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Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Main Highway project is scrapped; for now

As predicted, the Main Highway drainage project is on hold. Main Highway will not be dug up and redone and life in the Grove will have a semblance of normalcy and we'll get a little breather. Hopefully the South Bayshore Drive project will be put on hold, too. Businesses did not want the Grove's growth momentum to end as new businesses were coming in and things were looking good and many had requested that the job be delayed for that reason. The county agreed even though the job was already permitted and bid out and basically ready to start.

Miami-Dade County Public Works and Waste Management Department says that the delay (they say it will be a year) will allow for the City to complete the traffic study for the proposed "cycle track," which they call the bike lane. Once the study is complete the city and the county will work together to redo the street. A new round of public outreach will occur to get this done, basically starting from scratch. These are storm drains, not sewer drains, they are not being put in to accommodate new building, they are just to allow the storm water to run off into the bay. Right now they are a mess, having been infiltrated by tree roots.

This delay allows the merchants a little breathing room after the sidewalk renovations in other parts of the village and of course 27th Avenue needs to be completed. The county, as opposed to the city, has the businesses and residents in mind. The city is a non-stop machine with one project on top of another project. It's all about money with the city - streets, buildings, wherever it can get it. I do believe other parts of the village like 27th Avenue, South Bayshore Drive and Bird Avenue are being retrofitted for future development, I'm told that the big pipes are just drainage pipes and not sewer pipes, but that is just my opinion.

The bike lane issue is a bit strange in that Commissioner Sarnoff  had the BID put together a petition for the county to add a bike lane to the project, which was recently circulated, which really made no sense, since the bike lane was an issue long before the petition happened.

The bike lane was in the works for a long time, long before there was ever a petition. The county was well aware of the bike lane request and they didn't need to be petitioned. They were working with others on that. It was a project taken on by the Village Council, which had plans and schematics all drawn out already. Hank Resnick from Bike Coconut Grove got involved with the Village Council and Javier Gonzalez, president of the Village Council, along with Hank, started working with the county on the bike lane proposal long ago. They had already planned to do a study to figure out how to work it into the street renovation plan.

Commissioner Sarnoff claimed the bike lane project as his own for some reason, and he had the BID draw up the petition. Sarnoff made it HIS thing and no one was quite sure why.  His office sent out an email to fellow commissioners which says the Village Council and Bike Coconut Grove "were vetted" in the process and the bike lane project called the Cities Bike resolution (RE7) should be approved because he had their blessings. They weren't vetted, according to Javier Gonzalez, head of the Village Council (and District 2 commission candidate for Sarnoff's seat in November). Vetted means to appraise, verify or check accuracy and authenticity. Javier asked that the wording be retracted from the proposal.

The county does move slowly. They have stalled plans for the sidewalk renovations for years. Their solution has been to dump hot tar on problem areas, rather than redo the sidewalks. The streets that have already been completed, like Commodore Plaza and Florida Avenue and Virginia Street, belong to the city, not the county. It's the county streets in the Grove that are a mess.

To add a bike lane to Main Highway might entail removing the turning lane in the center of the street and shifting things over. There needs to be some sort of barrier between the bike lane and traffic and of course everything should be done at the same time - the re-piping, the streets the sidewalks and the bike lane. According to the county, the street work and sidewalks need to be done, but it is not an emergency at the moment. So they will take their time and figure out how to do it right.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It figures the connected "officials" are rich enough by now. They can wait to continue fattening their bank accounts in a couple years.

Meanwhile, the deconstruction of 27th Avenue will commence its second decade. The efficiency and work speed of this City's obese bureaucracy never ceases to amaze me.

May 30, 2015 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real issue on Main Highway is nether the drainage nor the bikes; the real issue is how many people are almost hit every day by people running red lights, making illegal turns, and breaching pedestrian crosswalks when the pedestrians have the right of way or even a green light.

How many of us need to have daily close calls with texters, speeders, and general disregarders of the law before something is done (or someone is killed or maimed)? The "wild west" feel and constant danger to people crossing the streets does NOT make for a first rate town.

May 30, 2015 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Karen Deilke said...

Thank God...enough with the chaos!

May 30, 2015 5:11 PM  
Blogger sally willits said...

A traffic study was also promised.

May 31, 2015 10:09 AM  

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