Saturday, March 26, 2022

Earth Hour 2022 - are you in? Earth Hour takes place at 8:30 pm -- wherever you are!

Is anyone in Palmetto Bay participating in Earth Hour tonight? Is participating in conservation activities still a thing? There are no Earth Hour events listed on the Village website or social media.

Earth Hour takes place at 8:30 pm -- wherever you are!

The theme of this year's Earth Hour is 'Shape Our Future'. It is a pivotal year for everyone to shape the world for the future generations by raising awareness about the damages to climate that are impacting our world today.

What happens during Earth Hour?: The event is held annually, encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights, for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on a specific day towards the end of March, as a symbol of commitment to the planet.

I have always enjoyed promoting this very simple event. It only takes dimming your lights for a single hour to make a statement (but promotes activities and conservation that should be practiced throughout the year). When I served as Mayor, I enjoyed invitations to enjoy some great candlelit outdoor parties to jointly mark the event.  Fun times for a great purpose. I expect great weather for our small personal event.
Cities around the world have dimmed their lights to take part in WWF’s Earth Hour over the years. Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and the Opera House had their illuminating lights turned off for an hour as part of the annual environmental campaign to encourage people to turn off unnecessary lights and waste less energy. London landmarks including the Palace of Westminster, the London Eye and the Gherkin are set to dim their lights for an hour starting at 8.30pm on Saturday.
Go to Earth for more information.
Thinking locally, in considering a great place to spend Earth Hour, at one time the place to take the family to was Bill Sadowski Park, and Nature Preserve a County Park in Palmetto Bay, 17500 SW 78th Ave, where the  Southern Cross Astronomical Society would put out member telescopes each Saturday evening from 8 - 10:00 PM, "weather" permitting. It was a great event to come to view, solo or with friends and/or the family. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Important documents - FINAL REPORT - Village of Palmetto Bay Multi-Use Trail & SMART Plan Connectivity Study

The Multi-Use Trail & SMART Plan Connectivity Study documents are in and I am making them available to you. I was advised that the consultants will make their presentation to the Village Council at the April 4, 2022, regular council meeting. Of course, everything is always subject to change.

Regardless here are the documents for the Village of Palmetto Bay Multi-Use Trail & SMART Plan Connectivity Study – 

Feasibility Study –
Complete  Report -  392 Pages – 132.4 MB
Report Only     -    69 Pages –   15.9 MB
Appendix Only      -  323 Pages – 117.6 MB

The documents are large downloads, so be patient.

The Palmetto Bay Multi-Use Trail & SMART Plan Connectivity Study was prepared by MARLIN Engineering, Inc, one of Palmetto Bay’s traffic and engineering service consultants. 

This was a $100,000.00 Study approved by the Village Council on September 14, 2020: Palmetto Bay Resolution 2020-84

As always, please contact me to discuss any questions or concerns.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Protected bike lanes – the recommendation of the Miami-Dade Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) BPAC Reso #5-2021 for SW 152nd & SW 184th Streets

The Miami-Dade Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) reviewed the presentation of Marlin Engineering. After hearing the presentation and reviewing the various factors, the members present of the BPAC voted unanimously in favor for Protected Bike Lanes for SW 152nd Street & SW 184th Street. 

CLCK HERE to read the entire resolution of the Miami-Dade Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) (BPAC Reso #5-2021).

The recommendation of the BPAC is consistent with the survey taken by Marlin Engineering - the survey results also indicating a preference for Protected Bike Lanes for SW 152nd Street & SW 184th Street. 

Marlin Engineering will present the final Village of Palmetto Bay Multi-Use Trail & SMART plan Connectivity Report Study at the April 4, Village Council Meeting.

There is no requirement for the mayor and council to make any changes to either Coral Reef Drive or SW 184th. This is all discretionary. "Keep as is" is an option. There is no compelling need to make changes to either road.

Either way, moving forward on both SW 152nd Street & SW 184th Street, will bring profound irreversible changes to those streets, both in function and aesthetics, so it is important to do it right, if it is to be done at all.  

Monday, March 21, 2022

Beton - Kyiv Calling -remake of London Calling by The Clash.

Support the resistance. Donate now.

A Ukrainian punk band has released an anti-war spin on The Clash's 1980s era hit song "London Calling," with the blessing of the English band itself.

The band updated their Instagram account:
"We're punk-hardcore band Beton from Ukraine. And instead of playing gigs we're volunteering for our army, working on-air all nights long, taking care of refugees and hiding families in shelters. All our hate is for enemy!"

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Miami’s Cafecito Culture Life and what makes us unique in the world - too bad it is Cafecito Cancelled Culture here in Palmetto Bay.

Artists can make their point through art, but it has to reach an audience that appreciates and understands.

Does anyone else see the irony here?

Let me highlight it for those that have missed recent controversies:

Local officials will allow it to be displayed on the wall as an art exhibit, but they don’t want you to enjoy it live here in Palmetto Bay. El Cafecito Culture – cancelled in Palmetto Bay.

“Village of Palmetto Bay
Don't Miss "El Cafecito Culture" By Joe Rodriguez, Saturday, March 19th at 6:30 pm at the Perrine Community House.”

Let’s hope that this artist brought some culture to Palmetto Bay officials and convinced them to embrace, rather than reject, the unique Miami Culture.

“I invite you to step into the passion I have for my culture, and through my art, take with you slices of Miami’s Cafecito Culture Life and what makes us unique in the world!

I’m Joe Rodriquez, I’m part of el Cafecito Culture. Sabor mi gente!”

I wonder if any of the Palmetto Bay officials took the time to appreciate and, if so, I hope there was an awakening. See post of November 4, 2021, We should embrace Ventanitas here in Palmetto Bay. It's a Miami thing, another way for the community to gather, asking Why can't we embrace La "Ventanitas" here in Palmetto Bay

But let's fact it, this art exhibit proved a point (as Art often does), when it comes to recognizing the meaning of art, well, our current mayor and council are clearly philistines. This significance of this exhibit clearly went over their heads as while they think it was a distraction from their building code banishment of Miami’s Cafecito Culture Life, so many of us see this exhibit for what it is. 

Art - can be a strong communication medium for those who care to listen. And while the current mayor and council can keep deflecting and denying, but facts are facts. See: October 26, 2021, Facts are important. Claims from Palmetto Bay elected officials and staff, stating that Ventanitas are not “banned”, do not appear to line up with the experience of Vicky’s Bakery, the updated ordinance or staff presentation at the hearing. Read/see for yourself.

Enough said, however, nice exhibit "El Cafecito Culture" by Joe Rodriguez, it spoke loudly.  Well played.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Marlin Engineering provides guidance on a proper shared path. This is important for Coral Reef Drive & 184 – and the specifications demonstrate that the 136th Shared Path is more a mess than a safe path – important details.

Do it right, or don't do it at all. The current mayor and this council should not repeat the mistakes made in redesigning the SW 136th Street project. The photos at the bottom serve to shine light on poor planning and defines the term forcing a square peg in a round hole - who is really happy with SW 136th Street? The results really do not fit in this particular place or situation. 

Important point: There is no legal requirement to make profound changes to either SW 184 or Coral Reef Drive - so the Palmetto Bay mayor and council should resist temptation to spend the tax dollars, unless the project brings quality improvements to those streets. Don't sacrifice historic coral rock walls and magnificent shade and clean air producing canopy trees to a vanity project.

The first question is whether a shared path properly fit in the existing street right of way.  This Coral Reef / 184 project is not one of a pre-planned area. These areas will require significant work arounds due to many existing obstacles such as power poles, coral rock walls and many, many historic trees. Marlin Engineering* has provided recommended specifications regarding a proper shared path (see figure and description posted below). This is important for Coral Reef Drive & 184 – and the specifications demonstrate that the 136th Shared Path is more a mess than a safe path – important details.

The following is the Marlin Engineering planner's specifications contained in slide 16.

  • The standard width is 10 to 12-Feet, may be 8-Feet in areas where space is restricted or if it is not heavily used.
  • The path must be at least 6-Feet from roadway and have a 2-Foot clearance on each side.

See Page/slide 16 of the Multi-Use Trail & SMART Plan Connectivity Study, Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting, November 16, 2021

Why is the above important?

Because here are some photos taken of the SW 136th Street path where you can clearly see significant portions of the path where these important guidelines are not met:

Observable issues (above). The path at these points are neither 6 feet from the roadway nor is there the stated recommended two feet clearance on the other side (backs up to a thick hedge - you can see why that would be a problem when dealing with handlebars, etc.)

Immediately above and below - there is no explaining splitting the path into two separate 4 foot sections. Does it really equal a useable 8 feet? Is the sidewalk traffic really that bad that Palmetto Bay officials feel the need to created a divided pathway to separate oncoming users? There is no 2 foot buffer to the inside portion as well as a lack of 6 feet buffer from the street. The only way to describe this is the useable swale area (water runoff) and resident/guest parking is gone, essentially the entire right of way has been paved over.

Above - twisting and turning with an abrupt reduction from 6-8 feet to a standard 5 foot sidewalk, clearly not within the Marlin Engineering guideline.

Below - where is the safety buffer from traffic? Cars can and will easily pull off the road and onto the pathway, placing users at risk.

CLICK HERE to view prior related posts on shared paths including 136th Street, Red Road and Old Cutler Road, both in Palmetto Bay as well as in Cutler Bay.

*Marlin Engineering is facilitating Palmetto Bay's Multi-Use Trail & SMART Plan Connectivity Study

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Beware the Ides of March. The history of this superstition.

What does it mean? Most think back to the day in 44 BC when Julius Caesar was stabbed in the back, front and practically everywhere else on the body in one of ancient Rome's most gruesome assassinations.

There remain many politicians who have stepped forward though use of this stab in the back technique. Some of the biggest back stabbers are also the first to cry victim.

An ides refers to days that land in the middle of the month, which in months with 31 days means March 15. It's known as the deadline for settling debts in Roman times and the day William Shakespeare warned you about. ... Here's the history of March 15 and why it's considered a day full of bad luck.

See CNN online: Why the Ides of March is considered bad luck, by Francisco Guzman and Jeanne Bonner, Sun March 15, 2020

Enjoy this day of superstition, but watch your back (figuratively).

Sunday, March 13, 2022

True bike mobility - examples of bike mobility options - see for yourself. What is your vision?

The video documents conventional bike lanes, pained bike lanes v protected bike lanes, as well as a shared path (where the roadway remains marked for shared use by bicyclists - identical to the Old Cutler Path).  This information is important as current Palmetto Bay officials are not satisfied with the SW 136th Street project - next up are other streets, including SW 184 as well as Coral Reef Drive - January 28, 2022, Next issue - do we turn Coral Reef Drive into the next SW 136th Street? Time to get involved.

Examples of different bike lanes - traditional (conventional) - along SW 62nd Avenue (in front of Miami's Community Newspapers) 0:01:42 Painted, traditional non-separated bike lane. 0:02:17 Sharrow and wide sidewalk 0:02:43 example of a curbed protected bike lane 0:03:38 another example of a curbed protected bike lane 
More to follow on bike lanes.

When you look, please consider what you prefer as a motorist as bike lanes are for drivers as well. How? Because a bike lane places the cyclists in their own lane, rather than taking the lane in front of the motorist. Remember, a shared path is not a dedicated bike lane. See December 17, 2018, Taking a close look - Old Cutler Bike Trail - designed use, rules of the road - Types of bikeways - 2 discussed here: paved path & sharrows. Cyclists may choose to use it, but is not required to do so - and there are many examples I can give as to why 'taking the lane' is preferable, and safer, for a cyclist than riding a shared path.

Also think about what you would prefer as a homeowner living on that street. Look to SW 136th Street to see the loss of swale (drainage, landscaping - green space) and parking. Does the SW 136th Street project get bicyclists off the roadway. In then end, the SW 136th Street is just a disjointed collection off standard size sidewalks in part with wider sidewalk  sections in other sections. Barriers remain in many areas including signage, abrupt curves as well as utility boxes and poles. It is neither well thought out or well designed.  See: October 2, 2021, Special post - Photo(s) of the day. Reader submitted photos of the Palmetto Bay designed shared path. Or is it a car park?

Another issue with projected bike lanes - what happens at time of deliveries - or garbage / recycling pick up? How are vehicles going to move down streets during these events? Delivery vehicles will remain in the street as they cannot pull off the road due to the barriers created for the protected bike lanes.  But at least no one will be parking on in the protected bike lanes (as they do on the shared paths) - the curbing or barriers prevent any such intrusion. 

We are seeing the impact of share paths in Palmetto Bay - far too many examples of vehicles parking on them as the right of way (swales) have been lost, so now where do guests or large families park? I have documented many such violations throughout this blog. So we need more?

This post is another in my series of relating to local issues, local places. This is part of a developing "taking a close look at" or "Fact Checking" series on issues and places in and around Palmetto Bay and our south Miami-Dade Communities.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Miami-Dade Minute - 2022 Bike To Work Day

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 - Mayor Daniella Levine Cava led the 10th Annual Bike305 Bike to Work Day, an event that encourages residents in all municipalities to ride a bicycle to work, school, and fun destinations for a healthy way to live life. The 2022 event was held in Miami Lakes. It was 6-mile police escorted bike ride from Miami Lakes Town Hall to Amelia Earhart Park.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Bursting my spring bubble – back to the 50s projected for this weekend, but great temps to ride and work in the yard. Take advantage.

I am looking forward to the weekend (this is a very busy week, which is a very good thing).

I was advised that temperatures may dip into the 50s this weekend. My weather app forecasts a low of 55 up to a high of 87 for Palmetto Bay this weekend. That’s prime bike ride weather! So do I ride or garden? I am behind on both the planting and ride mileage for 2022. And if I ride (ha, ha – “if”), do I ride road or gravel? (Nature could be calling.)

Two great choices, tough choices for weekend activities here in South Florida

We will have to see.

Does anyone have cactus to spare? On the subject of gardening, planting, does anyone  have any Prickly Pear Cactus that they can share for me? My tortoise loves it. I had several strong Prickly Pear Cactus plants in the yard then - none.  I need to restart the native, home grown food source.  Thank you in advance.

The forecast - the weather app, not mine:

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Palmetto Bay’s celebration 2022 picnic – part of an enduring legacy. Thank you to all the volunteers, staff and fellow residents who initiated and nurtured it.

Happy 20th Palmetto Bay! Another year of celebration for Palmetto Bay – this one was special – where we gathered with friends and family in celebrating the 20th year of incorporation.  The village picnic is special, though attendance my vary from year to year, it remains a time for celebration and family fun, as well as a time to remember how this event came charging out of the gate as a major village event from its very first year. CLICK HERE to see prior related posts on past Village Picnics. Special note: there are many photos from many different celebrations posted, perhaps you can find family and friends, if not even yourself in these photos.

Once again, I want to give credit where credit is due, giving a huge “Thank You” to the special events committee set up under the original council, an outstanding group of volunteers.  The initial chair was Jacquie Sosa who was an anchor with Channel 10.  This position was held later by Jeanne Rothfield and finally Donna Coughlin, who served as our last chairperson.  The special events committee and staff, all working as part of the team under the initial village council, created events and interests including rides, city information, educational topics, wholesome family events, dunk tank -raising thousands of dollars at no expense to village taxpayers - for charity, & local school participation! Come on, who did not enjoy dunking me to raise money for charity?

The Parks Department, which has worked with our committee, continues to organize this event, even though there is no longer a citizen special events committee. Many people still volunteer Pat and Jim Gladieux still take charge of the ever-popular corn on the cob.

Past celebrations took advantage of the I-Bus for the historic preservation committee’s tours, which were started under Palmetto Bay’s first Planning Director, Arlene Weintraub and the committee. We all enjoy watching the school children performing and of course, the staff of the Planning and Parks Department as well as our police work well to continue to make this event a success. I was proud to work with Palmetto High School to start the annual Mayor’s Cup game (can you name the winner and score from that historic first game?)

The yearly events have seen helicopters land in the field and firefighters come in their trucks, the start of the student safety and fingerprinting programs. The Voice of the Heat served in past years as emcee. Past years has seen well over 5,000 people for a picnic. We came in from year one with significant corporate donations from corporate neighbors including Starbucks, Home Depot, Dade Paper, local banks and Publix, we have had breaks on the food and coverage of costs through donations!

The efforts and impact that you and the Special Events Committee have been successful and has left an outstanding celebration legacy that continues through this day.  Thank you all who served at any time in the past on the Special Events Committee.

Monday, March 7, 2022

20 year celebration. Time is flying. It takes a village! Photo memories.

For me, watching this village is like having children. You do your best to raise them right. Sometimes you enjoy sitting back and watching the success and then there are times you know you need to get involved (with your children as well as with the village).  A parent's job is never complete.

I am repeating a post from the 15 year celebration series. Does anyone recognize these the village children in the post?

Photos of the Day - Village History photos
In the spirit of the Palmetto Bay 15 year celebration - Palmetto Bay Village History. Remember the days through our youth.
Time flies - Eliza Rose Berse & Dhilini Amelung at our 2003 village picnic
 Recognizing Cub Scouts on February 7, 2005 - 
several of these scouts earned their Eagle Scout in 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Happy 177th Birthday Florida!

Florida was the 27th State to be admitted to the Union – officially admitted on:

March 3, 1845.

Take a moment and celebrate this admission day in your own way.

State Animal                                  Florida Panther
State Beverage                              Orange Juice
State Bird                                       Mockingbird
State Butterfly                                Zebra Longwing
State Flower                                  Orange Blossom
State Wildflower                            Coreopsis
State Freshwater Fish                    Largemouth Bass
State Saltwater Fish                      Sailfish
State Gem                                      Moonstone
State Marine Mammal                   Manatee
State Saltwater Mammal               Porpoise
State Reptile                                  Alligator
State Shell                                     Horse Conch
State Soil                                       Myakka Fine Sand
State Song                                     "The Swanee River" (Old Folks at Home)
State Stone                                     Agatized Coral
State Tree                                      Sabal Palm

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Today is Ash Wednesday. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return."

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian Church, marked by services of penitence. 

Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God and marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season. It is commonly observed with ashes and fasting.

We have the 40 days of Lent to consider what we have done. It is your choice whether to make good use of this time or simply as “How much longer?” or “How many days to Easter?”

Western Easter is observed on Sunday, April 17, 2022.

Greek Easter is observed a week later on Sunday, April 24, 2022.

Orthodox Easter will usually fall later in the year than Western Christian Easter because Orthodox Easter uses the Julian calendar and the later uses the Gregorian calendar.