On August 30 nearly 350 people showed up at the Palmetto Golf Course to hear information and voice their opinion about the potential bridging of 87th Avenue over the canal between SW 163 and 164 Streets. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava organized the event to allow for the sharing of opinions on the proposed $1.9-million project slated to begin in 2018 to alleviate north-south traffic in the area.
As County Commissioner and a resident of Palmetto Bay, I am embarrassed to tell you that I found out about this proposed project from Facebook, explained Cava. We clearly arent getting things right when we have communication gaps like this within the County.
For its part, the usually split Palmetto Bay Council is a firm 5-0 against the bridging and has been for several years now.
The two-hour meeting allowed the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) to present their case as to why they are pushing for the bridging to occur. They showed numbers that calculated traffic flow numbers after bridging that would reduce delays by 27 percent. They also said that past summer vs. school traffic seasons only showed a 7 percent increase in commute times, which resulted in rounds of boos and disbelief.
Heated at times, the attendees were allowed to make public comments and statements. Although the respect in the room was low at times with people shouting each other down, Palmetto Bay Mayor Flinn commented, I think residents demonstrated to the County that we want a global traffic solution, not one that shifts the problem from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Homeowner Mary Pettit raised a point about how the County needed to look more globally at what they do. She stated the level of dense development further down south is what has created the traffic nightmare we have today and that the County was happy to take in the extra tax revenue without regard to the impact.
The issue also highlights the foot-dragging when it comes to South Dades mass transit efforts. The ineffective use of the transitway (formerly called the busway) is an example of name changes, but no real progress. Most believe that mass transit will alleviate a lot of the traffic flowing through neighborhood streets, which were originally designed specifically to be hostile to through-traffic. To date, no real action has been seen.
One interesting fact revealed at the meeting is that smart traffic signals are being installed on the transitway from SW 104 to SW 344 Streets during September. Theyll be programmed through the end of the year with the goal being intelligent red light changes only when a bus or authorized vehicle approaches the intersection.
After the meeting, a story about Marylands 16-mile Purple Line train transit project receiving $900-million in full federal funding came to light. It turns out that Miami-Dade County has never even asked for a dime of funding despite years of discussions around South Dades dire needs for public transportation. Palmetto Bay Councilman David Singer commented on Facebook, Apparently, they elect leadership that know what they are doing.
The meeting concluded with an overwhelming majority of the audience opposing the bridge. Cava called it quite raucous and passionate. We all await the Countys next move.
Traffic Circle at SW 168 Street and 82 Avenue
Commuting has become a train wreck, especially where heavy traffic volumes were never expected. One hot spot is SW 168th Street between 87th and 82nd Avenues in Palmetto Bay. Each morning, traffic from Cutler Bay and areas south get jammed up here as they look for alternates to Useless-1 and Old Cutler.
Traffic circles speed up intersections and lower accident rates. So, on August 10, the traffic light intersection started its transformation to a traffic circle. It opened for limited use during rush hours the day school started and the feedback started pouring in.
I live in Flamingo Gardens, explains resident Marcell Hetenyi, and it used to be nearly impossible exit our community and take a left. Now, with the even traffic flow, getting onto 168th is much easier.
Some have noted that school buses and long vehicles are having trouble navigating the circle. Indeed, this circle is smaller than its sister at 87th Avenue due to space limitations.
Despite gripes and complaints, the circle appears to be improving traffic. I teamed up with the Village and its Youth Community Involvement Board to create an educational video on how to safely use a traffic circle <http://tinyurl.com/PB82circle>.
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Hal Feldman (MiamiHal) is a Realtor with RE/MAX Advance Realty. You can contact him with your story ideas or real estate questions at <<www.MiamiHal.com>, <Hal@MiamiHal.com> or www.facebook.com/MiamiHal