The redesign of the Circle has infuriated many Miami Springs residents. In 2021 there were 29 accidents reported by the Miami Springs Police Department. That’s an unacceptable rate of one accident every 13 days. Not to mention how many close calls many drivers have had on the Circle. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve had to use the horn on the Circle since the redesign.
Plus, the whole point of the Circle redesign was to make the Circle more pedestrian friendly. Yet most pedestrians trying to access the Circle do so on the opposite side of the only crosswalk to the Circle. I’ve literally stopped about a half dozen times to let people cross near Burritoville over the last year. I’ve only ever stopped once to let someone cross at the new crosswalk.
And then we have the issue with people attempting to make a right hand turn from the left lane and onto southbound Curtiss Parkway. No doubt, this is a key contributor to the high accident count on the Circle.
Of course, complaints are cheap. Solutions are expensive. So we wanted to present 15 ways to improve the Circle. I believe these ideas will make the Circle safer, provide more pedestrian access to Circle Park, solve longstanding flooding issues, widen existing sidewalks, add fresh landscaping, and possibly block the view of the new parking garage. I know that’s a lot to promise, so let’s break it down.
1 – Expand the Sidewalk by Burritoville
Ever since the Circle was redesigned, I felt this was an awkward way to access the parking by Burritoville and Ray’s Taekwondo Center. Technically, you’re not supposed to cross solid white lines. That means technically, you can only park there if you enter from South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. Of course, in reality, nobody pays attention to those solid white lines separating the inside Circle lane from the parking lane.
That said, it appears to me that the parking lane and median are just a waste of space. What if we widen the sidewalk thus allowing better access to the parking from the Circle and adding a nice wide pedestrian sidewalk?
Widening the sidewalk will promote more outdoor dining and sidewalk cafes. Do the math. The more tables and chairs a restaurant can have, the more business they can attract. I can only imagine what Jeff from Burritoville could do with an expanded sidewalk on a Cinco de Mayo in Miami Springs.
2 – Flood Mitigation Improvements
Outside of Ray’s Taekwondo you’ll find sandbags. Why? Because on any given day we can get a deluge that simply inundates and floods this section of the Circle. If we take advantage of the opportunity to expand the sidewalk and design drainage gutters, we can address the “as far back as I can remember” problem that has plagued this area of Miami Springs for decades.
3 – Landscaping and Beautification
I don’t believe in widening sidewalks unless we also add lush canopy trees that beautify the area and provide much wanted shade for our hot and sunny days. Downtown does not have to be a concrete jungle (despite the new monstrosity being completed). Coconut Grove and Las Olas are great examples of commercial areas that have embraced lush foliage. There’s no reason we can’t beautify downtown with our own lush landscaping. Furthermore, as the view of the new parking garage continues to emerge behind the Stadnik building, we’re going to want every opportunity to block that view with something more attractive like lush and TALL landscaping.
4 – Increase Parking
There are currently 10 parking spaces in between Paco’s Way and Ray’s Taekwondo. By widening the sidewalk and pushing the parking closer to the inner Circle lane, it can add an additional 4 parking spaces. it’s not a lot, but every parking spot we can add can help our small businesses attract more customers.
5 – Pedestrian Access from the Gas Station to Ray’s Taekwondo Center
This is a no-brainer gotta have it. it’s inexcusable that in the year 2022 there’s no method of crossing from the north end of Palmetto Drive and the Gas Station toward’s Ray’s Taekwondo. As you can see highlighted in yellow, there’s no crosswalk. There is a concrete median and people do cross at this location, but it should be with a proper crosswalk designation and crossing signage.
6 – Pedestrian Access to the Circle from South Royal Poinciana Boulveard
By adding a much needed crosswalk from Palmetto and South Royal Poinciana Blvd towards Ray’s Taekwondo Center, it also opens up the ability to add a sidewalk along the median and another pedestrian access point to the Circle. This will improve access to the Circle for pedestrians coming from the east side of the Circle including the new Palmetto apartments.
7 – Pedestrian Access to the Circle from Paco’s Way
For over 40 years, this is where most people cross to get to the Circle. Don’t you think it’s about time to give Springs residents a safe, legal, and ADA compliant way to get to the Circle from the main shopping and dining district?
The Circle is a jewel. Adding pedestrian access from Paco’s Way will be the most frequently used access of all. Plus, it also gives relatively easy access for anyone trying to reach the Circle from Starbucks. You can see they can cross from Starbuck’s towards Paco’s Way with the existing crosswalk which can connect to the new proposed crosswalk that would take pedestrians back over the Stadnik Way median before crossing over to Circle Park.
8 – Widen the Sidewalk by AT&T Store / Optical / Supercuts
This area is another awkward outcome of the current Circle redesign. Why do we need two ways to access North Royal Poinciana? It causes unneeded road stress and it accomplishes nothing.
Instead, we propose the City expand the sidewalk in front of the AT&T Store, Optical Store, and Supercuts. This will provide a more retail friendly walk space with room for more outdoor seating, dining, lounging.
9 – Improve Access to Gas Station
Easy driving access is important to the success of any gas station. Putting a literal traffic barrier blocking people to access your gas station is not good for business. Our sidewalk widening proposal removes that barrier making it possible to enter the gas station directly from the Circle. Yes. I know. You can go down South Royal Poinciana and make a right U-Turn into the gas station to get in and then make another U-turn to get out. Or, we can remove this business barrier and allow drivers easy in and easy out access. If the city is trying to be business friendly, then let’s be business friendly.
10 – Landscaping & Beautification by AT&T Store
As I said earlier, we don’t want a concrete jungle. Every sidewalk widening project must be accompanied by beautification, landscaping, and canopy shade trees. The Circle and Curtiss Parkway are naturally beautiful thanks to the open green space and rows of oak trees. We need to export that beauty to as many other parts of Miami Springs we possibly can.
11 – Move Yield Sign Closer / Safer Position
When you enter Miami Springs from Hialeah Drive and approach the Circle on the right lane, the yield sign is more than a car length beyond the point you actually need to yield. I’m not making this up. Look at the image below. The red bar is where you need to stop / yield if there’s traffic on the Circle. As you can see, there are a couple of cars captured on satellite imagery. You can see the yield sign location marked by a red dot is more than a car length beyond the point where you need to stop. This is remarkably dangerous.
By expanding the sidewalk at this location, we’re able to address this shortcoming and move the Yield sign to a much closer, much safer location.
12 – Add Crosswalk from N Royal Poinciana Blvd
There are 5 roads that lead onto the Circle. And yes, I’m proposing we add pedestrian access to the Circle from each road.
13 – Add Crosswalk from Westward Drive
We want Miami Springs to be pedestrian friendly. That means easy pedestrian access to the heart of our Central Business District, the Circle Park. By adding much needed pedestrian access to the Circle, we can encourage more daily activities and weekly activities.
14 – Add a solid white line on the inside lane of the Circle from Westward to Curtiss Parkway
We covered this in a prior article, but we’ve captured accidents and actual video of people making a right hand turn from the left lane. And then we wonder why the Circle averages an accident every 13 days…
15 – Reduce Southbound Curtiss Parkway to just a single lane
In addition to adding a solid white line, we recommend reducing the first block of southbound Curtiss Parkway to just a single lane. If you look at the current map roadway configuration, it invites people to make a right turn from the left lane and onto the left lane of Curtiss Parkway. The problem with this is that the person on the right lane has the right to stay on the Circle. That’s where accidents have been known to happen.
15 – Reduce Westward to a Single Eastbound Lane
This has the added value of increasing parking and widening sidewalks along Westward. But the purpose to avoid confusion as to which car is entering which lane from Westward by reducing the options.
Thoughts / Feedback
Let us know what you think? Which of the 15 ways to improve the Circle do you agree with? Which do you disagree with? What would you do to improve the Circle? Share your thoughts in the comments section or let us know via social media.