Going Public – Public has say about design of city parks

Miami's Community Newspapers

“…The City has a strong desire to address concerns…and work with residents to improve quality of life.” City Manager Rick Conner recently expressed sentiments shared by the Sunny Isles Beach City Commission in a “letter of understanding” regarding how to create optimal traffic flow for Heritage Park and the parking garage currently being constructed at the north end of the city (19200 Collins Avenue).

Major components of the four-acre Heritage Park site include two playgrounds (one for children ages 2 to 5 and another for children ages 5 to 12); a “great lawn” area, about thirty percent larger than at Samson Park and large enough to accommodate approximately 1,500 people for special events such as the city’s Jazz Fest; a 1,358 square foot stage; an interactive water feature; a Heritage Wall commemorating city history and founders; and a 500-space parking garage, already under construction.

The letter of understanding addressed to Oceanview condo association presidents was written as a follow-up to a Heritage Parkrelated meeting held in January to discuss possible traffic solutions and includes recommendations endorsed by Kimley-Horn & Associates – the firm retained by the city to conduct an access analysis report. According to Conner, the report concluded that closing the curb cut currently located on Collins Avenue and rerouting traffic to utilize the parking garage via Galahad-Dade Boulevard and the private roadway located within the Ocean Reserve property would not significantly impact the level of service on Galahad-Dade Boulevard.

The letter also outlines further steps the city plans to take in order to alleviate traffic concerns, including but not limited to the following: The city [has agreed] to construct a third inbound lane on Galahad-Dade Boulevard on the western end to allow queuing for the cars (residents) approaching the automatic gate to bypass the cars (non-resident) stopped at the guardhouse. The third lane will start as far east as allowable. Of the two remaining lanes going all the way to Collins, the southern one will be for access to the park and the park garage.

The city will reconstruct Galahad-Dade Boulevard to introduce two new additional west bound lanes. One will be the approximate length of the Heritage Park property to allow permitted residents of Oceanview a segregated and unrestricted access. The second will be approximately two hundred feet in length and will be for visitors and guests who will have to stop at the guard house. A third lane will allow direct access to the park and parking garage. In addition, two exit lanes will also run essentially the full length of the park. One will be for traffic turning northbound onto Collins and one will be for traffic turning southbound onto Collins.

The city will require the Aventura Beach Club Condominium Association (commonly referred to as the Ramada and/or Marco Polo) to pay for sufficient police traffic patrol if attendance at an event held at the Ramada, for which the garage located within Heritage Park is primarily being constructed, meets the special events guidelines established by the city from time to time. The city’s policy is to provide police traffic patrol at all appropriate city events at all city parks and this policy will be applied to Heritage Park as well.

The city has instructed the architects who designed Heritage Park to include a structural opening on the northern face of the parking garage at the east end. This opening will be covered with the decorative perforated aluminum that will be used on the northern and eastern faces of the building. The purpose of this structural opening is to permit ingress or egress to the parking garage from Collins other than Galahad-Dade Boulevard in the event future traffic congestion makes the current anticipated ingress and egress to the parking garage via Galahad-Dade Boulevard and the roadway located within the Ocean Reserve Condominium property undesirable, dangerous, etc. and less safe than the proposed opening as determined by the city’s traffic consultant.

The city will install a gate in the fence at the existing curb cut on Collins Avenue to be used for servicing and maintaining Heritage Park as needed. The purpose of maintaining the curb cut on Collins and installing a gate in the fence at that location is to enable the construction of a servicing and maintenance roadway therefrom to the structural opening [previously described]. This roadway shall be used strictly for servicing and maintenance of the park unless changed by the City Commission.

The city will not in any way interfere with an exclusive easement rights belonging to Oceanview A and B. The city agrees to examine the traffic patterns implemented as part of the initial Heritage Park development, layout and traffic ingress and egress pattern if any of the following occur:

• If the level of service at the intersection of Galahad-Dade Boulevard and Collins Avenue drops to a D or below as defined in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

• If the city is able to obtain permission from the Florida Department of Transportation to place a traffic signal at the southern end of Heritage Park on Collins Avenue

• If the events listed above occur, the city will take remedial appropriate actions to address the traffic issues.

Public Input for Skateboard Park

On April 16, the City of Sunny Isles Beach extended an invitation for the public to meet with city staff and designers to provide input regarding a designated skateboard park proposed for the northwest corner of Town Center Park at 17200 Collins Avenue.

Good News for Public High School

On April 15, the City Commission approved a $3,000 donation from the city to the Marine Science Program at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Sr. High School. Principal Sally Alayon and PTSA member Marianna Talalaevsky had previously appeared before the Commission to present a video of the school’s achievements just one year since opening and request a city donation.

At least 300 students who reside in Sunny Isles Beach are currently enrolled in the high school neighboring FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus, which is also attended by students from Golden Beach, North Miami and North Miami Beach. It was noted that at least 50 percent of the high school’s enrollment is expected to be comprised of students from Sunny Isles Beach within the next two years.

Mayor Norman S. Edelcup also reiterated the benefits of forming city-school partnerships providing opportunities for students to earn compensation in return for providing services such as creating art in public places, producing films about the city or presenting musical performances at special events.

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