OPINION: New Project Affecting Our Neighborhood

“Today I contacted Mr Hermes Diaz, CG Director of Public Works to ask about the surveying crews in our neighborhood. At first he didn’t know what I was talking about so he called me back. He put me on speaker because someone else was there giving him the information.They are surveying Alhambra Circle from Coral Way to San Amaro Drive because the City is putting together a proposal for a new project  that will be presented at public meetings probably in December. This project will narrow the travel lanes for cars, as traffic calming, and add a bicycle path. I expressed to him that I was very surprised that the City is spending all this money before discussing the project with the neighbors and he said that a conceptual plan had to be put together before going to the neighbors. In other words, spend the money first and hope that the neighbors will get on board. Those of you who travel, or live close to  the  targeted area  may want to express your opinion before it is too late and our tax money is wasted! When our conversation was over, thinking that I had hung up, Mr Diaz had a loud laugh and said “She probably won’t be calling me again.” I don’t think Mr Diaz, who has been employed in our City for a short time,understands that we do not give up so fast. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that City employees work for us, the taxpayers!” – Maria Cruz, Coral Gables Resident

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14 thoughts on “OPINION: New Project Affecting Our Neighborhood

  1. Firstly I’d like to begin with a comment that was made by one of the individuals heading up this bike path project. To quote the comment made in a prior article, it was… “Don’t let the NIMBY BULLIE’s silence you”… I’ve lived in this City since 1967, I have several family members that are scattered throughout Coral Gables and NEVER have I been so insulted by a City that condones this type of behavior and an individual speaking out of both sides of their mouth. We are now discussing kids and the elderly but just 2 days ago it was DON’T LET THE NIMBY BULIES SILENCE YOU. (Referring to all those against scooter riders and cyclists) For those that don’t know what the acronym NIMBY means it’s NOT IN MY BACKYARD. I guess I AM A BULLIE since I happen to care about what the City is proposing to do to my neighbors front lawns and I gather no one cares about our protected oaks. Weird being that this group is trying to be so “green.” Has anyone seen where the roots of some of our mature trees are? Does anyone even bother to look down at the asphalt? But then again…How many oaks did the City uproot on Miracle Mile. I am certain if any of you knew your neighbors, a rarity in Miami, who will be personally impacted, then perhaps you might have some compassion. If it were your personal home whose driveway pavers were all going to get dug up and whose perfect landscaping, which costs quite a bit of money to maintain, was now going to be defaced and cheapened forever, then maybe you all might be singing a different tune. QUESTION… Are the homeowners going to be monetarily compensated for said damages??? Has that been worked into the million dollar plus budget? These homeowners have a covenant with Coral Gables. These driveways were approved by Coral Gables. I’d be curious to see how you plan to swindle out of that one.

    Which brings me to my second point. THE BUDGET. This project is costing over a million dollars, that once completed will have two bike paths RUNNING PARALLEL only one block away from each other. Does anyone besides me find this utterly ridiculous! To my understanding this project was created to facilitate the “commuter” bike riders, which is a complete mystery to me, because most commuter riders already use Red Road which starts as far north as SW 8 street. Defacing people’s front yards for purely recreational purposes and spending over a million dollars to do it is incredibly irresponsible.

    Thirdly. Cyclists are free to ride in a peloton. They are free to take up entire car lanes. Most of these seasoned riders, which I happen to know a few of you, are usually doing 30mph plus. This is perfectly legal. .

    In addition, this city is opening up a entire can of worms. Didn’t a red flag go up when there were non residents at the meeting? Are we the next Key Biscayne?

    Last thought. Seasoned cyclists won’t ever use these bike paths on small streets like Alhambra. These paths are strictly for novices. And again, to deface a historic street for merely recreational purposes doesn’t make any sense. But I’m only a BULLIE so what do I know. Kudos to Coral Gables for completely dividing a city. No surprise there.

  2. I agree that dedicated bike paths are needed but then bicyclists need to use them. It is my understanding that in the presence of bike paths, bicyclists can be ticketed for obstructing the roadway. If we invest in this safer infrastructure-we need to enforce their use. I hope bicyclists are on board with the construction of the bike paths.

  3. I concur with many of the opinions below that the proposed traffic calming measures — narrower car lanes; wider, connected sidewalks; and bike lines, especially properly protected bike lanes — are exactly what our city needs and what many of us, especially those of us who chose to move to the Gables to raise our young families, have been requesting for years. This is certainly something that I, as a Coral Gables resident who regularly drives, runs, walks, and cycles throughout the UM area, have spoken about with many city officials. With movement on this topic, I feel like the City employees are listening to and working for the majority of us who live in this lovely city.

    I think it is an excellent use, and decidedly not a waste, of my tax money to create a concrete, conceptual plan that will address many areas of concern, including traffic calming, safe streets, and sustainable transportation. Without a plan, what is there for us to talk about and give input into? With a plan, we can have a constructive conversation to tailor that plan to meet the needs and concerns of the majority of residents who live, work, and recreate in the neighborhood. We have the potential to work together to create something truly fantastic!

    Also, to Mr. Diaz and the other Coral Gables employees working on this issue, I give you all a heartfelt thank you. Thank you for listening to all of us equally, thank you for being proactive, and thank you for working so hard to move our city in the right direction. I do not think any of you hear that nearly enough from the residents, and it is a true shame that we are not better at appreciating and being grateful for this spectacular place in which we are lucky enough to reside.

  4. There are too many people in our metropolitan areas, the Gables included, to force every person in that city to use a single, expensive, and space-consuming method of transportation.

    The Gables isn’t the small city it once was – it has a huge population of residents and commuters, and the city is obligated to provide safe options. Protected bike lanes, wide sidewalks, and low speed limits are these safe options – proved time and again by cities such as Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Austin (yes, even cities in Texas are creating world-class bicycle facilities), Copenhagen, and Utrecht, to name a few.

    In fact, a recent social media campaign from the University of Miami’s own BikeSafe Program – which advocates for safe places for kids to ride – asked people to compare shared right of way with a dedicated, protected bicycle lane, and which one they’d rather see their children on. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the protected lane.

    Additionally, a research study in Tel-Aviv recently pointed out that the crashes involving bicycles and e-scooters – such as the Spin rentals in the Gables – would be reduced 95% if proper infrastructure did not force users to choose between sharing the road with irate drivers, or sharing narrow sidewalks at speeds unsafe for pedestrians.

    In short, protected bicycle lanes solve these issues – accessibility, safety, and fear-of-riding, for users of all sorts of micro transit, a.k.a. “micromobility.”

    Most people who drive do not realize that protected bike lanes solves the issue of waiting behind slow bicycle riders. It also provides a dedicated place for people to ride, so it solves the problem of those few who cut across four lanes of active automotive traffic and scare the living daylights out of everybody driving.

    In short, there isn’t any downside to motorists – giving up public road space that wasn’t allocated properly in the first place is a minor request in the effort for making driving, bicycle riding, scooting, and walking safer and stress-free for all parties.

    Yet, this becomes impossible when a few residents become selfish over public infrastructure that they’ve long forgotten to share. Asking for the exclusion of such facilities is extremely unjust and selfish, and ignores the basic needs of people’s mobility in favor of one mode – the private automobile – at all times.

    Put simply, failing to provide these protected bike lanes will ensure that the Gables will be an unsafe place for anyone who isn’t encased in a metal box, and a frustrating experience for those who are.

    The Gables owes it to its residents, and it deserves to reflect its peers throughout the US and abroad that are adding this exact infrastructure for its residents and commuters.

    As a European-inspired city, it’s virtually a necessity to ensure its particular gestalt too – but we shouldn’t forget that this is for safety above anything else.

  5. This topic of bike lanes and sidewalks is misguided.

    First, if the city even repaves the road they are required by federal law to upgrade to ADA standards, i.e. sidewalks. Have you seen all of the corner intersections being upgraded throughout the Gables because the city was sued and lost over a decade ago on this topic.

    The second is bike lanes. Bike lanes should be added along connector roadways because of safety. Would you rather another car trip that could injure kids? Would you rather a bus? No. bike lanes are cost effective, promote a healthy lifestyle, and allow for workers to get to places like UM.

  6. This topic of bike lanes and sidewalks is misguided.

    First, if the city even repaves the road they are required by federal law to upgrade to ADA standards, i.e. sidewalks. Have you seen all of the corner intersections being upgraded throughout the Gables because the city was sued and lost over a decade ago on this topic.

    The second is bike lanes. Bike lanes should be added along connector roadways because of safety. Would you rather another car trip that could injure kids? Would you rather a bus? No. bike lanes are cost effective, promote a healthy lifestyle, and allow for workers to get to places like UM.

  7. Bike lanes and traffic calming are so needed throughout the Gables. (specifically Segovia needs uninterrupted sidewalks. When is that going to happen).

    Yes, Coral Gables, please spend all the money you need to make this a more walkable and bikeable city.

  8. I am in favor of adding sidewalk on Alhambra from Coral Way to San Amaro, especially since there is a park on Alhambra between Mendavia and Mercado. It is currently unsafe to walk on Alhambra. There also needs to be crosswalks at Blue Road and Alhambra circle. Others and I have been injured at that travel circle. I live 2 houses from Alhambra on Mendavia Ave.

  9. I agree with Robert. I also live in that area and ride my bike now and then. Other than the Red Road, there are no bike lanes in our area, and it is dangerous. Blue Road is even worse for cyclists. At least on Alhambra there is has space for cars to drive around you. I welcome the additional bike lanes, and hope you include Blue Road and San Amaro in the plans.
    thank you.

  10. In response to “Katherine, 7-22-19:” The attitude of the employee is often a reflection of the leadership. In this case, we, the people have chosen the leaders. Next election time it would behoove upon us to remove the incumbent(s) who does/do not demonstrate the attitudes and values we prefer. This requires that we actually become familiar with what goes on at City Hall and take ourselves to the polls and vote. You are right, the tax payers/voters need to step up.

  11. Ah! My children and I were hopeful to see the survey crew in the corner of Bird Road and Alhambra. You see, we live very close to that intersection and I have lost count of how many accidents we have seen
    at that light. When I am coming from the west on Bird and have to turn left into
    Alhambra I often go around the residential streets
    rather to wait on Bird to make the left and risk my children’s lives and my own.
    The city has to keep tabs on how many accidents occur there. I am sure there are MANY. So we got excited thinking that maybe the city was going to put turn lanes and a lead light and solve this nightmare intersection. But I was wrong… Very disappointed to hear it’s a bicycle lane.

  12. I like the idea of bicycle lanes. However we all know that there are cyclists that do not even use there lanes. Drive any weekend morning and the roads of Old Culter or Red Road where there are paths alreay in place. There are hords of cylists that just take over an entire traffic lane. They do not respect for traffic lights or signs. I have seen cyclist make right turns from a left hand lane at red lights. How about doing something about these unsafe and fustrating cyclist first.

  13. I can see why people are concerned when they suddenly see activity, but as a resident that has lived one house from Alhambra for 17 years, I can attest to the need for the completion of sidewalks on this corridor. On any given day, I see people pushing strollers or walking in the street, due to lack of connectivity. The bike lanes also will be an improvement since they will narrow the lane just a bit and help slow traffic. Alhambra is so wide as it is, that the city will likely need just a foot or two of swale on each side to make them happen. Finally, the city received a grant that will pay for a good portion of the project. I hope my neighbors will support this important project.

  14. Yes, I have noticed that very few “public servants” in Coral Gables understand that they work for us, and that we pay their very generous salaries and rich pensions, that NO ONE in the private sector could ever hope to get. In Gables by the Sea we have been desperate for shade trees for 25 years.After a six year very time consuming war with the arrogant employees, we finally got some trees. But it will be 10 years before they actually make shade. The “green” talk is just that- lip service, as they approve more and bigger mega developments. Coral Gables tax payers need to step up to the plate.

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