Bridges issue attracts full house to council meeting

Bridges issue attracts full house to council meeting
A sign opposing proposed bridges was placed in the area near SW 87th Avenue.

A full house of Palmetto Bay residents attended the regular monthly council meeting at Village Hall on Monday, Jan. 6, and most attendees apparently were interested in voicing their opinions about the ongoing issue of Miami-Dade County’s plan to construct bridges on SW 77th and SW 87th avenues where those roads are interrupted by a canal.

Earlier meetings also were attended by representatives of neighboring Cutler Bay, which has expressed a desire for the bridges to be built to improve traffic flow from there northward through Palmetto Bay.

A resolution before the council, sponsored by Councilmember David Singer, addressed this issue. It had been deferred from the Nov. 4 and Dec. 2 meetings.

The resolution read:
C. A. resolution of the Mayor and Village Council of the
Village of Palmetto Bay, Florida, relating to traffic;
petitioning Miami-Dade County to update their traffic
plan, specifically as it relates to connectivity for the
Village of Palmetto Bay; rescinding all previous
resolutions against bridging; proposing studies for
connectivity in Palmetto Bay and all of South Miami-Dade
and identifying a funding source for the plan;
and providing for an effective date.

Public comments about the resolution were divided, with some residents against bridges on 77th and 87th avenues, and others favoring the bridges.

Resident Mike Hernandez, who lives in the affected neighborhood, said it takes him longer to get out of his neighborhood in the mornings because there is no bridge.

“You’ve got to create flow or you’re going to have bottlenecks,” he said.

Victor Balmaseda said he has driven along parts of 87th Avenue and is familiar with traffic there.

“If you put a bridge on 87th over that canal, it’s going to be bumper to bumper past 144th Street to US 1, all the way back to Old Cutler Road,” he said. “It’s just not going to help anything. It’s going to be a real dangerous thing.”

Other residents pointed out that 87th and 77th avenues are major thoroughfares that are intended to carry traffic north and south and thought it would help alleviate some of the strain on S. Dixie Highway and Old Cutler Road. But some were concerned that the bridges would allow more traffic through the village neighborhoods and cause problems for children and people accessing their homes.

Village Mayor Karyn Cunningham said during closing discussion at the council meeting, “I oppose bridging in Palmetto Bay. I don’t support it. I don’t think it’s a solution.”

She added, “I think we need to hold county’s feet to the fire and require them to create a methodology that will help us solve these problems.”

Councilmember David Singer, who had sponsored the resolution and was upset with the way things were going, said in closing about the other members of the council, “This is not a bridge issue. They’ve made it a bridge issue for political purposes. All this does is ask Miami-Dade County to come in and give you guys respect and give you a plan. You can’t ask for help but say you don’t want to talk about bridges.”

In the final vote on the resolution, Councilmember Singer voted “yes,” Councilmembers Patrick Fiore and Marsha Matson voted “no,” and Mayor Cunningham voted “no.” Vice Mayor John DuBois was not present at the vote. The resolution did not pass. What the county does next may determine what happens.

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  1. The traffic grid connectivity issue (bridging) is a self-inflicted wound by past and present Village of Palmetto Bay Councils and by the current District 8 Commissioner. In 2006 the Village rejected a $7,500,000.00 grant that was earmarked to improve the Village’s infrastructure. Then subsequently the Village passed a resolution to not permit bridging. In 2018 the current District 8 Commissioner caused the County’s Transportation Planning Organization to reject the County’s fully funded $2,000,000.00 plea to uncork the 87th Avenue bottleneck. Throughout all this, the Village has wasted(?) over $5,500,000.00 on the useless and ineffective “traffic calming” that has resulted in our Village becoming a laughingstock for its epidemic of speed humps. Now we have four out of five of the current Council hypocritically attempting to blame the County by begging the County to solve the current mess and chaos they themselves have caused. Councilman David Singer is the only current Village Council member that seems to fully understand the issue. Since incorporation, other than the 2004 Corridino Group traffic study that suggested completing the grid should happen, every Village commissioned traffic study after that, was NOT asked to opine about grid completion (bridging). The question is “WHY”? What was the motivation to omit an analysis of the pros and cons of grid completion? Councilman Singer was attempting to correct the oversight and inject some common sense into the resultant current chaos that has destroyed formerly quiet neighborhoods. It’s just a matter of time before the County wisely over-rules the “not in my backyard” municipalities and neighborhood groups, and mandates grid completion.

  2. Jerry Johnson, you are 💯 correct. With more apt buildings going up & at least 2 cars per apt. we are going to be drowning in cars even worse than now. The NIMBYs will have to face the facts sooner than later. We need to start getting busy pushing Dade County for the bridges.

  3. You cannot be stupid enough to think more bridges helps Palmetto Bay. They will only pull more traffic into the village from Old Cutler and US 1. New roads ALWAYS increase traffic. You show zero consideration for people whose streets will become highways and home values tank. You two clearly have something to gain from bridging and it isn’t an altruistic desire to improve our community. Wouldn’t be surprised if Singer wrote both of the previous comments.

    • Martin – You voice the feelings and concerns of EVERY single homeowner whose neighborhood will be impacted by the building of these bridges. It does not take a degree in Urban Planning or an assignment on the Miami Dade Transportation Board to recognize that bridging will INCREASE THE TRAFFIC FLOW to Palmetto Bay and WILL NOT diminish the number of cars traveling to and from work/school each day. The answer? 1. Improve current public transportation/OFFER VIABLE OPTIONS to those driving to work/school. 2. Open up the Busway to the citizens of our county who are going to work each day. Have both lanes on a northbound direction in the mornings, and viceversa in the afternoons. 3. Start EXPRESS MetroDade BUS SERVICES from the Park and Ride lots along the busway to start, and add other pick up/drop off points to the east and west of US1, to service areas where our citizens live and work. 4. Offer cash incentives to car pools (it will be a lot cheaper than building the bridges and money still talks!!). 5. Approve a moratorium on new apartment buildings/massive construction projects UNTIL builders themselves start pitching in on how to solve the increased number of NEW vehicles their massive construction projects will bring. Every single new construction project along US1/Old Cutler Road that has surfaced in the last 1/5/10 years has been for HUNDREDS OF APARTMENTS AND/OR HOMES. No longer do we see a 15/20 apartment building being approved; what has been is approved/being built in the last few years involve hundreds of apartments or new homes. Entire communities, with no attention being afforded to the number of cars and increased traffic these communities will produce. Bridging over a canal, which will only take current traffic only a blocks north of where it currently takes them, makes no sense whatsoever. These cars end up on US1 and Old Cutler Road. THAT IS WHERE THE FOCUS NEEDS TO BE. Will bridging SOLVE Palmetto Bay/Miami Dade county’s traffic situation? We ALL know that answer. Bridges, whether the source of their funding is the county/the state/the Federal government, will NOT reduce the number of cars, or the traffic traveling, in this case on 77th and 87th avenues. I agree with Martin. Individuals who are pro bridges do not share an altruistic desire to make our town any better. These bridges will make our Village of Palmetto Bay worse. With all due respect “pro bridgers” should come clean, and state the true reason for their stand. Even though we all know that reason. I share wholeheartedly with the comment from “T” below.

  4. With traffic technology now, there is no such thing as a secret short cut. If a bridge is built, and it eases traffic, it will only be as long as the phone app says it’s quicker. Then it will pull a few more cars off of US1 and Old Cutler, until it reaches saturation again. I don’t want “flow” through my neighborhood, because they wont be residents of my neighborhood. The more painful it is to drive THROUGH Palmetto Bay, the fewer will do it. I will happily drive even slower in my last two or three miles because it is my home.


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