Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
City of Coral Gables Commissioner
The City of Coral Gables is home to thirty-two parks, ten community facilities, a library, and countless other open spaces that experience high volumes of foot traffic and use by the city’s youth and their families. Although the seventeen schools within our city limits enjoy the protection of legal “School Zones,” streets surrounding our other youth-centric areas (e.g., the Youth Center) are treated like any other thoroughfare in terms of regulation governing traffic (including speed limits). Meanwhile, I know traffic and speeding continue to be a primary concern for our residents despite recent improvements.
For that reason, with the support of my colleagues on the Commission, I began working with city administration to develop a concept I am referring to as “Youth Zones,” which would aim to increase safety in all youth-centric areas. Although the primary objective is to make these areas safer, I believe there will be an incidental traffic-calming effect city-wide. In its conceptual stage, Youth Zones will be designated traffic zones, similar to School Zones, but located in those area that experience a high volume of pedestrians due to the presence of parks and other youth-centric locations. These zones would feature reduced speed limits and other visual themes that, similar to School Zones, cue drivers to exercise greater care. Additionally, sidewalks within Youth Zones may be fully funded by the City to increase the safety around parks and schools.
Youth Zones are a relatively novel concept but stay tuned for further updates as I continue to develop the plan with staff and move closer to implementation. To view a briefing about this program, presented during the May 11 Commission Meeting, click here.