Key Biscayne will spend $80,000 on a study of traffic in the village.
Village Council members voted 4-2 on Tuesday to hire the Corradino Group to conduct the study.
Joe Corradino, a partner and urban planner in his father's firm, promised to “identify problems and and make recommendations of how to fix those problems” with traffic congestion on the one-way-on/one-way-off island.
Council members Edward London and Theodore Holloway voted against the contract, saying they wanted to postpone action until the village had at least three bids. But Corradino was granted exemption from competitive bidding during the March 11 meeting by a majority vote.
Vice Mayor Michael Davey was absent from the meeting.
London told council members that since Corradino was the only bid, that the firm “could either be giving us a great deal or could be ripping us off.”
“I have no idea,” said London of whether he thought Corradino's price was fair, “since I have nothing to compare it to.”
Mayor Frank Caplan said that he trusts the work of the Corradino Group – they have done prior work for the Village – and stressed the urgency of addressing the island's traffic situation.
Caplan praised Corradino's recommendation for a trolley that would circulate on the island, but Councilwoman Mayra Pena-Lindsay said that the key's demographics don't call for public transit.
“We are either going to try to change behaviors within this community or we are going to drown in traffic,” said Caplan.
Pena-Lindsay questioned Caplan's remark, and asked him: “When's the last time you took the bus?”
He said that about three weeks ago he “tried it out.”
Corradino's “mobility plan,” which will involve surveys from residents, data collection, analysis and implementation strategies, will take about nine months to complete. The exact date of when the study will start remains to be arranged.
Also on Tuesday, the council voted 4-2 to postpone action on a proposed contract with Gorgeous Landscapes & Lawns Inc., which would provide landscape maintenance. Council members said they did not receive copies of the schedule of specific costs that were supposed to be stipulated in the contract and would need to look it over before making a decision. Mayor Caplan and council member Michael Kelly were opposed to the deferral.
And Key Biscayne's police officers may choose to wear their bullet-proof vests more often now that council members unanimously approved the purchase of 30 new “Hi-Lite ballistics protective vests,” which Police Chief Charles Press said are lighter, more comfortable and are form-fitted to officers' bodies. The 5-year warranties on the current vests have expired. “Nobody warranties past five years,” said Press.
London asked Press why his officers don't wear their vests at all times while on duty, saying that if they were injured that it may perpetuate a lawsuit. Press said that wearing the vests is not mandatory and that while officers have the choice of wearing their vests at their own discretion, they always have them readily available in their patrol cars. He also said that the weight of the current vests combined with Miami's hot temperatures dissuade many from wearing them.
The 30 new vests will cost $25,500 and will be purchased from Federal Eastern International Inc.
Also, forty .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistols with night-sights, complete with three magazines each and holsters will be purchased from Lou's Police Distributors Inc. for $8,609, after a trade-in for the department’s current guns.
Council, with the exception of Edward London, backed the authorization for the purchase.
“The .40 cal is one of the most proficient weapons you can have,” said Press.
He said the department’s current guns are as old as the department and often malfunction or jam during firearms training. Press preferred Lou's because they offered the trade-in deal and have done business with the police department before; London opposed the purchase because Lou's was not the lowest bidder — it was the second lowest —and because he felt Press should not let his personal preference for one company prevail over another.