As a way to help ameliorate traffic issues in Key Biscayne, the Village Council voted 4-2 Tuesday allowing Village Manager John C. Gilbert to draft a Professional Services Agreement for a traffic analysis with Joseph Corradino, president of The Corradino Group.
During the next council meeting on April 8, council will decide whether to hire Corradino or to open their options to other private consulting firms.
Corradino and Urban Planner Edward Ng, conducted a preliminary assessment of the traffic on the one-way in, one-way out island and found that within the key’s distinct population of residents, tourists, seasonal dwellers and workers that the latter group accounted for much of the daily motor vehicle congestion coming into and out of the island.
As a way to alleviate congestion within the key, Corradino suggested to have laborers who don’t live on the key park in a designated lot along the main entrance of the island and then have a bus take them to their work sites and then back to the lot at the end of their shifts. Corradino and Ng also recommended introducing a trolley which would circulate within the key, as a way to help keep traffic down.
Mayor Frank Caplan said of residents’ reliance on their vehicles: “I foresee that we break our dependency because we’re running out of options.”
Golf carts are an encouraged means of transportation within the key. According to Corradino’s report, only four percent of Key Biscayne’s drivers carpool and 70 percent drive alone. If hired, Corradino plans to analyze, develop and implement strategies for the key’s ongoing traffic nightmares.
“We have a qualitative and quantitative approach,” said Ng, “and we want to help the Village of Key Biscayne maintain their high quality of life.”
The two who voted against negotiating with Corradino were Councilman Edward London and Vice Mayor Michael Davey. They said want to keep the village’s options open to other consulting firms for traffic studies. If hired, the Corradino Group would charge $80,000 for their services.
Councilman Michael Kelly was out of town for Tuesday’s meeting.
In other action:
• Residents will no longer be required to register their home, business or condominium’s alarm systems with Key Biscayne’s police department. In a unanimous vote, the council backed Police Chief Charles Press’ second reading of an ordinance to delete the registration of burglar alarm systems from the village code. Press had stated that he did not want residents to be burdened with fees associated with registering alarms nor penalties for false alarms.
• The Building and Zoning director, Jud Kurlancheek, recommended the council, sitting in its capacity as the Local Planning Agency, defer an ordinance on second reading for a decision on the amount of required off-street parking allowed for single- and two-family homes.
Caplan scoffed at the idea of a permitting the number of car spaces allowed to be based on the amount of bedrooms per house.
“If we propose that we are opening Pandora’s Box,” he said. Councilman James Taintor promoted this ordinance as a result of “a certain street that caused conflicts between neighbors” due to parking.
London recommended that residents should have the option to “raise the space under their house a couple of feet” in order to permit more room for cars to fit underneath homes instead of spilling out into the street or on the swale.
“I can’t think of the design modifications as I sit here,” said Caplan. “No one is trying to build a house that under-serves their parking requirements,” he stated. In a unanimous decision, the continuation of this ordinance will be heard during the May 13 solutions for parking to be consistent with the Village’s Master Plan.
• Caplan will submit names of prospective members of the K-8 Education Advisory Board during the April 8 council meeting. Members will be appointed for a two-year term and may be reappointed after their term is up. The second reading of the ordinance to create this board was approved unanimously.
• After negotiations from both the Village and the Key Biscayne Professional Firefighters Association (Firefighters’ union), the council unanimously approved a resolution allowing the village manager to sign and implement the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the two parties; the agreement will last until 2016 and outlines items such as benefits, salary, pensions and sick leave accrual for firefighters, paramedics, driver engineers, fire lieutenants and fire captains. The firefighters have been waiting three years for this contract to be ratified and have been abiding to the prior contract.
• The next Village Council meeting is April 8 due to the Sony Open Tennis tournament. Residents are encouraged to attend a 7 p.m. April 15 workshop at 530 Crandon Blvd. to discuss park uses.