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Unkempt BayWalk shopping center needs a range of improvements

Rowdy teens and panhandlers are frequent BayWalk complaints. One reader says the complex is dirty and poorly maintained.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2009)

Rowdy teens and panhandlers are frequent BayWalk complaints. One reader says the complex is dirty and poorly maintained.

What BayWalk complex needs won't cost a thing | March 14, Sandra Gadsden column

Unkempt complex needs range of fixes

I enjoyed Sandra Gadsden's article on BayWalk. My wife and I used to go there for dinner and a movie all the time. Here are some of the reasons we no longer go there.

• The biggest problem was not protesters, but teenagers. We were inundated by hundreds of rowdy teenagers loitering at BayWalk every time we went there. The kids are disrespectful, loud and threatening. In today's world kids carry guns and knives and are responsible for a lot of crime. We no longer felt safe at BayWalk.

• The entire property is filthy. I have visited cleaner gas station restrooms. The stairs and escalator are filthy, the parking garage is filthy, the paint and walking areas were not maintained.

• There was no security in the parking garage. There is very poor parking on the street around BayWalk, and most times I have visited I had to use the parking garage. I never felt safe and never saw a security guard in the garage.

• The parking garage is a half a block away from BayWalk and when you exit the filthy elevator, you are first on a landing that is equally filthy. You must then walk a half block to get from the garage to BayWalk through a gantlet of street people begging for money and more rowdy teens. There are some art pieces along the way, but this walkway is poorly lighted, has no security, is dirty and if it is raining, you get real wet.

So here are some suggestions to fix this mess:

• New elevators in the garage with air conditioning.

• Actual security guards in the garage, patrolling in plain sight, as well as on the walkway between the garage and BayWalk.

• Redo the landings for the elevators, make them attractive and maintain them, especially on the ground floor.

• Rip out the bathrooms at BayWalk and install new ones, then maintain them.

• Build an elevated walkway from the second floor of the parking garage to the second floor of BayWalk. This way you would avoid having to walk through a dark alley (it runs right in front of the garage and you must cross it). Also you would avoid the panhandlers on the walkway from the garage to the street. You could avoid having to cross the street in front of BayWalk, and the protesters could do their thing on the sidewalk again. Further, the elevated sidewalk could have a roof over it so that you would not have to walk in the rain.

• Set up a speakers corner (see London) so protesters have a special place where they can speak their mind.

• Establish a 10 p.m. curfew for anyone under age 18 who is not accompanied by a parent.

• Enforce laws relating to panhandling at BayWalk and on the walkway from the garage.

I could go on and on. I agree with Gadsden that the protesters were not the problem and closing the sidewalk did not solve the problem. I believe I have identified much more significant problems.

Charles Scott, St. Petersburg

What BayWalk complex needs won't cost a thing | March 14, Sandra Gadsden column

Sidewalk giveaway didn't solve a thing

Bravo to Sandra J. Gadsden for saying it out loud: Giving the sidewalk in front of BayWalk to a private entity was totally ridiculous!

Restaurants, shops and businesses on Central Avenue, up and down Fourth Street, in various shopping centers and all over the city and state have gone out of business in this tough economy, and there were no protesters, groups hanging out or any need for giving away the sidewalks or the road or anything else. Wake up and smell the coffee. It's a bad economy. Give the taxpayers back their sidewalk at BayWalk!

G. Williams, St. Petersburg

Public libraries need state funding

The library system and its branches, staff and volunteers provide an essential service to the community. The library is a haven of knowledge for people of all ages and all walks of life.

Closing local library branches casts a negative reflection on the quality of living in the state of Florida. Any reduction in library hours or any closing of a library creates a hardship for patrons, particularly low-income patrons, who cannot afford to buy books or computers. Library closings would further limit students' use of the library. High gas prices make going to a city's main branch more costly.

I put forth my request as a constituent and library patron for the governor and legislative leaders to take measures to ensure the continuation of state aid to public libraries.

Bonnie R. Bond, St. Petersburg

Crosswalk rules confusing to many

I have been driving a taxi in Pinellas County for about three years. Before that, I was a manager for a freight company in Clearwater. Before that, I drove a semitrailer truck through all the continental states for more than 20 years. And I have never seen as ill-conceived a system as the crosswalks on our beaches — inland area crosswalks, too.

There is no way for the out-of-state visitors to know our law requiring motorists to stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk until they see someone else stop or they are pulled over and given a ticket for not stopping. Such a law should be posted at the state line for any visitor to see.

Pedestrians crossing the streets do not know how the law works. It is only at marked crosswalks that traffic is required to stop. In three years I have seen many pedestrians trying to cross between crosswalks and expecting traffic to stop! Yet they are not ticketed for jaywalking. Only the vehicles that do not stop are ticketed.

I have also seen many accidents because of these crosswalks and the ignorance of the parties involved. Many people have stepped out without looking, expecting traffic to magically stop. It's 35 mph on the beach, which isn't that fast, but it still takes roughly 30 feet to stop a moving vehicle.

Who is going to step up and do something about this mess? Each year they attempt to tweak the system, then after the season it's shelved. How many people are going to get run over before someone realizes it's not working?

Jay Kelly, Largo

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Unkempt BayWalk shopping center needs a range of improvements 03/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 12:06pm]
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