Currently viewing the tag: "traffic circle"

Miami Today News is reporting that a new traffic circle will be placed at the problematic Brickell Bay Drive and South East 12th Street intersection. Lucky for every one that walks around Brickell the Sabadell Financial Center Landlord 1111 Brickell Office is investing $400,000 to insure the safety of the thousands of pedestrians that use this intersection every year. Maggie Kurtz, director of office brokerage for Cushman & Wakefield, which handles leasing for the Sabadell Center had this to say:

“It’s just natural, especially with all the apartment buildings and so forth, now that the Brickell is finally turning into a 24-7 city. The main goal is to make the intersection more pedestrian friendly.”

Wide intersection, with no traffic calming, makes it dangerous for pedestrians to cross.

Thank you Ms. Kurtz! You are spot-on.  Thank you!

This is great, but sad at the same time.  Why is it that this initiative had to come from the private sector?  Why does the private sector have to invest their dollars to calm traffic on a City of Miami street to assure the public’s wellbeing?

This idea should have come from the city, as well as the money to build the traffic circle.  Before anyone tells me that the city is broke and can’t afford to build it, let me just say “bullshit”.

Mayor Regalado found $1.7 million to illegally build a ten-foot concrete wall, which cut off pedestrian access to the Coral Way community of Coral Gate. If City can find money to essentially privatize a community, I’m sure our elected officials can find funds to insure the safety of everyone that works, lives, and plays on Brickell. Sounds like we have our priorities in the wrong place. The cost of this traffic circle is a drop in the bucket compared to the illegal wall that was built using our tax dollars.

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This past Tuesday, the county presented its 90% completion for the proposed 27th Avenue makeover project. There has been little deviation from the 30% rendering, which calls for the following improvements:

  • Addition of bike lanes
  • Addition of on-street parking
  • Removal of most private, on-site parking
  • Addition of tree-planted median (and more shade trees for sidewalks)
  • Addition of oval-shaped traffic circle at the intersection of Day, Tigertail, and 27th

While earlier renderings more often centered around parking controversy, the newest lightning rod is the traffic circle. Several citizens and business owners still don’t believe the traffic circle will work.

”You have to remember people don’t like change, and this is something that’s foreign to them,” - Delfin Molins, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County Public Works Department.

It’s true - many Groveites are terrified of change. However, I’d be surprised if most are not fully supporting this project by the time the final draft is unveiled. I really think this project is quite progressive for Miami/South Florida standards in the way it focuses more on improving the pedestrian realm than making the street a traffic sewer.

As for the concern about the traffic circle, I’m pretty confident it will be beneficial to Center Grove residents and visitors alike. As long as it’s engineered by the specs public works has planned, it should do a pretty good job mitigating congestion on 27th and Tigertail while not compromising easy pedestrian crossings. The shape and design of this “circle” should ensure that cars cannot speed through it. People shouldn’t worry about it becoming a wild “free-for-all”, because it is not designed to be a large rotary similar to the Cocoplum Circle at Le Jeune and Sunset in Coral Gables. Miami drives can be dumb…and crazy, but even they can handle a traffic circle this simple. Plus, Day Ave should not experience an appreciable increase in thru-traffic as long as it changes to one-way eastbound.

My biggest disappointment with this project, however, is that the intersection of 27th Ave and US-1 is being ignored. The sidewalk and bike lane improvements are great, but this intersection is one of the most hostile in all of Miami for pedestrians and cyclists. Without design upgrades to improve safety and aesthetics at this intersection, the Grove Metrorail station remains effectively alienated from the wonderful 27th Avenue improvements. It’s a classic example of Miami’s seemingly inextricable fragmentation - especially when it comes to transit and land-use planning.

I attended the Cocoanut Grove Village Council meeting at City Hall last night, and was pleasantly surprised by the county’s renderings for the beautification of SW 27th Avenue in the Grove. Although it is only in the 30% completion phase, it appears to be moving in a positive direction. Unfortunately, I do not currently have pictures of the proposal, but I’ll share a few of the major tenets of the project:

  1. Sidewalks: It appears that after years of embarrassing pedestrian-infrastructure, the county is planning on implementing sidewalks on both sides of 27th avenue in a uniform manner along the entire stretch of road south of US-1. It’s sad that I have to even mention sidewalks, given that they are as fundamental a part of a city as any piece of infrastructure, but in Miami this is never a given. I am a little disappointed that the new sidewalks are only proposed to be six feet wide; I would like to see 10-12 feet sidewalks throughout the avenue.
  2. Bike Lanes: Groveites, as well as any Miamian who frequents the neighborhood, should be very happy to learn that bike lanes are proposed for both sides of 27th Avenue south of US-1. This will be one of the first avenues anywhere in Miami or Miami Beach to get real bike lanes, which is quite a mystery given the fantastic riding conditions year-round. Now bicyclists who ride transit will have dedicated lanes to get to and from Grove Station and the neighborhood’s business district.
  3. Traffic Circle: One of the most contentious aspects of the plan is the proposed traffic circle at 27th, Tigertail, and Day Ave. The county is proposing an irregularly shaped traffic circle for this intersection, which would allow for the removal of traffic lights. Predictably, Day Avenue residents were concerned that traffic would increase significantly on their street. However, the county is planning on changing Day Avenue from one-way westbound to one-way eastbound, meaning one cannot enter Day Avenue from the 27th Avenue traffic circle. This will be ensured by a continuous portion of curb that will jut out just enough to make the turning angle onto Day Ave from the the circle impossible without going over the curb. I like this idea, because it will force cars to slow down considerably at this awkward and dangerous intersection. It will eliminate the need to wait for red lights to cross, as well as also making pedestrian crossings shorter.
  4. On-Street Parking: It looks like 27th Avenue will finally get on-street parking. The county plans on implementing 90 on-street spaces along this segment of the avenue, which would look similar to the set-up on Grand Avenue. The plan would have called for more on-street parking, but it wasn’t possible due to the ridiculously large number of driveways on the avenue. These on-street spaces are of the “cut-out” variety, meaning no current capacity will be taken by parking as the spaces are “carved” out of the sidewalk.
  5. Right-of-Way-Acquisition: Perhaps my favorite part of the plan was the proposed elimination of many parking swales (or parking lagoons) that line the avenue on both sides. These swales equate to such bad urban design for so many reasons, hence my appreciation for their removal. For one, they are just ugly to look at. A high quality pedestrian environment is certainly not define by any space flanked by automobiles. Also, these spots are small, so often times cars are parked on segments of the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to slalom the cars (sometimes requiring movement into the road) to traverse the swales. Also, this provides way too many free parking spaces along what should be a transit-oriented thoroughfare. As long as an abundance of free parking is available throughout the city, especially in close proximity to transit stations, induced automobile demand will remain high and transit ridership will not realize its ultimate potential. Moreover, these swales are just dangerous. They often require backing into the road, or other maneuvering within the swale that breaches the sidewalk. Lastly, these swales have always been located within the county’s right-of-way, and therefore people were parking for free within illegal zones. Therefore, the county is only retaking what is already theirs.
Those are the major portions of the project that were discussed at the meeting. Other factors such as landscaping and shade/sidewalk trees will certainly be implemented, but the specifics are still under consideration. So in conclusion, this project exceeded my expectations for the avenue. I’ll continued to post any updates on this project as I learn of them.

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