Miami Beach faces key West Avenue bridge vote Wednesday

The Miami Beach City Commission on Wednesday faces a key vote that will determine whether a West Avenue bridge is built over the Collins Canal to connect Sunset Harbour with South Beach.

Commissioners have until May 2  to decide whether to exercise an option for an easement on a small triangle of land owned by the Miami Beach Housing Authority north of 17th Street and the Collins Canal at West Avenue.

The neighborhoods around the proposed bridge — lower West Avenue, Sunset Harbor, lower North Bay Road, Belle Isle, Collins Park — are divided on whether it should be built.

Opponents worry it will lure traffic from overburdened Alton Road to residential neighborhoods.

Proponents say because of growth in the area — particularly in Sunset Harbor — the neighborhoods need a safety valve.

The issue is scheduled for discussion at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Scott Diffenderfer, president of the Belle Isle Residents Association, supports the bridge, but in a Dear Resident letter today conceded flaws in the planning so far:

The strongest arguments against the bridge are 1) that the traffic studies did not incorporate the surrounding neighborhoods, 2) that the building the bridge will add to both local and “cut through” traffic on West Avenue and lower North Bay Road and 3), that a bridge will encourage increased development (particularly “big box” development) in Sunset Harbour.  The first argument is very true – traffic studies are not comprehensive and did not go far enough to study the impact on the greater area.   But development in the neighborhood has ALREADY occurred and will continue to occur regardless of traffic studies say. 

  The argument that the bridge will be responsible for bringing additional traffic on West Avenue and lower North Bay Road and increase development in Sunset Harbour ignores the fact that traffic has already increased on both of these roads because of the continuing deteriorating conditions on Alton and the additional development..  The bridge will not create more traffic but will be a tool to manage traffic that already exists and will unfortunately continue to increase along with development.   

Residents opposed to the bridge are justifiably angry because of the current lack of traffic calming and enforcement in their neighborhoods.  But that should not be an argument against a bridge.

In a previous post on the bridge debate, a dozen people posted arguments for and against the proposal. It’s worth a look.

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5 responses to “Miami Beach faces key West Avenue bridge vote Wednesday

  1. Why was Purdy Avenue left out of the study? The biggest supporters of the bridge come from the condos on Purdy and the report doesn’t track the traffic there? The study says that traffic will diverted from Alton Road. At 20th street, Alton Road has how many cars traveling it?. The prediction is around 3% of that will go to 20th Street. Do the math. Why does Scott say it won’t increase traffic? T Does 20th Street want that extra traffic on top of the traffic from new projects? The bridge is supposed to have an average daily traffic count of nearly 10,000 a day. All of that traffic isn’t going to land in Sunset Harbor on narrow West Avenue? All those cars aren’t going to head north? The study shows no cars turning left on 20th Street from West going north! Really?!?! Did pubbelly go out of business?

  2. everyone using the bridge will appreciate the bridge once it’s built. the problem with the bridge is that it sacrifices quality of life for some residents to benefit others, not to mention loss of property values for residents affected by the increased traffic and soon to be less than desirable location. the unfortunate reality is that the bridge will turn sunset harbor into a shopping destination, rather than an enclave where people go to shop when they need something. radical change. you think sunset harbor residents complain now about commercial intrusion into their industrial neighborhood, just wait until when it becomes little Aventura, but those of us who want to shop there will enjoy it. only if the bridge had a toll could you control the increased traffic onto west avenue and lower bay road. i plan to use it to avoid alton road if it gets built, but i use west ave already to avoid alton road. if you build it, just do something nice for west avenue like wider sidewalks and shade trees. if you need to, narrow the roadway and get rid of street parking if absolutely necessary. don’t just build a bridge, make west ave better, so it’s nicer for everyone, but especially the people who live there.

  3. another idea is to build a bridge from the venetian, at belle isle, to lincoln road west, but that would never happen.

  4. To move traffic more efficiently we could also redesign Venetian, increase lanes from 2 to 4, eliminate the toll, build a bridge to allow boats underneath. But I would never advocate for any of that because I know it would kill that neighborhood. It behoves me why the needs of the 10,000 residents who live on West Ave are dismissed.

  5. There are those who live on West Ave who DO support the bridge.

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