Venetia Terrace Sidewalk Sunshine Meeting This Friday

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]

On Friday, October 21st, at 8:30AM, Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago and Commissioner Rhonda Anderson will be holding a walk-through Sunshine Meeting at the intersection of Venetia Terrace and Columbus Boulevard to discuss sidewalks on Venetia Terrace.

Venetia Terrace, a connector street between Cortez Avenue and SW 57th Avenue is a popular cut-through street for traffic making its way through the City of Coral Gables.

The main area of concern is the area between Granada Blvd and Columbus, where the road is narrow and does not have any sidewalks. Parallel roads have sidewalks to the north, but end in front of corner residences without connecting on Venetia.

The issue was first brought to the Commission’s attention in 2014, by Gables Insider‘s Ariel Fernandez.

Coral Gables at the time was under the leadership of Mayor Jim Cason and City Manager Pat Salerno. Salerno informed Fernandez that the City would not address the issue, while Cason instructed Fernandez to start a homeowner association if he believed something should be done. The City was not going to take any action, and for eight years it did not.

Fernandez continued pressing the issue over the last eight years, as have other members of the community. Lago and Anderson have taken the concerns seriously and asked staff to work on a plan to address the issue several months ago.

At the October 4th City Commission meeting, Lago asked staff to build out the sidewalks while the traffic calming measures are being built on the street, to avoid any difficulties the traffic calming could bring to the sidewalk build-out. Staff brought up concerns about the narrowness of the street, prompting a request from Lago and Anderson for this on-site meeting. Area residents are encouraged to participate to provide input.


12 thoughts on “Venetia Terrace Sidewalk Sunshine Meeting This Friday

  1. Hello Gables Insider. It’s January 2023 — the month that Mayor Lago and the City agreed to provide a status report on the progress made for the Venetia Terrace improvements. Any word?

    To those that are concerned about 1-way increase the speed of traffic . . . the one-way will reduce volume. The stop signs that currently exist would not go away. There is a planned traffic calming device to be installed on Venetia Terrace that will further slow traffic.

    If we could get a raised crossing at Venetia Avenue and Columbus — folks are now speeding down Venetia Avenue and blowing the Columbus stop sign thanks to the stop signs peppering Venetia Terrace.

  2. The city has given less than 10 days notice to the residents abutting the proposed project to remove decades of growth of shrubs and bushes at the expense of the residents. If things arent removed to the property line, a citation will be issued and a lien put on the house for the cost of removal. This will cost some residents thousands and thousands of dollars.

    Their notice offered no information on the proposed plans and gave less than five days. We demand information and will be opposing this due to the poor communication and timeframes provided.

  3. Glad to hear about the sidewalks. During Cason’s term, Maria Anderson told me the only way the sidewalk would happen was with the abutting homeowners PAYING entirely for the sidewalk. She told me the City had no money for the project. Not very encouraging. Glad she’s out of government. 2 way streets encourage slower traffic. Making the Terrace a 1 way street would push traffic to Venetia Avenue jeopardizing the tranquility of that street. Because of the absence of oncoming traffic, drivers speed on 1 way streets such as Andalusia & Valencia in our downtown. Only with speed bumps or textured (stamped concrete or brick) paving would the 1 way idea work as a safe street. Or with concrete curbs to keep the cars in check

  4. 8 years of Govt in action….oh…i meant Govt Inaction!!
    1. at least they were honest to say ‘we will do nothing’
    2. real estate issues like this one can get very complex, and one issue here is….how wide is the right-of-way for the streets involved? does someone need to dedicate more of their property to bring it up to Safe Standards (established by Miami-Dade County Public Works Dept, not Gables staff).

  5. Baffled- this is excellent news. I hope they set up an actual public meeting. Your summary is great. My fear (based on years of experience) is people will hear “one way”, oppose based on inconvenience, and unify on that platform. I really would like for everyone to have the opportunity to ask questions directly rather than have a rumor mill generated, pumping out misinformation. Am I cynical? You betcha.

  6. I have to add another comment. It’s rich when an elected representative of all Coral Gables residents inform a resident that in order to have an elected pay a resident any mind, he needs to establish an HOA. At least Cason was honest. Residents voices die when they are but one. Our voices can’t be ignored when they are brought together on an issue. We are summarily dismissed when we show up as 1. But when we show up as a unified group . . . Thanks to all that showed up today and those that have been beating the drum that lead to today. In keeping with Cason’s sage advice, we need to remain unified and vigilent on this issue to see that is progresses through and to sidewalks. To this end, I believe we need a small group of residents to represent the larger contingent of residents to faciliate communication and information dissemination amongst us and The Gables Insider to continue its good work.

  7. The SUNSHINE MEETING produced results!! Thanks to Mayor Lago and Commissioner Anderson, it looks like there will be movement with measurable benchmarks. A big thank you to City Staff who will be taking on the logistics to get it moving with the City of Coral Gables and Miami Dade County (in charge of roads). Ariel Fernandez attended, so there should additional accountability on the issue. The City attendees as well as the MANY residents that attended were in agreement that sidewalks were needed and to bring that vision into fruition with sidewalks, landscaping, and trees and being mindful of resident safety, Venetia Terrace (currently “substandard” road) would be converted into a one-way. Mayor Lago provided an honest time estimate for the project so that expectations are properly set – the planning and development process will likely take up to a year which the residents in attendance gladly accepted. The first benchmark will be a status update in early January 2023 – by that time the City should be working with the County on converting Venetia Terrace to a 1-way street. Mayor Lago, Commissioner Anderson, and City Staff are on board with addressing this decades long concern of North Gables residents. (Venetia Terrace only exists between Granada and Columbus — an alley turned street “connecting” Venetia Avenue.)

  8. Matthew- there is a city resolution and strategic plan to build the sidewalks on Granada. Resolution 2018-268 states that the City will build and fund the sidewalks regardless of the opposition. The Commission continues to ignore the resolution, ignore the city ordinance adopting the strategic plan and ignored the ordinance adopting the city’s comprehensive plan to build this infrastructure.

    Every time I state these facts at commission, they provide no feedback and a “thank you for your comments”.

  9. good work, Ariel… I wonder what the City’s fanciful position is on the missing sidewalks on Granada, Alhambra, etc. I already know the answer… The City will only take its orders from the wealthy and powerful homeowners, but ignore the other residents of the city. Again, thank you for all of your hard work on this.

  10. Curious how many properties had permits for renovation along that stretch from 2014 – 2019/2020 that would have been required to build the missing sidewalk. City Managers, elected officials and even Public Works staff ignored the code until Mike Mena initiated the legislation to remove sidewalk construction from the code.

    The road (Right of Way) is not too narrow for a sidewalk. There is no other reason than the will to explore creative solutions to keep pedestrians safe.

    The trees are young enough to be relocated, if necessary. If keeping the trees in their current location is more important than the safety of residents, then a one way conversion can be explored and lobbied for at the County. If that’s “too much work” to keep residents safe then a small curb height barrier with drainage slots can be installed to provide protection without full construction of a sidewalk… the list goes on.

    I hope the sidewalk is built. I hope you are enough of a pain in the a$$ to get it built. You know where I am if you need any good stats, creative design solutions, connections at the county or plain old talking points to highlight the hypocrisy coming from the manager and electeds in regards to their prioritization of the safety of residents. Don’t let your personal feelings about me get in the way of using me as a resource. We can work together, get it built and we can go back to the good old days of trash talking. It could be an unlikely temporary alliance.

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