About five years ago, a group of community leaders and I were at an FDOT meeting when the reconstruction of Alton Road in South Beach was announced. FDOT wanted our input because the corridor is a major entrance to one of the best-known tourist destinations in the world.
We talked about wide sidewalks with cafe tables. Medians with trees and landscaping — a grand boulevard. FDOT said it would get back to us with concepts.
An engineer from FDOT recently presented the plans to Miami Beach’s Transportation and Parking Committee, which I chair. Sidewalks were skinnied-down, the median was gone, one-third of the parking was eliminated and a dangerous bike-lane was added. The committee and the commission balked, but were told it was too late. Now, with shovels in the ground, we are trying to salvage anything to better this plan.
All we are asking is for FDOT to understand our needs. We’re an island community where things are more compact than in sprawling suburban areas. The rules are different here. The West Avenue corridor is one of the densest urban areas in the country. It’s a walking community. All we are looking for is an open dialogue with FDOT to design streets and roads that work in our environment.
Mark Weithorn, chair, Miami Beach Transportation and Parking Committee, Miami Beach