River Cities

Upgrades for the Miami Springs Circle on the horizon

The Miami Springs council meeting last Monday night (June 9) lasted just over an hour, as the 2014-15 budget was not addressed and important issues like the new pool and commercial vehicle regulations were being held until the Special Meeting next Monday, June 16 at 7 p.m.

The council did see a presentation on Circle improvements by Public Works Director Tom Nash and he made it clear the construction and traffic congestion in the area has a long way to go. But he said that when it is completed everyone should be happy with the progress made.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the residents and business owners while we are making much-needed repairs and upgrades to our downtown area,” Nash said. “We are making every attempt to minimize any inconvenience this work may cause. These upgrades will enhance the aesthetics and allow a buffer for pedestrian safety and additional space for off-street parking.”

The obvious inconvenience right now, to residents and commuters alike, is the crosswalk that is being rebuilt between Starbucks and Johnny’s Luncheonette. The funds for this project, already approved, are coming from the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust (CITT). Nash reported to the council that there are other improvements coming that will also not cost the taxpayers of Miami Springs any money.

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) made funds available that will be used to make accessible wheelchair ramps at different locations around the Circle, such as near the Adventist Store, R-Group Cigars, SunTrust Bank, and Harvest Moon.

There will also be many improvements at the Circle and more than $50,000 in CITT funds are expected to be approved for this. Nash stated that asphalt patching, curb repairs, upgrading electrical systems, and new light fixtures will be part of the project that will continue over the next few months.

The long-awaited “runway pad” for parking, across the street from Papa John’s Pizza, has been approved by Miami-Dade County, with a sidewalk and ADA-compliant crosswalk also in the works. Nash reiterated there is no money coming out of the general fund and this is a part of the “facelift” for the entire Circle area.

The runway pad will be 14.6 feet wide by 243 feet long and it will accommodate 10-12 parallel-parked cars, where the barricades now protect the grassy area at the end of Curtiss Parkway. There will be a 5-foot sidewalk alongside that will intersect to the existing bike path and lead to the crosswalk that will access Papa’s John’s, Harvest Moon and Westward Drive.

Mayor Zavier Garcia asked if anything could be done about the “dusty” area on the other side, directly in front of Papa John’s. Nash responded by saying, “That’s Miami-Dade County property and we are not allowed to do anything.”

“We should try to get the county to pay to improve that area or, if not, allow us to do something there because it is a problem,” said Garcia. “What is there now is just dust and rock. And it looks really bad!”

Nash reiterated that all these projects, except the crosswalk between Starbucks and Johnny’s are in the planning stage and there is no timetable for their completion.

In other news, the council:

• Presented the Yard of the Month Award for June 2014 to Teresa Castellanos and Ivo Jooren, who live at 172 South Melrose Drive.

• By consensus directed City Attorney Jan Seiden to formulate two ordinances to deal with “squatters.” The two ordinances will address unauthorized persons living in properties that are in distress or foreclosure, or otherwise abandoned. 

• Invited the public to attend next Monday’s Special Meeting on the proposed Aquatic Facility and Commercial Vehicle Code. It will take place in council chambers on Monday, June 16 at 7 p.m.