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.
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