One thing I learned well, as a Commissioner, is that the topic of traffic changes – ie road closures, speed humps, diversions, even stop signs etc., bring the people out – but they don’t always bring out the best in the people !
Now, there’s plan brewing to change Dixie Highway, ( in my own neighborhood), from NE 13th Street to the city line – sides have been drawn, and a probably tense meeting is set for this Thursday to try and figure it all out.
Here’s the story
Last summer, the residents of Middle River Terrace worked up a plan for a new and improved Dixie Highway. It included a “shared path” (part sidewalk / part bike path), removed from the roadway – something like this …..
All was good – there was universal support for the plan – until …..
…….. City Hall said, on second thought, you can’t have your shared path after all. You will have to accept a plan that widens Dixie Highway by eight feet, adding bike lanes to the roadway, essentially making this small neighborhood road, wide, like a three lane highway ! Yikes !
City officials said they were looking for “connectivity” to the cities to the north.
…… the neighborhood was not happy ….. so the City said, OK, never mind that, we’ll just squeeze the road down to “ten foot lanes ” from “twelve foot lanes”, and then we’ll just have to widen Dixie by four foot!
[ The City has never reduced lanes to ten feet on a collector street like Dixie. They have only done it on small side streets like this one in Flagler Heights.] Middle River Terrace would be the proverbial guinea pig.
Many residents were quite shocked. This tweaking seemed to worsen the plan even more! Dixie would be made to look like the road above, but without the median separating the opposing lane, and a bike lane added where the curbing is, with curbing after that!
Kind of like an extreme traffic roller-dome!
A group of the Middle River Terrace residents, including most all of the former presidents ( me included), think this plan is misguided and dangerous, and should be scrapped. They say the original neighborhood plan with the shared path was far better, and should be built.
They point to these facts –
1.) ….. too many cars use Dixie everyday to make it a skinnier roadway, with go fast bikes in the single-lane roadway also.
The group is afraid if the city plan is built, we’ll soon see headlines like these –
Here is a standard Uhaul truck –
With the mirrors, it measures almost ten feet! Two trucks, like this one, (UPS, FEDEX, big pick-ups etc.) won’t be able to pass one another comfortably on Dixie without veering into the bike lanes – where the bikers are !
Now the other side of the debate is led by the current neighborhood President Laura Croscenco, who is pushing hard to accept the city plan. She is afraid if we don’t, we’ll end up with no improvements at all.
Croscenco is quite angry. She sent an e-mail out to all the neighborhood residents yesterday dismissing the neighborhood’s original plan, telling everyone to vote for the City plan only. Word has it that she has been giving Commissioner Dean Trantali
s hell for having the City offer both the City plan, and the neighborhood’s original plan as alternatives at the meeting.
I hope the poorly thought out city plan fails – and I hope the meeting set for this Thursday to discuss the multiple options finds the participants ruly, and on their best behavior –
…….. and I hope I’m one of them!