It took 30 years, but Sly Fowler’s goal to get a school zone extended 90 feet to protect children who walk between the Crooked Palm neighborhood and Miami Lakes K-8 Center finally happened in time for this school year.
“I used to walk my son there and it was just scary,” Fowler said of his boy, Adam, who is now a man.
Cars pass at 40 mph outside of the school zone and when the school, at 14250 NW 67th Ave., is closed.
“That’s the only place there is no easement, and the cars are blowing by these little children,” Fowler said.
Discussions with previous town leaders turned into action when Town Manager Edward Pidermann and Councilman Ray Garcia tackled the issue, Fowler said.
The town set up a meeting with Fowler and employees from the Miami-Dade County sign division.
Fowler brought his neighbors to the curbside meeting, when a woman from county staff was startled by a car passing fast and close on Northwest 67th Avenue.
The neighborhood got the extension they sought.
The new sign is installed just south of and across the avenue from Lake Patricia Drive, near the entrance to the Crooked Palm community.
When warned by a flashing sign farther north, drivers must slow to 15 mph until they reach the end of the extended school zone.
“Councilmember Garcia really took the lead on it and worked with town staff to organize an onsite meeting,” Pidermann said.
Garcia had walked the road with Fowler to get an idea of what needed to be done.
“This was a team effort by all the stakeholders, but led by the residents,” Garcia said.
Pidermann said the county had previously moved the sign slightly south, but it still didn’t include the neighborhood.
“We pointed that out and [the county] agreed and saw the merit in it,” Pidermann said. “That way any student who is walking from the Crooked Palm neighborhood can get onto the sidewalk at [NW] 67th Avenue and they’re already in the school zone,” Pidermann said.
This school year, Adam Fowler walks his stepdaughter Mia Fuentes, 7, to Miami Lakes K-8 Center along the same route he once traveled with his dad.
“She feels a lot [safer] walking to and from school now, along with other neighborhood kids,” Sly Fowler said in an email.