Miami to audit all other cities in street closure fight with county
Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo wonders why 32 street closures in Coral Gables have gone unchallenged by Miami-Dade County while barriers on a few streets in the Silver Bluff neighborhood were cause for a surprise court date.
Earlier in the month, Miami road crews placed temporary concrete barriers on side streets off Coral Way and Southwest 17th Avenue in response to residents’ pleas for help in eliminating the immense drive-through traffic from thoroughfares into their quiet neighborhood. Soon after, crews from the county’s Department of Transportation and Public Works came to remove the barriers but were stopped by Miami police. The stalemate came to a head when the county sought a court order, claiming Miami did not undergo the proper process before erecting the barriers.
“The county did something unprecedented by bringing the City of Miami to an emergency hearing on a Sunday,” said Mr. Carollo. “The county alleged people’s lives were at risk because we closed a few streets at the extreme ends on a temporary basis and emergency vehicles could go in and out.”
Mr. Carollo said he finds the county’s claim hard to believe, given he found a minimum of 32 street closures just in Coral Gables. The difference, he said, is that the closures in Silver Bluff were in response to a traffic problem and the others were because residents didn’t want outsiders coming into their neighborhood.
“This is a major thoroughfare on small residential streets on a daily basis,” Mr. Carollo said. “We’re tried various measures but nothing has solved the problem. When neighbors came to us with a petition, we closed streets on a temporary basis as we believe we are allowed to do by law.”
“If the county had the nerve to treat us this way,” he said, “I hope they understand by their defeat in court that they were wrong and we are independent from them.”
He asked City Attorney Victoria Mendez to place a public request on every city in the county for all their street closures, when they were done, and if they had county approval.
Commissioner Manolo Reyes said he lent his support to the investigation 100% and asked the county the same question why “we can’t close a street when Coral Gables has done it. The county said in order to close a street, you have to go through a process,” Mr. Reyes said. “I have asked what the process is and how many parts of the county have gone through the process. I want to know if these other streets went through the process that we’re supposed to go through.”