Marlin Engineering, the village’s traffic engineering consultant, presented its recommendations to village residents during a Traffic Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, July 5, at Village Hall.
Maps dividing the village into three zones were displayed along with photos of various traffic calming devices ranging from chicanes, chokers/curb extensions, traffic circles, speed humps and speed tables, raised intersections and complete streets.
Data had been gathered over previous months from residents input, village administration advice, studies of traffic flow throughout the village, and historical traffic data. Automatic traffic recorder machines were used to perform daily traffic volume counts, peak hour volume counts and speed counts. The traffic data was analyzed and volume, speed and crash issues were mapped.
The stated goals were to make streets safer, reduce traffic volume, reduce travel speed, improve pedestrian safety, preserve quality of life and add value to the neighborhood. The various traffic calming devices were offered as suggestions to the council for ways of achieving that.
But while the focus of the report was on direct street-by-street projects, many expressed belief that the best way to reduce traffic through the village is by improving public transportation to get more cars off the road.
“We need rail,” Mayor Eugene Flinn said following the presentation. “The future of mobility in South Miami-Dade is dependent upon a successful mass transit.”
Village Councilmember (Seat 1) Karyn Cunningham had mixed feelings about the report.
“While I don’t feel that the recommendations captured all of the areas in the village that are problematic, it is a start,” Cunningham said.
“I have said since 2014 that we need to look at traffic calming and flow from a citywide perspective rather than in the haphazard manner in which we have been implementing solutions.
“More importantly, there is a great need for a comprehensive mass transit strategy with effective public transportation via light rail to move people out of their cars and reduce the need for folks to cut through our village to travel north to work,” she added.
Julia Brazell Cespedes, a village resident and senior academic advisor at the University of Miami, had definite opinions about the report and studies leading up to it.
“I thought they were a complete waste of time, money and resources,” Brazell Cespedes said. “I felt they kept changing the data in the charts and included irrelevant variables to make a specific result seem more important.
“Rail is important. There is no instant solution, in my opinion. The bus service can improve, too…the number of buses, the stations. I think the council, or at least some of the council members, should continue to demand Uber stations included in the new apartment developments. And then of course the bike lanes can always be improved and arrive sooner.”