Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sarasota Eyes Tricycle Cabs for Downtown

I used to live in Manhattan, where a guy named George Bliss (who I once directed in an art video) converted old bikes into pedicabs. Open to the elements, the PoNY Cabs, as they were called, were available as taxis for tourists and others braver than me. I loved the idea of the PoNY Cabs, but Manhattan, with its dense traffic, loud noise and polluted air, didn't seem like the ideal place for something so environmentally-forward. Now I hear that George is being forced to sell his fleet because of an insurance dispute over an accident in which no one was even injured. Here's a video clip about George's tricycle cabs.

Cut to 2005, and I've been a Sarasota resident for two and a half years. And I read that Sarasota is considering something similar. The nice thing is that--except for hurricane season--our downtown is a perfect venue for tricycle cabs. The weather's usually beautiful, the traffic's usually light, and there are lots of trees to sweeten the air. Here's what Joe Moraca's
Sarasota Livin' blog says:

Another transit option may be coming to Downtown Sarasota. People power to get you around... read it in the Sarasota Herald Tribune

"Randy Giffen's thoughts are now taking shape as the Sarasota Surrey Cab Co.Giffen wants to introduce “pedicabs” to downtown Sarasota.

The transportation service would be similar to taxis but without the polluting combustion engines. Tricycle carriages, with licensed drivers, would carry residents and tourists to and from hotels, condos, theaters and restaurants. It’s an untried idea in a downtown where a county-operated trolley service recently failed to attract enough passengers.

“If it’s not done in a proper way, it could be an embarrassment for the city,” Giffen said. “It’s imperative that it be done right.”

I guess I can ride one to the water taxi stop...

Here are some really cool transportation ideas from an artist named John Lee. I so share his vision!

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