I attended the Cocoanut Grove Village Council meeting at City Hall last night, and was pleasantly surprised by the county’s renderings for the beautification of SW 27th Avenue in the Grove. Although it is only in the 30% completion phase, it appears to be moving in a positive direction. Unfortunately, I do not currently have pictures of the proposal, but I’ll share a few of the major tenets of the project:

  1. Sidewalks: It appears that after years of embarrassing pedestrian-infrastructure, the county is planning on implementing sidewalks on both sides of 27th avenue in a uniform manner along the entire stretch of road south of US-1. It’s sad that I have to even mention sidewalks, given that they are as fundamental a part of a city as any piece of infrastructure, but in Miami this is never a given. I am a little disappointed that the new sidewalks are only proposed to be six feet wide; I would like to see 10-12 feet sidewalks throughout the avenue.
  2. Bike Lanes: Groveites, as well as any Miamian who frequents the neighborhood, should be very happy to learn that bike lanes are proposed for both sides of 27th Avenue south of US-1. This will be one of the first avenues anywhere in Miami or Miami Beach to get real bike lanes, which is quite a mystery given the fantastic riding conditions year-round. Now bicyclists who ride transit will have dedicated lanes to get to and from Grove Station and the neighborhood’s business district.
  3. Traffic Circle: One of the most contentious aspects of the plan is the proposed traffic circle at 27th, Tigertail, and Day Ave. The county is proposing an irregularly shaped traffic circle for this intersection, which would allow for the removal of traffic lights. Predictably, Day Avenue residents were concerned that traffic would increase significantly on their street. However, the county is planning on changing Day Avenue from one-way westbound to one-way eastbound, meaning one cannot enter Day Avenue from the 27th Avenue traffic circle. This will be ensured by a continuous portion of curb that will jut out just enough to make the turning angle onto Day Ave from the the circle impossible without going over the curb. I like this idea, because it will force cars to slow down considerably at this awkward and dangerous intersection. It will eliminate the need to wait for red lights to cross, as well as also making pedestrian crossings shorter.
  4. On-Street Parking: It looks like 27th Avenue will finally get on-street parking. The county plans on implementing 90 on-street spaces along this segment of the avenue, which would look similar to the set-up on Grand Avenue. The plan would have called for more on-street parking, but it wasn’t possible due to the ridiculously large number of driveways on the avenue. These on-street spaces are of the “cut-out” variety, meaning no current capacity will be taken by parking as the spaces are “carved” out of the sidewalk.
  5. Right-of-Way-Acquisition: Perhaps my favorite part of the plan was the proposed elimination of many parking swales (or parking lagoons) that line the avenue on both sides. These swales equate to such bad urban design for so many reasons, hence my appreciation for their removal. For one, they are just ugly to look at. A high quality pedestrian environment is certainly not define by any space flanked by automobiles. Also, these spots are small, so often times cars are parked on segments of the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to slalom the cars (sometimes requiring movement into the road) to traverse the swales. Also, this provides way too many free parking spaces along what should be a transit-oriented thoroughfare. As long as an abundance of free parking is available throughout the city, especially in close proximity to transit stations, induced automobile demand will remain high and transit ridership will not realize its ultimate potential. Moreover, these swales are just dangerous. They often require backing into the road, or other maneuvering within the swale that breaches the sidewalk. Lastly, these swales have always been located within the county’s right-of-way, and therefore people were parking for free within illegal zones. Therefore, the county is only retaking what is already theirs.
Those are the major portions of the project that were discussed at the meeting. Other factors such as landscaping and shade/sidewalk trees will certainly be implemented, but the specifics are still under consideration. So in conclusion, this project exceeded my expectations for the avenue. I’ll continued to post any updates on this project as I learn of them.

6 Responses to 27th Avenue Update #2

  1. Steven says:

    There are also things happening to the northern end of 27th avenue. As the north corridor project gets closer and closer to becoming reality (construction begining), land use and transit oriented development is being strongly considered. Check out the project website at http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/corridor/n_corridor/n_master_developer.asp to find out more. There is a meeting geared towards TOD and the North Corridor project on the 27th of this month.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    These plans look nice… Were you able to get a feel toward the general sentiment in the room regarding these projects?

    Also, can you clarify one thing for me: at Tigertail, Day, and 27th, were they proposing a traffic circle or a modern roundabout? Roundabouts require yielding to enter the circle, while ordinary traffic circles require circulating traffic to yield to entering traffic. Roundabouts do wonders for traffic calming as well as preventing or reducing gridlock because of their continuous flow.

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  3. Ryan says:

    Steven: Thanks for the info – transit oriented development will certainly be crucial to the success of that corridor.

    Anon: The mood of the room was actually rather subdued – only a few people approached the council with concerns, primarily with regarding parking. With that said, I thought the county handled their concerns quite well.

    It was an ordinary traffic circle. That intersection is not large enough for a traditional roundabout. However, I think you did a good job describing how this traffic circle will work – more like a small roundabout.

    Hopefully that answers your questions.

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  4. Dave says:

    I’ve always been a little hesitant on traffic circles in Miami from a pedestrian point of view for the very reason you brought up, the cars never actually come to a stop. The reason I bring this up is because a traffic circle is being proposed by the City of South Miami for the heavily pedestrian trafficed Red Rd & Sunset intersection. Since there would be a never ending stream of cars along both roads, if the cars are never forced to stop when is the pedestrian going to have an opening in the always moving cars to cross? Simply letting the drivers know that they should yeild to pedestrians with Miami drivers translates into many pedestrians getting run over.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Openings usually form around the circles because motorists have to yield to the cars already in the circle before before they can enter it. If there are vehicles already in the circle, then approaching traffic has to wait, in which case, the pedestrian is afforded an opening to cross the street, at least up to the center median (island).
    Also, something worth mentioning, Ryan: a “modern roundabout” is designed to be more compact and smaller in size than an old-fashioned traffic circle (Here you can actually see where a regular circle was converted to a roundabout). I’m starting to get the feeling that this is, in fact, what’s it’s going to be, even though the term was not used in the meeting.

    Also, I found a that explains this better. The diagram shown has a similar road configuration to that of Tigertail and 27th Ave.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone heard anything about perhaps getting an overhead pass built in the intersection of 27th Ave and US1? As a resident of the Silver Bluff area I find myself second guessing whether my bicycle to the Grove and/or Key Biscayne, or driving my car to one of the local parks and riding from there. The traffic and dangerous nature of that intersection has been for many years one of the only things that makes the Grove so close, yet so far from where I live (only 5 blocks from US1!). They built one over the 37th Avenue intersection, yet that area does not have as many business as 27th Avenue on both sides of US1. I grew up in Madrid, Spain, a place with a great mass transit system, and would rather walk or bike anywhere if I had the chance, but I’m glad I don’t depend on Miami’s buses or having to walk to take care of my daily errands. I see people walking from Coconut Grove all the time to come and shop at the Publix on 23rd St and 27th Ave, and their long wait at the bus station. They just look so miserable! However, I appreciate your enthusiasm and optimistic view of the future of Miami. I hope that things will truly change over time, and riding the bus or metrorail can become a thing that everyone is looking forward to do. Pedestrian-friendly streets are much needed as well, since even through many city blocks, the sidewalks suddenly dissapear at any given point.

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