Five major issues for the people who live and visit Wilton Manors will be discussed tomorrow.
1) Petition on the Crime in the Central Area
On Sunday afternoon there was a petition circulated in the Central Neighborhood discussing the Armed Robbery that happened behind the Condos at the corner of 22nd Drive and 9th Avenue. There have been a spate of robberies and assaults that have happened in the Central area lately, that being one of them. They have been caused by underaged minority teenagers that are coming through and basically "Casing The Joint" in odd hours such as during the work day (I personally saw it happen today, Monday April 12 during the afternoon) and late at night. They're looking for opportunistic crimes and to rob from those that they consider weak. Unfortunately these individuals are also carrying guns and other weapons. The Petition asks the City to increase Police Presence in the Central Area by stationing officers in the area as well as increased patrols. Personally if they need to, I'll loan them the use of my driveway or swale. If it gets rid of these vermin, I'm all for it!
2) Presentation by Wilton Manors Main Street on the Parking Initiative
To directly quote the Main Street Page: The plan will introduce the research, findings and support to restructure Wilton Drive from four to two lanes. This will create a much safer and more beautiful Town Center and provide IMMEDIATE additional parking directly on Wilton Drive. The presentation will be highlighted by photographic concepts showing the incredible potential along Wilton Drive.
Being on the Main Street board, I have seen the plan and the concepts. There will be an immediate return on the investment and that will fund any expenses that will arise from reclaiming the Drive from the State. The State does not want the Drive, nor does the County. It is all in the hands of the Commissioners. If they Do The Right Thing, people will have a true Main Street back and the Visitors will be able to come and go without having to drive around in circles. This will blend the best of the past with the improvements we all need for the future. This raised the question: Are the Commission more interested in being truly business friendly and having a True Main Street or are the Commission more interested in having a street with closed businesses?
3) Lanier Parking coming back to the Commission with Resolutions for all outstanding problems
The last commission meeting had some very specific issues raised. The on site office was not yet opened, and they have not made arrangements for the servicing of the off site satellite parking for the various employees. Basically, Lanier is behind schedule, why they are is complex and debatable. They even suggested that the City pay more for shuttle busses and other methods to move people from the outlying free lots to their place of business. That won't happen in a time of budget crunch.
4) PGFL had put in an application for the Stonewall festival and that will be debated by the Commissioners
PGFL had put in their application to hold their festival in the later part of the year on Wilton Drive. The only drawback with that is that there are open allegations of PGFL being slow to pay and needing significant oversight by the various other Volunteer Groups within the area. Stonewall festival is growing from year to year and is drawing from a worldwide audience. It should be a time for both PGFL and Wilton Manors to shine and not a time for people to wonder whether bills for the Port-a-pottys are paid.
5) Commissioners debating the question of taking back Wilton Drive from the State
This is connected with the Wilton Manors Main Street Parking Initiative. To do it right, you need to have the Drive narrowed down to two lanes and changes made to slow the speed of traffic down. This has been an open discussion since before I moved here four years ago. If it doesn't happen Wilton Manors will have a raceway where cars regularly speed through to go to other places. I for one am tired of dodging cars from other states (the nearest other state being over 300 miles from here) in order to go to get to the candy store on the opposite side of the drive. When I learned how to drive, I was told that under all and EVERY circumstance, the Uniform Vehicle Code that we all are supposed to conform to while on the road states that, The Pedestrian Has The Right Of Way. How can a 200 pound (average) pedestrian win over a 2500 pound car? Simply put he can't. These cars are going Through Wilton Manors to go elsewhere, not going To Wilton Manors. Make it convenient for us to be here and for visitors to want to stay and we shall. A raceway that limits access will cause more deaths. It is time to Take Back The Drive and make it safer for ALL people who live here and enjoy this wonderfully quirky city.
Yes, it is my opinion, and it is my blog. And hopefully I'll see you at the Commission Chambers tomorrow night at 7PM. I'll be in my usual seat in the front row.