I live on wide collector residential street in a small neighborhood in the Upper East Side of Miami. Belle Meade is considered to be a “gated community” made up of about 450 homes. Many years ago the residents of Belle Meade decided to erect barricades and fencing along 6th Court in an attempt to curb crime. The barricading of the streets has resulted in only one ingress and egress for the community; if you driving you can only access Belle Meade through NE 76th Street.
In other words, NE 72nd Terrace, 73rd, 74th, 75th, and 77th Streets are pedestrian access only. The effects of barricading these streets are felt throughout the community. NE 76th has become the collector road for the neighborhood and people just can’t resist speeding through this residential street. Last week one of my neighbors came barreling through at nearly 50 mph. (Silver Land Rover, you know who you are)
My neighbors have complained about the situation for years, but no long-term fixes have been made. The City of Miami has tried enforcement and they have also erected temporary electric signs to warn motorists to drive carefully. Not surprisingly, neither of these two tactics have discouraged people from speeding. Last month the County Public Works Department conducted a traffic study and they found that there was not enough traffic to warrant a four way stop sign at NE 76th Street and NE 7th Court intersection.
Since no long-term solution has been found yet, I have decided to take it upon myself to calm the traffic on my street with orange cones. You would be surprised at how effective these traffic cones are. The introduction of traffic cones has noticeably calmed traffic on my street.
Yesterday my neighbors, whom live in Palm Grove, invited me to attend a meeting with several County officials to discuss speeding on their street. They also happen to live on NE 76th Street, but they reside on the west side of Biscayne Boulevard. The fact that Belle Meade has barricaded its streets also affects the traffic patterns on the west side of Biscayne Boulevard as well. Palm Grove residents have to deal with increased traffic and people speeding on what has become a residential collector street for them as well.
The County officials were really nice and they genuinely wanted to find a solution to my neighbors’ speeding problem on their street. I believe the County was receptive to installing a speed table on NE 76th Street in Palm Grove in order to calm traffic.
I invited the County officials to Belle Meade to see what could be done for my street. Although it was almost 6:30pm they were happy to accommodate me and agreed to check out my street. We walked along NE 76th Street and the County’s recommendation was to erect a $100,000 traffic circle at the intersection of NE 76th and NE 7th Court. I suggested a speed table, but was told that the block was too short to accommodate a speed table. No other alternatives were given to me and in all fairness this was really the first conversation I’ve had with the County regarding traffic calming on my street. My hope is that they are open to other traffic calming solutions.
After my meeting with the County yesterday evening, 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.
Hopefully the County will agree with our recommendations.
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