Cutler Bay

Letter: ‘Smart growth’ will help prevent traffic nightmares in Cutler Bay

A recent Herald series highlighted past poor planning and bad decisions resulting in urban sprawl and horribly congested traffic in central Dade County.

If we don’t learn from these mistakes, the same abysmal congestion will spread here to South Dade.

The solution to future congestion is well known — it is a planning concept called “smart growth.” When properly applied, it can slow future sprawl and traffic congestion. But developers are using it as a buzzword to deceive town councils into approving developments that are not smart growth, and will create future traffic nightmares.

For example, an out-of-town corporate developer wants to change the zoning to allow a four story “micro village” on nine acres in Cutler Bay at the intersection of Old Cutler Road and S.W. 184th Street. And predictably, falsely claiming “smart growth.” Instead, it is just a gentrified strip mall with a high density residential component.

This proposed development is isolated on the edge of Cutler Bay among single-family homes. It is accessed only via Old Cutler Road. It is too small to contain a grocery store, a pharmacy, a post office, or in fact any of the infrastructure necessary to create a “live, work and play” environment that is the cornerstone of smart growth. A smart growth development needs to be large to be viable — it must contain all the shops, services and amenities needed for daily life in order to reduce local traffic. The residents of this proposed “micro village” will have to drive their cars everywhere for every function of everyday living, adding to traffic congestion. It is more of the same irresponsible development that will clog our streets, degrade our quality of life, and reduce our property values.

We, the citizens of Cutler Bay, are at a critical point in our growth as a town. If we want a livable, attractive and functional community to enjoy and to pass on to our children and grandchildren, then we must get involved. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/livablecutler.

Steve Zarzecki, Cutler Bay

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