Monday, July 31, 2017

Long sought relief for South Miami Dade traffic woes or is this just another delay - more kicking the can down the bus/transitway?

Rail or bust?  Is a bus that rolls like a bus, quacks like a bus, is limited in number of passengers like a bus and not fully funded like the promised BRT of the early 2000s still just a bus; or is this a (certainly not "the") real solution? Have we reached the point of "rail or repeal"?

How are we going to measure success or compliance with spending of the 1/2 Cent Sales Tax? there is a serious question here on the half-cent sales tax we approved in 2002.

See Miami Herald online of July 30, 2017, by Douglas Hanks, A Miami-Dade rarity: a speedy bus route that’s actually attracting passengers

Palmetto Bay is part of "the other side" part of the community represented by, as the Miami Herald states:
"... county commissioners and city leaders blasting the notion of Miami-Dade once again abandoning a countywide expansion of Metrorail first promised to voters in a 2002 referendum. Voters approved a half-percent sales tax for transportation that so far has generated about $2.8 billion in revenue and less than three miles of new rail."
The current Palmetto Bay council has consistently pushed for light rail - in numerous official village resolutions, town hall meetings and in public comments - ALL unanimous statements.
“We are not going to settle for bus in South Dade,” said Peggy Bell, the mayor of Cutler Bay. “Most cities within the United States have good rail systems for commuters. That is what was promised to the residents. And that’s what they want.”
State Rep. McGhee may be foreshadowing a community initiative to repeal a tax many perceive to be miss-applied, The Herald's Doug Hanks quotes Rep. McGee on BRT:
“I think it’s a joke,” Rep. Kionne McGhee who represents South Dade in Tallahassee, said of upgrading the busway. Given the promises of more rail made to voters in 2002 for the transportation tax, McGhee said buses should be considered a surrender on that original effort. “The whole objective is rail,” he said. “If there is going to be a push for more buses, then it is only logical that the people stop paying into the half-penny tax.”
This article is an important read onto the efforts/fight for mass transit to date in South Miami-Dade County.

For additional background, please see prior related post of May 15, 2017, Unified leadership - Mayors Peggy Bell & Eugene Flinn issue a joint statement about collaboration and the need for long term transit solution - Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell and I released our joint statement, in part: 
The Town of Cutler Bay and the Village of Palmetto Bay are dedicated to working together to find solutions to the traffic challenges our residents face daily. We are committed to obtaining Rail Mass Transit for South Dade, which is the most important way to address the explosive growth that continues to occur in South Dade. This growth is not due solely to our two municipalities. Cities south of us and unincorporated Miami Dade County residents must drive through these same streets to get to their destinations.
Are transit officials listening?   The overwhelming mood of the South Miami-Dade communities is "RAIL or REPEAL!"

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Just for fun - Family Photos from vacation. Fire Tower Challenge

Enjoying nature.  Probably hiked/nature walked 18 miles in just the two days. 

This includes a 5.26 mile nature walk Sunday morning. It was another nice cool walk. 

Our daughters still love to find, pick and enjoy the wild blackberries, obviously avoiding the wild mushrooms.

I am walking the walk.  Look at all the young Pines.  I believe these are spruce.  It is quite nice to see that the pines range from seedlings to grand old pine trees.  

You can hear the birds, but they are camouflaged far too well among the trees. 

The Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge: 29 mountaintop towers with spectacular views

We hiked the Spruce Mountain Trail to see that Fire Tower.  Hiking to Fire Towers is "a thing"  - there is a "Fire Tower Challenge - which is currently a very popular activity up here. 

Check out New York upstate dot com - Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge: 29 mountaintop towers with spectacular views (CLICK HERE)

I apologize in advance - this does not appear to be something we can add to the "Mayor's Challenge" portion of #GetFitPalmettoBay. 

More Pines:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Miami Herald - real news - regarding Palmetto Bay's code efforts - This city needs less parking, shorter buildings and more building incentives, experts say by Monique O. Madan.

The Palmetto Bay Village Council continues the efforts to create a better downtown. Numerous town hall meetings with and prior to the experts.  Monique Madan provides real news update.  This article clearly delineates the recommendations made in the Dover Kohl report. 

See Miami Herald online: This city needs less parking, shorter buildings and more building incentives, experts say by Monique O. Madan.

Focused on a city center mostly populated by car dealerships, vacant land, and unkempt buildings, Palmetto Bay’s current zoning code aims to capitalize on public and alternative transportation, with amenities such as wider sidewalks, bike racks, bike lanes, and a hub that would tie in to the South Dade transit way.
But Dover, Kohl & Partners, a national architectural and land-planning firm that was hired by the city to review the code and provide suggestions, said in a presentation last week that if the city wants to see results, it will have to eliminate parking, lower maximum building heights by one story, and find a way to better incentivize business owners.
Marcela Camblor, one of the firm’s planners, said the suggestions are “geared towards making the [downtown urban village code] a more predictable tool to ensure that development results in a vibrant downtown that provides services and restaurants to residents and visitors all while preserving a village scale and character.”
“For that, heights need to be adjusted, the bonus programs clarified and calibrated to materialize the community’s needs and some of the elements of the vision need to be more clearly communicated,” Camblor said.
I recommend viewing my prior related post of Wednesday, July 19, 2017: Here are the recommendations made by Dover Kohl & Partners, Marcela Camblor & Associates regarding the Palmetto Bay DUV - updated to add new links to the report and powerpoint presentation 

As advertised, you can find the actual links to download/view the full report and powerpoint presentation.

Please also view a prior DUV article by Monique O. Magan, (July 14, 2017) This city wants to change things up. What will it take for its downtown to be hot?

As quoted then, 
“I’m open to all changes, anything that will improve our downtown and make it a place we can all be proud of,” said Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn. “I’m disappointed that once we opened up Palmetto Bay Park, we haven’t had any book stores, ice cream shops or restaurants show any interest in planting their business in Palmetto Bay. I want to hear from the experts on why that is.”
We are now hearing from the experts and it is time to continue to work on this DUV code. to make it the best it can be and to be responsive to resolving any unintended issues that will appear in any and every existing code, regardless of location.

Politics aside - "Say it ain't so..." are they really about to "Can" Coke Zero?

Coke is always in the news when it changes its products - and an example of people resisting and resenting change.  Does anyone remember "New Coke" or Pepsi-Cola's "Pepsi Clear"?  I am a fan of Coke Zero - and sometimes change is good - one such example (in my humble opinion) is Coke Zero. And now it appears that it is nearing the end of its shelf life.  

So I say "stock up"!  How long will cans of soda last? (Am I really calling for a hording run on remaining Coke Zero?)

Here is a very well written article that (again, in my own opinion) captures the angst of someone who hates to see one of their favs go by the wayside:

Coke Zero Is Gone Because We Live in a Grim Dystopia in Which Nothing Good Can Exist, by Jay Willis, published in GQ online.

On this point (actually, on many points) I agree with Palmetto Bay's community catalyst Brian Tannebaum.  who says, and 'I quote': "I could go full Scaramucci about this."  

I agree fully and will join Brian in going "full Scaramucci " about this.

Also see CNN Money: Coca-Cola is replacing Coke Zero with a new drink, by Olivia Chang, CNN Money

Monday, July 24, 2017

Congratulations Palmetto Bay Village Clerk Missy Arocha - Has a year gone by already?

Time flies when you are busy improving Palmetto Bay.  It's been over a year since our Village Clerk Missy Arocha has taken over to serve our Village.

Village Clerk Arocha has aggressively pursued many recent council (and her own) initiatives that include improving our village record keeping and communication. Clerk Arocha is working hard to bring Palmetto Bay into the new age in regards to digital record keeping.

The Village Clerk is one of the most important positions of Municipal government. In Palmetto Bay, the position of Clerk is one of the three Chartered positions in the Village appointed by the Village Council. Reporting directly to the Council, the Village Clerk serves as secretary for the Village Council and of the Municipal Corporation. The responsibilities of the Village Clerk in the Village of Palmetto Bay include the following:
*Gives notice of all Council meetings to its members and the public, and shall maintain an accurate record of all Council proceedings
*Maintains the seal of the Village and attest the Mayor's or the Manager's signature, as the case may be, on all documents
*Serves as the municipal Supervisor of Elections
*Administers the publication of the Village Code and Charter
*Maintains custody of the Village's vital records including agreements, contracts, minutes, ordinances, proclamations, and resolutions
*Functions as the Information Technology Coordinator
*Manages all Public Information Requests
And as a reminder: Public record requests can be made to:
Missy Arocha, Village Clerk
Email address:
Telephone number: 305-259-1234
A new e-blast was released Monday, July 24, 2017.  I have sent these periodic e-mails out since my very first term!  Are you a subscriber?  If not, I ask you to sign up.  Please also follow my Mayor Facebook page and follow me on Twitter!

Communication prevents miscommunication.

CLICK HERE to view this 7/24/2017 e-mail.

In this issue:
  • Budget time in Palmetto Bay - I's your money - Let's hear from you.
  • Village receives $550K state grant for stormwater projects
  • Dover Kohl & Partners, Marcela Camblor & Associates present   recommendations regarding the Palmetto Bay DUV
  • All Palmetto Bay area public schools receive an "A" Rating
  • Take the Palmetto Bay Age-Friendly Initiative Survey
  • Congratulations Village Clerk Missy Arocha
  • Should Palmetto Bay reduce the internal street speed limit?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Village receives $550K state grant for stormwater projects

More grants coming to Palmetto Bay - and I want it used for Stormwater; addressing much needed drainage.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced on June 23 that it had awarded $550,000 to the Village of Palmetto Bay for stormwater infrastructure improvements as part of a nearly $3 million funding program awarding grants to communities across Florida.
The overall program is designed to improve water quality in impaired springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries, which need help meeting Florida’s stringent water-quality standards
The money for Palmetto Bay is to be used for catch basin retrofits, installation of additional catch basins, sedimentation boxes, baffle boxes and exfiltration trenches throughout the village. This will help reduce pollutants flowing into Biscayne Bay, which is southeast Florida’s largest coastal estuary.

CLICK HERE to view the complete Community Newspapers article by Gary Alan Ruse: Village receives $550K state grant for stormwater projects
" ... I’m resuming the policy of trying to bring back tax dollars to our area,” Mayor Flinn said. “Storm water is a huge issue."

"Whether you believe in sea level rise or not, everybody sees water sitting on their street and park lane, and it’s something we needed to address. That’s one of the reasons we incorporated. We were not getting the attention we needed to get being part of Greater Miami-Dade County. That money’s going to go very far in assisting us with our storm water efforts that we have done annually under my leadership."

I continue to pledge that our village tax dollars be spent for their intended purpose, to address village infrastructure needs.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Next Palmetto Bay debate: should we reduce speed limit on village managed roads to 25 MPH? Your voice matters

BREAKING NEWS- Friday, July 21,2017: Miami-Dade County has authorized the Village of Palmetto Bay to reduce the village speed limit  (on Village jurisdiction Roads) to 25 mph.

What are your thoughts?  Let us know.

Email notification from Manager Silva:

From: Edward Silva
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2017 12:31 PM
To: Council
Cc: Olga Cadaval
Subject: FW: Final Report regarding reduction of village wide speed limit to 25 mph - SR 2017028829

See below we just got approval to lower our speed limits on internal roads. This was part of the council direction requesting this and staff and the consultant worked hard in getting this accomplished. Special thanks are due to the County in expediting this.


Edward Silva
Village Manager
Village of Palmetto Bay

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 2017 - Palmetto Bay Awarded $1 million TAP grant for bicycle lanes project

Another welcomed grant received a $1,000,000.00 (One Million Dollars) "TAP Grant"- to assist us in implementing our master plans. Congratulations to our Village Staff who work so hard to stretch our Village dollars through seeking (and most importantly - ) obtaining significant grants!

This has been a long time coming - please see my related/prior post of January 26, 2015
Preparing to update the Palmetto Bay plans - partial list of materials available online. Some reference materials for following the Palmetto Bay Strategic Plan process.  This grant will assist greatly in reaching our infrastructure goals.

CLICK HERE to view the actual Palmetto Bay Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

I am a proponent of transparency of our local government and having documents online for 24/7/365 access.  CLICK HERE to view our TRAFFIC STUDIES AND MASTER PLAN PAGE (Thank you to our management team, Manager Ed Silva and Village Clerk Missy Arocha - and their team for getting these documents online!)

I ask for your support and support from my colleagues on the Village Council to complete and close out these long-standing projects.

Thank you,

Eugene Flinn

E-mail message from Village Manager Ed Silva:

Council, the grant has a two year window and our match is scheduled to come from CITT revenues and not from general funds. This grant to build bicycle lanes as per our bicycle master plan and will help considerably in beginning this long overdue process in complying with this approved master plan. Congratulations are in order for the staff who worked hard in acquiring this grant.


Edward Silva
Village Manager
Village of Palmetto Bay

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Here are the recommendations made by Dover Kohl & Partners, Marcela Camblor & Associates regarding the Palmetto Bay DUV - updated to add new links to the report and powerpoint presentation

Dover Kohl presentation regarding the Palmetto Bay DUV Code - more updates to follow, for now you can review the link available online: CLICK HERE to view. Note that the village will have this document online ASAP.

Presentation to Village of Palmetto Bay, of 7/19/2017, document entitled "DUV Assessment
Dover Kohl & Partners, Marcela Camblor & Associates, July, 2017"

Update, 7/20/2017 - 4:00 PM: Wednesday, July 19th, renowned architect & planner, Victor Dover presented his team's recommendations for updating the current Downtown Urban Village (DUV) code, which are now available online.   Download or view the DUV Assessment Report or the Powerpoint Presentation made to the Council during the Committee of the Whole meeting. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Another opportunity to hear from the experts and participate in the future of Palmetto Bay

Important public meeting to be held this Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at our Palmetto Bay Village Hall. #YourParticipationMatters.

"Downtown" Palmetto Bay.

“What’s missing are the retail stores, restaurants. How do we make sure to bring those in without having traffic explode?”

This one of the topics set for July 19 at village hall: a presentation by Dover, Kohl & Partners, a national architectural and land-planning firm, hired to review the code and provide suggestions. This is a public meeting. Please attend or watch live on WBAY.

Read more here:…/palmett…/article161430718.html…

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Best wishes for MDPD/Village Policing Unit officer M. Valdez.

It's a bittersweet day for our speed abiding residents. One of our motor officers, Ofc M Valdez, is returning to the County. We will miss him. He has served our Palmetto Bay village Policing Unit with distinction and we wish him the best. #PalmettoBay #MDPD #Police #MiamiDadeCounty