As we reported on April 8th, construction has begun on the redesign of the Miami Springs Circle. As of today, Miami Springs no longer has 4 lanes on the south side of the Circle. The lanes have been cut in half to just 2 lanes. And with the current stay at home order, schools closed, and the economy in shambles, 2 lanes is more than enough for our current needs.
Of course, this stay at home order won’t last forever. Traffic will return, especially once schools get back in session this fall. Normal life will look familiar with this predictable site.
As we’ve stated before, this will force the Hook Square backup that happens during normal afternoon rush hour traffic onto these 2 lanes. Gone will be the lane on the right hand side that we’ve all used a million times to get to Suntrust Bank, the Gas Station, or the former Barry’s Cleaners location. Traffic has always been bad during rush hour when we were attempting to get to Hialeah. But getting to the bank, cleaners, or just navigation to South Royal Poinciana was generally a piece of cake. Now, that will no longer be the case during rush hour traffic.
As you can see in the photo below, these are cars that have backed up from Hook Square. The cars closest to the camera, are using the far right lane to get through to South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. The cars in the middle 2 lanes are the cars backed up from Hook Square. In other words, the cars closest to the camera will now backup the Circle even further. This can cause gridlock as those cars can back up all the way to Big Tomato (seen way in the background.)
Now compare the picture above, that still has a free lane on the inside to get to Ray’s Tae Kwon Do or Burritoville, to the picture below. Half the lanes are gone. So all the traffic will back up onto these two lanes. Gone is your ability to use the inside lane to around the Hook Square traffic. Gone is your ability to use the outside lane to continue onto South Royal Poinciana Boulevard.
Today, we’re in an emergency lock down. Schools are closed. Businesses are closed. Tourists aren’t here. Heck, gasoline prices are under 2 bucks due to the lack of automotive use. And as you can see above, there’s no traffic today. But, we all know what’s going to happen once traffic gets back to normal.
Frankly, the reduction of lanes on the Circle reflects good intentions and poor execution. These two wonderful ladies have wanted to make it safer for pedestrians to access the Circle. A noble cause we fully support.
However, the plans created by the County accomplish this goal while creating a bottleneck that will predictably cause gridlock. Furthermore, it fails to provide enough pedestrian access. It fails in providing pedestrian access from the Circle Gas Station to Ray’s Tae Kwon Do. I guess people will continue to cross illegally as they have for years. It also fails in providing pedestrian access from the Paco’s Way / Burritoville crossing to the Circle. A natural spot with a yield sign. A spot many of us have used to get to the Circle since it’s the safest way there. Somehow, the County didn’t even bother to address those 2 issues.
Now, I’m still boggled by the City’s statement: “This is being done to control traffic congestion and traffic flow in the area.” The congestion is only going to get worse as 4 lanes of traffic are forced onto just two lanes. Furthermore, traffic flow is going to bleed onto the local side streets.
As residents, we know all the side streets to use to get around the traffic. Those side streets are not commercial district roads. They are residential roads. This change to the Circle is going to predictably make the Circle traffic jam impossible. It will force people to use alternate routes.
Those alternate routes will be the residential areas of Miami Springs. The streets our kids use to bike. The streets we take pride on being quiet. Those are the streets that will take the brunt of the alternate routes created by this forced congestion.
This is a very expensive government project that we’ll have to pay for again in the future once residents get fed up with impossible traffic jams and select a new City Council that will listen to their concerns.
RECAP OF WHAT’S WRONG
- Design does not solve source of problem: Hook Square Backup
- Design removes bypass lanes used by locals
- Bottleneck will make traffic worse
- Residential arteries will see increased traffic on their streets
- Plan fails to address pedestrian access from the Gas Station to Ray’s Tae Kwon Do
- Plan fails to address pedestrian access from Starbucks / Paco’s Way to the Circle
- Blocks access to local businesses from the Circle
CONTRASTING POINTS OF VIEW
We welcome contrasting points of view. Whether you agree or disagree, we’d love to get your feedback on this project and how it will impact you. Share your thoughts in the comments or via social media.