Note: I wrote this in March and forgot to publish it. It is still a good topic even though the rush of visitors have left. Easter week this year ended the visitor season. Now we get a slow period until graduation vacations.
During peak tourist season (January to April) I have to schedule my time better. I still have to be at certain places each day at the same time, but the traffic from spring breakers, snowbirds and other visitors can make me 15 minutes late when I leave my house at the usual time. So, depending on the time of day, I figure out what route off the Key makes the best sense: straight up Higel and across the north bridge; Higel to Midnight Pass and over the Stickney Point Bridge. Early in the day Higel to Siesta Drive is the easiest, unless I forget to time the bridge. The Siesta Drive Bridge (I don’t know whether that is its name but it sounds good) goes up on the hour and then 20 minutes and 40 minutes after. This cycles throughout the day. I don’t know the schedule on the Stickney Point bridge. Coming home in the afternoon across Siesta Drive to Higel presents other problems: folks returning to their hotel/condo after sightseeing in Sarasota, residents going home from school and work, and school buses.
Going the other way, Higel to Midnight Pass to Stickney Point, works great in the morning. If I need to go south, I can cruise off the Key quickly. Everyone is coming on to the Key and heading toward the public beach. But later in the day, while beach goers are leaving the public beach and heading toward the Stickney Point Bridge, visitors (and residents) are still coming back from the mainland to get ready for dinner. Each car creeps slowly up Midnight Pass, but at the traffic light I can turn and continue with little to no traffic the rest of the way home.
Any way you look at it, juggling your schedule to fit the temporary traffic jams is a must. And, living slow is necessary. You can not be in a hurry when you live on an island. You’re on island time, so just enjoy. I’ll still get the kids to their activities a little late this time of year but, oh well.