Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez has offered to be a mediator for Key Biscayne in its lawsuit against the city of Miami.
“If the county is not a party in the lawsuit and you go into dispute resolution, I’ll be happy to mediate pro bono,” he said at a special council meeting last week.
Suarez attended the meeting in Key Biscayne late last week to discuss bicycle safety on the Rickenbacker Causeway and the Marine Stadium deed restriction. Close to 100 residents packed the council chambers to sit in on the meeting.
In late January, a motorist struck two bicyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway, killing one and injuring the other. The Village Council has discussed in the past the possibility of creating physical barriers separating bike lanes from car lanes on the causeway.
On the issue of bicycle safety, Suarez and Bernard Zyscovich, an architect whose Plan Z for Miami wants to improve bike safety on the Rickenbacker, appeared on Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede to discuss the problem.
The commissioner talked about the possibility of increasing toll prices on the Rickenbacker by 25 cents to fund temporary fixes to bike lanes, increase DUI checkpoints, and for electronic surveillance to photograph the license plates of speeding cars.
Several residents said during public comments that they felt the commissioner was not supporting the village on the marine stadium and bicycle safety matters and demanded better representation from him.
Key Biscayne Mayor Mayra Lindsay said the program showed a one-sided perspective of the traffic and safety issues on the Rickenbacker.
Former council member Michael Davey told the commissioner the village needs him to support their interests.
“We need you to be there to understand what we want to do on the causeway and how we want to be a part of the process,” Davey said. “We need you to take that and run with it because you’re the guy we put there. We voted for you.”
On the issue of the Marine Stadium, Suarez said he would not discuss the argument that the city of Miami plans to do something that violates the stadium’s deed restriction, which states the property is to be used only for a marine stadium and “allied purposes,” but he commented on what he thought “allied purposes” means.
“Allied uses sounds to me like something related to the operation and maintenance of a marine stadium,” he said. “That’s my opinion.”
Joann Pisacane of Key Biscayne told the commissioner that residents would fight the marine stadium deal.
“The way the Jordanians are getting up and fighting after what happened to that poor pilot by ISIS, you’re gonna have Key Biscayners out there fighting for their rights,” she said.