River Cities Gazette

Construction begins around the Circle area of Miami Springs

 
 
PROGRESS: This site directly in front of Johnny’s Luncheonette on the Circle is one of many construction projects currently under way to improve the Circle area and Canal Street.
PROGRESS: This site directly in front of Johnny’s Luncheonette on the Circle is one of many construction projects currently under way to improve the Circle area and Canal Street.
Gazette Photo/BILL DALEY

River Cities Gazette

If you noticed some barricades up in front of Starbucks and Johnny’s Luncheonette around the Circle area last week, get used to it.

As usually is the case with most construction, it’s a temporary inconvenience for motorists and businessowners but ultimately serves as an overall improvement for the area.

Thus, at a May 12 Miami Springs council meeting, a few different construction projects in the general area between the Circle and the incoming bridge were unanimously approved as a consent agenda item. And there was little wasting of time as holes in the pavement in front of both Starbucks and Johnny’s were the order of the week last week.

“It started as one single project but has kind of morphed into a few different projects now,” said Miami Springs Public Works Director Tom Nash. “Like any construction projects, our goal is to move as quickly as possible on this to cause as little disruption as possible both to the affected businessowners and motorist traffice as well.”

The different assorted projects all add up to a price tag of approximately $67,000 but the good news to local taxpayers is it won’t cost them a dime. All of the money will come out of the Citizen Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) Funds Road Improvement Project.

The first of the consent agenda items was an awarded bid to H & R Paving for $35,024 for milling and paving of roadway from the incoming bridge to the main Circle.

The next three were all awarded bids to Wrangler Construction.

One for $13,995 for replacement concrete curbing between the incoming bridge and Circle, a second ($9,200) for the addition of ADA (American Disabilities Act) sidewalks and ramps in various locations in the Circle area and thirdly, $8,700 for the repair and replacement of existing sidewalk on Canal Street in between the two bridges.

One of the first things Nash and the city dealt with was a damaged 15-inch storm drain pipe in front of Starbucks that had to be replaced. On the other side of the crosswalk in front of Johnny’s some may have noticed another hole being dug up.

“That one we didn’t expect so obviusly we took care of that right away,” said Nash.

The initial impetus for the project was and still will be to upgrade the crosswalk between Johnny’s and Starbucks.

“It’s an Amber system that really has become so antiquated nobody pays much attention to it anymore,” said Nash referring to the yellow blinking light that indeed very few motorists even slow down for. “There will be more free-standing crosswalk signs, LED lighting in an effort to get more vehicles to stop and allow pedestrian traffic to cross.”

Nash confirmed that the new crosswalk will very closely resemble the one currently on East Drive that connects Stafford Park to west side of East Drive near LaBaron Drive and AIE Charter School.

So how quickly can folks including local business owners look forward to seeing everything completed with ‘minimal disruption?’

“We’re looking at a minimum of 60 days from start to a max of 90,” said Nash. “The rainy season is starting to kick in so that’s why you have to leave yourself some built-in buffer room.”

As far as any lost parking spaces are concerned, Nash confirmed there would be none with one exception.

Anyone who got used to that convenient “15 minute” parking space directly in front of Johnny’s will be able to park there no more. That will be part of the new crosswalk area.

“The whole idea is to try and put something back for the local business owners with minimal disruption,” said Miami Springs City Manager Ron Gorland. “This  project is yet another example of Mayor (Zavier) Garcia, Council and the Administration continuing to actively invest tax dollars in our business districts. In this case the project is especially beneficial because it's addressing the high vehicle and pedestrian traffic safety concerns for the in-bridge to the Circle area.”

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