Redesigning the Circle to be more pedestrian friendly is well overdue. But sometimes a well intentioned project can go overboard and do more damage than what it was intended to solve.
Above is the proposed layout for the Miami Springs Circle. We like 80% of this plan. But there’s a HUGE problem most people in Miami Springs are unaware of. The plan reduces the 4 lanes we have today on the south side of the Circle (near the Cavalier Clock between Papa Johns and Suntrust) to go from 4 lanes to just 2 lanes. Reducing from 4 lanes to 2 lanes would be great if it weren’t for the fact that we have an afternoon traffic tie up that occurs every afternoon. Nothing in this plan addresses the root cause of the tie up. In fact, this plan will only aggravate the problem and make it worse for our residents to bypass this traffic.
Above you see what the Circle looks like today. Notice that on the South Side (lower right hand) there exists 4 traffic lanes. We know that when Hook Square backs up, it wraps around the Circle and blocks the two center lanes. We also know that many residents will use the inside lane to bypass the backup when they are trying to access Paco’s Way or Burritoville (before the demolition.) We also know that residents will use the outside lane when they want to get to Suntrust Bank, the former Barry’s Cleaners, or want to continue east towards Stafford Park, the Middle School, or Office Depot.
Here’s a closer view of the proposed changes. As you can see, this plan provides no way to bypass the backups from Hook Square. You can’t bypass the Hook Square backup if you’re trying to get to Paco’s Way. You can’t bypass the backup if you’re trying to get to the east side of Miami Springs.
Well, as you know, there is minimal traffic right now due to the Coronavirus, but that won’t last very long in the scheme of things. Once schools are open and businesses re-open we can expect to see the return of the afternoon backups on Hook Square. Nothing in the new plans address the backup from Hook Square. Nothing.
I don’t have to show you these pictures for you to understand that the traffic backup on the Circle is very real. We all know it.
But as you can see below, these drivers are using the outside lane from the Circle to bypass the Hook Square backup. Without the extra lanes, this will only exacerbate the problem on the Circle, not make it better. Furthermore, it’ll encourage more usage of the residential arteries pushing more cut through traffic into our residential streets instead of concentrating it on our commercial areas.
Now, while we applaud the efforts to make make the Circle more accessible, limiting the south side to just 2 lanes will only make the problem worse.
NOT ENOUGH PEDESTRIAN ACCESS
This plan fails in more than just backing up traffic. 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.
Furthermore, this plan fails to provide pedestrian access from Starbucks / Paco’s Way to The Circle. It’s the easiest place to add pedestrian access with minimal impact on traffic.
Now, the City of Miami Springs posted the following statement:
“Miami Dade County will be starting the Circle renovation project very soon. This project will reduce lanes, provide medians, pavement markings and the crosswalk from the Cavalier Clock to the Circle. This is being done to control traffic congestion and traffic flow in the area. The final set of plans is shown below. The timing is perfect since at the current time traffic flow is light so it will minimize congestion while work is being done.”
“This is being done to control traffic congestion and traffic flow in the area.” What a joke!
If by control traffic congestion, the City means make it worse, they are 100% correct. There’s no way traffic on the Circle will get better with this plan. Instead, we believe this is going to be a waste of resources. The County will blow its money on this project only to have this change within the next 5 years after reality hits, council changes and they redesign this to accommodate more traffic.
This idea is a miniature scale version of the Florida Department of Transportation limiting the amount of free lanes on the Palmetto Expressway to just 3 lanes in Hialeah. And just like that colossal disaster was reversed after the FDOT spent tons of money, this disaster will have to be reversed as residents will not support making traffic worse. Residents want to improve traffic, not make it worse. And this project will make it worse for the regular residents who want to get around the Circle.
Oh, and if you live on Pinecrest or Morningside or Deer Run, do you like the idea of more residents and cut through drivers using your roads more often to get around this mess?
And of course, this is all happening with the backdrop of the Downtown Development. The new development will only increase traffic to the area. Why the heck do we want to make it harder for residents to navigate the Circle?
RECAP OF WHAT’S WRONG
- Design does not solve 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
Residents should reach out to Rebeca Sosa and share your thoughts. Again, we love the idea of making the Circle more accessible to pedestrians, but we believe you can make this pedestrian friendly and still allow 4 lanes of traffic to flow on the south side of the Circle. This is too much of a compromise that hurts our residents the most.
Contact Rebeca Sosa
District 6 Main Office
1000 SW 57th Avenue, Suite 201, Miami, FL 33144
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.