Friday, August 23, 2019

Not so breaking News - Xavier Suarez has announced that he is running for Miami-Dade County mayor - press conference held Fri, 8/23/2019

More candidates will emerge. Commissioner Xavier Suarez has been a strong advocate to extend metrorail to South Miami-Dade. Frustrated with the results before the commission, he is part of a lawsuit to force Miami-Dade County to comply with the promises of the 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax.

CLICK HERE to view a few relevant blog posts relating to Commissioner Xavier Suarez and his efforts on Transportation as well as Human Trafficking.



The above is the Facebook live video posted by Michael Miller, Publisher of the Community Newspapers.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Not again! Our beaches have again failed to meet Health quality standards. Clean this up and promote clean water during Super Bowl Week.

Good Grief! Our Miami-Dade County is allegedly a tourist based economy yet our County Officials have allowed our beaches to go to crap. How many days has it been since we were not under an advisory?  The advisory issued recommends not swimming at these locations at this time as the results of the sampling indicate that water contact may pose an increased risk of illness, particularly for susceptible individuals.

We need ACTION, not officials who merely "sound alarms." 

We have the local health department and media to sound the far-too-frequent-alarms. Action from our County Officials needs to follow the alarms - which to date has been MIA.

So is it now required that we check both the weather and the pollution advisories before we decide to go to the beach?  Is this our new normal?: Child: "Mommy, can we go to the beach today?" Parent: "Let's me check first to see if the toxin levels are acceptable." Note the use of the term "acceptable" rather than clean - yuck!


See Channel 10 News report: Swimming advisory posted at several Miami-Dade beach sitesWater did not meet Florida Department of Health quality standards, by David Dwork 

VIEW THE OFFICIAL ADVISORY: The Florida Department of Health issued the advisory Wednesday after samples of beach water collected at each location did not meet recreational water quality standard. 

This is not acceptable and cannot be our new normal moving forward. Miami-Dade County must clean up our sewer treatment plants. Miami-Dade County appears to be missing the “treatment” part. 

I wonder if it will be clean up in time for the Super Bowl or will the national coverage (the big incentive for all the tax payer dollars we, the people, contributed to host) talk about how our beaches have gone to crap? We shall see. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Update, including agenda on the August 27, 2019, Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting.

The next Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting is set for Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at 5:30 PM.  The Public is invited to attend may address the committee as provided under "Citizens comments" agenda section IV " Citizen Comments".

Note - information provided to me from Kevin C. Walford, Transportation Planner 3,  Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization (TPO). Materials are available on line.  Please see below the information for the August 27th BPAC meeting.  To view the full Agenda Package, please Click right here on BPAC

Taking transit to the meeting? Visit www.miamidade.gov/transit  or call (305) 770-3131 for route information.
  
MIAMI-DADE TPO
BICYCLE PEDESTRIAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE (BPAC)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2019 AT 5:30 P.M.
STEPHEN P. CLARK GOVERNMENT CENTER
18TH FLOOR, CONFERENCE ROOM 18-4
111 NORTHWEST FIRST STREET, MIAMI, FL 33128

I.
CALL THE MEETING TO ORDER 

II.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA

III.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES – June 25, 2019

IV.
CITIZEN COMMENTS

V.
23RD ANNUAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY – OCTOBER 2, 2019
Michelle Lopez - The Corradino Group on behalf of Miami-Dade County Public Schools

VI.
2045 LRTP BICYCLE PEDESTRIAN PLAN
Edward Aparicio – Gannett Fleming

VII.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND PUBLIC WORKS UPDATE
Yanek Fernandez – DTPW

VIII.
FDOT DISTRICT 6 – PROJECT UPDATES REPORT (JULY + AUGUST)
Tiffany Gehrke - FDOT D6

IX.
INFORMATION

1.
2.
3.
4.
BPAC 2019 Attendance
BPAC Resolution #4-2019 (David Henderson)
BPAC Resolution #5-2019 (SMART Trails)
BPAC meeting date change for November

X.
MEMBER COMMENTS
  
XI.
NEXT MEETING DATE – September 24, 2019

XII.
ADJOURNMENT

Kevin C. Walford
Transportation Planner 3
Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization (TPO)

About the BPAC (CLICK HERE to view the official web page info):
The Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) reviews transportation plans and projects for non-motorized mobility and safety, provides a forum for the discussion of issues affecting bicyclists and pedestrians, and reports to the TPO Governing Board on bicycle and pedestrian-related issues.
The BPAC also assists the TPO staff in the development of comprehensive bicycle transportation plan (a component of the Long-Range Transportation Plan), and reviews plans and projects for bicycle and pedestrian mobility in the Transportation Improvement Program.
The BPAC usually meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center at 111 NW 1st Street, Conference Room #18-4.

I will continue to monitor and advise.

Eugene Flinn, Director, EBC

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Should Palmetto Bay Parks be tested for contamination - a most unexpected development in Miami - as reported in the Miami Herald

Every now and then something happens somewhere else that causes you to take note and consider testing. Such an event was reported in the Miami Herald, Tuesday, August 20, 2019 edition (front page section, page 1A): Report on Beckham stadium site shows soil contaminated by unsafe levels of arsenic, by Joey Flechas (and no, it wasn't the unrelated but equally eye catching article located below the fold, same page entitled: "Hurricanes may spin a more aggressive population of spiders", new study shows, by Alex Harris - but I reviewed that article as well) but back to our parks:

The Miami Herald reports that the site proposed for the Soccer stadium and shopping mall (at current Melreese Golf Course) is far more toxic than previously expected, with arsenic contamination levels reaching more than twice the legal limit and surface-level soil samples containing debris that poses a “physical hazard.”  This is troubling more than for the proposed use. It is troubling for the ongoing use as a golf course. As reported:
A new environmental analysis has shed more light on the large extent of the environmental problems in the dirt at Melreese golf course, Miami’s only city-owned golf course and the potential site for a sprawling $1 billion commercial and stadium complex that would serve as the venue for home games played by David Beckham’s MLS team, Inter Miami.
A consultant hired by the team, environmental firm EE&G, recently completed soil testing that found contamination levels at twice the allowable limit for arsenic. Barium and lead levels also exceeded legal limits. The crud, including debris at shallow depths, kept showing up over the course of more than 140 soil samples taken in recent months.
“The debris included fragments of tile, metal and glass, mixed with fine-grain sands, which often exhibited a rusty color,” reads a section from a 193-page portion of the consultant’s report. “Intermittent wood fragments were encountered along with concrete and other non-native materials, but not evidence of municipal garbage.”
Read the entire article to gain all the insight. Now I realize that Melreese is located basically adjacent to Miami International Airport where there is historic and heavy commercial use ongoing, which is far different from any of our parks.  But then again, we did inherit many of our park land from Miami-Dade County which has been engaged in remediation issues at County owned & operated Chapman Field located in the neighboring Pinecrest/Coral Gables area. And Coral Reef Park is currently undergoing demolition of the long-red tagged field house, which is located as part of the Tot lot/playground - (note that the playground is closed during the demolition for public safety).

Just to be safe. We (Palmetto Bay officials) have historically tested the water at the Palmetto Bay Bark Park to monitor safety.  Perhaps we should test the remainder of our Palmetto Bay Parks, just to provide assurances to our residents in general, Park users and neighbors that we are not playing in an unsafe toxic area.

Late Tuesday (8/20/2019) update - Melreese Golf Course ordered closed temporarily - RELATED UPDATE TO MELREESE STORY: please read the Miami Herald online: Miami closes Melreese after tests on Beckham stadium site reveal unsafe arsenic levels by Joey Flechas and Adriana Brasileiro:
Miami City Manager Emilio Gonzalez ordered the closure of Melreese golf course, Miami’s only city-owned golf course, at the end of the day Tuesday, one day after an environmental analysis revealed high levels of arsenic and other pollutants in the soil where David Beckham plans to build a stadium to host his upcoming Major League Soccer team Inter Miami.
Click on the link above to read the entire updated story.

Four years ago today - we celebrated the official Grand Opening of Aldi

It has been four years, have you tried Aldi? If so, how has your experience been?  Palmetto Bay has a long history of welcoming new businesses to our hometown. Check out the post from August 20, 2015, on Facebook as embedded below:

And remember, you can ride Freebee for free (through the APP) now in Palmetto Bay. This service is currently available limited hours on most days, but (unfortunately) never on a Sunday - don't ask me why.

Monday, August 19, 2019

POD - Wrong way driver - Malbrook neighborhood on the first day of the 2019-2020 School Year.

Photo of the day. Malbrook on the first day of the 2019-2020 School Year.

What is wrong in this photo?  Take a closer look. The neighborhood roads in Malbrook are all single lane, two way roads. The following picture is of someone driving up the wrong side of the road to make a left and go out onto 86 ave. Look at the blue VW Bug. It appears to occupying the lane for the oncoming traffic.
Does anyone recognize this car or the orange hang tag (possible parking permit)?

This driver is now fully in the oncoming lane, blocking any traffic that intends to drive down the now blocked lane.  

The following is a wider view of the street (same photo) and demonstrates how this driver is more than selfish, but creating a hazard for other drivers. You can click on either photo to view in a larger format.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Work begins to prepare for the 2020 Ride of Silence – hold the date – the 2020 International Ride of Silence is set for Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, 7:00 PM

Hold the date. Please consider joining in on the participating and the planning. There will be some exciting new developments for the 2020 ride.  

Please contact me at eugeneflinn@bellsouth.net for more information on participating in the 2010 event.

Work has officially begun with an outstanding first organizational meeting; called to order by Michelle Menendez Rodriguez on Wednesday, August 14, 2019. Our next formal meeting is presently scheduled for October 16, 2019, at 6:45 PM. There is much work to do between meetings, including additional people and organizations coming together on this effort.  Please - get involved.

The 2020 International Ride of Silence is set for Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, 7:00 PM (local time) Worldwide

The 2019 Ride of Silence Summary
336 Locations* World Wide
47 U.S. States
15 Countries
7 Continents
0 Words Spoken
A Million Powerful Memories
(*as of 7/16/19 - info taken from official web site)

This is a local event of a worldwide movement designed to raise awareness of cycling deaths, injuries and remembering those no longer with us, killed while riding. I continued to be inspired by the affected families as well as the bike community leaders that I'm proud to call my friends. 
The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured.
Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers and participants who work hard to make this annual event possible.

There will be many more meetings and many other people involved in this event. Please contact me if you would like to participate and/or be involved in the preparation for this event. This is an international event that is held annually on the third Wednesday of May.

Meeting to make the Ride of Silence a massive turnout again, #BikeAwareness — 
with Mike Estevez, David R Heffernan, Domingo Rodriguez, Mario Hernandez, Eugene Flinn, 
Michelle Menendez Rodriguez, Robert Ruano, Sue Kawalerski, Victor Brandon Dover and Mari Chael.

PRIOR RELATED POSTS - (CLICK HERE) to view prior blog articles on past Rides of Silence as well as to follow ongoing updates.

I will continue to keep you up to date. Please attend and participate.

Eugene Flinn

Monday, August 12, 2019

A beautiful day for life safety - as the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Station 62 continues to take shape in Palmetto Bay

Photos of the day - all taken on the morning of Monday, August 12, 2019, to provide a photo update on this Fire Station.  MDFR Station 62 continues to take shape. Click on any of the photos to view in a larger size on screen. 

We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel; when the station will open for use by the MDFR Teams Engine 62.  See photos below.
Front of Station - showing the driveway that was waiting on a right of way permit
Photos above demonstrate the use of native pines and underbrush
allowed to remain and flourish as part of this station. Beautiful. 
Side right of way has landscaping installed and is being watered in.
PRIOR RELATED POST - Click the headline to view a prior post of February 1, 2019, MDFR Station 62 continues to take shape. Photo update regarding ongoing construction of MDFR Station 62 - photos taken Jan. 27, 2019. (with links to addition resources).

A bike rack? What is this, a bike rack at a Fire Station? (circled in red in the photo). Outstanding. 

Apparently anyone will be able to ride their bike to the fire station in order to tour or get your blood pressure check (yes, cool down and relax on a nice, scenic bike ride down Old Cutler Road - before checking your blood pressure!). 

This is very much in keeping with Palmetto Bay being one of the leading areas for bicycling activity.

Photos from the LA Orange Line - compare to the Miami-Dade Transitway bus service

I have selected photos are representative of the LA Transit Orange Line, recognized as a very successful BRT. 

Please find the differences between our MDC  bus/transitway and the LA 'Gold Standard' BRT. 

There are no functional differences other than the buses are kept cleaner, receive scheduled updates and the line is assigned the promised number of buses.  

MDC could easily install kiosks for issuing metro fare cards. No mega stations are required in LA.

The question is why MDC is working to spend more than a quarter of a billion dollars to put perfume on the existing service, is it merely to delay rail? 
 Above - How does this station differ from Miami-Dade County's "Transitway"?
 Above left - note the passengers 'stepping up' into the bus. 
LA's Gold Standard BRT does not require "level boarding" to be successful

Sunday, August 11, 2019

POD - more Everglades nature calling Palmetto Bay home - look at what is also found in these photos; with what the Anhinga is sharing the canal bank.

Photos of the Day.  Another example of local wildlife making a go of it here in Palmetto Bay.  Photos taken Sunday, August 11, 2019 - an Anhinga, an iconic bird of the Florida Everglades - seen drying its wings at the C100 canal in Palmetto Bay near Coral Reef Park.

Now one unfortunate fact that I have highlighted in the photos.   ... a tale of two species: 

The native Anhinga is sharing the canal bank with the non-native / invasive green iguana. CLICK HERE to read the FWC page on the invasive green iguana.
"Green iguanas can cause damage to residential and commercial landscape vegetation, and are often considered a nuisance by property owners," the FWC wrote. "Some green iguanas cause damage to infrastructure by digging burrows that erode and collapse sidewalks, foundations, seawalls, berms and canal banks." CLICK HERE 
More information about the Anhinga can be found on the National Park Service website - Anhinga: Species Profile.

Photo credit - copyright 2019, Craig Merwitzer, Palmetto Bay, FL, USA
CLICK HERE to view prior blog posts relating to local wildlife.

Photo credit - copyright 2019, Craig Merwitzer, Palmetto Bay, FL, USA


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Update on the Enviro-Art should it be donated to someone or a school where it will be displayed?

Palmetto Bay should donate the bottle eco-art piece to one of our local schools if Palmetto Bay is not going to display it. But don't put it to rot.

This is not an unreasonable request.

I have no illusions that this piece will be provided to me, but my goal is that this Art is loaned or gifted to one of our local Art Magnet Schools - the Art Lead at Southwood Middle School Center for the Arts has indicated a strong interest for this piece as it should be displayed and appreciated. This Art (and the Artist) deserve a viewing for those who may appreciate it.  Art is designed to evoke emotion, not appeal to everyone.
For those who rely upon Wikipedia - ART:
The purpose of works of art may be to communicate ideas, such as in politically, spiritually, or philosophically motivated art; to create a sense of beauty (see aesthetics); to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions. The purpose may also be seemingly nonexistent.
For background, see a PRIOR RELATED POST of July 21, 2019, Is this any way to treat art? Palmetto Bay - the disposable society. Oh, the irony. And, by the way, when did Coral Reef Park get repurposed as a dump? (Editor's update - I understand that the Palmetto Bay Tree Board has requested that this area be cleaned up as its a park, as well as near an environmentally sensitive Pine Rockland, an area that Coral Reef Elementary has requested use for an 'outdoor classroom' to study)

The irony. This piece of eco-art, made out of recycled materials, ends up in the trash.

This Art piece was controversial as displayed in the traffic circle at 168th and 82nd Av, but resided quietly for years at Village Hall. Though some may have hated it, but this art piece speaks volumes as does the way it has been treated by the current Mayor and Village Council. They decided to trash it. Shame on them.

I have posted my e-mail of Monday, August 5, 2019, provided to the Village Council members, Village Management and select members of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, below, documenting this positive request:

Inquiry as to status of the Village enviro-art piece

From: Eugene Flinn (eugeneflinn@bellsouth.net)
To:
Cc:
esilva@palmettobay-fl.gov; council@palmettobay-fl.gov; marocha@palmettobay-fl.gov
lfeldman@dadeschools.net; jfals-chew@dadeschools.net; jberse@dadeschools.net; NCameron@dadeschools.net;
Raul_garcia@dadeschools.net; eugeneflinn@bellsouth.net
Date: Monday, August 5, 2019, 02:36 PM EDT

Greetings. The purpose of this e-mail is to inquire about the status of the enviro-art piece as
identified in the attached photograph. I am referring to the Art
originally displayed out front of the
Palmetto Bay Municipal Center from 2011 to October 2014, See
New bronze sculpture installedat Village Hall, by: Gary Alan Ruse |October 29, 2014. It was then stored until it was
placed
TEMPORARILY at the traffic circle at SW 168th Street and 82nd Avenue, see the article of
July 26, 2018,
Traffic Circle at 168 Street / 82nd Av has a temporary AIPP piece installed
under a permanent art piece is selected and installed
.

I hate to see this Art shuttered out of view. I would be happy to take it and display it on my own if
the Village no longer has use for it. However, I am also strongly aware of the interest of our local
schools in this piece.
Jenifer Berse, Art Magnet Lead at Southwood, would be appreciative of the
donation of this piece as she works with environmental reclamation as art. Obviously Southwood
Principal Raul Garcia should be included in the discussion.


"Bottle Art" is relevant to Southern Traditions. I have included a link to an article by Holly Skaggs,  Build Your Own Bottle Tree Like the Southerners Do and Make Recycle Yard Décor in order to provide some background into the history of one branch of bottle art. I also invite everyone to take a look at the work of  Stephanie Dwyer,  BOTTLE TREE & SOUTHERN FOLKLORE METAL ARTIST

In short, moving this Art back to where it would be preserved and appreciated would be a huge
win/win.

I ask that the Village consider allowing this art to be moved to either a collection to be properly
displayed or donated to our local Arts Magnet School. This is in the best interest for our Village,
our Schools, the Art, the artists as well as those who have an appreciation for eco-art!


Thank you for your kind attention to this matter. I await your response.

Eugene Flinn



Saturday, August 3, 2019

Update on Palmetto Bay's tree fiasco - not so good, trees uprooted and left by the side of the road

This is not a happy update. You can observe the entire thread on the Village of Palmetto Bay For Real Facebook group page. I say its time for Palmetto Bay to get back to acting like a Tree City USA and properly plant the right tree in the right place.
Paid for by our tax dollars

This is not a way to treat a tree, regardless of who paid for it. I have not gone to check, but I hope that the reports are exaggerated.  I'm told that a total of seven (7) trees are currently down (as of 8:00 AM, Saturday, 8/03/2019) and laying along side the roadway.

Reports posted on the Village of Palmetto Bay for Real site were that the trees planted in positions obscuring stop signs were pulled out and left by the side of the road.  One report speculated that it was village employees.  Not sure. I would think that Village employees would have loaded the trees in trucks and set them for preservation and replanting in a suitable location.


My questions:  


  • Was this self-help by local Village residents upset with the lack of communication by the village and what they see as risk to the safety of the neighborhood? 
  • Who is responsible for the original in-artful and dangerous planting locations?
  • Are these trees now damaged and not able to be replanted? 
  • Will these trees be salvaged and replanted or will they be tossed out or stolen by passers-by who may justifiably believe that these pulled trees are free to the taking (and rehabbed by someone who actually cares).
  • Who is paying for this mess (the taxpayers)?
  • Who is going to get this mess straightened out?

See the PRIOR RELATED POST from the day prior, Friday, August 2, 2019: See an issue? Report it. Allow the Village to address the issue before there is an accident – where it is discussed that a fellow resident noticed that this newly planted tree is causing a safety issue, putting people at risk of injuries from a driver now having the view of the stop sign obscured. The concern is that the tree (and the support stakes) block the stop sign and creates a traffic hazard. 


As I stated, I am proud that Palmetto Bay became a Tree City USA community under my terms as Mayor due to our long history of area beautification. But this program should, and can, continue without putting public safety at risk. I am not proud of this current handling of the tree plantings.

[Photos above reveal condition of 7 trees formerly in the ground along Franjo]

Seriously, what is going on here lately in the village? There is plenty of information passed on regarding special events and tax free weekends, but the information seems sparse and guarded about the important issues relating to taxes and major capital projects.