Source: Miami Herald

Source: Miami Herald

On Saturday afternoon 10 people were injured at Lemoni Café at Northeast 46th Street and Second Avenue in Buena Vista, after a Toyota Camry carrying three people drove into the cafe’s sidewalk seating area.

It was bound to happen sooner or later and the Buena Vista East Historic Neighborhood Homeowners Association has been warning the County and City for years that NE 2nd Avenue isn’t safe or suitable for pedestrians.  Both the City and County have chosen to ignore requests by residents and businesses to make this road safer and thus should be held partially responsible for this crash and for the death of a pedestrian about a year ago.

It is simply unfathomable to me that the County and City would even allow for the conditions that created the scenario for this crash to exist.  Both fail to recognize hat the current 35 mph speed limit and 40+ mph design speed is unsafe for everyone. The speed limit and design speed of NE 2nd Ave should not exceed 30 mph. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

On the other hand how does the City allow restaurant owners to put patrons in harms way by allowing outdoor dining within inches of cars that are traveling in excess of 45 miles an hour? This is simply reprehensible.

The real problem here is the County and City’s inability to take action on making NE 2nd Avenue safer. In no way am I advocating for the removal of outdoor seating, but until this road is made safer you won’t find me eating at anyone of these outdoor cafes.

This crash is just another fine example of the County and City’s inability to make conditions safer for pedestrians and cyclists. None of our elected officials are pushing to make Miami’s streets safer even though we are the fourth most deadly metropolitan area in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists.  Simply put, our elected officials are turning a blind eye and therefore are negligent when is comes to addressing pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Below is a letter from the BVEHNA Board of Directors. I’m glad this organization has documented the incompetence of our local government:

 Dear local government representatives:

 See the letter below which has been circulating for about 3 weeks now-after a similar campaign last summer, and now on the heels of a very serious accident in the 4600 block of NE 2nd Avenue.  8 people were injured when a car left the road, went through planters and struck people outside of a cafe.  The car stopped when it finally hit a telephone pole.  There are NO CURBS, and no parallel parking, and the street has been a safety hazard for 3 years now.  THE TIME HAS COME FOR THE CITY AND COUNTY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.  Any action at this point is too late for the restaurant client who DIED crossing the street last year, and now another 8 people injured.  The community is fed up, I as a resident and customer at multiple businesses in this stretch of road am fed up and you need to do your jobs.  We don’t want to hear about the construction moratorium that comes at the end of November, and now we are in a new fiscal year so the lack of funding is not an excuse either.  FIX IT.  IT HAS BEEN 3 YEARS.  I am sure you will receive photos of the damage.  You should feel responsible.

            I am writing this letter to express my concern for the lack of progress on NE 2nd Avenue between NE 42nd Street and NE 50th Street.    If you have driven on this stretch of road, you are no doubt intimately aware of the need to resurface NE 2nd Avenue, and we as residents and neighbors have suffered through at least three years of no progress since the initial work began. 

Almost three years ago, the street was torn up to install new sewer pipes.  In the meantime, street lighting has been sporadic, traffic and new businesses have increased, we’ve seen an increase in traffic accidents, a fatality of one of the restaurant patrons, an increase in burglaries and thefts, and no doubt, many motor vehicles have suffered. 

In June of summer 2013, many neighbors voiced concerns through a letter/email campaign asking where the progress was on street resurfacing, parking, curbs, expanded sidewalks and landscaping.  A plan that incorporated all of those issues except landscaping had been developed when the road was torn up, with the only issue being a request for more landscaping instead of palm trees as the completed section of NE 2nd Avenue shows just north of NE 54th Street. 

            As a result of the letter writing campaign that reached both city and county commissioners, as well as Mayor Regalado, the City of Miami said that work would begin towards the end of 2013 due to the change in fiscal year.  It was then pushed back to the beginning of 2014 due to Art Basel and various winter festivities.  It’s now October of 2014 and the excuses bounce back between the city and the country, and the finger of blame has even been pointed at Buena Vista East residents for wanting shade landscaping so that NE 2nd Avenue would be more pedestrian friendly, like the Design District.

 In addition, the pedestrian safety factor is becoming a larger issue-parking between 46th and 47th Street has almost a 1 foot drop off due to erosion, and the sidewalk is eroded or completely covered, giving pedestrians no choice but to walk in the street.  NE 2nd Avenue crowns higher than sidewalks on both sides and many areas flood when it rains.  There are no crosswalks indicated nor any other safety markings for the entire length of this area.

 However, the key partners in this endeavor, the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, are still passing the buck and have yet to begin any sort of repairs to the streets or improvements to sidewalks and drainage.  The poor economy excuse is gone, development and developers are booming, money was allegedly allotted for this project, and we still have an eyesore along NE 2ndAvenue in an area with 7 restaurants, several boutique clothing shops, and several specialty shops ranging from gifts and furniture to fine wines and chocolates, as well as a small grocery store. 

 Find the funding to complete this stretch of road.  We’ve been too patient for too long.

 

The NE 2nd Avenue County and City circus act needs to come to an end before someone else is killed. I expect the County and City to be proactive and not reactive. Both the County and City should work towards implementing complete streets policies.

Meanwhile in NYC the speed limit throughout the entire city was reduced to 25 mph and NYC Mayor de Blasio adopted Vision Zero, which aims to achieve no fatalities or serious injuries.  In Miami Dade County our elected officials seem to have zero vision.

 

3 Responses to Car crashes into Miami sidewalk cafe, injuring at least 10. County and City Officials Are Guilty of Negligence.

  1. Overdue says:

    NE 2nd Avenue has been a mess for years. Terrible pot holes. Some crazy driver who can’t speak English should never be allowed on any road.

       0 likes

  2. SEFTA says:

    Do you think a solution is to line the streets with bollards?

       0 likes

  3. Mike Arias says:

    Hello Felipe,

    FYI
    Several weeks ago I submitted this email to Mayor Regalado and others.

    In response to the article published pertaining to an errant vehicle incident which recently occurred on October 4 th, at NE 2 Ave at the Lemoni Café that, unfortunately injured 10 customers sitting outside of this establishment (which could have easily resulted in fatalities) please note that, this is a public safety issue of great concern that, can easily be addressed and corrected by requiring ALL business that, have Approved outdoor sitting areas adjacent to high volume public roadway to install safety barriers which would consist of the use of large diameter metal poles or boles embedded into the ground, and / or heavy concrete planter boxes located adjacent to the roadway area to either deflect or stop potential errant vehicles and protect the public safety of their customers / residents.

    Please note the information provided below ref this matter which was submitted several months ago to Miami Dade Commissioner Diaz that, sponsored an ordinance in 2012 for new buildings in Miami Dade to be equipped with them.

    Several months ago I have also proposed that, the current ordinance be amended to include existing buissnesses as well. This information was also submitted to FDOT roadway representative as well.

    Unfortunately, ERRANT VEHICLE INCIDENTS such as the one that, recently occurred several weeks ago at the Lemoni CAFE occur on a daily basis (60 per day) or 21,000 incidents occur per year throughout the Nation.

    The overall width of the sidewalk should NOT be the MAIN SAFETY ISSUE of concern for the public safety of ALL residents but rather the LACK of EXISTING SAFETY BARRIERS which are much needed throughout Miami Dade County in shopping centers, office complexes, fast food restaurants etc or any where vehicles can potential enter into a buissness in order to prevent such recourrences in the future from repeatedly occurring in order to protect the public safety of All the residents.

    Another important aspect that, cannot be ignored is the financial sustainability of the small restaurants in the local neighborhood area and the jobs that, they also provide to local residents as well as taxes they pay annually to the Cities and / or County in order to operate their businesses especially in the challenging and / or potential upcoming areas.

    The City and the County in my estimation need to help the small business owners NOT cripple them financially or put them out of business as often occurs whenever major roadway construction occurs in their area anytime it is a long term project since they often loose an estimated 50 % of their regular business.

    The same concept also applies to bus benches and bus shelters which are located adjacent to the high volume public roadways ( which currently are unsafe and need to be safeguarded with the proper safety equipment for the resident / riders so they can either stand or sit adjacent to the roadways which do NOT have a 10 ft setback as was stated which apparently the City Code requires and awaiting riders are often injured or killed by errant vehicles in Miami Dade.

    Lets not forget a tragic incident that, unfortunately occurred last year on NW 7 street at approximately 18 Ave & 17 avenue that, killed several pedestrians that, were walking on the sidewalk enroute to view an afternoon baseball game at the stadium when errant vehicle struck them and fatally injured them.

    Once again, ALL high volume vehicle INTERSECTIONS locations throughout Miami Dade in my estimation should be equipped with much needed essential SAFETY barriers to protect the pedestrians from potential errant vehicles.

    Lets be PROACTIVE ref this public safety issue of great concern for ALL residents in liue of being REACTIVE since the next errant vehicle incident occurring may undoubtedly result in the loss of life or lives that could have easily been averted with a minimal cost investment by the buissness owners to protect their customers as well by the Cities & County in order to protect the public safety of ALL of the resident / taxpayers.

    If anyone has any questions ref this matter please do not hesitate to contact me and thank you for your time.

    Mike Arias

    MEMArias@aol.com

    305-812-0566

    Public Safety Roadway Advocate

       0 likes

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