Area's propensity to crashes concerns Miami Gardens' residents

Miami-Dade aims to 'enhance reflectivity' on traffic circles

By Layron Livingston - Reporter

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - The results are in! The question is, will the plan work?

"Is there a perfect solution? I don't believe there is,” said Michelle Mesa. “Is there something that can be done? I wish they could have thought of these things ahead of time."

Mesa and her neighbors spoke to the Leave it to Layron team several weeks ago.  They live along the stretch of Northwest Seventh Avenue, between 183rd and 199th streets.  

The Leave it to Layron team reviewed crash reports provided by the city of Miami Gardens.  We looked at records dating back to January 2017 through March 2018.  Miami Gardens police responded to nearly 130 crashes along Northwest Seventh Avenue, from 183rd to 199th streets, and a quarter of those crashes happened at the roundabouts, or *approaching the roundabouts.

The crashes involved cars, trucks, transit buses.  Thankfully, the majority of the drivers and passengers involved did not suffer any injuries.  The broken walls, bent fences, and busted mailboxes left behind are another story.

Mesa’s security camera footage caught one of the violent crashes after a driver lost control, crossed the median in front of her home, and went rolling down the street, eventually crashing into a parked minivan.

That was the last straw for Mesa.

"I hope their solutions bring some relief and some peace of mind to those of us who live here," Mesa said.

After she reached out to the LITL team, we reached out to the city and learned the city maintains the road and the landscaping along the corridor, but Miami-Dade county’s transportation department is responsible for traffic flow.

The city said county officials recently approved the installation of solar pavement lights at the roundabouts, which the city hopes will slow traffic down at night.  Council members will have to approve the lights as part of next year's budget.  We’re told the city also asked to replace the yield signs at the roundabouts with *stop signs, but request was denied.

The county responded to our inquiry by installing rubber cables on Seventh Avenue, part of a four-day traffic study. 

“Currently, that corridor has a 30 mph speed limit,” said Darlene Fernandez, an assistant director of transporation and public works with Miami-Dade County who spoke with us about the study’s findings.  “The average vehicle was going 40 mph.”

Fernandez said the road does not meet the criteria for speed bumps.  She said the roundabouts are “more effective” at slowing down traffic, but the county is now recommending the installation of speed feedback signs—the ones that flash the speed of an oncoming vehicle.

Four feedback signs are slated to be installed on Seventh Avenue—two on the northbound side and two going south: one north of Northwest 185th Drive, one north of Northwest 195th Terrace, one south of Northwest 197th Terrace, and one at Northwest 189th Terrace.

The county also plans to replace the signs around the traffic circles to “enhance reflectivity.”
More speed limit signs will also be installed, along with reflective pavement markings.  We’re told those measures, combined with traffic enforcement--something the city of Miami Gardens said its officers will continue to do--should make a difference.

But will all of that turn a neighbors skepticism into optimism?  

"I hope their solutions bring some relief and some peace of mind to those of us who live here."

The county said the work should begin within the next few weeks, and be completed by the end of the year.

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