City Holds Sunshine Meeting To Discuss Alhambra Sidewalks

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
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On Friday, March 10th, the City of Coral Gables held a Sunshine Meeting to discuss the City’s plans for sidewalk connectivity on Alhambra Blvd.

Members of the Commission, City staff, residents and Gables Insider‘s Ariel Fernandez were in attendance and conducted a full walk-through of the project, which is planned to span from San Rafael Avenue to the bridge just north of Taragona on the west side of Alhambra Circle. The intention is to connect the existing sidewalks on the bridge to the sidewalks on the north side of San Rafael Avenue. The area has been devoid of a sidewalk.

The concern shared by residents over the project has been the City’s plan to break away from the current sidewalk patterns to the north and place the sidewalk adjacent to the street. The sidewalks to the north are all separated from the street by the swale and City trees.

Current sidewalk pattern leading up to San Rafael

In this case, the City is proposing to place the sidewalk next to the high traffic road, a move that will require a minimum of a six-inch curb, according to staff. The plan also calls for the narrowing of Alhambra Circle and the addition of a traffic island for traffic calming.

Residents present shared their concerns about the impact the sidewalk next to the street would have on the large swale trees and their root structures.

Staff informed the Members of the Commission and residents who were present, that any root over two inches in diameter is considered a critical root for the trees. In some cases, the tree’s root structures measure over 20 feet of the span of the proposed sidewalk location, possibly creating future issues.

Root structure of tree, which will be impacted by the potential project.

Staff stated that the location of the sidewalk was due to resident requests during their home visits to the residents who live in the five homes in front of where the sidewalks would be placed. Instead of having a community meeting with residents within the notice zone, the City opted to visit three of five affected homes alone and hold meetings without any public record.

However, after walking the span of the project, it was noted that two of the three homes staff had spoken with last year have been sold or are for sale. The final one, staff stated, did not request a specific location for the sidewalk.

Staff will seek an independent arborist study of the swale trees, in order to address the concerns posed by residents.


14 thoughts on “City Holds Sunshine Meeting To Discuss Alhambra Sidewalks

  1. This just quietly kills bike lanes forever. By placing a curb and sidewalk at the street and narrowing the roadway, bicyclists will have to be in the road and a hazard to all cars while baby strollers will be next to the street and someone will get hurt or killed eventually. This commission consistently votes against family friendly policies. If we want to be a place for families then give us places for our families to enjoy and connect those parks, university, downtown, library, transit stations with sidewalks and bike lanes. There is NO EXCUSE.

  2. Raul-

    I do not disagree with you. “Where will the landscapers park” has been used as previous justification NOT to build sidewalks or bike lanes. I’m being a wise@ss. They can also park, I don’t know, on the property they are landscaping. Your point on lot splits is valid and should be considered.

    Fulano de Tal –

    I happen to know the person that initiated the Prada sidewalks and some of the residents there went nuts in opposition. You should email the commission your concern about Douglas Entrance. They are sick of hearing from me on sidewalks and providing accessibility.

  3. Jessica,

    The landscapers can park on the many quieter side streets that lead to Red Road. Regarding your garden city comment, there used to be Unity of Title in the Gables, ensuring MORE GARDEN. On the NE corner of Bird & Alhambra a home was partially demolished to achieve an extra buildable lot. The same partial home demolition tactic (negating Unity of Title) enabled a Catalonia property owner to later sell his corner. Large parcels turned into smaller ones is more alarming than exactly where the sidewalk goes. Why hasn’t anyone said anything? I guess everyone is pro developer, even the bunch who fight the condo projects east of Lejeune. What a bunch of HYPOCRITES!

  4. Country Club El Prado sidewalks were similarly disconnected for years, until someone woke up and figured, maybe someone living here would like to go out in a wheelchair and not have to get over those above-ground tree roots, not to mention at every corner the sidewalks did not connect to the next block.
    Another Gables Disconnect is at the Alhambra Entrance on Douglas Road. The sidewalk along Alhambra Circle ends on the west side of the big stone entrance feature, so if you were in a wheelchair, you would have to go out onto the street (oh, I forget, no ramp either!) and turn your life over to the hands of crazy motorists, more occupied with texting than checking for wheelchairs in the road.

  5. Thank you, Mr. Fernandez for your reporting. I only wish you told us which commission members were present, so that we can contact them.

  6. AGREE……………!!!!!

  7. This is a project that is way overdue. There a footbridge to nowhere over the waterway, and the many pedestrians in the area then have to take unnecessary risks in confronting traffic for that stretch. My preference would be sidewalks that follow the same format as those along Alhambra north of San Rafael, but whatever form it takes will be a welcome addition, and we fully support this proposed project.

  8. Where will the landscapers park if they can’t park on the swale because of the proposed curbs? Asking for a friend.

    IMO, sidewalks should be as close to the ROW line as possible, meandering to avoid mature trees. The roadway can remain curbless without impacts to drainage, parking and the garden-like appearance of the ROW. Sidewalks immediately adjacent to the roadway are typically reserved for constrained urban environments, not garden cities.

  9. Very silly and mean spirited for city staff and a few residents to give priority to black olive trees, that without special injections cause staining of cars, sidewalks, clothes. Why not replace those trees with more appropriate, native specimens such as oaks or mahogany? People/ pedestrians come first! What about no points, traffic cameras for Alhambra & Granada? We’d be killing four (4) birds with only one stone. We’d be generating much needed revenue ,discouraging pass through traffic, teaching resident drivers to behave behind the wheel & saving lives. Assassin jerks, who live on the other side of US 1 and speed on Alhambra, scrapped the bike lane extension. At least give us the sidewalk.

  10. As a resident of Alhambra Circle I am very much in favor of extending the sidewalks and traffic calming. Since I have owned a house here I’ve witnessed 3 accidents along this street due to speeding. On of the advantages of living in Coral Gables is the pleasure of walking here.

  11. All we need is a sidewalk. Previous pavement can be where there are trees if necessary. Put the sidewalk at the right of way line same as everywhere else. How long does this debate need to go on? The right of way is public property and belongs to all the citizens not just the 5 houses.

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