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.