Support The Crespogram
NUMBER 103 - JULY 10, 2019
TRAFFIC, TRAFFIC, WE DON'T WANT NO TRAFFIC ON OUR STREET! MAKE IT GO TO SOMEBODY ELSE'S STREET
On Wednesday morning, Matthew Street, an attorney who lives in the Silver Bluff District sent a letter to the Mayor and members of the City Commission detailing the problems and concerns he had with PH-9, Resolution 6148, that will be voted on this week's Commission meeting.
The issues behind the agenda item have been roiling the Silver Bluff, Shenandoah and Woodside sections of Miami for a while now, and an earlier effort to shut down cross traffic on SW 22nd Avenue between US 1 and Coral Way as a way to stop drivers from using city streets to cut though neighborhoods during rush hours by then Commissioner Francis Suarez met a timely and well-deserved death back in December of 2017.
Copyrighted: 2011,2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Commissioners and Mayor,
Please also note that the relevant code subsection (a) permits the Miami City Commission to "recommend" . . . to the Miami-Dade County traffic director that vehicular access to a particular street be prohibited where such prohibition is found to be in the best interest of the public."
One: The petitions to prohibit vehicular access on SW 24th Terrace in District 4 (discussed at 5/9 and 6/27 meetings) and this recent resolution up for a vote tomorrow to prohibit vehicular access on SW 16 Ct, SW 16 Ave, SW 14 Ave, and SW 23 ST in District 3 are plainly NOT in the best interest of the public. These closures are only **possibly** in the interest of the property owners who would benefit from a government funded manipulation of the real estate market.
I say possibly since solid waste disapproved of the D3 closures because trash collection would be impossible, and the fire department disapproved after finding that the proposed D3 closures would limit the fire department's access to hydrants and negatively impact emergency response time for residents in the area.
Two: The city commission has the power only to "recommend" a prohibition of vehicular access to the county; the City itself cannot prohibit the vehicular access.
Three: Why was the resident petition for the District 3 closures not included in the agenda packet? It is a public document, as it was submitted to Commissioner Carollo's office. As Matthew pointed out, according to code section (f), the property owners who petitioned must bear the costs of this request to prohibit vehicular access, including the the reviews by the departments, notification of this meeting to neighboring property owners (which was not done, also noted below), any traffic studies, and any actual construction to create the restriction, should the County approve. Was the petition not included in an attempt to insulate the petitioners from these mandated costs? The City taxpayers should not be forced to pay for street closures that benefit so few while removing the public's ability and right to access public streets.
Four: Let's take a step back and use some common sense. Traffic is a problem FOR EVERYONE throughout this City. This merry-go-round of petitions for vehicular prohibition is exhausting and pointless. To even suggest the "solution" is to close one, two, three, four streets, or even an entire neighborhood while ignoring the obvious reality that the traffic will simply shift elsewhere, is intellectually dishonest and mind-numbingly shortsighted.
Any way you look at it, supporting Agenda Item 6148 or any similar resolution is weak leadership at best, and cronyism, favoritism, and abuse of the public fisc at worst.
Please do better. Thank you.
The aftermath of the reversal to block the use of SW 22nd Avenue as a cut through, only intensified the attitude of those residents who felt that they were entitled to have their individual streets protected against this activity, regardless of whether problems that created for their neighbors one or two streets away.
At one contentious meeting last year that included newly elected County Commissioner Eileen "La Gringa" Higgins, she told those in attendance that neither she, nor anyone in the county was in favor of, or would support the more draconian efforts proposed by some that would severely block almost all traffic on some streets.
That didn't sit well with those in favor of pretty much laying down railroad ties and setting up guard gates to insure that only homeowners who lived on those streets would have access to them, and so in the time honored tradition of Miami politics, when the county wouldn't jump to attention when they said jump, this group of homeowners, led by the indomitable Beba Mann, who lives a couple doors from SW 17th Avenue and wants her street blocked so no one can turn in, or go out on the avenue, turned to the more pliable members of the city commission.
And that's where the item coming up for a vote at tomorrow's commission meeting comes in.
Rather than try to re-explain it all to you, I am just copy/pasting Matthew Street's detailed letter as well as a letter that serves as a preamble, written by Mary Street, also an attorney, and Matthew's wife.
Here's Mary's letter.
Agenda Item 6148 (and PH.9) is another procedural failure unnecessarily exposing the City of Miami, and its taxpayers, to risk. In its own language, this proposed Resolution states “pursuant to Resolution No. 19-0186 adopted on May 9, 2019, the City Commission directed the City Manager to initiate the vehicular access restriction procedure pursuant to Section 54-16 of the Code of the City of Miami . . .” (the May 9 Resolution was sponsored by Joe Carollo and Francis Suarez). By its own language, the proposed Resolution recognizes that the City Commission directed the City Manager to initiate vehicular access restriction. Why is this important? Because it’s NOT ALLOWED BY THE CITY CODE. Section 54-16 allows ONLY TWO ways to initiate a vehicular restriction: (1) by the Department of Resilience and Public Works OR (2) by petition of property owners within 1,000 feet of the affected intersection. See City Code Section 54-16(b). THE LANGUAGE DOES NOT PROVIDE A MECHANISM FOR THE CITY COMMISSION TO INITIATE A VEHICULAR RESTRICTION SUA SPONTE.
How these Resolutions are initiated are extremely important; 54-16 requires that if initiated by petition of property owners, ALL costs associated MUST be borne by the petitioners. At no point did the City Commission attach or include any petition from any property owners within 1,000 feet of the affected intersection AND this resolution does not have a sponsor. The City Commission is attempting an act of subterfuge of its OWN RULES to block streets AND FORCE THE CITY OF MIAMI TAXPAYERS TO SUBSIDIZE THE STREET CLOSURES.
Inexplicably, in its Inter-Office Memorandum from Alan Dodd of DRPW, he states that his review is required by City Code Section 54-16(h) . . . Subsection h refers only with “unimproved public alleys” and in no way is relevant to these streets. (also, of note, the procedure for restricting vehicular access is literally the same for unimproved public alleys as it is for any other street- the same language is merely condensed into one subsection and specific to unimproved public alleys). The reason that Mr. Dodd inexplicably called these streets “public alleys” is because IT IS ENTIRELY UNFOUNDED BY THE CITY CODE’S DEFINITION OF “PUBLIC ALLEY.” Section 55-1 states that “Alley is any thoroughfare or passageway (not officially designated as a street) designated as an alley by a recorded plat, deed or recorded instrument, to be a secondary means of vehicular access to the rear or side of properties otherwise abutting on a street.” CONVERSELY, a “Street includes any primary accessway such as a street, road, lane, highway, avenue, boulevard, parkway, circle, court, terrace, place or cul-de-sac, and also includes all of the land lying between the right-of-way lines as delineated on a plat showing such streets, whether improved or unimproved, but shall not include those accessways such as alleys, easements and rights-of-way intended solely for limited utility purposes, and easements of ingress and egress.” The only proposed restrictions are on COURTS, STREETS, and TERRACES. There areno recorded instruments designating any of the streets as alleys. THE PROPOSED VEHICULAR RESTRICTIONS ARE, BY DEFINITION, CONSIDERED STREETS and it’s not even disputable.
A street map with the closures (in black) is pasted for your reference. The Green line will be the new route. Who do these closures actually benefit? Family and friends of Carollo and Suarez? A handful of homes while heavily burdening 16th Court south of 23rd street? Are they aware of the potential taking? The small business owner, Pekin Chinese Restaurant had no clue- we spoke with them. Fire department has already given its disapproval, and again, pursuant to the language in the proposed Resolution, “subject to approval by . . . Fire-Rescue . . .”
Vote no to this illegal and unnecessary scheme.
Here's Matthew's letter.
Sec. 54-16. - Prohibition of vehicular access.
The commission shall have the power, after a properly advertised public hearing, to recommend to the Miami-Dade County traffic director that vehicular access to a particular street be prohibited where such prohibition is found to be in the best interest of the public.(b)
The request for prohibited access shall be initiated by the department of resilience and public works or through said department by petition of property owners within 1,000 feet of the affected intersection.(c)
The request for prohibited access shall be subject to all requirements that may be imposed by the Miami-Dade County traffic director, including a traffic study. The decisions of the traffic director shall be final.(d)
Prior to the public hearing, the proposed prohibited access shall be reviewed by the departments of police, fire-rescue, and solid waste, which shall make recommendations to the commisison at said public hearing.(e)
On streets where access is prohibited, a cul-de-sac or other turnaround shall be provided in conformance with the requirements of the department of resilience and public works.(f)
Except for those streets located within the neighborhoods known as Coral Gate and Shorecrest, all expenses resulting from requests for prohibited vehicular access to a particular street shall be borne by the applicant (i.e., property owner(s), homeowner association(s), etc.). Expenses include, but are not limited to, newspaper advertising, posting of notification placards, postal notification to local residents, postal correspondence to the applicant and any traffic studies. Upon approval by the Miami-Dade County traffic director for a request to prohibit vehicular access to a particular street, the applicant shall pay all additional expenses related to the permits, construction of temporary and permanent barriers and other related improvements that may be required by the traffic director and/or the department of resilience and public works.(h)
The commission shall have the power, after a properly advertised public hearing, to require that vehicular and pedestrian access to an unimproved public alley or partially unimproved public alley be prohibited where such prohibition is found to be in the best interest of the public. The request for prohibited access to an unimproved public alley or partially unimproved public alley shall be initiated by the department of resilience and public works or through said department by petition of all property owners abutting the alley, as determined by the director. Prior to the public hearing, the proposed prohibited access shall be reviewed by the departments of police, fire rescue and solid waste, and the departments shall make recommendations to the commission at said public hearing. The proposed vehicular access restriction shall be accomplished by the placement of an approved fence and gate across all entrances to the alley, ensuring no access and no private use thereon unless the property is vacated. All expenses resulting from requests for prohibited access shall be borne by the applicant, (i.e., property owner(s), homeowner association(s), etc.). Expenses include, but are not limited to, newspaper advertising, postal correspondence and, upon approval of the commission, all expenses related to the permits, installation of the fence and gates and other related improvements that may be required by the department of resilience and public works.
If you want to weigh in on this, be at City Hall tomorrow morning around 9 AM.