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Front Page » Communities » Project to calm traffic instead aggravates Miami residents

Project to calm traffic instead aggravates Miami residents

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Written by on October 3, 2017

Project to calm traffic instead aggravates Miami residents

Miami commissioner Francis Suarez has put the brakes on a traffic calming project on busy Southwest 22nd Avenue.

On a motion from Mr. Suarez, the city commission voted to stop the project and remove the bulk of the funds planned for the work in fiscal year 2017-2018. The new budget year began Oct. 1.

Mr. Suarez said the project is on hold awaiting a new traffic study and community outreach to determine what the residents want in the Silver Bluff neighborhood, the area most impacted by the changes.

The reconstruction of 22nd Avenue, between heavily-traveled US 1 and Coral Way (Southwest 22nd Street) had been in the works for some time. In April, commissioners approved the installation of temporary access control devices or traffic delineators; rows of tightly clustered plastic tubes, blocking traffic access and direct crossover traffic from many of the side streets.

The tubes and directional street markings painted on the road surface were to be a precursor to the finished product, which was to include reduced lanes, two big traffic circles and landscaping, all designed to slow cars and discourage cut-through traffic.

For several years, city commissioners have installed traffic-calming devices like traffic circles, speed humps, raised intersections and more in the residential streets that abut congested main thoroughfares.

As congestion has grown on the main roads, so has cut-through traffic nearby. The often high speed of these in-a-rush motorists endangers children, pets, pedestrians and property.

Soon after the temporary tubes were placed on Southwest 22nd Avenue, complaints arose from residents troubled by increased side street traffic.

Rather than discourage the cut-through traffic, the street markings and delineators instead funneled much of the cut-through traffic onto one or two side streets.

Mr. Suarez told fellow commissioners that at least two side streets were “overburdened” by traffic.

“The matter requires more study and more community conversation,” he said.

Miami Today asked Mr. Suarez if some people were saying the traffic was being funneled past their homes.

“I would say residents of 23rd Terrace and 25th Street would certainly say so with regard to their streets,” he said. “We are going to do a traffic study to determine traffic flow and overall volume counts, to get an objective analysis.”

The tubes so upset at least one resident that he knocked down several that were prohibiting direct cross traffic last week.

The Southwest 22nd Avenue improvement project had a total estimated price of $1,145,343. The costs were spread over three budget years, with the largest portion – $868,386 – set aside for the 2017-18 budget.

The commission’s recent vote put a stop to that allocation.

The project’s scope was to include removal of the 4-foot traffic separator and turn lanes, proposing a new grass median within the center of the road and only milling and resurfacing the existing lanes.

Reconstructing the median islands and restricting vehicles from crossing straight over all lanes of 22nd Avenue from side streets was designed to discourage cut-through cars.

Similar roadway modifications – limiting access with repositioned and raised medians and right-turn-only design – were made to Southwest 27th Avenue by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Before it was halted, the city’s capital improvement budget showed an estimate completion date of Dec. 3, 2018, for the 22nd Avenue project.

With the project on hold and possibly headed for modification, will the city remove the rows of tubes?

“We cannot remove the temporary barriers until we perform the study,” Mr. Suarez told Miami Today.

“We also want to have a follow-up community meeting to see where the entire community stands on the permanent project,” he said.

“I would say we are also looking at this project holistically on how cut-through traffic will be approached throughout the city,” said Mr. Suarez.

The idea, in part, will be to examine cause and effect; what expected outcome will be experienced in one section of the city if traffic is restricted in another area.

To install the tubes or delineators, the city needed an agreement with Miami-Dade County.

The county owns Southwest 22nd Avenue and is solely responsible for operating and maintaining traffic control devices on the divided roadway, says the city resolution approving the temporary measures.

“The county has approved the installation of the delineators along Southwest 22nd Avenue and requires a maintenance covenant as a condition of approval to which the city has agreed to maintain the delineators,” it says.

Back in April, Commissioner Frank Carollo cast the lone “no” vote, voicing concern about restricting access to roadways.

He said he “cringed a little bit” when he saw the resolution on the agenda. He said any move to limit access to streets reminded him of resident opposition that surfaced years ago when the city proposed limiting turns along Southwest 17th Avenue.

At the April meeting, Mr. Suarez told Mr. Carollo he understood his concern, and while he admitted it’s often difficult to get a consensus, most Silver Bluff residents supported these proposed measures.

“They’re pushing for the delineators… and it allows for an immediate solution,” Mr. Suarez said then.

27 Responses to Project to calm traffic instead aggravates Miami residents

  1. Costa Grillas Reply

    October 4, 2017 at 7:46 am

    I am a resident of 23rd Terrace. With two small children. The added cut through traffic funneled through my street has endangered the quality of life for my family. I completely oppose the poles on 22nd Ave. It has increased traffic on my street ten fold. The honking of cars all day long is extremely irritating. Cars are backed up on my street (10-15 cars at time) waiting to turn onto 22nd Ave either headed to US1 or Coral Way. Crossing over 22nd Ave is nearly impossible at peak traffic times. It is ridiculous to close so many alternate arteries, and expect a decrease in traffic.
    I am a rational person, and realize it is impossible to make everyone happy. As many of my fellow community residents are probably happier now that there is less traffic on their streets. But at the direct expense of the residents of 23rd Terrace and 25th Street. My street has become a mini highway, with traffic all day long. This project was not well thought of, and unfortunately for us at the moment, we need to suffer the trial and error period of a inadequate plan.

    • Casandra Reply

      November 6, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Well, we live on 24th terrace and we’ve also seen a huge increase in cut through traffic. Our street has also become a mini highway.

  2. Vivian Guzman Reply

    October 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I continue stating that this piecemeal approach of closing one street at the expense of surrounding neighborhoods is not serving the best interest of the city or its residents. All you do is pit one neighborhood or block against another. If the city is serious about addressing the issue of cut-through traffic, it needs a comprehensive and strategic approach to traffic mitigation or traffic calming. Closing off streets only shifts the burden to another neighborhood and to think otherwise is naïve at best. My neighborhood in Shenandoah is also victim to cut-through traffic from SW 27th Ave., Coral Way, SW 16th St. and SW 22 Ave. We have gotten no relief because we cannot get concurrency with the neighbors for traffic calming devices. However, I believe when there are life-safety considerations, there should be no need for concurrency similar to the installation of stop, yield signs or traffic signals. I hope the city listens to the collective voices of its residents and solves our traffic nightmare holistically.

  3. Adrianna Reply

    October 5, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I live on 22nd Terrace and never received any notification of this proposed project, nor was I given an opportunity to reject it. To reduce 22nd Ave (a County road) from 4 to 2 lanes seems insane with the traffic issues our City already faces. We need more road that flow efficiently. Most residents agree that something has to be done but most of us don’t want street closures or closing in our communities. We live in this area because of our access to so many neighboring points of interest and caging us in, is not what we want.

  4. Anonymous Reply

    October 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    This article is very mild. There are so many other things that are part of the story. In the minutes of the April meeting he said this was universally supported when he debated with Carrollo.

    It doesn’t talk about the missing signature on a key bilateral contract that governs the installation of the delineators. Technically, the county commission doesn’t have any notice that this project ever went up. It is only signed by the City Manager but not signed by the County Manager. When confronting all City employees and officials, they all state that it is a mistake. However they recorded it immediately at the County Clerk.

    This story has many more twists…

    • John J. Roberts Reply

      October 27, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Approval would probably require a safety review for which this project would not pass muster: Apparently “calm” neighborhoods trumps safety as the state’s requirement for a two lane urban road recommend a minimum of ten (10) feet per lane and increase this width to twelve (12) feet when curbing exists. With respect to SW 25th Street (east of 22nd Avenue) the paved road is eighteen (18) feet wide and doesn’t meet the safety requirements to be a double lane road. The ten feet minimum width per lane does not include an additional margin for lane separation/traffic control “devices” (the orange double striping delineating lanes). Eighteen (18) feet wide doesn’t cut it. Despite this SW 25th Street was selected. It wouldn’t pass muster with state or county traffic engineers so the law gets broken by pushing through the change underhandedly. Voter beware: Would not Mr. Francis Suarez take this approach with the city if elected? Due diligence required examination of lane widths before parsing traffic to areas ill prepared to handle the volume. SW 25th street (east of 22nd Avenue) is the narrowest east-west stretch east of 22nd Avenue, does not have a contiguous sidewalk, does not have curbing, does not have improved storm drains, does not have handicap ramps at all corners, one such “ramp” (at SW 25th Street and 19 Avenue [an alley at this point] slopes the macadem into a drain plate which would cause a wheelchair bound person to become trapped at the apex of this turning point. All curbing stops just east of SW 24th Terrace. These other improvements are years in the making. It does not go unnoticed that areas improved prior to the traffic re-direct now enjoy widened, curbed, traffic circles, cross walks with handicap ramps, etc., etc. No this was definitively a deliberate redirect of tax revenue to a prescribed area which is to now be segregated for further closure in the future. Just drive south on 19th Avenue from Coral Way and note how it narrows to a one lane alley south of 24th Terrace where a large beautiful circle with cross walks, recessed paved parking, curbing, ramps, etc., is placed. Upon passing another 120 feet south 19th Avenue becomes a one lane alley with no curbing, drains offset into grassed gullies, an illegal wood barricade built to the pavement to block pedestrians from walking off-road, the sloped pavement into a drain plate on 19th Ave and SW 25th Street, and the diverting traffic turning up this now “alley” (19th Ave) while pedestrians are forced onto the same driving pavement. Safety? Mr. Suarez? Safety? You cannot state you don’t know. Drive it yourself. SW 25th Street (east of 22nd Avenue) is again, eighteen (18) feet wide, you didn’t get approval because you cannot. It’s a taking of property value, unsafe, illegal and I have already requested assistance at the state level to investigate this spurning of traffic safety laws.

  5. Denise Reply

    October 6, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    What an unbalanced report, which says” At the April meeting, Mr. Suarez told Mr. Carollo he understood his concern, and while he admitted it’s often difficult to get a consensus, most Silver Bluff residents supported these proposed measures.” But no where does the article say how erroneous this ascertain was, and how most neighbors were not given notice. On the contrary, a small group of 40 to 60 people from the Silver Bluff Homeowners Association have orchestrated this traffic mitigation plan mostly to their own personal benefit and to the detriment of neighbors on 23rd Terrace and 25th St, to all nearby neighborhoods, and to the City of Miami as a whole. It is a band-aid approach that benefits a few at the expense of all. This is very disappointing, politically correct and unbalanced article.

  6. sonia ruiz Reply

    October 7, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I live on 25th street. There is no added traffic on our street. I welcome the changes and the project.

  7. Josefina Raimundez Reply

    October 9, 2017 at 9:21 am

    As Silver Bluff residents, my husband and I have been against this project since we sadly found out by the appearance of the poles. As soon as the poles were placed I wrote letters that were ignored. Finally Mr. Suarez responded to a post on Nextdoor, I appreciate his reaching out BUT he maintains the need for further studies. This is a MAIN AVENUE and as such should not be tampered with. We have enough circles in the neighborhood that have proven not to stop any cut-through traffic. We live in the CITY by choice, not in Kendall where people are closed in like prisoners. Miami continues to grow, we need to get used to that. Closing off access to the Avenue is not the solution – on the contrary, it has created more U turns, more congestion, and there are many Silver Bluff and Shenandoah residents against this. Total waste of OUR TAX DOLLARS, total disrespect to our wishes.

  8. Adam Old Reply

    October 9, 2017 at 11:41 am

    People on streets that have their traffic calmed like it. People on streets that now take the calmed streets’ traffic don’t like it. Residents on every street in Silver Bluff should be able to let their kids walk and play outside and ride their bikes to the store without getting hit by speeding cars cutting through to avoid the arterials.

    The City and County need to address this problem holistically. No solution will make everyone happy, but we can’t do nothing either.

  9. Resident Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 5:20 am

    The plan was beautiful it would be a tragedy for it to fail. I thing adding turn restrictions during peak hours would help. The neighborhood needs to stop all cut thru traffic like other neighborhoods like North Coconut Grove.

  10. Anne Garcia Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 7:59 am

    I live on 16th Court just east of Silver Bluff Proper. For a few privileged individuals all the surrounding neighborhoods have been inconvenienced. Closing a main thoroughfare street at the expense of surrounding neighborhoods is not serving the best interest of the city or its residents. I work in Coral Gables and a drive that took 8 minutes now takes 20-30 minutes due to the traffic funneled onto Coral Way. If the residents of Silver Bluff Proper wanted traffic free streets they should move to a gated community. We all pay taxes to use these streets. If these changes become permanent the property taxes of those residents should be increased to cover the cost of the closures and “beatification” project. Miami Commissioner Suarez is appeasing a group of 40-60 people but losing the respect and votes of far more people.

  11. Jennifer LaPuma Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 8:25 am

    We have lived on 23 street for 16 years. With three small children we have always had to pack up the car with bikes and head to the park. My children and their friends have almost been hit by cars flying by at speeding numbers. I had a confrontation with an off-duty police officer who literally almost struck my son with his car. He screamed profanity at me while his wife sat in the car telling him to please calm down and my three children eight years and younger listen to this man try to verbally attacked me because he almost killed my four-year-old. Walking out in the morning to a hanging side mirror or crashed side bumper has become our norm. Being woken up to a very loud crashing sound and looking out your bedroom window to find someone has hit your car and left the scene is not unusual for us either. Our street has always carried the majority of the traffic morning and early evening. Finally, our street gets some relief and our neighborhood is up for a major improvement that will eventually (with patience) work out for everyone and we see the ugly unselfishness come out of people in the community. The next-door app has just become a major bullying site for anyone that sees differently on this project. To go to work one morning and realize that the polls have been vandalized and ripped out because someone was so angry is really frustrating for me as a 16 year resident. This was and is the first step. It’s so frustrating to see how people only worry about themselves and can’t see the bigger picture.

  12. R Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Silver Bluff needs to more police presence in order to enforce speed limits: especially during peak traffic hours. Cars speed through the neighborhood: many of these drivers are Silver Bluff residents!!!

  13. M Stein Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Silver Bluff is a neighborhood. Traffic is a city-wide issue. Why should a small group of homeowners be allowed to dictate traffic for a city? Bad idea. Small minded.

  14. Betty Valladares-Licor Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I live on SW 25 Street (east of 22nd Ave) it’s one of the 2 streets opened to the funneling of traffic. After the plastic poles placed on 22nd Avenue it 25 Street has become a very dangerous mini-speedway. Many of my neighbors and I were ever notified of the changes being implemented on our street, for the obvious reason. My letters/electronic communication addressed to the commissioner and other city officials addressing safety concerns for the pre-school located on the corner of 25 St and 22 Ave have gone unanswered. There remains many unanswered questions regarding this project and safety concerns increases. Speaking for myself, it is incomprehensible how the safety for human lives is disregarded.

  15. Lilliam Olivares-Valdivia Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 11:43 am

    The installation of these so called “Calming devices” (poles) have not only increased the amount of traffic thru the open streets, but increase the speed of the drivers which was already too fast for the neighborhood! We the residents suffering from this “temporary” measures want the poles removed immediately and not having to wait for a traffic study that has taken long enough to be done!

  16. ANDRES MARISTANY Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I have been a resident on 23rd Terrace for 24 years. Blocking access and funneling traffic to 2 streets is the most in comprehensive attempt to solve a traffic problem in the history of this city. How does Funneling 1000 cars/hour (during peak hours) into 2 streets solve a traffic problem? It only creates a nightmare and extremely Dangerous situation for residents on those 2 streets, to even cross the street like we used to. We will NOT stop until this erroneous effort is overturned and life in Silver Bluff can go back to being a quiet Residential area where children and pets can use sidewalks without being endangered by lunatic drivers speeding thru our neighborhood.

  17. silver bluff resident Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    The “some relief” to 23rd street and other now-blocked streets comes at the expense of the open streets. To ignore this fact and force this plan on the residents of open streets where residents oppose the project and never agreed to it in the first place is the true “ugly unselfishness come out of people in the community.”

  18. John Roberts and Liset Pelaez Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    This project is an neighborhood improvement emolument under the guise of a traffic control solution: It does not go unnoticed that the funds dedicated to this project were paid by all tax payers yet the traffic was redirected into 25th Street (between 22 Avenue to the South and 19th Avenue to the north) even though SW 25th Street is more narrow, lacks curbing, has no traffic circles, and was already the most contiguous straightway between 19th Avenue and 22nd Avenue, two blocks west of US-1, from where frustrated drivers divert to “race” and beat congested traffic on US-1. Do we not all pay property taxes alike? But more than one city planner lives in the calmed, curbed, and traffic circle beneficiary properties. Where is the inspector general for the city? Why does the city approve plans without reviewing delineation and evaluating whether there is potential underhanded benefit to their employees over logical, safe neighborhoods? This is nothing less than a taking of property value by garnering and unequally distributing tax revenue to benefit a few city connected employees and insider beneficiaries. Worse still, the corner of SW 25th Street and 22 Avenue hosts a child day care center: Southbound 22nd Avenue traffic intending to enter areas north of 22nd Avenue use the left turn lane (from 22nd Avenue to SW 25th Street to execute a U-Turn, often unsignaled, and both impede the channeled/higher concentration traffic which is southbound on SW 25th Street but turning left onto 22nd Avenue boulevard to head to US-1. It is at once, congested, eclectic, impedes safe viewing angles, and creates a very dangerous choke point on the least protected street (for traffic volume) in these neighborhoods. The residents and homeowners of SW 25th Street pay the same tax rate as the rest of the neighborhoods residents but apparently do not deserve curbing, traffic circles, widened lanes, and despite this, are now absorbing the excessive, artificially channeled traffic. And for what reason? To benefit city engineers/planners living in the quieted zones? Objection isn’t selfish. Either pay a higher tax rate for your curbing, traffic circles, and quieted streets benefits, fix our street (SW 25th Street [again; it has no curbing, has a narrow double lane, and no traffic circles, yet must now absorb the redirected flow], or lower our taxes if the residents of SW 25th Street do not have city engineer emolument benefits, or cut the city insider benefits crap. (And, of course, it’s quite cute to maintain the current status quo plastic pole benefit while not entirely funding the project because you’ve already spent considerable funds improving streets for city employees by garnering and dispersing tax revenue disproportionately. Remember this Mr. Suarez, re-elections and media contacts have consequences… We’ll be visiting this shortly.

    • Eros Perez Reply

      October 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      Thanks for such well elaborared thoughts about this issue that affects us. I really appreciate your comment

  19. anonymous Reply

    October 10, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    The traffic on my street s.w. 25,st. from 19 ave to 22nd avenue is now busier with cars than ever since you put up that tube mess on 22nd ave. horrible traffic..beeping ..people making u-turns on 22nd,ave and 25,st.!!!at least give us a speed bump between 19th ave and 22nd avenue on 25,st. at least it might slow cars down. and thats my input.

  20. Mike Reply

    October 11, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I have lived in this neighborhood, right on the corner of SW 22 Avenue, for 35 years, and I will be more than happy to see some kind of “Calming device” placed permanently. Not only that, but also block the traffic from entering the residential area, by building some kind of “barricade” on each entrance (at least at my home street). This will not only prevent “foreign traffic” from bothering our neighborhood but also keep us safer from criminals. I will be more than happy to drive the other way to exit the neighborhood to go to work or whatever. Unfortunately, we don’t have a consensus among Silver Bluff residents.

  21. Jorge Reply

    October 19, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I’m a resident of silver bluff. I welcome any change that will reduce traffic flow throughout our neighborhood. I welcome full barricade of left turns on 17th Ave, 22nd Ave, and 27th Ave. Our neighborhood has become unsafe due to reckless dangerous drivers. Let’s unite to stop this insanity.

  22. Frank Suarez Reply

    October 22, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    It sounds like Silver Bluff should be walled-in. That would be for our protection, not theirs. What a bunch of whiney brats. What is this, a bunch of spoiled Venezuelans trying to take over a city? In the fashion of your people no less. You live near the middle of Miami. What do you expect? Suburbia? More west. Stop messing up traffic for the rest of us.

  23. Eros Perez Reply

    October 25, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    I live in 23rd terrace and since the polls were installed, the traffic in my street is intolerable. But, what is completely irritating is that City officials continue to talk about the need for a study to take place before the polls get removed….they don’t care about the studies as this project was done with false and incomplete data and with the input from a biased unauthorized association….
    This project was conceived in meetings the residents of the streets now affected did not participate in…and what is so unacceptable is that the City, without following any established procedure with the County colluded with the unauthorized association, approved it and is not willing to accept that it was wrong.
    The polls must be removed.

  24. Concerned Reply

    October 31, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Malfeasance! Find who got all the special favors and trap your rat. Find the family relationship. Bet the behind the scene association members received quite a number of benefits. The association president’s street received quite a bit of traffic calming. Quite a curious bit indeed. How was all this funded? She lives in District 3 but association is in District 4. Very suspicious.

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