Monday, January 13, 2020

Palmetto Bay - salvage what you can before the door actually closes on the traffic circle for 174 and 87th Avenue

Experience matters as does maturity. It is time for Palmetto Bay to move forward on the Traffic Circle – and this should be done before the 4-way stop signs are removed and the “do not block the box (intersection)" paint is placed on 87 avenue. This change is currently scheduled for January 17, 2020 - just days from this post. The Palmetto Bay lawsuit seeking injunctive relief is not going anywhere and it will go nowhere – at least anywhere productive. 

It is easy for our current members of the Palmetto Bay Village Council to talk tough and hide behind a lawsuit. It is harder to make the right choice, even if it is far from an easy choice. After all, bad litigation allows Mayor Cunningham and the Village Council to scapegoat; to blame the courts for the adverse rulings or others (and boy, does this current mayor and council love to sit back and do nothing but delay and point fingers at others!). 

The facts:
  • The County basically ignored the lawsuit, VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY, FLORIDA VS MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, case number 019-031036-CA-01, case filed 10/18/2019.
  • The lawsuit was very weak, particularly as the alleged facts “verified” (sworn to on the complaint filed) by Karyn Cunningham where she verified unsupported allegations made in the lawsuit that were not based upon an actual traffic expert. Not that this would have made a big difference, but it would have provided something of substance for a Judge to consider at an initial hearing for a preliminary injunction.
  • There were obviously no grounds for a preliminary injunction (something that would have alleviated the need for pre-suit dispute resolution and allowed for the injunction - until the case can progress on the merits). The current Village Attorney has not even seen fit to file anything with the court post conflict resolution meeting of 12/12/2019.
  • The County pushed back hard at the Dispute resolution conference. (see letter pictured here) and see: January 7, 2020, South Dade Updates Guest Blog- view of the 12/12/2019 Palmetto Bay / Miami-Dade County conflict resolution proceeding
  • Palmetto Bay officials have all but admitted to the fact that this lawsuit is baseless, which can be argued by the fact that the current village attorney has not filing anything with the court to advise that the conflict meeting was held and seeking the injunction to prevent removal of the signs currently scheduled for this week, January 17, 2020. The lawsuit simply sits there, untended, which is a reflection of how useless a tool this suit is to force the county to maintain the 4-way stop.

    Here is the short version, cutting to the chase, as to what was offered at this meeting of 12/12/2019:

Miami-Dade County officials offered to do 1 of 2 things:

1.  Remove the stop signs and paint a "do not block" (the "box") at the intersection, (see posted pictures for an example) or 
2.  Miami-Dade County will fund and install a traffic circle at 174 and 87th Avenue.

It is time for Mayor Cunningham and, if not her, the others on the village council to face reality and take some action based upon the facts and not their political pandering. 

THE FACT – there is a resolution ready and waiting. The County’s offer of to fund and build a traffic circle at 174 and 87th Avenue is still available – if Cunningham and Co gets out of the way and allows the proper response to the dangerous intersection. My advice to them: ‘when in a hole (and mayor, you are deep in this hole) STOP DIGGING!’ See Law of Holes.

I originally asked this question on December 12, 2019, and nothing good has happened over the month relative to this issue:

FAIR QUESTION: How do our village officials feel their aggressive negotiation through threats and litigation is proceeding, is it effective so far?  Does Mayor Cunningham feel that this process will provide the results worth the probable negative impact on joint projects planned for other areas of Palmetto Bay?  Will we need to litigate all these projects?

TRAFFIC RELIEF PLANS ARE GLOBALLY ON HOLD: Planned traffic relief set for implementation in early 2019 has come to a screeching halt – Malbrook, 152/77th Area, Old Cutler Road (south of 168th), Farmers Road/Old Cutler North, bike lanes for SW 136 Street (morphing to an enlarged sidewalk solely borne by Palmetto Bay residents), as well as the right turn lane on Ludlum, turning right onto eastbound Old Cutler Road – all currently off the rails. See October 17, 2018, Update on Palmetto Bay Traffic Projects - and further updates will be posted as available 


Grassroots government: INTERESTING POINT – unique to local government. This current Palmetto Bay Village Council has created another first – a local government where the County Mayor and other County Officials get more done through meeting with involved residents than the current elected officials. Not a good sign for anyone looking for any relevance of results from Palmetto Bay officials.

Perhaps this credibility gap is caused by Palmetto Bay officials negotiating and reaching 'agreements' only to renege on that promise (as occurred when the traffic  circle and other projects agreed to were voted down by the village council). 

Again, this litigation will go nowhere productive. Dismiss it and allow Miami-Dade County to fund and install a traffic circle at 174 and 87th Avenue.

The choice (far from 'Sophie's choice')
as demonstrated through photos below (but it may be more of a 'Hobson's choice').

Photos above demonstrate the options for Palmetto Bay on 87th Av at 174:
"Do Not Block" paint versus landscaped traffic circle. Which looks and performs better?

PAST RELEVANT POSTS – the ‘toolbox’ on this issue. 

January 7, 2020, What is next for traffic management in Palmetto Bay. I missed a report if there was one on Jan 6. Where is the plan?

January 3, 2020, Waiting for Palmetto Bay’s official response – Cutler Bay site alleges that the 174/87th 4 way stop to be removed January 17. Where is the announcement, what about the lawsuit? - There is just no other way to say it - Mayor Cunningham and the Village Council tell you only what they want you to know. You need to look elsewhere for most information. 

December 5, 2019, Meeting noticed: Conflict Assessment Meeting set in Village of Palmetto Bay vs. Miami-Dade County, Florida, for 2:00 PM, Thursday, December 12, 2019, at Village Hall, as well as:

October 25, 2019, Thoughts on the most recent litigation FILED by the village: Good faith or is this a less than good faith attempt to avoid a deal that the Mayor and Council had no authority to make?

December 10, 2019, Agenda for the Conflict Resolution/Mediation set for 2:00 PM, Thursday, 12/12/19. Agenda includes public comment. Should you/must you go to state your position. Fair questions in advance.
November 20, 2019, Litigation Update. Court approves agreement between Palmetto Bay & Miami-Dade County to stay proceedings pending exhaustion of conflict resolution procedures

We all are waiting to see how this plays out. We could have at least had a traffic circle, funded by Miami-Dade County. We will now, as things stand now, have the "Do Not Block The Box" paint. Hardly as effective, but that is just my opinion.

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