Category Archives: City Issues

Miami Beach issues affecting our island.

Miami Beach will ask Coast Guard to close east Venetian drawbridge during construction

Mayor Philip Levine told Venetian Island residents that Miami Beach will ask the Coast Guard to lock down the east Venetian Causeway bridge during the construction of a new west bridge span that will start this fall.

Levine said he and City Manager Jimmy Morales would draft and send the letter, “and I will follow up with the Coast Guard commandant.”

Morales said it is important to get Miami-Dade County to join in on the request, because the county oversees the causeway. Levine and Morales plan to discuss the issue with Mayor Carlos Gimenez, they said.

Because of structural issues with the causeway bridges, Miami-Dade County expects to shut down the westernmost bridge to mainland Miami around November so the bridge span can be torn down and replaced.

It’s expected to be closed for nine months.

Miami and Miami Beach has been working on contingency plans to get rescue vehicles to the islands during the closure.

“For me, its really an emergency situation, if we can’t get to a resident if the bridge is up,” said Commissioner  Micky Steinberg, who scheduled the issue for discussion.

Venetian Island residents Tony Santos and Holly Sukanik Wallack asked the city to send a forceful letter to the Coast Guard.

“Locking down the east bridge ensures we have access for emergency fire and rescue vehicles,” Wallack said, noting that the east bridge was twice stuck in the up position during the last month — once for four hours.

Santos reminded commissioners of a recent death of a Venetian resident who suffered a heart attack and couldn’t be attended to by paramedics because of delays in getting across the drawbridge.

Miami Beach fire officials said that because the city of Miami cannot bring any fire trucks across the bridge. Miami has placed a pumper truck at the 1000 Venetian Way condo for emergency use. Miami could send firefighters to run the truck on pickup trucks until the bridge construction begins, and by boat after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water restored, 3 Belle Isle buildings face boil water order during weekend

The "geyser" on Belle Isle. (photo by Fane Lozman).

The “geyser” on Belle Isle. (photo by Fane Lozman).

Today’s water main break was quickly contained, but three buildings on Belle Isle will have a boil water order for the next two days: 3 Island Avenue, 5 Island Avenue and 9 Island….

Belle Isle springs another leak; water is out….and back on

The "geyser" on Belle Isle. (photo by Fane Lozman).

The “geyser” on Belle Isle. (photo by Fane Lozman).

For the third time in the last two years, we’ve got a big water main break on Belle Isle.

This one is a geyser. At 9 Island Avenue, building management used the building communication system to tell all residents at 10:15 a.m. that the water  main on Belle Isle had ruptured, and all units would be without water for an undetermined period.

Update at 11:07 a.m.: The “geyser” has been capped and city workers are on the scene. 9 Island residents have been told to turn off their air conditioning units because the water is off.

Update at 11:30 a.m.: Water leak capped, service to be restored shortly, boil 48-hour water order expected.

12:55 p.m. update: Power service is returning, but a boil water order will be in effect for 3 Island Avenue, Island Terrace and 9 Island Avenue condos for 48 hours, according to Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez.

 

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Venetian Island homeowners wrangle to keep traffic flowing during bridge construction

How will we get off our islands when construction causes the closure of the westernmost span of Venetian Way, between Biscayne Island and mainland Miami?

Some members of the Venetian Islands Homeowner Association are actively lobbying the keep the easternmost drawbridge locked down during that time, which will begin some time in the fall.

The Miami Herald’s Cristina Veiga has a detailed look at issues.

Venetian could get thorough makeover, FDOT says

Florida Department of Transportation officials held their advertising first meeting on the future of the Venetian Causeway on Wednesday night.

Among the requests — changing the name of the residential link between mainland Miami and Miami Beach from “causeway” to Venetian Way.

Here’s the coverage from the Herald.

 

What’s next for Venetian Causeway? FDOT starts the process Wednesday

We’ve resigned ourselves to the closure of the westernmost Venetian Causeway bridge, expected to begin around September or October so the segment can be rebuilt.

Miami-Dade County last month approved spending $10 million on that project, which they say will take six to nine months. And we know engineering reports say the other Venetian bridges at minimum need repairs, some more significant than others.

We could learn more next week, when the Florida Department of Transportation holds an informational meeting on its Venetian Causeway project development and environmental study.

According to the FDOT press release, “the meeting will provide an introduction to the project and present information regarding the existing conditions and the schedule for the study.”

The meeting happens Wednesday, June 25, at 6 p.m. at the Miami Beach Regional Library, 227 2 St., near the Bass Museum.

There is an FDOT website on the project.

Overdue Dade Boulevard bike path won’t be done for a while

If you bicycle or jog across South Beach, you probably cheered the proposed bike and pedestrian path along Dade Boulevard and the Collins Canal when Miami Beach began work on it two years ago.

And now you think: Will it ever be finished?

The Miami Herald reports that yes, it will get finished. When?

Would you believe 2015?

That’s about two years behind schedule.

For now, there is an asphalt path, no landscaping, and lighting that works along one stretch (between Meridian and Convention Center Drive. Sigh.

FDOT says 17th Street should reopen Saturday

You probably noticed that the roadwork that caused the Florida Department of Transportation to close 17th Street between Alton Road and Alton Court didn’t get finished by the original completion date of May 22.

FDOT now says 17th Street should be open to traffic by Saturday morning.

Construction crews closed 17th Street on May 11 so workers could install underground drainage structures and pipe, and then rebuild the roadway. The work was supposed to be done on Thursday, May 22, before the start of the busy Memorial Day weekend.

But “there were some unforeseen conditions that arose that required the closure to be extended,” project spokeswoman Heather Leslie said. “We were required to replace sections of the city’s existing drainage system and water main immediately west of Alton Road that were found to be in deteriorating condition and in conflict with the roadway.

“Also, there were two days of rain that significantly impacted completion of the drainage operations and construction of the roadway base.”

 

Miami Beach Human Rights Committee wants feedback on Memorial Day weekend experience

With Memorial Day weekend about to start, Miami Beach is getting prepared.

That means barricades, crowd control and a major police presence along with lots of parties and visitors. For lots of Beach residents, the Memorial Day crush and attendant traffic makes for a less than relaxing holiday.

In years past, the city has been criticized for policing too little and policing too much. The Collins Avenue shooting of a motorist by police three years ago is still under investigation, and subject of a lawsuit. The annual arrest tally has drawn criticism from civil libertarians.

The Miami Beach Human Rights Committee has posted an online survey to get your thoughts (and those of visitors) on how well the city prepared for the festivities — and how it handled the weekend.

It wants to know if you felt safe — and whether the city treated residents and visitors with respect.

 

Miami-Dade approves $10 million to repair Venetian island bridge to mainland

Miami-Dade County commissioners on Tuesday approved spending $10.1 million on a emergency basis for the design and construction of a replacement bridge for the westernmost bridge span on Venetian Way.

The vote will enable the county to demolish, design and rebuild the the bridge more quickly — and without a competitive bidding process. In a memo to commissioners, Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak said the design phase will take about four months, and the constrcution will take six to nine months.

That means, Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance Presdient Jack Hartog said in a note to island residents, we’re roughly looking at a construction start in October and completion in some time between April and July 2015.

VWNA will have issues to tackle between now and when the bridge closes for construction, Hartog said.

“We need to work now so that when the bridge is closed we can:

– Ensure emergency and other needed services to the Venetian Islands continue;

– Find viable ways for allowing at least pedestrian and bicyle traffic to get back and forth between the mainland and Biscayne Island;

– Make sure this inconvenience is as short as possible.”

In her memo to commissioners, Hudak said that the structural issues with the bridge was so severe that waiting could mean more reductions in the weight of vehicles permitted to cross the bridge. Now, the weight is limited to 5 tons, restricting bus service to the islands from Miami.

“A delay to commence the necessary construction activities can further impact the existing restrictions to the use of the Bridge Segment, placing a significant and prolonged impact on its users,” Hudak said. “The procurement of the contract is expected to take four (4) months, with actual construction to take six (6) to nine (9) months thereafter, during which time the Bridge Segment would be closed to vehicular traffic. The work, currently estimated at $10,100,000, will consist of the complete demolition of the existing Bridge Segment, and the construction of an entirely new bridge from foundations to bridge deck.

“Once completed, the current five (5) ton weight restriction will be removed and the life expectancy of the entire West Venetian Bascule Bridge will be 60 years.”

Meanwhile, Hartog notes, the Florida Department of Transportation is reviewing how to repair or replace the other 11 bridges that make up the crossing from mainland Miami to Miami Beach.

That study will address ‘viable replacement alternatives, the historic nature of the bridges, public and private stakeholder concerns, environmental impacts and potential costs.” The study will take at least another four to five years, accrdoing to the memo.