The area of South Royal Poinciana Boulevard from Le Jeune Road to East Drive has begun its transformation. You’ll notice the orange barricades have gone up. And some of the concrete curbing has already been poured.
This project is changing this section of South Royal Poinciana Boulevard from four lanes to just two lanes with a median that we hope will provide a tree canopy along the entire stretch of roadway. Maybe they’ll plant some Royal Poinciana Trees on the road named after them?
The new median will also force drivers to make u-turns to arrive at their destination. That’s because the new median will effectively block left turn access to many of the roads and apartments. This means if you’re heading east on South Royal Poinciana Boulevard and are trying to get home to your apartment, you’ll have to continue east until you reach an opening. Then, you’ll be able to make a U-Turn and head back west on South Royal Poinciana Boulevard to reach your destination.
Above you’ll see the intersection of South Royal Poinciana Boulevard and Ragan Drive. You’ll notice you won’t be able to make a left hand turn to enter the apartments when heading eastbound. Furthermore, if you’re heading north on Ragan Drive, you’ll only be able to make a right hand turn. Again, this is slightly inconvenient, but does make for a safer roadway.
The same thing is true for the intersection of La Baron and South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. You’ll only be able to make a right hand turn on La Baron Drive and you can’t make a left hand turn into the apartments on the left.
Above you’ll notice the intersection of Kenmore and South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. Kenmore is a popular road used by many residents who turn in from NW 36th Street to make a left hand turn onto South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. You’ll no longer be able to do this as you’ll only be able to make a right hand turn thanks to the median blocking the way. Again, if you live in the apartment complex, you’ll have to make a U-Turn to reach your apartment.
This also impacts residents who may be driving east on South Royal Poinciana that were used to making a left turn to get to their residence. Now they may have to travel all the way to East Drive before they have to make a U-Turn to come back west on South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. However, according to plans posted on the City of Miami Springs website, we found that a left hand turn will be added to the westbound lane of South Royal Poinciana Boulevard allowing for a left turn at Forrest Drive.
Preventing the left hand turns across most of the stretch does add a level of safety as left hand turns tend to be some of the most dangerous types of accidents. Furthermore, this change should help to slow down vehicles that sometimes treat the four lane road as a highway.
Last August, there was a nasty hit and run accident that left a motorcyclist critically injured in the area of South Royal Poinciana Boulevard near Sheridan Drive. We applaud the City’s efforts to add safety and beautify the area.
Miami Springs Police Release Photo of Car Involved in Hit & Run Accident
How the heck do I get home?
In reviewing the plans below, did they forget about the residents that live in the apartments? How are they supposed to get home? They removed the ability to make a direct left turn. That’s fine. But where can they make a U-Turn? Where’s the turnaround?
As you can see below, when you’re heading eastbound on South Royal Poinciana, the roadway shifts from two lanes to one lane with a median. At the first intersection, Miller Drive, there’s no ability to make a left or U-Turn.
At the second intersection, Forrest Drive, westbound drivers can make a left and head south on Forrest, but eastbound drivers can’t make a U-Turn, though we suspect many will try to do this.
The next intersection is Lee Drive. As you can see, there’s no way to make a left turn or U-Turn into your apartment here.
As you can see below, the next two intersections of Ragan Drive and La Baron Drive are also blocked by the new median.
Now, there’s an opening at Sheridan Drive and South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. This opening allows for westbound traffic to make a left onto southbound Sheridan. It also allows northbound Sheridan traffic to make a left hand turn onto westbound South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. But for the eastbound traffic trying to make it home to their apartment, they can’t make a U-Turn here. That #2 in the graphic below represents a no U-Turn sign.
So the next intersection is the one at Kenmore. Again, it’s blocked as you can see by the plans below.
After Kenmore, the last intersection before you reach LeJeune Road is at Coolidge Drive. Finally, there’s a dedicated left hand turn area along eastbound South Royal Poinciana Boulevard. But it’s not to help residents make a U-Turn safely and get to their home. It’s a dedicated left hand turn lane for the entrance to the Miami Subs Grill. How thoughtful.
For all the money the City of Miami Springs continues to give to the one contractor, 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.
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.
Now, overall, 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 also good.
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.
You can view this as an oversight, or designed obsolescence ensuring another fat contract in the future.
In our opinion, this project should be postponed until such time as the traffic needs for the residents of the South Royal Poinciana Boulevard apartments are addressed.
What do you think?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or via social media.
Safety for its residents should always be a primary concern of a civil government, but so is their quality of life. This project would add more traffic build-up in the area since it is a more populated dense area, add more frustration to the residents who have to circle around to their apts., and potentially add more accidents on account of the “illegal” U-turns that will be made. Another unintended consequence (or maybe it is intended) is the numerous violations of the “No U-Turn” prohibition that residents will feel provoked to commit. I don’t think that any of our city council members live in those apartments to know the amount of inconvenience and frustration this project reduces from their quality of life. This project was not thought through well.
I think it’s time to hold the professional city officials that are supposed to review these plans before it gets to Council. Council members are not traffic engineers.
To quote the late Col. Jeff Cooper, “An interesting solution to a non-existing problem”
I drove this section a few days ago and if I lived in those apartments I be looking to tar and feather someone.
Wait for the head on collisions on the u-turns on a single lane road now.