Coral Gables

Coral Gables residents give input as city preps transportation plan

Cars drive through the intersection of U.S. 1 and Mariposa Court in Coral Gables. The city held a workshop Wednesday to discuss transportation and traffic issues as they prepare a citywide master plan.
Cars drive through the intersection of U.S. 1 and Mariposa Court in Coral Gables. The city held a workshop Wednesday to discuss transportation and traffic issues as they prepare a citywide master plan. Miami Herald File

Traffic is one of the most discussed topics in Coral Gables and the city plans to explore multiple ways to get cars off the street, encourage cycling and plan out the streets for the thousands of vehicles that pass through daily.

With that in mind, about 30 residents attended a workshop Wednesday at the Coral Gables Library to give input and share ideas as the city prepares a transportation master plan.

The session was organized by engineering firm Atkins and urban planning firm Dover, Kohl & Partners and the crowd was asked to vote on street-design ideas, new modes of transportation and to give feedback on how often they drive or ride a bicycle and how safe they feel walking along some of the city’s busier streets.

Attendees placed stickers of various programming ideas they wanted to see, such as bike-sharing stations, new trolley stops and flashing crosswalks, on maps of the city.

Jason King, a principal with Dover, Kohl & Partners, said that there were more than 30 options for residents to consider and the proposals are primarily geared at improving traffic and increasing foot and bicycle traffic.

“The ultimate goal is policies, programs and uses that will get more people out of their cars,” King said.

Various maps in this early stage of the plan include bike lanes and also show the integration of the Underline project, a portion of the proposed 10-mile bike and pedestrian trail project that runs through the Gables. The planners also presented ideas like protected bike lanes, reducing lanes or expanding one-way roads and improving existing transit options by adding bus shelters and covered bike storage.

The ultimate goal is policies, programs and uses that will get more people out of their cars.

Jason King, principal with urban planning firm Dover, Kohl & Partners

Wednesday’s workshop is the first of three similar sessions the firms will do. They also plan to do a mobile workshop where they ride along with residents to see their commute and to identify traffic problems.

“Streets need to accommodate more uses than are normally there,” King said. “The traffic situation in Coral Gables is really dire.”

Residents at the meeting also discussed issues including car accidents on Le Jeune Road in the northern part of the city and many of them asked for additional trolley stops at locations like the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, the War Memorial Youth Center and shopping areas.

Others, like Bonnie Blaire, said they hope to see the new plan include access for the disabled population in the city. She thinks that no matter how someone moves through the city they should have a less stressful commute.

“I think it’s important that the city open pathways so that all of its residents can really meet and greet each other,” Blaire said.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3

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