Today’s column will “clean up” some things I’ve been thinking about. I welcome your comments, whether pro or con.
Raised Pavement Markers
All drivers have experienced the sound tires make going over those raised pavement markers, RPMs. “Pitta, pitta, pitta, pitta, pitta, pitta … ” Loud, rude, unexpected. They perform a valuable service, alerting you that your car has drifted too close to the side of the road.
Have you driven north on Midnight Pass just as it curves right onto Higel Avenue? There’s a new installation of RPMs. When the light is green, most drivers don’t slow down. They veer too close to the right, into the sidewalk area, and hit those RPMs.
Walkers, bikers: Beware.
Can you name other places where we could benefit from RPMs? What about the Midnight Pass curve just south of St. Michael’s Church? We’re supposed to slow down to 25 mph from 40 mph. You can’t see around the bend. Let’s install them there.
Higel Avenue curves right onto Ocean Boulevard just south of the Midnight Pass light. Drivers curl around that corner at full speed, tires carving the corner of the pedestrian path. Install them there and also heading north where Higel becomes Siesta Drive.
Any other appropriate locations? Tell the traffic department. RPMs benefit us all.
The ‘youts’ of Siesta Key Village
Joe Pesci, in the film “My Cousin Vinny,” spoke about “youts,” who we call “youths.” Well, a colleague writer in this space spoke negatively of the Siesta Village atmosphere at night becoming “party central.”
What’s wrong with parties? The Siesta Key appeal starts with the No. 1 beach in the country. It extends to the casual nature of our island, the charm of the Village.
Yes, our resident population skews older: the median age is 62.7; 63.5% are 55-plus. But growing older does not mean losing the energy of youth, the joy of a party.
The bars and casual restaurants of our Village attract young people. Many of us older than 60 want to be around people in their 20s and 30s. We want to share that youthful exuberance.
Restaurants make their money from sales of alcoholic beverages. “Serious” dinner places for seniors offer a limited attraction: fewer beverage sales and empty tables after 9 p.m. The “youts” keep them afloat.
How boring is a restaurant filled with people who look and sound just like you! Moreover, major national marketers target the 21 to 35 segment; television programmers, too.
Be objective; put your ego aside. We live in a relaxed beach community. We appreciate natural beauty, culinary diversity and “youts.” This is Siesta Key, a part of Sarasota, the No. 1 place to retire in our country, the center of art in Florida.
Drinking on the beach
People who drink will drink no matter the law. Brown paper bags can keep your iced tea cool or hide your bourbon or wine. Drinkers will even fill up empty soda bottles with their hooch. That’s just the way people behave.
Think about not being able to celebrate an anniversary watching the sunset with a bottle of champagne or wine. Or not having a cold one or two on a hot day.
Serious people do not abuse the beach drinking rules. Few, if any people, sit on a hot beach drinking rye or scotch or bourbon.
Changing the beach drinking laws over one unfortunate incident caused by a drunken driver is not warranted. The exception cannot make the rule.
“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date … ” That’s what the March Hare said as he hurried to the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
Why is it that the drivers of those wave runners always rush? What’s the hurry? Where are they going? Zoom this way, zoom that way. They never seem to get anywhere but they sure go there fast.
Thank you, Rachel Brown Hackney, for editing and presenting us with a high-quality newspaper. You gave us topical and local news, well written, well reported, objective and fair. You presented environmental issues, human-interest stories and neighborhood personalities. We thank you for your skill and service. Much good luck to you and your family!
Jeffrey Weisman practices fine arts photography and serves on the board of directors of Art Center Sarasota.