Friday, July 10, 2020

Enjoy your ride. Please ride safely and in full compliance with the rules of the road and the emergency orders relating to COVID-19. Key Biscayne has agreed to suspend enforcement of their Order prohibiting non-motorized vehicles from entering Key Biscayne.


Enjoy your ride, please ride safely and in full compliance with the rules of the road and the emergency orders relating to COVID-19.

We are pleased to announce that the Village of Key Biscayne has agreed to suspend enforcement of their Order prohibiting non-motorized vehicles from entering Key Biscayne. During this temporary suspension, bicycles will be permitted within the Village, subject to strict compliance with applicable Miami-Dade County and Village Emergency Order requirements, which include, but are not limited to, maintaining appropriate social distancing and facial coverings.

We were notified of this decision by counsel for the Village of Key Biscayne sent at 11:53 AM on Friday, July 10, 2020.

Our position remains consistent that the violators should be held accountable for their actions, not any class of people, in this case cyclists. Law Enforcement may charge violators under Florida Statutes Section 252.50, Penalties, a second degree misdemeanor, should an individual fail to comply.

Everyone, no matter who they are or what their method of transportation, must comply with the requirements to wear a mask and social distance.  Obey the Emergency Order , and stay safe!

For more information, contact any of the following:

Eugene Flinn, Esq. 305-302-3713
David Winkler, Esq. 305-801-8700
Paul Schweip, Esq. 305-495-3833

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day - 2020 - Have a safe and fun 4th!

Alexandra, Katherine, Meredith and I all wish a very Happy Independence Day to you and your families! 

This is a holiday to celebrate, the day we celebrate the birth of our great nation, the creation of the greatest system of freedom and democracy. All of this occurred due to the great physical and financial sacrifice of the founders of this nation, the brave men and women of yesterday and today who have sacrificed so greatly to ensure the traditions bestowed by our remarkable founders. We owe them vigilance, and the willingness to defend the democracy they have passed on to you.


Independence Day has been celebrated since 1776.  But do you know the year that July 4 officially made a Federal Holiday?  Would you believe 1941? Check out the History.com page regarding July 4, for additional information.

Let us continue to look to a future that belongs to all of us - a future that ‘we, the people’ have the power to create.

Happy Independence Day – 2020.

Protect Your Pets on July 4th
Protect your pets on this fourth of July holiday - it is not a 'pet-friendly' holiday.  They don't understand what all the ruckus is about. (See my blog - CLICK HERE - to view my full post and important links)
July 4th is a busy day for pet shelters. Many pets get frightened and run off during fireworks. Pets are severely distressed by the noise of fireworks. Remember, dogs' and cats' hearing is much more sensitive than ours, so those loud booms can be extremely uncomfortable!

A wiser choice for your pet is for you to bring your pet inside the house and make sure that your special friend is safely tucked into a room with a television or radio on. It is recommended that if you are not staying home with your pet, make sure that their favorite hiding spot is available so they can run to a place in the house where they feel safe ---- this could be under the bed, in the closet or even their pet crate.  If you are home, stay near them, speak to them and let them know that they are safe. 
Please take the time - CLICK HERE - to view a .PDF put out by Miami-Dade County Animal Services - July 4th Pet Safety Tips.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

How Many Cyclists Have to Die Before We Get Serious About Bike Lanes?

I originally started this post on June 29th and put it aside. Then I learned his name, Hector Echeverria, and realized that my family knew him and his family. He was my daughter's Algebra 2 teacher at Coral Reef High and subsequently taught at Palmetto High and MAST Academy. He lived two blocks away from us, and my other daughter knew his daughter at Coral Reef Elementary, Southwood Middle School, and Palmetto Senior. She also knew Hector. He was a caring, gentle, and certainly not careless man. At 57, he had just beaten pancreatic cancer.

This is the cyclist who was mowed down by a vehicle in what was supposed to be a 25 mph street on Key Biscayne this past weekend. A second cyclist was also struck and remains in the hospital. 


I mourn the loss of another cyclist - one who had a deep and personal connection to Palmetto Bay. I still do not know the identity of the other cyclist. But regardless, a pair of cyclists were struck by a single vehicle early Sunday morning on Key Biscayne. There appears to be no allegation that either cyclist was doing anything other than what thousands of others do riding that same route. Another life lost and more lives changed forever.

But hey, keep tell me how we don’t need bike lanes. We still know little about this accident. But killing a cyclist is barely even a traffic ticket in South Florida. And there are always those who will make the point that cyclists are a nuisance -- as if they deserve the death penalty for getting in your way.

There has been much discussion and planning for bike lanes in Palmetto Bay. But there seems to be a lack of political will to act beyond planning. Politicians, including our own Daniella Levine-Cava, hold meetings. There are longstanding strategic / master / local / community plans. Plans are not the problem. The problem is that the efforts end with a celebration of discussion. Then people go back thinking there will be action, implementation. But there is little to none. And then more are injured or worse, killed. And then we all wonder why.

Or maybe discussion ends because politicians are scared of a few neighbors who don't like cyclists -- even if those cyclists are kids trying to get to school.


Why do I post my opinions here? Because this latest killing occurred at a spot where many were pushing for meaningful changes to improve safety. It tears me up to think of what this family is going through. The route was one used primarily by bikes, basically like being in a park. A road where it occurred, I am told, had a posted speed limit (for any vehicle, any type) of 25 MPH. I am familiar with this area, having ridden this route often. It is filled with bicycles.

This situation has been festering for far too long. Cycling advocates, and anyone who believes that life has value, need to ask whether this latest killing should (not could, but should) have been prevented. 

When will discussion result in actual action? We have seen many, many, “initiatives” where people are called together to discuss the issues, weigh in and propose solutions.  I have participated in some of these:  See the Miami-Dade County "Dead Serious" discussions reported back in May of 2018 (CLICK HERE to review). What has changed? Everything appeared to have gone dark once the videos and photo ops were completed. "Mission accomplished" was declared seemingly without any new protections actually put in place. 

County Commissioner Cava promised to construct bicycle lanes on 136 Street from Old Cutler to US 1. (CLICK HERE to view the full text of her transportation plan promises made back in January 2018) # 11 of the projects listed for 2018 was “11) Construct bicycle lanes on 136 Street from Old Cutler to US 1.” Instead, years later, the project was swapped out for a 8-10 foot sidewalk placed in the right of way, south side (Palmetto Bay side) of SW 136 Street). See December 29, 2019, The SW 136th Street Plans are posted for your review. Currently your only source to view as Palmetto Bay officials continue to fail to post these documents Bait, meet switch.
The above is just a single example. But the bottom line is that, as long as pedestrians (and their dogs and children) are on the path, cyclists will continue to ride along on the roadway of SW 136th Street as they are legally entitled to; where they will not be placing pedestrians at risk of bikes or be at risk of being struck by vehicles turning on or off the roadway (a recent example was posted on June 24, 2020, Yet another car v bike conflict along the Old Cutler Trail – a multi-use path, not a dedicated bike lane.)

I have worked to implement actual solutions, including safe routes to school programs, bike lanes and cyclist and motorist safety education. Implementation, going beyond the planning.  Discussion, advocating, location (and, more importantly, securing) funding and then implemented.

But it is disingenuous and worse – actually dangerous – when plans are derailed and replaced with lesser alternatives, that are not really alternatives at all, but 'repurposing' serious transportation safety issues to recreational uses that continues to place cyclists at risk. Cyclists that are our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers - teachers.  

Look at the dates of the “Dead Serious” initiatives. Where is the follow up, the delivery, a completion of a project? What has been actually implemented as a result of the efforts? Photo ops or actual efforts to improve safety? How many more need to die?

Meanwhile - Palmetto Bay continues to sit on $1 million dollars, a grant which they received to during my administration. This is that was to be used to make bicycling safer and, what's more, to enable people to use public transportation and take a bicycle for the first and last mile of public transportation. It would also help students to bicycle to Southwood Middle School. Is Palmetto Bay going to use this grant? Or should it be returned so that it can be awarded to another local government that we can trust to keep promises made. 

Fair Question: WILL PALMETTO BAY SQUANDER A $1 MILLION GRANT RECEIVED FOR ROADS?


SUPPORT VERSUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS. It is easy to wave a flag in support. The hard part is actually delivering solutions. I suggest that this current Palmetto Bay Village Council, Charter Officers and Staff take a look at policy set to date by prior administrations, specifically Resolution 2017-67,  (sponsored by then Mayor Eugene Flinn) wherein the Village Council unanimously adopted  Miami-Dade County’s “Complete Streets Guidelines” and directed that these guidelines should be incorporated into the planning, design, approval, and implementation processes for any construction, reconstruction, retrofit, maintenance, alteration, or repair of streets, bridges, or other portions of the transportation network, including pavement resurfacing, restriping, and signalization operations if the safety and convenience of all types of users (i.e., pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transit riders, including children, youth, families, older adults, and individuals with disabilities) can be improved within the scope of the work.

CONCLUDING STATEMENT:  I make no apologies for the passion and venting of frustration. People are dying - all types - parents, grandparents, sons, daughters, friends and neighbors. Yes, some are sportsters; but many of these victims were simply traveling on a short commute by bike to or from work, riding to school or a friends house, or otherwise simply on a leisurely ride, but all were in the very wrong place at a very wrong time.  So spare me the celebration of yet another public photo op forum. I am demanding implementation, that promises be kept.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Don't miss it. Bike305- Bike the Wild Side at Zoo Miami. Saturday, July 18th

I am posting a wonderful family inclusive event. Bike305's: Bike the Wild Side at Zoo Miami is set for Saturday, July 18th (Check-in starting at 4:30 p.m. Ride starts at 6 p.m.). This installment offers a safe and enjoyable experience for guests, all while following CDC recommended guidelines.

Now is the time to request your tickets as this event always fills up fast – and there is a limited number of tickets for this family Bike305 'Bike the Wild Side' event at Zoo Miami.  Guided by the talented Zoo Miami staff, groups of 9 cyclists will be led on a leisurely ride around the zoo for approximately 3 miles. Each group will have the opportunity to stop and learn about the habits and habitats of some of the animals, with special appearances from life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. Don't miss this one of a kind opportunity to see Zoo Miami in a whole new way!

It doesn’t get more family friendly, cuter than this!

CLICK HERE for more information and tickets

*Masks are required to participate. Masks must be worn at registration and at all stops along the route. However, they may be temporarily removed while bike riding.*

Note- There is a charge for this event: $20 for ages 13 to adult. $15 for 12 and younger. Bring your own bike or rent one at the event (must pre-register rental for an additional $15 per rental. Please review the official site to review and confirm all prices and details.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Harsh Impact - Gov. DeSantis vetoes $1 billion from state budget. Palmetto Bay loses the entire $100K appropriation

Palmetto Bay's next budget became an even bigger challenge for this upcoming budget year. The line item veto pen was glowing RED and the cuts were deep. 

This is why you never count your legislative chickens before the budget is signed. Many eggs were broken by Gov. DeSantis to make the current state budget omelet as Gov. DeSantis vetoed $1 billion from state budget due to the COVID created crisis that significant cut State tax revenue. 


The two year scorecard:
Zero received -  $ 1,790,800 requested by Palmetto Bay officials sought in 2019 for 3 projects.

Zero received -  $ 3,245,900 requested by Palmetto Bay officials requested in 2020 for 3 projects.

CLICK HERE to view the 2020 Veto Report. Palmetto Bay's budget veto is listed on page 11 (of 18 total pages)

From the 2020 Veto List:
Page#  Line    Item     Description                                                                              Amount vetoed 
  11        1635   A 114    Palmetto Bay Sub-Basin 61 Construction (HB 3461)       $100,000.00

IMPACT - No stormwater money for this upcoming budget year. No assistance of any type from Tallahassee for this upcoming 2020-21 Palmetto Bay budget. A realistic assessment will need to be made as to what the carry over impact will be for the next legislative session. Costs for legislative travel and lobbyists should not be underwritten by the Village taxpayers if there is no expectation of obtaining assistance. 0-2 doesn't bode well for year 3 of this current mayor and council.

PENDING  Costs to Palmetto Bay taxpayers for legislative items last two years
$ ZERO       State appropriations granted to Palmetto Bay through legislative travel to Tallahassee for the same last two years.

The Tool Box - prior relevant posts:


May 15, 2020, 

May 14, 2020, 

April 13, 2020,

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Why I ride - enjoying nature on a bike ride. Dora's Gravel Explorers Ride 6 23 2020 Deer



I missed this ride. I wish I hadn't. The Gravel rides are quite interesting. Let me know if you'd like information on how to join in the rides.

Here is another video from this same ride (same deer, different angle):



PRIOR RELATED POST: 

Gravel riding - Saturday, June 20, 2020. Another pictorial history of why I bike. Where I let the pictures tell the story of another great gravel ride - this one with a small (socially distanced) group along the Tamiami Trail just west of 137th Avenue. This ride occurred on Saturday, June 20, 2020.




Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Breaking News - Third DCA Reverses and Remands the LUXCOM case back to the trial court for further proceedings

“Reversed and remanded” – the decision of the 3 judge panel from the Third District Court of Appeal in the opinion released today, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in the appeal of  Yacht Club by Luxcom, LLC, vs. Village of Palmetto Bay, No. 3D19-1495, June 24, 2020 

The Judges concluded that Yacht Club’s complaint, seeking a declaration as to the validity of two provisions of the Village’s code, states a cause of action for declaratory relief under chapter 86. The Judge of the Third District therefore, reversed the trial court’s dismissal order and remand for further proceedings.  In other words - unless there is a change of heart in a motion for rehearing, this matter goes back to the trial court for more litigation.

Note that this opinion is not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing, if one is filed.

CLICK HERE to view the full eight (8) page order rendered Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

I will dive deeper into this order as time permits, but I wanted to get the information relating to this case and its immediate impact to my readers.

EDITOR’S NOTE – BOTTOM LINE – it’s the process employed –using an ordinance - and not any notice or failure to timely notice by any member of the village staff.  From my review, it is my opinion that this matter should have gone to a proper zoning hearing rather than political posturing and acting though an ordinance.
The Court:
While we express no opinion on the merits of Yacht Club’s claim, we have little difficulty concluding that the claim, as pled by Yacht Club, is cognizable under chapter 86. Section 86.021, in particular, provides in relevant part as follows: “Any person . . . whose rights . . . are affected by a statute, . . . or by municipal ordinance . . . may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under such statute . . . [or] municipal ordinance.” § 86.021, Fla. Stat. (2019). 
The proposed ordinances – essentially initiated by an agenda notice rather than an application – would change the allowed uses of property owned by Yacht Club. If the challenged provisions of sections 30-30.7(a) and 30-30.8(a) are invalid, as alleged, because they run afoul of the requirements of section 163.3181, then presumably the Village’s proposed ordinances would need to be initiated by application. Because Yacht Club’s rights are affected by the process that the Village is currently employing to initiate land use changes to Yacht Club’s property, Yacht Club’s claim – alleging an injury sufficient to warrant redress – is ripe for adjudication ….
More to come 

Yet another car v bike conflict along the Old Cutler Trail – a multi-use path, not a dedicated bike lane.

I have personally witnessed numerous motor vehicle v. bicyclist accidents along the Old Cutler Trail - accidents at the entrance of Thalatta Estate, the library and at the commercial strip just north of SW 168th Street (where the 6/24/2020 incident occurred). Drivers are watching for cars on the roadway. Pedestrians can stop with the next step, but cyclists travelling anywhere from 12-20 MPH cannot.



Palmetto Bay Police 4 units and MDFR Truck 62 responded to a cyclist struck along Old Cutler Road, just north of SW 168th Street. The Cyclist was using the multi-path - known as the Old Cutler Trail

The Old Cutler Trail is not a protected bike lane. Too few are willing to acknowledge that the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver under the Laws of the State of Florida (see Florida Statutes, Chapter 316.2065 Bicycle regulations.—). Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. 

Predictability is a huge factor in preventing accidents. Drivers look for the oncoming motor vehicles before they make turns. Cyclists on a multi-path are often far from the focused field of vision for motor vehicle drivers, especially if the cyclist is riding on a multi-path in a direction that is counter to the direction of the lane it is adjacent to (e.g. riding southbound on the Old Cutler Path, which is adjacent to the north bound lane of traffic on Old Cutler Road). Cyclists are often obscured by these vehicles and have moved into the path of the vehicle by the time the oncoming traffic has cleared.

The bottom line is that a multi-path is not a protected bike lane and anyone who thinks these paths are “safer” than bike lanes are fooling themselves (and putting people at risk). The accident today is not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, many are slight conflicts (thankfully) and therefore are not even reported.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day 2020

I want to wish a very Happy Father’s Day this Sunday to all fathers and grandfathers and those who fill the role of Dad, who live, work, play, or raise their family here in and around our communities.

Father’s Day is a day to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers. A special Father’s Day wish goes out to the families who are separated due to military service, especially overseas

“Fun Facts” relating to Father’s Day:

The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

Father's Day is the fifth most popular card-sending holiday, with an estimated $100 million in card sales. Husbands, grandfathers, uncles, sons and sons-in-law are honored as well as father.

Neck ties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are the number one gift for Father’s Day.


See History.com for additional history on Father's Day.
 

2 Fun quote for this year:   

Stanley T. Banks; (Character, movie - Father of the Bride (1991):
You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You're her oracle. You're her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you're in a constant state of panic.


Kid Rock (musician):
Being a father helps me be more responsible... you see more things than you've ever seen. 

Happy Father’s Day! 




 Enjoy the YouTube videos - both from the movie "Parenthood."

 

Gravel riding - Saturday, June 20, 2020. Another pictorial history of why I bike.

Another installment of why I bike. I will let the pictures tell the story of another great gravel ride - this one with a small (socially distanced) group along the Tamiami Trail just west of 137th Avenue. This ride occurred on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
And, by the way, the group saw deer ๐ŸฆŒ , box turtles , ๐Ÿข lots of birds , ๐Ÿฆ… gators ๐ŸŠ and a boar ๐Ÿ—






Friday, June 19, 2020

Back pedaling. Palmetto Bay - has relinquished its honorable mention as a bicycle friendly community.

I have blogged on this topic several times. Now the Miami Herald as taken notice, see: Bike lanes to nowhere: Miami lags behind other cities during coronavirus bicycling boom, by Linda Robertson, 6/18/2020, noting that:
A bicycling boom has swept the world, propelled by the coronavirus pandemic. Cities have reacted to plummeting traffic by creating new bike lanes and connecting old ones for workers needing an alternative to subways and buses, for stir-crazy families and for people running errands, seeking exercise or visiting friends.
  ***   ***   ***Just when bike infrastructure is in high demand, nothing is happening in a metropolis consistently ranked as one of the deadliest places in the country for cyclists, an audit by Transit Alliance Miami found. A 10-block stretch of Ocean Drive in South Beach is the only street in greater Miami that’s been completely closed to cars in response to the pandemic, mainly to relieve crowding in Lummus Park and enable socially distanced dining.
As reported in the Herald, South Florida leaders have not designated new bike lanes and continue to let old bike master plans that map out a cycling network languish on the shelf. So let’s take a look at what has happened since the change in administrations here in Palmetto Bay:

Why have long term strategic plans if elected officials are going to ignore them? We all realize that new mayors, new councils, bring with them new policies and priorities. Sometimes change is good and sometimes it is shortsighted. Regardless, there should be room for bike/motorist safety with this current mayor and Council. The mixed messages delivered during the election are being sorted out through ongoing actions (and in-action).  Please see my prior post of November 21, 2018, relating to the $1,000,000 TAP grant obtained for bike lane safety improvements on SW 82nd Avenue. It is decision time: Bike lanes or not, safe streets or not.  Follow through with the Palmetto Bay Traffic Master Plan and Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan or not? Do you know what has happened since that time? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Bike lanes are important, both for the safety of the cyclists as well as providing additional lane space for motorists.


38 PLACES RECOGNIZED WITH A BICYCLE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY AWARD
BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA
BICYCLE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY
by Amelia Neptune

As more Americans turn to biking during the pandemic, the League of American Bicyclists honors the communities across the country making biking better for everyone 

The League of American Bicyclists honored 38 places with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award in its Spring 2020 round of awards. There were eight first-time applicants earning Honorable Mentions. The 38 first-time communities join 482 total BFC awardees in the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.  I will spoil the anticipation – Palmetto Bay is off the list. (CLICK HERE to view the list of 482 exclusive communities)
 “Undeniably, during the pandemic more Americans are biking to get around and to experience the joy that comes with being on a bike ,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “The League is proud to recognize  these Bicycle Friendly Communities where leaders, both in government and advocacy, have committed to building better places for people to ride, whether they are new or seasoned. Bringing the joy of biking to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds is at the core of the mission of the League, and these Bicycle Friendly Communities are doing just that.”
All those families riding Palmetto Bay – and yet their efforts are not supported by our local mayor and village council. Sad. And out of touch.

We were once on our way to completing the Palmetto Bay Bicycle and Pedestrian master plan - a professional strategic plan for roadway safety. That is now off track and the talk among some professionals is whether Palmetto Bay is going to turn back $1 Million in current awarded grants as well as forgoing future roadway grants. Go back to the Palmetto Bay Strategic Plan (approved February 2019 - under this current mayor and council) and search "bicycle" - look how many times it is mentioned. Compare talk versus action. Promises versus delivery. 

The League of American Bicyclists had once listed Palmetto Bay as an "honorable mention" for re-starting efforts to address the need of bicyclists in our community. 

Communities that earn an Honorable Mention are recognized for a year. These communities are recognized for starting efforts to address the need of bicyclists in their community. They often have popular shared use paths, community-wide bicycling events, or recent bicycle planning processes. Over 100 communities that originally earned an Honorable Mention have gone on to be awarded a Bronze designation or better.
Please see my prior post of December 5, 2017, Palmetto Bay earned an honorable mention as a bicycle friendly community.

Now it appears that we are no longer a listed community. Good work squandered.


And, by the way, Miami-Dade County is listed as a Bronze community.  Palmetto Bay has officially sunk below Miami-Dade County on this issue!  Who remained and moved up on the list? City of Miami, Village of Key Biscayne, Doral, Miami-Dade County, South Miami, Miami Beach and Miami Shores are all communities that have moved up to Bronze or Silver certification. We, Palmetto Bay, was once with or even ahead of these communities.


This while the City of Miami was recently Awarded Bronze as a Bicycle Friendly Community, recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as having made significant progress since last year's recognition as a Honorable Mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The City of Miami will continue to expand its bicycle network and work to create a safer more bicycle friendly atmosphere.  Meanwhile, what is Palmetto Bay's next steps toward updating its traffic infrastructure and promoting alternative and healthier methods of travel within our Village. I will be covering this matter throughout my blogs. We have bike safety issues throughout the village. Palmetto Bay was working through issues on 82nd Avenue, SW 136th Street, SW 168th Street as well as Old Cutler Road.


Palmetto Bay families enjoy bicycling. Its family time.  See just one example: A great start - the inaugural "Bike By The Bay" - Saturday, October 17, 2015


Will Palmetto Bay relinquish its title to #TheBikeDistrict?  Bicycling Palmetto Bay has been a large part of our character and has been integrated into many of our events such as our Earth Week celebrations:



CLICK HERE to view my prior posts relating to bicycling in our Palmetto Bay community.

CLICK HERE to see the entire list posted online by the League of American Bicyclists. 


Monday, June 15, 2020

Ominous clouds of development – Southland mall in foreclosure and therefore in play. What will be and will it be for better or for worse? It could be spectacular or spectacularly bad.

Southland Mall – the expect demise is not making many happy. Cutler Ridge / Southland Mall has been home to dinner / movie night for many of us, but this mall has not been thriving for quite some time. Sorry to see this mall go in the present form, as it has some good restaurants and a great, convenient movie theater. Who remembers Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s? What anchors remain there are ghosts of prior selves: Sears and JC Penny’s. Other current large anchor tenants include TJ Maxx, Regal Cinemas and LA Fitness.

Southland Mall, formerly known as Cutler Ridge Mall, opened in 1960. It was renovated in 2005. It was originally hammered by Hurricane Andrew. The Coronavirus pandemic merely hastened this current sad situation where the mall has now gone into foreclosure – see “The Real Deal” online south Florida real estate news: Wells Fargo seeks to foreclose on Southland Mall in Cutler Bay, TRD MIAMI / June 09, 2020, by Keith Larsen

Also see Miami Herald online: Investors foreclose on Southland Mall in Cutler Bay for defaulting on payment, by Rene Rodriguez and Rebecca San Juan, June 10, 2020.

The lawsuit alleges the mall owner, Investcorp, defaulted on its debt payments in April. 

Something is going to happen at the Southland Mall site. The question is what and how much.

The Word On The Street: “Major players” are circling looking at obtaining it to tear down and build to the standards set up in Cutler Bay planning code.

Existing Property rights: For this site is 20 story max – 5,500 unit density (or Palmetto Bay’s entire DUV on a single site in Cutler Bay). Plus commercial. I also note that this Southland site is contained within a unified parcel. The above does not include the Macy’s and Sears parcels which have their own density, which I believe is up to 250 units per acre in what Cutler Bay code considers to be the core area.

Fair Questions? I wonder if the former unsolicited bid group – the $72 Million entertainment district group will appear at Southland?

IMPACT: (discussed below – overall, for Cutler Bay and for Palmetto Bay)

Overall: This will impact the bus lanes – the councils of Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay should join together and renew a push for the metrorail extension, rather than continue to acquiesce on the shinier, better bus (BRT). This is why metrorail should be extended at least down to 211th (adjacent to the Southland property). This could be a true Transit Oriented Development (TOD). AN opportunity missed and another example as to how there is little vision paid to the real future needs for transit in South Miami-Dade.

For Cutler Bay: A potential entertainment district destination for their town, their residents. Road impact fees and an increase in ad valorum taxes that can be used to enhance their town and address traffic issues. The Town Council could possibly extract assistance from any applicant to address traffic issues that impact Cutler Bay.

For Palmetto Bay:  US1 is at a standstill which will be made worse. The promise of the BRT may have all the same impact as the general promise of the ½ cent transportation sales tax – in other words – not much. The reality may end up being further traffic diversion off US1 east to 87 Avenue and Old Cutler Road. Bridge? No doubt. The Character of ‘old’  87 avenue transforming from neighborhood roads to a 4 lane surface highway as we have in Doral south through to Westchester. There will be no road impact fees or increase in village ad valorum taxes that can be used to enhance Palmetto Bay or to address any new traffic issues.

What properties are included in this foreclosure and which will be involved in any redevelopment? I reviewed the property records posted online with Miami-Dade County. These appear to be the relevant properties:

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 1 - 36-6007-020-0020 - 671,239 Sq.Ft.
Listed owner: SOUTHLAND MALL PROPERTIES LLC

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 2 - 36-6007-020-0030 -  85,973 Sq.Ft.
Listed owner: SOUTHLAND MALL PROPERTIES LLC

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 3 - 36-6007-020-0040 -  81,415 Sq.Ft.
Listed owner: SOUTHLAND MALL PROPERTIES LLC

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 4 - 36-6007-020-0010 - 146,658 Sq.Ft.
Listed owner: ALL STORES REALTY CORP

CUTLER RIDGE MALL Unplatted - 36-6007-000-0546 - 193,422 Sq.Ft
Listed owner: SERITAGE SRC FINANCE LLC

CLICK HERE to access the folder where I have posted .PDF print outs of the above property records.

Note that this list appears not to include the outparcels along US1 (including the Arby's and Olive Garden restaurants)  Nor does it include the Mercedes dealership or the two office buildings (the former Town Hall site).

The bottom line: Get a head of this before it has an opportunity to overwhelm us. Are the current officials up to the challenges? Believe me, this site, done properly or not, clearly has the potential to profoundly change both Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay. The question is will it be for better or worse?


The irony - the Southland carousel (pictured above).  Many years of good fun for kids, but now Southland is going to get South Dade started on the next go-round relating to density. Hop on.