As with so many old towns originally built before the invention of the automobile, the streets and sidewalks are narrow. Key West streets, especially the side streets, are no exception. What does this mean to residents and tourists?

When off the beaten track of Duval Street, it’s often difficult to walk on the sidewalks. Some are only about 36 inches wide and encumbered by utility poles, trash cans and overgrown yard plants, leaving them very difficult to traverse. It is not uncommon to see people walking in the streets where there is more space, but more danger.

There is a large contingent of bicycles and scooters on the roads. It’s an easy and cheap way to travel for residents and tourists (who have numerous rental opportunities around town). Sadly, they don’t seem to think they have to obey traffic laws. It’s not uncommon to see bicycles going the wrong way on one-way streets, running stop signs and red lights and cruising at night with no lights. Suffice it to say, most traffic accidents include a bike or scooter.

Then you have parking problems on the streets of Key West. First there is almost no parking available. For the few that find a parking space, you generally must parallel park. The spaces are small and narrow and you should watch people trying to fit a car in these spots. It’s hilarious!

When I was young almost all parking in the little town I grew up in was either on the street or in an alley. Today most people have a driveway at home and a parking lot at work or when out shopping. No body has to parallel park any more… until they get to Key West. Here in lies the problem!

Any day of the week I can go out on my front porch and see cars parked outside the lines. Some are 24 inches from the curb. Some take up two parking spaces. And if you get an opportunity to actually watch one of these park jobs in progress, it’s a head shaking experience. Almost every one has forgotten how to parallel park.

So what is my advice? Don’t bring your car to Key West. Don’t rent a car in Key West. There is little parking available anyway, so why make an ass of yourself trying to parallel park.  Walk, cycle, scooter or take a cab. You will never have to worry about a parking ticket again in paradise, unless you can’t even follow the bicycle and scooter parking laws.