All the time. You cannot have a conversation with a local in this town that does not revolve around “the traffic nightmare“.

Let me clue you fine, island-y folks in on something: this is NOT a traffic nightmare. Yes, if you take your kids to Poinciana Elementary, the traffic will be a problem around drop off or pick up, but if you do pretty much anything else, it is easy breezy. Oh, I get that it may take you three extra minutes to get to the grocery store or Home Depot, but so what? You live on a tiny island with a maximum of a 30 mph speed limit. You’re not going anywhere fast.

Want to see a real traffic nightmare? Head 150 miles north to Miami, around 8AM, on I-95, the turnpike or, best, 836. That is a nightmare. Ever been to Washington, DC and driven on the beltway? Horrifying. Los Angeles when you actually need to get the airport at a specified time? Dreadful. Key West? Pretty dreamy in comparison.

I know. I feel your pain. I did have to wait through an extra light cycle at Bertha Street the other day. I somehow managed to make it through without my blood boiling. Want to know my secret? It is just not that big of a deal. It took a whopping two extra minutes.

I was at a party Saturday night and was talking with a neighbor about the traffic nightmare. We both got a good chuckle out of the big deal everyone is making. Her secret? She drives along the beach, which takes an extra couple of minutes, but it is beautiful and there are no traffic lights.

Now, the businesses alongside the construction mess have a right to complain. The rest of us, not so much.