Council takes action to prevent residential speeding

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 0 Comments

Following a hit and run accident that left a woman critically injured and one fatality, the Town of Miami Lakes is taking action to prevent further tragedy that police say is caused by residential speeding.
Lawmakers approved Councilmember Josh Dieguez’s proposal to place traffic calming devices along N.W. 79 Avenue between N.W. 162 and 165 streets near Royal Oaks East, and town staff would conduct a study to determine if other areas are experiencing speeding following Mayor Manny Cid’s request to include them as well.
The town sought speed humps and speed bumps for the areas to slow down speeding motorists and keep residents, especially children who are walking to school and home.
Dieguez said residential speeding has been a concern for years but grew following a death and Natalie Fraber, who was left critically injured when she was struck by a vehicle last month near Fairway Drive and Bedlington Road.
The driver left the scene, police said.
“I was even told by my office postman. who services the Royal Oaks East community, that he has personally observed speeding and reckless drivers on the road,” Dieguez said at the February 5 regular council meeting. “I too have personally observed speeders during the morning rush.”
Dieguez said although two prior traffic studies have been conducted on N.W.79 Avenue, neither has been able to firmly establish the need for traffic calming devices to be placed along the roadway.
Cid said he would support Dieguez’s recommendation but only if traffic calming devices are placed in other affected areas.
“This should be across the board,” Cid said. “We should do it for all residents. I can’t leave these folks out.”
Town Manager Edward Pidermann said speed humps or speed bumps are easier to install than other devices such as roundabouts and a three-way stop sign, and cost less, about $1,100 each.
He said they can be easily removed when work is done on the roadways and placed back when the improvements are finished.
In addition, Miami Lakes is conducting a town-wide speed study to assess the potential of reducing the speed limit in all residential streets to 25 mph for a long-term solution.
The town asked the county for guidance on the study and Miami Lakes studied Coral Gables’ traffic analysis for guidance in an effort to slow down motorists in residential areas.
Coral Gables’ study, which focused on five areas plagued with speeding, determined 25 mph would keep pedestrians safe.
Pidermann said the town’s study should be finished soon for council members’ review and approval.
Councilmember Jeff Rodriguez said the time is now for Miami Lakes to slow down motorists who are jeopardizing the lives of residents.
“I talked to residents and there is definitely a concern,” he said.
Councilmember Carlos Alvarez commended Diéguez for taking the lead on the life-saving issue.
“The No.1 priority is public safety,” Alvarez said. “I commend you for championing this issue and show residents we will force vehicles to slow down.”
Miami Lakes’ public works director, Carlos Acosta, said the county prohibits traffic calming devices in certain locations such next to a fire hydrant, horizontal curve and driveway, or 50-feet close to an intersection.
“We will have to see where they can be placed,” he said.
In other Miami Lakes news:
• Miami Lakes has initiated an Eminent Domain procedure seeking by force to take over some property to complete the town’s N.W. 153 Street connector road project at 153 street.
According to Town Attorney Raul Gastesi, Miami Lakes made an offer to the property owner but he declined. The offering price was not disclosed at the council meeting but Miami Lakes reportedly offered $7 million for the property last year.
Eminent Domain allows the town to take the issue to court which would decide whether the town can take over ownership at fair market value.
• Council members gave their final approval for an ordinance which now protects the tree canopy throughout the town and adopt the town’s beautification master plan. The proposed measure would ensure the integrity of the town’s signature appeal, its tree canopy, is property maintained, restored in areas where it has been diminished and replanted tight with the appropriate materials (right tree right place).
• Council members gave their final approval for an ordinance which establishes a restricted long-term infrastructure renewal and replacement fund to renew or replace depreciating or decaying general fund assets, excluding routine repairs and maintenance or new construction.
If it becomes law, the ordinance would establish a $150,000 annual fund contribution from the general fund, which may increase as needed through the budget process
• Council members gave their initial approval for an ordinance amend a section of the town’s regulations code in which fees and penalties are codified to ensure all costs associated with the rights-of-way permits are fully cost recovered. The proposed ordinance eliminates the burden of local taxpayers for rights-of-way permits.
• Council members authorized the town manager to execute a contract with Florida Engineering and Development Corporation for the SRTS Miami Lakes K-8 Center project in an amount not to exceed $980,000.
The town was awarded a matching grant from FDOT for the scope of the work which includes a greenway trail along the east side of Miami Lakeway North/South between Miami Lakes K-8 Center and Miami Lakes Middle School.
• Council members approved a resolution to grant the town manager authority to terminate an interlocal agreement with Miami-Dade County for the provision of public transportation services.
In moving forward with implementing the town’s strategic plan, Miami Lakes is making changes to the Moover bus service, which would be converted from a fixed circular route to a complete on-demand transportation services.
• Council members approved the Villas of Miami Lakes Condominium Association application for the town’s matching grant program in the amount of $5,000 for a beautification project.
• Council members authorized the town manager to apply for and if awarded, execute an agreement with FDOT for the 2019 Transportation Alternative grant in an amount not to exceed $1.2 million to assist in funding for the Miami Lakes Fairway Drive’s bike lanes and crosswalks improvements project.
Council members also authorized the town manager to execute an agreement if approved by Miami-Dade County and expend budgeted funds for the 2019 street tree matching grant program in an amount not to exceed $30,000 for funding for the Miami Lakes West Lake Reforestation Phase 3 project.

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