Tactical Urbanism- I have taken it upon myself to calm my street. The orange traffic cones have resulted in a noticeable reduction of speed on my street.

Tactical Urbanism-Traffic calming on NE 76 Street using orange cones.

Last week I decided to place two orange traffic cones on my street in an attempt to calm traffic on NE 76 Street.  For several years my neighbors, many of whom have small children, have pleaded with the County and City to do something about the speeding cars on NE 76th Street in Belle Meade.  The traffic cones have worked remarkably well and my immediate neighbors seem to agree that cars have been moving noticeably slower since the traffic cones went up.

The speed limit in Belle Meade should be reduced to 20mph from 30mph.

The speed limit in Belle Meade should be reduced to 20mph from 30mph.

Sadly, there are too many haters in this world and one of my neighbors  happens to be a hater. This afternoon an anonymous neighbor foiled my Belle Meade complete streets conspiracy.  A few minutes ago a police officer knocked on my door and asked me to remove the traffic cones.  He was extremely polite, cordial and even sympathetic to my traffic calming strategy. The cones have been removed and my neighbors and I are back to square one: my street has become a residential racetrack once again.

The NE 76 Street 1/4 racetrack after a neighbor called to complain about the traffic cones. Don't hate, appreciate.

The NE 76 Street 1/4 mile racetrack after a neighbor called to complain about the traffic cones. Don’t hate, appreciate.

The City has tried enforcement; it has not worked.  The City erected electronic signs asking motorists to slow down; it has not worked. This should come as a surprise to no one but the City and County. As long 76th Street is designed to encourage speeding, drivers will continue to accelerate down my residential street at 45+mph an hour. The only thing that will discourage drivers from speeding is if the road is designed to do so. Enforcement, electronic signs, educational campaigns, none of these strategies will work until the street is properly designed to discourage speeding.

My neighbors have also requested from the County  that they erect stop signs at the NE 76th Street and NE 7th Court intersection in and attempt to slow down drivers. Last month the County conducted a traffic study and results of the study showed that there isn’t enough traffic to merit a 4-way stop sign at this intersection.

Last week I meet with County officials and they told me that the only traffic calming option available for this street is to build a $100,000 traffic circle.  I asked about installing a speed table and was told that my block was not long enough to accommodate a speed table.

Speed table. Not to be confused with speed bumps.

Speed table. Not to be confused with speed bumps.

After my meeting with the County last week I spoke with my Transit Miami colleagues and our recommendation is a raised intersection *or raised crosswalks * at the NE 76th Street and NE 7th Court intersection.  We believe this is the best option for Belle Meade and it would send a message to drivers that pedestrians are the priority in this residential neighborhood. It is also a much more economical solution. A raised intersections costs about $13,000 and a raised crosswalk costs about $4,000/crosswalk .We would also like to recommend that the speed limit be reduced to 20mph instead of the current 30mph speed limit. Belle Meade should strive to become Miami’s first Traffic-Calmed Neighborhood. People, not cars should be our first priority. I think a good argument can be made that if our streets are kid and people-friendly it would add value to our neighborhood by making it a much more desirable community to reside.

Can Belle Meade become Miami's first Traffic-Calmed Neighborhood?

Can Belle Meade become Miami’s first Traffic-Calmed Neighborhood?

 

Raised intersection

Raised intersection

 

 

Raised Crosswalk

Raised Crosswalks

 

*It should be noted that raised intersections and raised crosswalks were not discussed with County officials. 

 

6 Responses to The Battle For Complete Streets Heats Up In Belle Meade

  1. JM Palacios says:

    On my street where cars speed by I want to see if I can get a permit to install a chicane. I detest the speed humps that the city of Oakland Park installs with neighborhood petitions as they are not designed to accomodate bicycles, yet staff told me that is all they will install. (Me complaining at a city commission meeting wasn’t enough to change that, despite vague direction from a commissioner to “look at all the options.”) Staff also insinuated that any other option would be up to the property owner to permit and install, so that’s what I hope to do when I have some extra money to spend on landscpaping. :-)

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  2. prem says:

    it’s good you’re both moving the dialogue forward and documenting the efforts to effect change in your community.

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  3. B says:

    Those $100K traffic circles are indeed a big waste of money. Raised crosswalks are definitely the way to go (and opening more of the streets to Biscayne, as you’ve pointed out before). It looks like you could practically fill the neighborhood with them, for the cost of 1 or 2 traffic circles!

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  4. Felipe Aazenha says:

    Exactly B. Can u imagine what a great neighborhood this would be if pedestrians and children were the priority? Lets tear down that ridiculous fence which Sarnoff just bought for the community for 50k. That was the worst investment ever and added no value to the community .

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  5. Brooke says:

    I grew up on a residential street off of Sunset Drive. Despite kids visibly playing outside, cars would fly down my street trying to avoid traffic during rush hour. My father got so livid that he decided to take traffic calming into his own hands…

    He took two traffic cones, filled the bottoms with cement and stuck a tall PVC pipe in each. He attached a piece of plywood (about 4′ x 4′, not the pathetically small signs that you typically see posted) to the PVC pipe and painted “SLOW DOWN CHILDREN AT PLAY” on it.

    He stuck one in the middle of the street, facing in each direction at either end of our property line. We certainly saw a difference in speeds on our street and nobody ever said anything about them. I’m pretty sure my father got rid of them when we had all grown up, wish I still had them! Anyway, maybe you should spruce up your cones with some signage or landscaping ;)

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  6. Awesome Brooke your father is my hero. Sadly, some hater in my neighborhood decided to call the cops on me.

       0 likes

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