The FDOT Alton Road project has officially begun. While the impact is still rather manageable as only the North part of Alton Rd is undergoing construction, this massive project is soon to take on more importance as South Beach’s major and one and only North-South highway will be shut down in parts. The complete construction schedule for April 8 – 25 can be found here.
While resident groups such as the Flamingo Park Neighbourhood Association and the West Avenue Neighbourhood Association have raised major concerns of the project and expressed them to the City of Miami Beach, there has been no response from City Hall. I recently emailed Mayor Matti Bower and all commissioners asking for their stance on this project and expressing my concern of the impact to those who walk or bike along West Ave:
I am extremely concerned about the FDOT construction plans for the Alton Road project […] I am afraid that it will no longer be possible to safely take my daughter for a walk or to school. I am worried about noise, pollution, congestion […]. Furthermore, we are shocked that Alton Road is going to offer “sharrows” for bicycles. Sharrows are not a safe option on Alton Road. We also understand that no bike lanes are planned for West Ave either and feel very disheartened that a city that aims to provide bike alternatives to residents simply ignores this alternate mode of transportation for such a long foreseeable future.Please provide me with your thoughts on how the City plans to ensure that West Ave will still be a livable place for the next 2.5 years.
The only answer I received was from Gabrielle Redfern, a former Transit Miami writer and current Chief of Staff to Mayor Bower: “The mayor is also concerned about how this construction will effect traffic. The City has done its best to work with FDOT to make the project as painless to the residents as possible. However, a complete road reconstruction, with the addition of much needed drainage, will not be without some inconvenience to us all.”
Mayor Bower sent her own answer in her e-mail newsletter today, providing a beautiful example of the true art of double-think so masterfully employed by politicians. Double-think, is, of course “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… “. Here goes her version:
“This week I traveled to Tallahassee to participate in Dade Days. This organized lobbying trip is undertaken to ensure that your feelings are made clear to our legislators in our State Capitol. I focused my meetings on economic development, sand replacement and making our streets safer for our children as well as protecting our ability to establish living wage ordinances and offer domestic partnership benefits in our community.”
And then, further down in the newsletter:
“DEATH, TAXES,…AND ROAD CONSTRUCTION. Faced with the trials and tribulations of our Alton Road, no doubt Benjamin Franklin would have added “road construction” to his list of life’s unhappy certainties. While we can all look ahead to the benefits of the current FDOT Alton Road project, putting to work thirty-two million in gasoline tax dollars: a safer Alton Road with better drainage, upgraded water delivery service, and pedestrian lighting along with new landscaping, I’m pretty sure no one is looking forward to the two and a half years it will take to complete the work.
Next week, work will be concentrated from Dade Boulevard to Michigan Avenue, with construction crews working between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays. During this period, one south-bound lane will be closed, and there will be no left hand turns southbound onto Dade Boulevard. Intermittent lane closures will also occur from 10th Street to Bay Road.
Additionally, one eastbound land of the MacArthur Causeway will be closed as part of the ongoing Port of Miami Tunnel project, at the same time that Alton Road below 5th Street, from South Pointe Drive to Commerce Street remains closed to allow for installation of a new larger sewer pipe.
Dade Boulevard eastbound, from Alton Road to Convention Center Drive, may be closed at times for continuing work on a new seawall and multi-use pathway; and lastly, Collins Avenue, north of Lincoln Road as far as 26th Street will also experience some intermittent lane closures.”
What gives, Mayor Bower? If it is the children you are concerned about – shouldn’t the Alton Road project features wider sidewalks to make walking there safer? Are sharrows on Alton Road really safe options – for kids or adults? And lastly – all this construction – and what do we get out of it? MORE ROADS. MORE CARS. MORE TRAFFIC. MORE CONGESTION. Not exactly what I think of when I envision “making our streets safer” for kids!
Upcoming construction activities:
Monday, April 8 through Friday, April 19
Alton Road from Dade Boulevard to Michigan Avenue
- The contractor will place asphalt along the center of Alton Road and begin excavating the roadway, installing the new water main and setting up temporary street lighting along the west side of Alton Road. One southbound lane may be closed and the southbound left turn lane on Alton Road at Dade Boulevard will be converted to a through travel lane.
- Nighttime work is currently scheduled for Thursday, April 18 and Friday, April 19 for the installation of underground water main pipe. One northbound lane and/or one southbound lane may be closed.
On-street parking restrictions will be in effect for metered spaces at the following locations:
- 20 Street between Alton Road and Sunset Drive
- Sunset Drive between Alton Road and 20 Street
- west side of Alton Road between 17 Street and Dade Boulevard
Alton Road at 10 Street and 14 Street; 10 Street from Alton Road to Bay Road; 14 Street from Alton Road to Bay Road
- The contractor will be checking for underground utility conflicts. One lane on southbound Alton Road and side streets may be closed. Certified flaggers will be used to help direct traffic on side streets.
Monday, May 6 through September 2013
Alton Road from north of 17 Street to Michigan Avenue (east side of street)
The contractor will begin excavating the roadway, installing the new water main and rebuild this section of roadway. Alton Road will serve southbound traffic only in this area during this time. Northbound Alton Road traffic will have to:
- Turn east on 17 Street
- Turn north on Meridian Avenue
- Turn west on Dade Boulevard
- Turn north on Michigan Avenue
- Continue north on Alton Road
Access to businesses and sidewalks will be maintained at all times. The construction team will coordinate the closure of driveways; however, at least one entrance will be maintained at all times.
Ongoing Nighttime Utility Work
TECO Gas will continue to perform nighttime utility relocation work from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., Sundays through Thursdays.
Sunday, April 7 through Thursday, April 25
Across Alton Road from 19 Street to Sunset Drive
- One northbound or one southbound lane will be closed on Alton Road.
17 Street west of Alton Road
- One westbound lane may be closed on 17 Street during the next week.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS SCHEDULE MAY CHANGE DUE TO WEATHER OR UNEXPECTED CONDITIONS.
Additional information is available on the project page of the department’s website. You may also contact Construction Public Information Specialist Heather Leslie at 305-905-5876 or email her at Heather@hmlpublicoutreach.com. Drivers are encouraged to call 511 before they drive, or log onto www.fl511.com to get real-time traffic and lane closure information.
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