Downtown's Image: A message to city hall

November 3, 2006 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

There is a bit of discussion going around about the negative viewpoint that we are describing on these pages (MetJax Forums).Most of the people on these forums are tried and true urbanites. Homeless people, panhandlers and people talking to jesus with invisible handsets are no big deal to us.Insanely idiosyncratic details that take years to absorb in order to deftly navigate the quirky twists and turns of a downtown are obviously not a sticking point to any of us. The proof is in the pudding that we are hereWe all know where the parking spaces are downtown (or most of us do) The hidden lots, the professional garages, the broken meters the streets that the bastards on golf caddies don't go on, and who is out of town for a couple of weeks and doesn't mind letting us use their parking spaces.A few of us have even mastered the trick of using our cars with FCCJ parking decals in order to park at FCCJ and ride the monorail.We know on which streets the loose of bladder and goosey of bowel prefer to spray down the concrete with their gastric effluvia and we avoid them----we suffer under no soon to be crushed illusion that 'right around the corner in an unsuspected place there is a totally unheard of coffeehouse that we would have missed if we hadn't pressed on a block more....'We all are like urban MeerCats, scrappy adventurous (after our own fashions) adapters who sometime long ago lost our scream reflex at the mere sight of the odd or even horrific.However, as a population, we are paltry.

And spread out between 4 major districts who need us to make them work. Downtown, San Marco, Riverside, and Springfield.

Just a little to many to fit in only three of the areas, not large enough to fill four.

For downtown to work economically, it will have to have others. The way that we did in San Marco in the early days. And after San Marco filled, Five Points. Five Points had Orange Park and the Beaches to sustain them economically.

The speculation and greed of the Springfield Real Estate buffoons shut out viable new business development in the commercial district. Even so, a little less snippy campaigning on the part of the LOLAS (little old ladies at SPAR) would have gone a long way to sustaining the 15 businesses that opened and closed within the 4 year period that Boomtown was there.

And so, sadder and wiser, there is a sizeable chunk of us back downtown.

When we piss and moan and complain about the parking, one way streets and vagrant free for all downtown, we arent afraid for each other. We already all know all this stuff, and so does the administration. But we fall easily into the habit of thinking EVERYONE is used to this crap.

Well my Aunt Margie and my Cousin Cindy (a very snazzy CPA) are testament that everyone isnt.

One incident with scary-spanish-mossy-pubes-hanging-out-of-his-crap-encrusted-drawers vagrant guy, and Marge is Out for the count.

Three times of coming downtown with a collection of 50 some odd dollars in tickets and Cindy wants us to come visit her instead.

For EITHER of these venerable women, accidentally stumbling across Man Spore in the form of a steamin pile of crap would be a world stopping event that future generations of Patrick Family children would be solemnly, daringly scandalized by in retellings which would record each rictus inducing whiff of homeless poo poo.

We have somehow lost sight of the fact that regular people need to feel ok and be able to navigate the streets.

Not just us devoted screwballs.