A Traffic Solutions Summit was convened by Miami-Dade County District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava on Saturday, Feb., 3, at the Cutler Bay Town Hall, and co-hosted by the Village of Pinecrest, Village of Palmetto Bay and Town of Cutler Bay.
The topic was traffic congestion in the transportation corridor from Pinecrest south through Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay to Palm Glades,
More than 150 area residents attended to hear from traffic experts, take a look at transportation improvement plans that already are underway and to offer their own thoughts about future plans.
Participants broke into small groups to brainstorm transit solutions and to help produce a realistic action plan to reduce traffic, including individual commitments.
Commissioner Levine Cava, said she was pleased with the turnout and the public input.
“Very happy,” she said. “There was broad and hopeful participation and many good ideas.”
There were a number of ideas for traffic solutions discussed, ranging from implementing “smart signals” and reversible lanes to providing corporate discount transit passes, bike-share programs and carpooling incentives. Residents also expressed a need for more local trolleys and Park & Ride locations for easier access to the Metrorail.
Commissioner Levine Cava pledged her continuing support.
“I am committed to finding ways to prevent urban sprawl and the glut of car-dependent traffic it creates, but we will only be successful if we work together to provide real, effective and desirable alternatives,” the commissioner said in an official statement.
“We are all part of the traffic problem, because all of us here are driving cars that create traffic. I am looking to everyone here today to help us envision a plan of great ideas that we can soon implement. Let’s all be part of the traffic solution.”
Palmetto Bay Councilmember Karyn Cunningham was one of those who attended and thought it showed how much change is needed.
“The Transit Solution Summit truly highlighted how ready the people of South Dade are for traffic solutions and transit options,” Councilmember Cunningham said. “Attendees spent most of the time in small groups focused on a series of questions that were developed to solicit solutions to transit and traffic issues. Many of the discussed solutions involved incentives for using transit and finding ways to minimize work commutes, but the real heart of the matter is lack of quality public transportation.
“We need to stop band-aiding the issue and work to give our residents a viable comprehensive transit system in South Dade,” she said. “It really is time for the county to step it up and keep the promises that were made when the people voted in the half penny sales tax in 2002 and dedicate those dollars to completing our rail system.”
Cutler Bay Vice Mayor Sue Loyzelle, who attended with Mayor Peggy Bell and other town council members, thought the summit was a good start.
“It’s nice to be able to provide the opportunity for the municipalities and the residents to get together,” Vice Mayor Loyzelle said. “We had a really good turnout, and even though we’re all coming from different places, it’s good to see how we’re working together to help each other and how residents are coming up with ideas.
“The short term solutions were the ones we spent the most time on at our table, to see what we could do now to fix things, like getting all of our circulators going to the transitway,” she added. “And we should start our circulator at 6 a.m. and go to 8 p.m. so we can encourage working people to use the transitway and get more cars off the road.”
Anyone wishing to obtain information on the Summit or who wants to provide traffic solution ideas should contact the county’s District 8 office at 305-378-6677 or by email at District8@miamidade.gov.