Friday, February 23, 2018

2018 Bike To Work Day - Friday, March 2nd

For fun and fitness.  Join me.

Try bike commuting for ONE day! Ride your bike and meet residents, along with Village Council at Village Hall for a guided bike ride to celebrate Bike305's Bike to Work Day.
WHAT: Bike to Work Day update - join your Palmetto Bay friends and neighbors.
WHEN: Friday, March 2, 2018

DETAILS:  (See full information posted on flyers above and at bottom) Participants will depart from the Village Hall Parking Lot at 6:30 am to head towards the Dadeland South Metro Rail Station. Upon arrival to the station you will learn how to take your bike on the Metrorail and then head to the full Bike 305 County Event will be held at the University Metrorail Station, 5400 Ponce de Leon, Coral Gables, FL 33146 (across from UM) where all of the Bike 305 festivities will take place beginning at 6:45 AM including refreshments, giveaways, bike checks,  begin.  Open ceremony begins at 8:00 AM.
All participating cyclist will receive a FREE Bike305 performance cycling t-shirt (at the event held at the University Station), FREE one-way easy ticket on Metrorail (*limited quantities and must provide valid email address), FREE air & bike checks by Mack Cycle & Fitness and other goodies (while supplies last). Light refreshments and breakfast foods will be served at the University Metrorail Station.
For more information on Bike305's Bike to Work Day, visit Bike305 is a collaborative effort forged by the County Mayor in partnership with several municipal Mayors and Parks Departments to unite and support the connectivity of people and places through the county's bike trails. Throughout Miami-Dade County, Mayors are promoting the opportunity to achieve physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle by cycling to parks, attractions, shops, and events located on or near bike trails.

For more information on all upcoming Bike 305 events, please visit

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wishing the best to Public Services Director Corrice Patterson

One of Palmetto Bay's first team members!  Long time employee and Director of Public Services, Corrice Patterson, was recognized by myself and staff for her many years of dedicated service to the Village of Palmetto Bay. As Mayor, I represented the village council at this event.  
Ms. Patterson is moving out of the State of Florida to pursue other opportunities. We thank her for her 14 years-plus years of service to the Village and wish her the best of luck in her new endeavors! She will be missed.

Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay remain committed to the most effective transit solutions. Participating in a panel before the South Dade Chamber of Commerce

The fight for rail continues. Cutler Bay. I took part in a panel today in Homestead before the South Dade Chamber of Commerce, General Membership Luncheon.

The main guest speaker was Alice Bravo, Director of DTPW.  All the South Dade municipalities were represented - Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Homestead and Florida City.

This was my turn to address Homestead/Florida Cities - areas undergoing growth and suffering severe traffic woes to get north.  ​There have been several recent Transportation Summits at the municipal and county levels. Director Bravo provided her update regarding the pending environmental studies by our County', as well as the different timelines of anticipated future actions.

We need rail, not a band aid. The ridership is there to serve rail.  The issues are first/last mile, parking and the fact that there is a shortage of buses to transport both those whoare riding as well as those who would ride if the County would deliver on the promises of the half cent penny transportation sales tax.  We have buses that qualify fully as "BRT" based upon what we observed in Los Angeles - known as the "Gold Standard" and aptly names their "Gold Line."  Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay remain concerned that there will be insufficient investment in transit - planning for 30-40 years out, not merely to cover the current County created transportation crisis.


Going for a World Record - and supporting #Wheelheroes - Jon Eggert Gudmundsson

World Records can be set just about anywhere - not just at the Olympics.  We have a local trying to set one right here in our own neighborhood -Jon Eggert Gudmundsson.

Photo: Miami Hal
Do you want to know more about that runner / bicyclist seen around town with the GoPro on his head? There is no reason to be alarmed – watch for a potential world record that may be achieved here in Palmetto Bay / Cutler Bay areas.  Be on the lookout for Jon Eggert Gudmundsson – he is a giant of a man who is currently running and cycling in our areas.  People are curious as to what this guy is doing with a video camera on his head. You can rest assured that he is not dangerous. What he is doing is attempting the longest triathlon in the world Guinness record supporting #wheelheroes.

You will see Jon around Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay running and cycling next few months. Here is the MiamiHal article describing what he is doing: South Floridian’s Quest for Guinness Book of World Records, February 11, 2008, by Miami Hal, Hal Feldman
“Run Jon, Run” Please spread the word so people will not be afraid of him – and be sure to root Jon on to break the record.

Good luck Jon - I wish you success on this endeavor. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Traffic solutions. Continuing the collaboration and implementation. South Dade at work on traffic

Thank you Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and fellow South Miami Dade Mayors - Joe Corradino, Peggy Bell and Jeff Porter, as we work with consultants, and our County  / municipal partners on updates, timelines on implementation strategies for many of the items vetted at the South Dade Traffic Summit.

County and municipal administrators / staff were preset including the TPO Exec Director, and Miami-Dade County Government DTPW reps.

The South Florida Commuter Service briefed us on van pools that service major businesses, ride share apps, and programs for carpooling to schools.  

We are working to get our schools engaged in this traffic effort.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Coyote FWC Workshop is confirmed for this Tuesday, Feb 20 - Recent coverage on Coyotes in Palmetto Bay

I am set to host the FWC Workshop relating to Coyotes in Palmetto Bay.  Please see the Official notice on the Village website (CLICK HERE).

(CLICK HERE) to View Miami Herald online, January 10, 2018, Coyotes are on the prowl in this neighborhood. So residents will be taught to 'co-exist', by Howard Cohen

NBC 6 has also covered the Coyote story: Jan 10, 2018 - Palmetto Bay Holding Workshop on Living With Coyotes

The above is all updated information from the prior post of January 8, 2018, FWC / Coyote workshop scheduled for Tuesday, 2/20/18, 6 - 8 PM, Have you seen coyotes in your neighborhood? Join the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for an informative workshop about coyote biology and ways to co-exist with coyotes. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Productive day in Tallahassee: Mayors Eugene Flinn of Palmetto Bay and Peggy Bell of Cutler Bay testify before the House Accountability Committee - advocating for the original intent of 1/2 cent transportation sales tax

A single-day legislative fly in was held on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.  This was a very productive day in Tallahassee. Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell and I were asked to appear before the House Accountability Committee advocating for the original intent of 1/2 cent transportation sales tax. 

Sometimes opportunities/responsibilities arise quickly, and it is important that we be as responsive to our legislative partners, as we ask them to be responsive to us.  It was Monday, 2/12/2018, during a legislative conference call that Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell and I spoke directly with State Representative Bryan Avila (R - Miami) (sponsor of HB 243) and House Minority Leader Kionne L. McGhee regarding an important hearing the bill had scheduled on 2/13 before the full House Government Accountability Committee.  It was at this late afternoon meeting (2/12) that Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell and I were asked to appear before the House Accountability Committee advocating for the original intent of 1/2 cent transportation sales tax.

Preparation was important and time extremely limited - working with our managers (Ed Silva and Ralph Casals) - we put together and I brought forward an add on resolution (Palmetto Bay Resolution 2018-23) at the Village Council Meeting held that same day (Monday, 2/12/2018).  This resolution was originally co-sponsored by Council Member David Singer. The resolution found a third sponsor and was approved as prepared.

Once in Tallahassee, we met personally with the Committee Chair, Matt Caldwell (R) and Democratic Ranking Member Rep. Barbara Watson prior to testifying before the full committee. Rep. Holly Raschein sits on this committee and met with us to hear our concerns as well.  Rep. Raschein has always been a good friend to both Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay.

Above left - meeting with Comm Chair, Matt Caldwell
Above right, meeting with
Rep. Holly Raschein

The Government Accountability Committee reported favorably on HB 243 by a 17-6 vote after much dilberation.  

Meeting with Rep. Barbara Watson

Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay continue to work together for traffic solutions for our South Miami-Dade area.

Both Mayor Peggy Bell and I used our time in Tallahassee to advocate for our entire municipal legislative agendas.  I meet with our House and Senate officials locally, telephonically or in Tallahassee – at their offices, in the hallways or even at the airport.  The weather of Tuesday evening provided Mayor Bell and I with an opportunity not to be wasted – we were resourceful in turning a 2-hour flight delay into time to really dive deep into legislative issues of the session with our State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez.

Meeting with Sen Jose Javier Rodriguez


Monday, February 12, 2018

Results can happen! Look to LA. Investigating the facts on transit and seeing work combining with political will to address congestion. Part I - OVERVIEW

Sometimes you have to get out and see things first hand to separate fact from fiction.  Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell, Manager Rafael G. Casals joined Manager Ed Silva and me in Los Angeles.  And, right off, I will advise you that I was warned that I would be upset at what I saw. I was.  LA has made significant impact on its traffic congestion issues - moving forward on building many, many miles of regular bus, BRT, lite Rail and heavy rail - all in the same time that Miami-Dade has only talked, studied and avoided.

The bill is coming due - and Mayor Bell and I are here to contribute our "Two Cents" on this issue (as do residents of LA county, but more on that later).  See the Miami Herald article of Feb. 8, 2018, Miami-Dade warns of massive bus route cuts if state bill passes - by David Smiley and Douglas Hanks.

It appears that the tale of two cities is striking - in contrasts - LA has won the confidence by delivering on commitments, wise spending and addressing issues for its tax payers who have approved 4 of 5 referendums. Miami-Dade, in stark contrast, has avoided delivery and waffles, and denies through continued delays - paralysis through endless analysis. 
Our initial meeting - held Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 with LA Transit Officials
Here is what LA County accomplished in the 1990s:

The Metro Blue Line opened in 1990. This is light rail line consisting of 22 miles.  The construction cost was $877 million.
The Metro Red/Purples lines opened during 1993, 1996, 1999 and 2000. These are actual heavy rail subway lines consisting of 17.4 miles served by 16 stations, including 6 shared. The cost was $4.5 billion to construct.
The Metro Green Line opened in 1995.  20 miles of light rail served by 14 stations, 1 shared.  The cost for this line was $718 million.

We toured all the systems:
Above left - bike share and local DASH routes. Above right - local on street service.  
Bus exclusive lanes in part of the city (reserved for buses during rush hours only)
Above left - local service bus. Branded, but standard - most important - cleaned daily.
Above right - a transit hub where you can transfer between bus and subway
Nothing unique - above - subway stations - what we will never see in Miami-Dade County.
but (above right) the rail cars are the same as our MetroRail Cars used by Miami-Dade Transit.
Immediately above, left and right - LA County, Miami-Dade County &
Palmetto Bay all have strong Art In Public Places Programs - and can
be seen both in LA and Miami-Dade County Stations. (photos of LA Stations)
 LA officials are proud of what they have accomplished since 1990
and they should be proud.
This post is the preview for the joint report that will be issued by Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay on our findings.  There will be coverage of our observations and communications with experts in LA - where many go to learn about the 'gold standard' of BRT.  

BRT, or 'Bus "rapid transit"'- is where "The rubber meets the road" and will be covered in a separate part as I want to provide detailed comment on how Miami-Dade's Transitway stacks up - my comments and observations may surprise.  Look for updates on the LA Transit, Fact-Finding investigation.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Finding innovative and successful routes for Palmetto Bay's IBus. Could an FIU and/or a MDC shuttle be on the horizon?

Council Member David Singer and I have been holding a serious of very successful Town Hall meetings.  Topics including Transit. People are taking notice and participation is robust.  
Our next Town Halls (again on Transit/traffic issues) are set for Tuesday, February 13 at 6 and 7 PM.  

See our Official Village Web Site for more information.  Participate - your voice matters.  

There are two important meeting that evening that Council Member David Singer and I both will be participating in - and note other interested members of the village council may attend as well - 
Public Meetings, Workshops & Town Halls

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 6:00 PM - Municipal Center, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street

Administration will be hosting a Traffic Town Hall Meeting for the area south of SW 152nd Street and west of Old Cutler Road to SW 77th Avenue on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 6:00 PM at Village of Palmetto Bay Municipal Center, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157. The purpose of the Traffic Town Hall Meeting is to to discuss overall traffic calming improvements for the area.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 7:00 PM - Municipal Center, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street

Mayor Eugene Flinn and Council Member Singer will be Co-hosting a Traffic Town Hall-Update Meeting on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 7:00 PM at Village of Palmetto Bay Municipal Center, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157. The purpose of the Town Hall-Update Meeting is to discuss the overall traffic calming improvements and solution ideas for the Village. For additional details on the meeting, please view the Town Hall Meeting Notice HERE.

The local media is taking notice of Palmetto Bay's efforts!

Fabienne Fleurantin, South Florida Uncovered, is providing recent coverage on our efforts, proposals, and plans, as well as balanced reporting as to some of the resistance to public transportation in the article: Preliminary plan for Palmetto Bay I-Bus extension includes routes to FIU and MDC
Palmetto Bay is planning a partnership with with Florida International University and Miami-Dade College to use its bus service, the I-Bus, to transport students to FIU’s Modesto Madique Campus and MDC’s Kendall Campus.

A punny nod to the ibises that visit the village’s parks and neighborhoods, the I-Bus was launched in 2006 to connect Miami-Dade Transit routes and “increase the amount of destinations on a fixed schedule,” according to the village’s website.  ... [click the link above ( Or CLICK HERE) to read more of this article]
Yes, public transportation is government subsidized. Our IBus is paid out of our municipal share of the CITT funds - the 1/2 cent sales tax).  Everyone has an interest in reliving traffic congestion. Public transportation helps those that want to lose their cars - or (and this may come as a surprise to some - can't afford a personal vehicle, but can and do live within Palmetto Bay - this can be anyone of any gender or age, but can be a student or active senior).  Public transportation does not serve everyone, but everyone benefits by getting as many commuters off the road as possible.  Its less congestion for everyone.

Please come on out and work with our Village Administration and fellow residents, with David Singer and me, as we attempt to find the best fit for our IBus. We have many great ideas - what gets you (or your parent or your student) out of your car and onto public transportation.  Please help us serve you better.  As David and I say, "#YourVoiceMatters"!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Groundbreaking held Monday, 2/5/2018 for Station 62 - 400 days projected to completion.

Congrats and thank you to Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue - the groundbreaking was held Monday, February 5, 2018 for the construction of the permanent Station 62 located off Old Cutler Road and 142nd Street.  It was my honor to join Miami-Dade Fire Chief Dave Downey, his senior staff, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine-Cava, Pinecrest Mayor Joe Corradino, and many members of our local Village Councils.  We participated with Local 1403 President Omar Blanco and Station 62's crew. Engine 62 currently operates out of temporary quarters next door to the new site.
Good deeds, good things are going on all around us.  Thank you to those who are working hard to bring forward good deeds/good results. It is estimated that construction will take 400 days to completion.  The site does not look like much right now. The value to the life-safety of this area will be immeasurable.  The Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest Communities look forward to enhanced life-safety service in the area.  Your life, or the life of a friend or loved one, might just be saved by service brought closer by this new station.

For Palmetto Bay, this got started under my first term.  The Council worked at establishing levels of service, both municipal and enhancing County – and we worded with County Fire and Government leadership at that time.  We got our residents involved and appointed a Public Safety committee back on November 25, 2002, one of our first resolutions – 02-19. I’d like to thank those members who joined in our vision for a safer Palmetto Bay area.

The locations shifted – delaying this project. We worked with the Feds to put a fire station on the USDA land, federal land, but that would take an act of congress – but we nearly did – twice – it passed the house of Representatives – Sept. 2009 E-Currents : Diaz-Balart Passes Legislation to Provide Land for Fire Station

The U.S. House of Representatives had passed a bill sponsored by Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) that authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell two acres located on the east side of SW 67th Ave. between SW 136 St. and SW 144 St., to Miami-Dade County for the purpose of building a fire station. The entire original village council had been to Washington several times.  I want to thank our original sponsor Illeana Ros Lehtinen.  Special thanks to Palmetto Bay Building Official Edward Silva and Olga Cadaval, Assistant to the Manager, the original village council.

That Was then, but the location failed between 2010 and 2013.  New realities set in.  We thank those who focused upon life safety.

A divided former council approved the site plan for this location on a 3-2 vote back in October 2014.  I want to thank Vice Mayor DuBois and council members Fiore and Schaffer for their support of enhanced life safety for this area.

Station 62 - at least the temporary station - become operation as of "1900" on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.  This temporary station is located adjacent to the permanent home off 142 / Old Cutler Road.  I am pleased to have stopped by to witness this local Palmetto Bay history - a project that commenced back with our original village council and members of our Public Safety Committee as one of Palmetto Bay's original priorities.  

Again - Thank you Miami-Dade County, MDFR, Mayor Carlos Gimenez and our commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Communities coming together. County, Tri City Traffic Solutions Summit, held Saturday, February 3

Thank you Commissioner Levine Cava for hosting the County, Tri City Traffic Solutions Summit, on Saturday, February 3. This event brought together 4 Commissioners: Chair Esteban Bovo, Bruno Barreiro, Xavier Suarez, and Daniella Levine Cava, State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez and State Representative Kionne McGhee - to name a few.  I joined with Mayor Peggy Bell of Cutler Bay and Mayor Joe Corradino of Pinecrest to co-host on behalf of the Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay and Pinecrest communities - along with surrounding residents to help determine the best solutions to traffic congestion in the Pinecrest through Palmetto Bay, and Cutler Bay to Palm Glades (248th Street) Transportation Corridor. The participants came up with long term and short term solutions which will be published in a report.

Suggested solutions include:
* Build a connected pedestrian and (protected) bike network
* Evolve neighborhoods to be more mixed use
* Adopt the walk/bike 1 mile challenge
* Build bridges to transit way
* Strengthen bike/walk/transit advocacy
* Encourage more biking/walking/transit/car sharing to school
* Have flex time at work/work from home
* Use transit more often
* Build at-grade Metrorail south
* Use Municipal circulators/bikes/Uber/Lyft as first/last mile to transit
* Develop apps that reward carpool, transit, rideshare, etc
Participants heard from traffic experts, examined transportation improvement plans that are underway - including multiple Palmetto Bay Pilot Programs as well as having the opportunity to offer input on future plans.
The goal is to produce a realistic action plan to reduce traffic and hold each other accountable for real results. This is another step in the process. (CLICK HERE) to view some of the Palmetto Bay municipal traffic calming studies/master plans and materials.

The presentation by Victor Dover of Dover, Kohl & Associates included the two .pdf slides posted below showing, in large part, while single cars are the issue
Slide 7 (Above) - There’s a basic geometry problem to depending on cars for everything. They take too much space. In the picture on the left, you can see how much space it takes for a busload of
40 or 60 to occupy a bus or trolley. In the center picture, you can see how much space it
takes for the same number of us on bikes; slightly more. In the photo at right, you see what
happens when each person has a car. There will never be enough room.
Looking at slide 8 (above) - Here’s another way to visualize the same thing: 400 cars, versus 400 bus passengers, versus 400 people on a train.

I wholeheartedly agree with Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava about this event: "Community at its best: gathering to create #TrafficSolutions in #SouthDade "