We asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: What can be improved in your neighborhood?
Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.
The Southwest needs people to believe and invest in these hard-working communities. The people in my part of the suburbs are often not seen as living in "the real Miami." My response is that my neighbors are indeed part of Miami's engine. We need more access to finer dining experiences and more than decent hotels. I'm reminded of this issue each time we come together as a staff to decide on housing and food recommendations for artists. I want to add that there are some fantastic independently owned restaurants that showcase our communities’ diversity. Many have been around since I can remember.
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The few things I mentioned should not be be put in place just to impress visiting artists, though. Our community deserves more opportunities to experience quality dining experiences that don't require a 40-minute drive from home. Investment in the community might also inspire the owners of the Southland Mall to upgrade their shopping experience from what is now an upscale flea market experience. I'm not sure why the owners, who are not from Florida, don't feel my community wants a nice shopping experience, too.
It saddens me that my hard-working neighbors’ dollars are not valued.
I could go on about how the Metro Rail should have been built with a station beginning in Homestead. I remember how defeated my neighbors felt when we learned we'd have to drive through traffic to Kendall for the train. It’s ridiculous to have to drive 40 minutes in rush hour to catch the train.
Carla Hill, South Miami Heights
There is no enforcement of county ordinances that improve our quality of life. Unpermitted commercial signs and banners, no enforcement of building and zoning violations, such as efficiencies or apartments in single family homes or unpermitted structures and additions, no beautification of our main streets (no plants, shrubs, cleaning of sidewalks), no enforcement of parking boats and large commercial vehicles in residential areas — all of which combine to lower both the quality of life and the value of property. Merely enforcing the current laws would vastly improve our community.
Alexander Alvarez, Westchester
I think I'm in the minority when I say we need more police doing traffic stops. Drivers in urban areas do not abide traffic laws and it has become unsafe. We have officers responding to a high volume of unnecessary 911 calls and there are few officers on the road. Miami is like a Third World country and drivers constantly speed, take lights and stop signs, and we have a high rate of hit-and-runs. People are too invested in catching a "bad cop," and they have forgotten that we need them more now, so politicians should stop being anti-unions and provide us citizens with the resources we need — and that includes more officers to patrol our streets. No amount of speed bumps, circles or making an unincorporated location into a municipality will solve the problem. We simply need more bodies.
Dhavynia Anduray, unincorporated Miami-Dade
The issues affecting my community are gentrification, double-digit unemployment and lackadaisical leadership. Conditions can be improved by offering residents affordable home ownership opportunities rather than affordable rent opportunities, investments into more income-generating infrastructures and inspiring leadership, not inheriting it.
Lionel Lightbourne, Liberty City
The issues I see affecting my community and being ignored have more to do with the County. Despite robust planning — including Green Print, Southeast Florida Regional Compact and Regional Climate Action Plan, Commissioner Sosa's recent Sea Level Rise Task Force recommendations — there is no budget allocation for implementing the large number of recommended climate resilience measures, and a serious lack of county staff to address the much needed implementation of these climate action recommendations. We are failing to act in the public's interest, and study after study place our cities, our county and our region at or near the very top of the most climate vulnerable areas in the nation and beyond.
Caroline Lewis, Pinecrest
My neighborhood is pretty good, but I think that improvements can be made in public transportation, as well as adjusting the traffic signal timing and lengthening turn lanes at Southwest 107 Avenue/Quail Roost Drive and 107 Avenue/ Eureka Drive. The endless reconstruction of the turnpike is very annoying, but the addition of high toll lanes is outrageous. The still unfinished "sound barrier wall" beside the turnpike hasn't lessened the noise and looks terrible from both sides.
Charles Peters, West Perrine
Water quality is awful. Water pressure is just as bad — it's like living in a Third World country. We lose water pressure at lease twice a week, just about when you need it most.
Carlos Rosario, West Hialeah
I live in Deerwood, across the street from Zoo Miami, so let’s start with the imminent destruction of the last largest piece of globally imperiled and endangered pine rockland so that one developer can build a Walmart Supercenter with an LA Fitness, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and other restaurants, along with 900 residential apartments called Coral Reef Commons, and another developer can build a billion-dollar 20th Century Fox theme and water park, convention center hotel complex called Miami Wilds. It’s putting people at risk while tearing down more pine rocklands, all for the profit of developers and billion-dollar corporations, and the residents and taxpayers are the ones that lose.
Coral Reef Drive, Southwest 152 Street, already has 59,500 cars per day, according to Florida Department of Transportation. A Walmart retail and residential center and a major theme park would easily increase that by 50 percent, or nearly 90,000 cars per day. The road cannot be widened to accommodate that amount of increase.
Cully Waggoner, Deerwood