The beautification of South Royal Poinciana Boulevard is progressing as the installation of beautiful Royal Palms is underway.
We love seeing more trees and greenery being added to Miami Springs. Decades ago, this stretch of roadway used to have an incredible canopy of mostly ficus trees. Unfortunately, they were removed years ago in part because of the power lines and concerns over hurricanes. If you have an old photo of the South Royal Poinciana Boulevard canopy you’d like to share, please email it to photos@MiamiSprings.com.
As you know, the idea for this roadway improvement is to make the road safer and more beautiful. The project converts four traffic lanes into just two traffic lanes, plus bike lanes, and a median. This helps to slow down vehicles.
The median now eliminates the ability for many to make a left hand turn into their apartment complex. If you’ve driven down the road recently, you’ve probably seen cars making u-turns to get back home. We’ve even seen cars driving a short distance against traffic to turn into their apartment.
We think this project will end up looking great, especially if they add more canopy trees above and beyond just palm trees. We especially like the idea of adding some Royal Poinciana Trees along the eponymous road.
Our biggest concern with this project was the lack of a roundabout or traffic circle that would provide a safe way for the residents living in the apartments to get home when heading east
As we reported back in May, the new median changes the way people get home to their apartments. Specifically when driving eastbound along South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. For most residents, making a left is no longer an option. And driving against traffic is obviously illegal and dangerous (although that hasn’t stopped some from trying it).
So, the correct thing to do is to make a U-Turn. And if you’ve driven by the area regularly, I’m sure you’ve seen cars making U-Turns at the various openings in order to get home.
Unfortunately, the plans call to ban those U-Turns. The plans posted by the City of Miami Springs call for a “No U-Turn” sign to be installed before each intersection facing eastbound traffic. In other words, the current plans don’t provide a legal way for eastbound drivers to make a U-Turn.
Don’t take my word for it. Look at the plans below for yourself. You’ll notice item #2 shown below pointing to the median. Item #2 represents the “NO U-TURN” sign. So while there is a gap, its purpose is only to allow left turns for westbound traffic (moving from right to left). The eastbound traffic (moving from left to right) will not be allowed to make a U-Turn at this intersection according to the city’s plans.
And just in case you’re thinking, “Oh, that NO U-TURN sign is for the traffic heading westbound,” I’ll ask you to look at the diagram above and the diagram below. You’ll notice that it depicts the flat NO U-TURN sign and it also depicts the pole that holds up the sign. The plan clearly shows the pole on the right hand side. The actual NO U-TURN sign is facing the left or the eastbound traffic lanes.
Now, I’ve heard it said that maybe those “NO U-TURN” signs will be removed. We won’t object to this as that’s what residents are doing now to get home. But nevertheless, that’s short sighted. That’s just an admission that no consideration was made for those living in the apartments. That’s an admission that no consideration was made to provide a safe turnaround to get home.
I’m sure there’s plenty of room to make a U-Turn if you’re driving a small to midsize vehicle. But at last check, Americans still have a love affair with pickup trucks and SUVs. In fact, the top three selling vehicles in America are all full size pickup trucks. Some of those vehicles may actually be too big to make a U-Turn and instead need to make a 3 point turn. Again, things that happen when consideration wasn’t made for a safe passage home.
As I said before, you can view this as an oversight, or designed obsolescence ensuring another fat contract for the engineers in the future.
Let me be clear, our Mayor and City Council are not traffic engineers. Nor should we expect them to be traffic engineers. The City Council needs to rely on the paid professionals to come up with good plans that consider the needs of all residents (especially those directly impacted by this project).
However, the City of Miami Springs has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to our engineering firm, Bermello Ajamil and Partners. You’d think the huge firm out of Coral Gables would have come up with a solution for the residents who live in the apartments. Did you see any solution? I sure didn’t.
It’s disappointing because the answer seems so obvious. Add a Traffic Circle at South Royal Poinciana Boulevard and Coolidge. This is a unique area that has extra real estate and three roads converging. This intersection would definitely benefit from a traffic circle.
Here are the key benefits of adding a traffic circle at this location:
- Allow residents living in the apartments a safe place to turnaround and get home
- Slow down traffic on on South Royal Poinciana Boulevard
- Enhance safety
- Simplify entry / exit into the intersection
- Add a green centerpiece to the east side of Miami Springs
- Add a Gateway Entrance into the city with a “Welcome to Miami Springs” sign
Instead of a traffic circle, we got a cut and paste, cookie cutter design from Bermello, Ajamil, and Partners that lacks any consideration for the residents who live in the apartments.
Folks, I don’t know about you, but I hate seeing our tax dollars wasted on multi-million dollar projects that don’t get the job done.
Again, we have supported the project of changing South Royal Poinciana Boulevard from a four lane road to a two lane road. That’s good. We love the idea of adding a tree canopy along the median. That’s wonderful. The trees they’ve planted so far look great.
But where the heck is the consideration to the residents that need to get home into their apartment? How do they get home from Milam’s Market?
I don’t blame the Council for this. They aren’t traffic engineers. And for the record, neither are we. But the people who designed this clearly left out any concern for residents who live in the apartments along South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. It doesn’t take a genius to understand the residents in these apartments are facing a problem.
In our opinion, this project won’t satisfy the needs of the residents who live along the South Royal Poinciana Boulevard apartments until a proper roundabout or traffic circle is installed.
If Bermello, Ajamil, and Partners is as good as everyone says they are, then why didn’t they bring this up or offer a solution? Furthermore, if their reputation is worth more to them than the fat contracts they get from the city of Miami Springs, maybe they should pay for their oversight and fund a traffic circle on their own dime.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
What do you think?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or via social media.
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