Saturday, July 31, 2021

Follow up - DTPW rejects request of the Palmetto Bay mayor and council: rejects the use of golf carts along the OCR (Old Cutler Road) shared use path.

Keeping you in the loop. Nothing has been reported from the village, but here is follow up, the rest of the story, of the resolution by the Village of Palmetto Bay to study the feasibility of allowing motorized golf carts to use the county's Old Cutler Trail, a shared use path. In short, the Miami-Dade County Transportation & Public Works Department (DTPW) issued this response: 

"The path is not designed or warranted for the use of golf carts. After reviewing the request DTPW does not recommend the use of golf carts along the OCR (Old Cutler Road) shared use path."

The DTPW specifically cited Florida Department of Transportation standards saying:

"...the conflicts between the golf carts and the shared use path users (pedestrian and bikers) would create significant safety and operational problems..."

Per the EBC Vice President / Executive Board Member posted on Facebook

This is a big win for cyclists and pedestrians in Miami-Dade County. Thank you MDTPW for your wise decision!

There has been no word whether the Palmetto Bay Policing unit will enforce the no motorized vehicle rule on the Shared Use Path (which is not a bike lane).

Friday, July 30, 2021

Official release from MDCPS - - Anticipated COVID-19 Protocols for 2021-2022 School Year

Official media release from Miami-Dade County Public Schools relating to COVID-19 protocol for the upcoming (2021-2022) school year

CLICK HERE to view the official MDPS web page specific to this information.

The District expects in-person schooling, as recommended by the CDC, with guidelines including but not limited to:

·               Facial coverings will be required on buses. The wearing of facial coverings and social distancing outdoors while students wait for the bus will be a parental responsibility; however, both will be encouraged.

·               Social distancing will be in place in cafeterias and alternate dining venues will be used when possible.

·               A health screening room in all schools.

·               Heightened cleaning and sanitization protocols in place on buses, school campuses, and District offices. Personal hygiene behavior, including frequent hand-washing and the use of hand sanitizing stations will continue to be encouraged.

·               Improved air technology, such as purifiers, ionization systems, and upgraded A/C units.

·               Increased amount of outdoor fresh air coming into our school buildings.

·               HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems will run at maximum outside airflow for two hours before and after school buildings are occupied.

·               Instead of quarantining entire classes or departments, the quarantine process will focus on individuals directly impacted by a potential exposure due to the availability of better science and data.

For those parents who wish to continue virtual schooling, Miami-Dade Online and Miami-Dade Virtual are two options offered at M-DCPS. For more information, visit or

M-DCPS strongly encourages all eligible students and employees to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus prior to the start of the new school year. For vaccination opportunities, visit

As this is an evolving situation, M-DCPS will keep you informed and provide updates as they become available. Our District has a later start date than most other Florida school districts, and we will use this later start date to our advantage as we continue to make decisions that prioritize the health of our students and employees. 

For the most up-to-date information, please download the Dadeschools Mobile App to your iPhone or Android device. Follow us on Twitter @mdcps and @miamisup, on Instagram @miamischools and @miamisup, and on Facebook at MiamiSchools and AlbertoCarvalho.

Weekender - POD - Morning Glory awesomeness – Pictures of the day

Just for fun, enjoying some photos from my eldest daughter of her Morning Glories.

Our oldest daughter planted morning glories with the goal of attracting golden tortoise beetles to their yard. Planted morning glories specifically to attract golden tortoise beetles. It worked! And they responded by showing up! Her opinion? “They’re awesome.” See PRIOR RELATED POST of June 25, 2021, Weekender: The GOLDEN TORTOISE BEETLE: pest or fun outdoor curiosity? Pic and description

Enjoy the awesomeness.

Have a great weekend.

Your friend and neighbor,

Eugene Flinn

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Introducing the Caecilians, a newly discovered non-native species to our South Florida environment.

Yet another non-native appears to be settling into South Florida ecosystem. There are reports of a very strange, ‘noodle-shaped amphibian’ known as “caecilians”  (pronounced “Sicilians”) having been found in the Tamiami Canal. South Florida appears to be the area in the United States where this animal has been documented, according to a new report from the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville and as reported in the Miami Herald. It was reported by the Miami Herald that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers recently came upon this specimen about a mile south of Miami International Airport.  According to the Herald, The aquatic, limbless, worm-like animals belong to an ancient order of amphibians that has been around since even before the dinosaurs.

Information below is taken from Florida Museum online, Weird, noodle-shaped amphibians known as caecilians found in South Florida canal, by Natalie van Hoose, July 28, 2021:

Caecilians have arrived in Miami. Florida Fish and Wildlife biologists captured one of the obscure legless amphibians in the Tamiami Canal, the first example of an introduced caecilian in the U.S.

Florida Museum of Natural History scientists used DNA testing to identify the specimen as the Rio Cauca caecilian, Typhlonectes natans, a native of Colombia and Venezuela. While caecilians – pronounced like “Sicilians” – hunt and scavenge various kinds of small animals, museum experts say it’s too early to predict their potential impact on the local ecosystem.

“Very little is known about these animals in the wild, but there’s nothing particularly dangerous about them, and they don’t appear to be serious predators,” said Coleman Sheehy, Florida Museum’s herpetology collection manager. “They’ll probably eat small animals and get eaten by larger ones. This could be just another non-native species in the South Florida mix.”

Editor's comment: Regardless of its impact, I am sure it is another non-native that we can do without. 

I invite you to read the entire article. Links provided above and below.

The Miami Herald has also covered this discovery, article available to Miami Herald subscribers (paywall): Welcome to Miami? A weird-looking, noodle-shaped animal was just found in a canal, by Madeleine Marr, JULY 28, 2021 

Photo credit – photo from the Florida Museum article only, original credit, “photo courtesy of Noah Mueller”

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Awaiting verification - if proven, will you be scheduling a third dose? Will a 3rd dose increase your COVID antibody levels 5 to 11 fold?

Note: the following information is for discussion only. Make your own decisions. Many have refused vaccinations even in the face of a recent COVID surge of the Delta variant. So what can we do to add to our protection?

Is a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine in order? Pfizer appears to be steering the discussion in that direction. Note the following is Pfizer information; I have not seen any information that the CDC or other independent bodies have considered or commented on the information presented below. You can read the Pfizer power point - CLICK HERE.

5-fold for those 18-55? Pfizer has posted data online suggesting that antibody levels against the Delta variant in people ages 18 to 55 who receive a third dose of vaccine are greater than five-fold than following a second dose.

An 11 fold increase for those 65 to 85? Among people ages 65 to 85, the Pfizer data suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant after receiving a third dose of vaccine are greater than 11-fold than following a second dose.

But what about the “’tweeners”, those aged 56 to 64???

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE – that the company data has not yet been peer-reviewed or published.

This information is put out in order to stimulate additional consideration of how to best protect yourself and loved ones during this COVID pandemic.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Partial clean up. Update on the trashing of the FPL easement property

Irate neighbors demanded action and immediate clean up othe FPL easement property (under the powerlines that run between SW 140th and 141st Streets East of SW 77th Avenue). 

This debris should never have been dumped there in the first place. Where does the buck stop? With our mayor and council. How does our village team of charter officers, code enforcement and village policing unit think this would wait for complaints?
(Partial clean up. Photos above & below - condition of the FPL easement area as of 5 PM, Monday, 7/26/2021)
Sources report that the complaints were numerous as well as justifiably loud, driving an immediate (but overdue) reaction from village officials who suddenly became aware and concerned. (Do any of the village officials ever tour the village over weekends?)

Clean up started late in the afternoon of Monday, July 26, 2021, and will continue into Tuesday, until complete.  I was provided photographs of the state of clean up as of 5 PM Monday, 7/26.
We trust that this debris will be removed and the area full restored by close of business day on Tuesday, July 27.

Let this be a lesson. Village officials should take action to prevent similar dumping in the future.

What a difference a change in administration makes - Palmetto Bay update. Why make it a park when it serves well as a debris dumping ground?

Here is an update on the FPL easement property (under the powerlines that run between SW 140th and 141st Streets East of SW 77th Avenue). Is it passive park? No, it appears to be serving as a debris staging site. My initial thought is whether Village officials are looking the other way while residents suffer a violation of their rights guaranteed under the Palmetto Bay Neighborhood Protection Charter section. I discuss this at the bottom of this post.
But first, please tell me that this is not the best use for this property as envisioned by the current mayor and village council. 

There were much better ideas.  Here is the vision that Palmetto Bay and residents participating in the Palmetto Bay Parks Master Plan process had for this property while I was mayor:
Please be mindful that the above was a concept, far from a done deal, as we want to involve the neighbors in the process. 

But seriously, which use do you prefer? And, BTW, fair questions: Should this debris be secured with a environmental barrier as well as a safety fence? Prior administration thought this land better suited for a park. Do you want to see kids playing on this debris pile?

A Parks Master Plan process was being held in 2018. While serving as your mayor, my vision for this property was a passive park.  See a PRIOR RELATED POST of May 23, 2018, Update on the Parks Master Plan process. Next visioning session is set for Sat. June 2, at 9:00 AM at OCPC. This prior post should serve to document the past process, past plans, as well as what a difference a new administration makes. 

WHERE DOES THIS DEBRIS ORIGINATE? - neighbors that I have communicated with believe that this debris comes from the SW 136th Street MEGA sidewalk project. No one really knows as no one from the Village provided advance notice of the coming debris dump to the residents of the residents of SW 140th Street

This project was designed by Palmetto Bay, but is also a joint project involving Miami-Dade County and Pinecrest. Palmetto Bay allowed the bike lanes to be removed, but agreed to create an 8 to 10 foot shared use path solely on the Palmetto Bay side. So not only does Pinecrest save more trees, not only does Pinecrest not have to shoulder the burden of a loss of right of way, but Palmetto Bay residents appear to be left holding the bag for debris staging.

Debris field or a passive park? You decide how this new direction is going for Palmetto Bay.

My recommendations - Clean it up. Take the SW 136 debris immediately to its final location. Don't burden the residents of SW 140th Street with such unsightly and potentially harmful debris. 

What happened to the protection of Palmetto Bay residents voted un under the Neighborhood Protection Amendment to the Village Charter?

All Single-family residential properties shall be protected from the negative impacts of adjacent or nearby non-single-family-residential uses.

10.2.1 All non-single-family-residential developments, structures, or use (that is/are a direct or indirect result of that development, structure, or use) in, adjacent to, or nearby any single-family zoned properties shall not disrupt or degrade the health, safety, tranquility, character, and overall welfare of the adjacent or nearby single-family residential properties by creating negative impacts on those properties such as density, intensity, noise, light, glare, dust, odor, vibration, traffic or run off that exceeds that of adjacent single-family properties. Nothing herein should be construed or applied to abrogate the vested rights of a property owner. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Fun times - a local "metric century" ride for the special birthday ride

Again, It’s a bike thing, so non-cyclists may not get it. I rode what is known as a metric century – that’s 100, but kilometers, not miles.  A metric century is 62.125 miles. My 2021 event total was 62.53 miles taking me north from Palmetto Bay into Pinecrest, Coral Gables, South Miami with a return back south through Cutler Bay, into unincorporated Miami-Dade (Black Point Park) before returning home. It was a 4 hour plus ride.

As I posted Friday, a common cyclist birthday ritual is to ride one’s age in miles. This is easy, a waste of time actually, in one’s twenties and thirties. The ritual really doesn’t begin until the age begins to represent a challenging ride. Many cyclists older than me regularly ride 60, 70, even 100 mile rides.

The rules for the birthday bike ride: The rules? There are no firm rules other than get out and ride. Gravel or road. Ultra distance, chill ride or in between. Group or solo. In civilization or out in nature. But I draw the line at special bike decorations for a birthday ride. No way! My streak of undecorated bike stands for at least another year.

Me < 62.  Obviously I am not 62, not yet – at least for a few more years. The alligators jaws still point away from my age and open to 62. 

Maybe next year I will travel to ride a new route, another bicycle tourism event. I look forward to it.

Friday, July 23, 2021

The birthday ride 2021. What, where will it be? Why I ride. Just ride.

Every time I see that it’s someone’s birthday, I’ll usually post my wishes to them on social media. If they are a cyclist, I’ll ask if did or will partake in a birthday ride. It is interesting to hear what rituals people have on their special day.

The most popular response was for people to ride the amount of miles that equals their age.  That goal was much easier in my 20s and 30s. But hey, I need to keep it up. Age is just a number for some, and I try to not to get too concerned over it. 

It’s a bike thing, so non-cyclists may not get it.

I don’t have a consistent ritual for my yearly birthday ride, but I tend to do something out of the ordinary so as to make it memorable.  I have gone long distance, or even better, travel and rode some exotic (for me) location. Then sometimes, it is a local ride that allows me to chill and spend time in nature.

I still have not decided as to the plan in store for this year, but all I know is that it involves at least one more mile than last year. 

Remember, there are no rules other than ride and enjoy your ride.

So what about you?  What are your birthday riding (or other) rituals?

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Florida City testing use of Tesla vehicles into their Freebee fleet. Your thoughts?

Florida City just introduced Freebee service using Tesla electric vehicles. Palmetto Bay officials discussed this at a Committee of the Whole Workshop (COW) held on October 20, 2020.

What do you think of adding the expense of Tesla? Does it take a Tesla to get you out of your personal car for short trips and into a shared ride service intra-Palmetto Bay?

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Palmetto Bay Bridge - the definitive statement from the Village Attorney - more post mortem - photos, video and links provided.

The bridge “fight” is over. The video clip embedded below speaks volumes and has led me to examine as to where we are as well as why we are in this situation. This fight ended quicker than a Mike Tyson fight. 

In review, my first thought is so much for the "fight" against the bridge.  Secondly, all we seem to have to show for this “fight” are two completing camps on this divisive issue. 

It is becoming obvious that there is no fight, or at least much of a fight. The honest voice from the council dais is saying that this is done; let's move on to other pressing business while the elected officials appear to want to pretend they are actually doing something. They aren’t other than to perpetuate a false drama.

This council knew it was going to be a major issue. It certainly was an issue during the campaigns. I guess too many officials never move out of campaign mode into getting it done mode. Palmetto Bay was run off the road on this issue. It wasn't pretty, regardless of which side you were on (I have always opposed bridging and lead the successful fight against in during much of my time in office). I warned the current mayor and the 2019 village council (pre-2020 elections) that this issue was coming. Yet it seems that 4 out of 5 of that group claimed surprise. See a prior post of December 15, 2020, 2021's first test - the bridge is back. Will it unite or divide Palmetto Bay? Will it happen without input from Palmetto Bay's so-called leaders? There was no preparation to meet this challenge. 

I asked the question "What did they know and when did they know it?" (our current elected officials). February 2021 came and went without any elected officials keeping residents in the loop, updating them on preparations for combating the bridge. Why, obviously because there was no preparation, plan or vision. See another prior related post, this one posted February 2, 2021, Bridging Palmetto Bay - the plan is back and apparently this has been put together without any opposition or input from current Palmetto Bay officials. It is incredulous to think that our elected officials met with our County officials, with a new County Commissioner, without asking proper questions or being offered the updates on the plans for the bridge. 

So why is money begin spent for the Social Media specialists as well as attorneys to attend these "mediations"? What are the deliverables for the tax dollars being spent?
  • You want "no right turn signs"? The County has always been reasonable. What has been unreasonable has been the cost of enforcement. When does Palmetto Bay reach the number of 'no turn' signs where they lose their effectiveness?
  • You want "traffic tables"? We have secured these anytime we have asked (at least while I was in office). And I think we have reached the point of diminishing returns on them at this point.
  • Landscaped chicanes? We have been allowed to install those as well (I actually prefer them).  Approved for use and installed in 2008.
  • Roundabouts? They work. I even got the County to pay for them. Not everyone likes them, but traffic lights are so awkward. Holding drivers up when there is no traffic and tend to go out in bad weather. Current Palmetto Bay leaders have a lawsuit pending to avoid the County's offer to fund and build a roundabout at SW 87th and 174.
  • Traffic diversion, turning some streets one way? All could be done, at least at one time.
  • We did get the County to put in at least one traffic signal that I can recall - 87th avenue and Coral Reef Drive - through negotiation and in collaboration with our commissioner Katy Sorenson - once again, we thank you Katy! 
  • Also lighted crosswalks - Old Cutler Road/174, numerous spots on 82nd Avenue and on 168th street.
More examples of concessions from Miami-Dade County waiting to be enacted? See 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. Again, what are your thoughts? I started the discussion back in 2017. This is a debate that needs to occur within Palmetto Bay, amongst our residents. The County is good to go (or at least was good at one time).

But all this was through a well-developed quality working relationship built while I was in office between Palmetto Bay and the County.
  • In fact, the County has even looked away when Palmetto Bay has conveniently failed to comply with the requirements that the 'temporary traffic tables' (informally identified as the black rubber mats) be removed after 90 days.
The current Palmetto Bay Mayor and some council members appear to want to fight rather than work with Miami-Dade County. Contrast pre-2019 when the County would assist in design and payment for traffic roundabouts while I was mayor with the actual lawsuits filed and maintained to fight the traffic circle proposed for 87th and 174. This is after some (I wont name her here) took credit for obtaining the traffic circle, yet flip flopped and fought it when some residents objected at a meeting. Facts are facts and here is another good background post of February 11, 2020, Lawsuit? What lawsuit? Palmetto Bay is now a bit player in future decisions to be made regarding traffic solutions along SW 87th Avenue and surrounding areas.

The video embedded below is an excerpt from the Palmetto Bay Regular Council Meeting, July, 2021: Village attorney response to query from Council Member Marsha Matson. It is fact based and appears to me to be a professional and proper way of setting expectations.

His statement: "The County is going to build that bridge and they've made that very clear; that nothing is going to stop that construction."

NOTE: This video was taken from another site. I did not prepare or had any input on the preparation or posting of the video from this YouTube site, but it does present important information. Anyone interested should watch the full video of the entire meeting - don't wait for the minutes to be posted as this current mayor has seen fit to post a very limited number of meeting minutes - I believe only 4 meetings held since January 2019 have minutes posted out of approximately 132 meetings held to date.

CLICK HERE to view some prior related posts relating to the 87th avenue bridge.

What do I think went wrong? Agreements have not been kept by Palmetto Bay - causing a crisis of credibility and leading Miami-Dade County to move on without Palmetto Bay's input.

Included, but important to set out here is a prior related post of January 8, 2018, entitled: "Commissioner Cava issues her decision. She is NOT supportive of the 87th Avenue bridge. She will continue to work to find solutions for all." These were the days of collaboration and inter-governmental inclusion / partnership. Look at the list of past projects that were worked out through collaboration with the prior administration of Palmetto Bay. 

Ask yourself what happened to the partnership once the new (current) administration took over on December 5, 2018. Projects have been pushed back, cancelled, modified, basically, it is my observation that the commitments were not kept by Palmetto Bay, thereby forcing the County's hand to move forward on the 87th avenue bridge. Ask yourself, can the bridges for 77th Avenue be too far in our future?

You want more examples? There are many that can be listed and I want to keep this post relatively short, but here is just one:

This council needs to spend more time on the issues and less time on distractions, spin and photo ops. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Update on Multi-Paths for Palmetto Bay - the request was for $1 Million for a project with a projected total cost of $6,195,345. The Palmetto Bay taxpayers would put up the $5,195,345 match.

When we will be put in the loop? Only careful readers of Village Council business would have a hint that the current Mayor and Village Council are hell-bent on wrapping Palmetto Bay in 10 feet of sidewalk. Where are the meaningful public hearings, updates, or town hall meetings? Whose voice(es) matter?

What is mindboggling is how the current mayor and some members of the village council are deflecting responsibility through alleging that the shared path now under construction on SW 136th Street is a County Project (it is not, it was started under Palmetto Bay as a bike lanes project and morphed under a JPA CLICK HERE for background). 

Watch out! The shared path lightning bolt may strike twice in Palmetto Bay! Keep an eye out. I am the one who is actually keeping you in the loop. That a look at a SW 184th Street project that the current mayor and 2019 Village Council pitched to the TPO under the name "SW 184 St Intermodal/Intercity Connectivity Pathway".

The TAP request was for funding in the amount of $1 Million for a project with a projected total cost of $6,195,345. The Palmetto Bay taxpayers would put up the $5,195,345 match. And best of all, this $6,195,345 is the Village spending municipal (and grant money) for a COUNTY road.  Yes, that's right, there is no County partnership, this is not Palmetto Bay sweetening the pot to obtain some control or enhancements; this is 100% Palmetto Bay taxpayer dollars ($$$) mitigated by a mere 20% contribution by a TPO Grant.

But, but but: I know what you are thinking, but our current elects keep referencing 136th Street shared path as a COUNTY PROJECT - surely they would have no more influence over 184 than they had over 136th.

The reality: Apparently they have less influence over 184 than 136. Palmetto Bay did submit an application for a TPO grant for the Multi-Path along 184th Street from US1 to Old Cutler Road. (CLICK HERE) to view this detailed application (21 pages). This item was placed on the February 4, 2019, Regular Village Council Meeting agenda as item 10N (CLICK HERE) to view this item that I obtained and saved to my Google Drive. You can also view the approved resolution, Resolution 2019-32, where the current mayor and 2019 village council approved moving forward on seeking this grant by a 4-0 vote (CLICK HERE).

The application was not funded by the Miami-Dade TPO. The TPO received 21 applications for TAP funding in the 2019 cycle. 

The list of the 21 applications for TAP funding in the 2019 cycle
MEASURING SUCCESS: The 2019 Palmetto Bay mayor and council were limited in their "success" on 136th Street, merely redesigning a bike lane project worked out by a prior Palmetto Bay administration to a shared path (placed solely onto the Palmetto Bay side), but this mayor and council have been unable to date to get a 184th Street shared path moving forward.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

TheRealDeal reports: Estate Companies sells Palmetto Bay apartment complex for $58M

Online TheRealDeal, billing itself as South Florida Real Estate News, reported that the Estate Companies sold the 213-unit Soleste Bay Village for $58M. 

Doing the math, this is equivalent to $273K per unit.  

CLICK HERE to read the full article online, TheRealDeal reports: Estate Companies sells Palmetto Bay apartment complex for $58M, 213-unit Soleste Bay Village traded for $273K per unit, July 13, 2021 12:30 PM, by Lidia Dinkova

Photo credit/source - Soleste Bay Village Facebook page

Monday, July 12, 2021

Photo of the Day- hopefully no injuries. Accident at Coral Reef Park

A FOSDU sent me photos of what appears to be a single vehicle accident that took place at Coral Reef Park on Monday, July 12, 2021.

Weather has been horrible throughout the day. It appears that this vehicle took out the fence and landed near the trees that line the walking path. 

First: I hope that no one was injured. I hope this is not part of a larger accident. This must have been a very frightening incident, both for the driver as well as anyone else involved or nearby.

Further: I assume that the police have been there, but there is no sign of a driver, park personnel or police. The area is not taped off, go anyone walking by there should be careful.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Weekender - photo of the day - Bicycle at a lavender farm - fun question: what do both lavender and bicycles have in common?

Sometimes we all need to step back from the stressors in our lives and find a way to relax. So relax and think about this photo. Lavender and bicycles share many of the same health benefits (so too, would traveling to a lavender farm). 

This photograph was taken by Palmetto Bay resident Jennifer Santino Finger while at Washington Lavender, located on the estate at the George Washington Inn in Port Angeles, Washington. 
Photo Credit: Jennifer Santino Finger
Lavender is an herb. A/K/A the calming herb. The flower and the oil of lavender are used to make medicine. Lavender is commonly used for anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It is also used for depression, dementia, pain after surgery, and many other conditions.

Cycling can ease feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. Focusing on the road while you’re cycling helps develop concentration and awareness of the present moment. This may help take your focus away from the mental chatter of your day. Cycling can also keep you lean and fit, which may reduce your risk for certain types of cancer. While Lavender in the bath may help some with stress reduction, cycling may offer a positive start to your morning or a stress reliever after a day at work.  Cycling regularly is one way to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and its accompanying health concerns. It can help prevent cardiac issues such as stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Cycling may also help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.

Both Lavender and Cycling are environmentally friendly.

The photo itself is quite relaxing.

Enjoy your weekend. 

Female Cardinal visits the restocked squirrel feeder - July 10, 2021

Disappointed cardinal - the squirrel feeder is bare.

Fun with the GardePro - Squirrel helping itself

A father's day gift - GardePro Trail Camera. I am putting it to use in my backyard to record the antics of the backyard critters. Enjoy.

Friday, July 9, 2021

The morning post stimulated comment. Here is an update that features the trees. Photos provided.

See the irony here?
Who is asking to for a path stripped of beautiful trees? 

They're paving over paradise. 

Is this how a Tree City USA community treats mature shade trees?

My morning post has generated significant contacts. Who did ask for this mega path? Anyone, anyone, Bueller? See 11:00 AM, July 9, 2021, SW 136th Street Shared Path Update: Construction begins! Crews at work as of Friday, July 9, 2021. Photos, links to background resources provided.

Seriously. A few people I have reached out to me today have even suggested a protest or even chaining themselves to the trees. A valiant effort, but in the end, it will all fall on deaf ears.
ABOVE: This is long term landscaping that has greeted residents and visitors to Palmetto Bay. 
Photos below are close ups of the large tree in the foreground. Note that all are marked for removal. 

Who spoke up for these trees? I put the information out there. People are certainly feeling the urgency now that the heavy equipment is showing up.

I stopped by Friday evening to take a close look at some of the trees that greet those entering Palmetto Bay on SW 136th Street. Beautiful mature shade trees. I am posting some photos to remember them by. Someone call the Governor to see if we can get them a last-minute reprieve - clemency for these trees mark for removal.

Photos above, left and right, the flowers attract and provide nectar for both bees ad native butterflies
(the bees would not stay still for a photo. I missed a photograph a Zebra Longwing butterfly)

FAIR QUESTION:    Do I have a better idea - better than the 8-10 foot sidewalk for Palmetto Bay?

YES I DO - look at these trees - I would prefer benches under these majestic trees. There is a sidewalk there now.

Remember - when current Palmetto Bay officials deflect and say this is a county project, that's not true. Palmetto Bay paid and had control over the design of the street - all documented in prior posts.

SW 136th Street Shared Path Update: Construction begins! Crews at work as of Friday, July 9, 2021. Photos, links to background resources provided.

Construction of the Palmetto Bay designed Howard Drive Shared Path project started today, Friday, July 9, 2021. Construction started where promised, directly in front of Howard Drive Elementary. School is out for the summer, so this is the best time and location to start this project in order to reduce the impact of construction on the start of the school year

CLICK HERE to view prior related posts on this project.  

The SW 136th Street Shared Path is what is known as a Joint Project (JPA) between Miami-Dade County, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay. See a PRIOR RELATED POST of September 23, 2020, Facts are facts. Here are the facts concerning the SW 136 Street Bike Lanes project: It is a Joint Project (JPA) between Miami-Dade County and Palmetto Bay.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Cycling/Rules of the Road update: Changes in Florida Law that impact Motor Vehicles / Bicyclists effective July 1, 2021.

New laws took effect July 1 that impact the motorist / cyclist interaction (perhaps ‘impact’ is a poor choice of words). Regardless, please CLICK HERE to view what is known as Senate Bill 950 (SB 950), it was passed this last legislative session and signed into law on June 29, by Governor Ron DeSantis. I have detailed below some of what is updated under SB 950 including defining a bike lane, 10 cyclists = 1 at a stop sign, 3 foot rule better defined and now provides guidance to a driver as to when and how to pass, even in a no passing zone. There is a new safeguard for cyclists against the ‘right hook’.

What is a Bike Lane? Bike lanes long predated SB 950. Post SB 950, a bike lane is now an area “which is designated by pavement markings and signs for preferential or exclusive use by bicycles.”

Why is this important? (what is not a bike lane)

1. A narrow shoulder (wide areas to the outside of the white line) is not a bike lane. Police or aggrieved motorist can no longer tell bicyclists to ride in the narrow shoulder, claiming it to be a bicycle lane.

2. A Shared Path is not a bike lane. SB 950 resolves any prior confusion. Exclusive use has always been the key. A shared path is NOT a bike lane.

SB 950 does amend (albeit subtly) sec. 316.2065, Florida Statutes, which has always required cyclists to ride in designated bike lanes where provided. The same enumerated exceptions apply. 

I have discussed this issue in prior posts. It is infuriating when motorists yell at cyclists, or worse, give an aggressive brush by, when they (improperly) deem that cyclists should be using shared paths such as the Old Cutler Trail (pictured to the right).  As indicated on the trail map, the path is open to many activities, three of which are depicted on the route info sign: walkers, skaters as well as cyclists (and many do use it). Not pictured, but also heavy users of the Old Cutler Trail (and other similar shared paths): strollers, golf carts, wagons, pet walkers – all kind of users who justifiably also enjoy use of the shared path, but do not mix well with the fast moving cyclists. See PRIOR RELATED POST of June 22, 2021, Palmetto Bay can change the project, but municipal officials cannot change State Law which determines where bicyclists may ride.

Sharing the road – the legal way to overtake a cyclist. The where and how are better defined under SB 950.

The 3 foot rule predated SB 950, but I have yet to hear of any traffic citations having been issued for violations (I am not saying it has not been enforced, I have merely not heard of any specific instances). The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle, or an electric bicycle, must pass the bicycle, other nonmotorized vehicle, or electric bicycle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle, other nonmotorized vehicle, or electric bicycle. See: Florida Statutes 316.083 (1) (Bold emphasis added)

SB 950 provides specific guidance for motorists overtaking and passing a vehicle.

SB 950 now requires a motorist to remain a safe distance behind the bicyclist if they cannot pass with at least 3 feet distance, until such time that they can.

New to the law, SB 950 also requires drivers to give 3 feet distance when passing a bicyclist traveling in an adjacent bicycle lane (but not a separated bicycle lane).

For drivers of motor vehicles – frustration reduction – Many drivers would (justifiably) become frustrated following cyclists in a no passing zone (marked along many areas of Old Cutler Road). SB 950 clarifies that drivers of Motor Vehicles are allowed to overtake and pass a bicyclist while both are in a no-passing zone, provided it is done safely. (Bold emphasis added). (Amending sec. 316.0875, Florida Statutes.)

I bet you never heard of a "right hook" outside of boxing (or MMA for the Gen Xers and younger).

SB 950 addresses a big risk the cyclists - the aforementioned 'right hook'. This is where a motor vehicle passes a cyclist only to almost immediately make a right turn in front of that cyclist, essentially cutting him or her off. This is one of the biggest causes of cyclist/motor vehicle accidents.  SB 950 offers greater protection for cyclists in that a driver of a motor vehicle may not turn right unless there are no cyclists within 20 feet of the intersection. (Amending sec. 316.151, Florida Statutes.)

10 cyclists now equal a single vehicle at a traffic control device. It is now spelled out in the law. SB 950 provides a new addition to Sec. 316.2065, subsection (6)(b), which provides that

(b) When stopping at a stop sign, persons riding bicycles in groups, after coming to a full stop and obeying all traffic laws, may proceed through the stop sign in a group of 10 or fewer at a time. Motor vehicle operators must allow one such group to travel through the intersection before moving forward.
I do not expect this provision to be popular with drivers. SB 950 sets the limit number at 10. Not 20. Not even 11 – its 10.

As I have pointed out in numerous blog posts, Florida Statutes, Chapter 316.2065 Bicycle regulations.— provides that 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.

Please don’t merely rely upon what I have posted here. I invite you to follow the links and read the law for yourself. Your interpretations may differ. The greater protections work well for cyclists and the drivers of motor vehicles benefit from the clarification of when they can safely pass, even if in an area marked as a no-passing zone.

Please ride and drive safely out of the road. Let’s all look out for each other and be courteous.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

“Trees are stationary superheroes”. Why not work around the long-time specimen trees that have historically shaded Palmetto Bay? They have much to contribute. They never received a fair hearing. What trees do for our Palmetto Bay community.

There is an outstanding article relevant to our local community. For those who read The New York Times, I strongly recommend reading What Technology Could Reduce Heat Deaths? Trees written by By Catrin Einhorn, Published July 2, 2021, Updated July 3, 2021. It puts the issue of trees into greater perspective, not as a landscaping accessory, but as actual infrastructure that actually serves our community.

As the article leads: At a time when climate change is making heat waves more frequent and more severe, trees are stationary superheroes: They can lower urban temperatures 10 lifesaving degrees, scientists say.    

So why is this relevant? The article discusses recent development in Des Moines and how that local government drew a line in the Earth, holding that “The default position for us is, you don’t take out big trees to put in small trees.”

I have always taken a position to save the trees, or plant much greater than 1:1 for any trees that were lost. Why is this relevant? Because Palmetto Bay had a chance to save the large mature trees that greet us along SW 136 Street. The die was cast on April 6, 2020, when the mayor and 2020 village council voted 3-2 to modify the plan from bike lanes to the MEGA shared path. Council Members David Singer and Marsha Matson were the only members of the village council to vote against this agenda item.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Council Member Marsha Matson specifically demanded to see a landscaping plan, but she and Council Member Singer were outvoted in a 3-2 vote.

INTERESTING QUESTION OF POLICY: If Council Members Matson and Singer fight to save the trees, but are outvoted 3-2 – (especially without even seeing the landscaping plan village taxpayers are paying for,) do those trees make a sound when they are felled?

Who needs to see a landscaping plan? Not this current mayor or the 2019 village council. The 3 to 2 majority authorized the Interim Manager to spend up to $58,000.00 to revise the design contract without event asking to see a landscaping plan. Wait, not they actually voted 3 - 2 to move forward, despite strong objections of 2 of the 5 members of the village council. Talk about blind faith or a shot in the dark!

Are mature trees important? And as the article continues discussing the importance of these trees,

Here’s why: At a time when climate change is making heat waves more frequent and more severe, trees are stationary superheroes. Research shows that heat already kills more people in the United States than hurricanes, tornadoes and other weather-events, perhaps contributing to 12,000 deaths per year. Extreme heat this week in the Pacific Northwest and Canada has killed hundreds. 

Trees can lower air temperature in city neighborhoods 10 lifesaving degrees, scientists have found. They also reduce electricity demand for air conditioning, not only sparing money and emissions, but helping avoid potentially catastrophic power failures during heat waves.

It was important to me that Palmetto Bay become a Tree City USA community – and we did.

It is important for me that we shift development and do what we can to preserve the 22 acres at the Palmetto Bay Village Center – and that fight continues.

I do consider trees to be our infrastructure, as mentioned in this article: “In addition to reducing heat, trees filter out air pollution, suck up storm water, store carbon, nurture wildlife and even improve people’s mental and physical health.”

Small trees may be cute, but the replacement trees slated for SW 136 street will be at least 40 years behind the mature specimen trees currently marked for death or removal. The much smaller replacement trees will have big roots to fill.

PRIOR RELATED POST, BACKGROUND:  June 28, 2021, The smoking gun: April 6, 2019, the day the current mayor and the 2019 council voted to change the bike lane plan to shared path by a narrow 3 – 2 vote. Now they are coming for the mature trees