The below article come from the spring issue of the Brickell Homeowners Association newsletter:

Residents and business owners who have heard of plans to close the left turn from Brickell Avenue to Southeast Sixth Street are not pleased with the notion. FDOT is steadfast in their intent to close the median, despite the objections raised by many who live and work in the area. Residents of 500 Brickell already have problems with motorists cutting through their valet area under their building to make a quick exit from Brickell and head west. For those at 600 Brickell, the proposed median closure at Southeast Sixth Street looks disastrous.

No one has been successful at influencing this FDOT decision — and no one has authority over FDOT locally —despite citizens’ objections and support from our local officials.

“Our position continues to be that FDOT has to listen to residents on closing Sixth Street,” Commissioner Marc Sarnoff said. FDOT representatives reported in June, however, that after studying potential alternatives and conferring with their Central office, the recommendation for the median remains unchanged. Those outside of FDOT had not seen the traffic studies leading to that decision; FDOT agreed to make the studies public.

Ever since the Brickell Avenue construction project began, Downtown Development Authority has been facilitating regular meetings with Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade County and City officials and other interested parties to discuss construction issues. The goal of the meetings is to bring the different government entities around the table regularly since the roads have overlapping authorities. Each agency has their own construction and rehab projects going on in the area, but there was no coordinating body.

Stakeholders asked FDOT about the potential impact to Fifth Street as a result of the median closure. FDOT said it was not in their jurisdiction or part of the project scope to consider or study that, however, they said they would “consider” the request. The only concession by FDOT was that their plan to lengthen the Brickell median cut in for left turns at Fifth Street was scrapped. The plan had created a public uproar as they were planning to remove a mahogany tree, considered a Brickell landmark.

For now, commencement of these Phase II changes is on hold, targeted for December 2012.“Clearly differences of opinion remain, such as the closure of the median onto Sixth Street, that may have to be resolved by other means,” said Javier Betancourt, deputy director of the DDA.“We did get FDOT to agree to provide their traffic studies to all interested parties, and to continue to work with our agency in resolving obstacles to the DDA-funded decorative crosswalks all along Brickell Avenue.” BHA will continue to follow the progress of these projects and report on the latest developments.

 

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