Tag Archives: DiLido

Bid conference Monday on Venetian Islands improvements

The long delayed improvements to sidewalks, lighting and landscaping on Miami Beach Venetian Causeway islands of Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino are lagging — again.

The so-called Streetscape project has been in the talking and planning stage for more than a decade, and has been on hold pending the completion of the improvements on the actual causeway, which are expected to finally be done in September, about nine months behind schedule.

Venetian Islands resident Debra Leibowitz, who writes the Beach Buzz column for The Miami Herald’s Neighbors section, updated the delay.

There is a pre-bid conference today at 3 p.m. 1755 Meridian Avenue, third floor.


Venetian Causeway construction won’t be done til mid September — hopefully

Work undone includes leveling pavement with sidewalks and curbs and finishing medians.

The reconstruction of the historic Venetian Causeway — with wider sidewalks, pink crosswalks, vintage light posts, better drainage and repaving — is eight months behind schedule, and counting.

If you live on the Venetian, you know the route between mainland Miami and Miami Beach has been an obstacle course of lane changes and uneven pavement. You’ve cringed as your car shuddered over uneven crosswalks and elevated manhole covers.

When Venetian homeowners met with the Miami-Dade Public Works officials in late May, the official word was that work would be done by late July, barring surprises and bad weather.

Now, the timetable is mid-September, Miami-Dade County says.

“Weather delays and unexpected conflicts have pushed the substantial completion of the project,” said Francisco Calderon, communications manager for the Miami-Dade Public Works and Waste Management Division.

There is some progress. Landscaping is being installed in some median areas (on Belle Isle, for instance), Calderon said.

“Additionally, some concrete islands and sidewalks are currently under construction, and streetlight activities (installation of conduit and pull boxes) are in progress.”

But there is a fairly substantial list of items to be completed in the next six weeks, the county says, including:

— The irrigation system for the landscaping.

— Final sidewalk and concrete island work.

— Removal of the tall, old metal street lights that are being replaced by the new (old-looking) lights.

— Final layers of asphalt and pavement marking and signs.

— Odds and ends.

Calderon said people should know that some of the ongoing work on Biscayne and San Marco islands in Miami is not being done by the county and is on a different timeline.

“The city of Miami is currently constructing a stormwater pump station and related piping on San Marco Island. Additionally, the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department is installing water piping and street lights on North Venetian Dr. in Biscayne Island.”


Venetian Causeway contractor damages water line; residents must boil water

Miami Beach has issued a boil water order for Venetian Island residents after a contractor on the Venetian Causeway reconstruction damaged a water line.

Residents on Rivo Alto, San Marino, DiLido & Hibiscus islands will have to boil water for two days as a precaution,  the city of Miami Beach said in a press release late Tuesday.

That two-day clocks starts ticking once water service is restored. Miami Beach public works crews were working overnight to repair the water line, the city said.

Miami Beach to refund towing fees, promises to work with Venetian Isle homeowners

Miami Beach has pledged to refund towing fees to homeowners whose cars vanished during a weekend crackdown on Venetian Islands parking, the city’s parking director says.

The ticketing and towing of cars on DiLido and Rivo Alto islands grew out of an anonymous complaint to Miami Beach’s parking hotline, city parking director Saul Frances said in an email to Greg Carney, president of the Venetian Islands Homeowner Association.

The towed and ticketed vehicles were parked in on the road alongside homes on little traveled island streets. But someone had complained about a car partially blocking a driveway, Frances said.

The widespread enforcement followed.

Frances said the normal procedure would be to issue warnings, not tow.

“Unfortunately, through a miscommunication between our dispatch and the officer, the officer proceeded to cite/tow seven vehicles from West Rivo Alto Drive this past Saturday,” Frances wrote. “Shortly thereafter, we recognized our mistake and two of the seven vehicles were released that same day and the citations were retrieved and will be dismissed. We are in the process of retrieving the information of the other five vehicles in order to process refunds and dismiss those citations.”

Frances apologized for the towing.

“Unfortunately, this broke down this past Saturday during one of the service calls leading to the unfortunate towing of those vehicles,” he said.  “We apologize for any inconvenience to those affected by this unfortunate incident.”

Frances said that reports from homeowners — suggesting that as many as 20 cars on Rivo Alto and DiLido were ticketed and towed — were exaggerated. And he said the action was triggered by complaints from island residents.

“We understand the residents’ frustration on this matter; however, please know that our parking enforcement hotline is receiving service calls from residents on the Venetian Isles requesting parking enforcement to take action in the form of issuing citations and towing vehicles.

“In fact, our hotline received a complaint call later in the day this past Saturday regarding a similar complaint of vehicles obstructing traffic on Rivo Alto and San Marino. As per the established protocol, our process worked well and the officer issued 21 warnings. There were no citations issued and none of these vehicles were towed.”

Carney, the homeowner association president, said the city still needs to apply a distinction between thoroughfares such as Venetian Way and Alton Road and residential streets such as those on the Venetian islands.

“Once again our streets are not highways,” he wrote Frances in an email. “No one drives our streets trying to get anywhere other than one of our residences.  WE ARE ISLANDS.  The only way on or off is the CAUSEWAY, not one of our DRIVES or TERRACES.  I really don’t think it reasonable to assume that when the ordinance talks about limitations on parking on HIGHWAYS it meant them to apply to our local streets.

“The only HIGHWAY on our islands is the CAUSEWAY. If someone parks their vehicle on one of the bridges or spoil islands, by all means ticket or tow them. Then they are parking in the travel lane of a HIGHWAY, but not when they are on one of our streets.”

Carney said the city needs to be mindful that most cars in the area belong to residents or workers at residents homes. He said the city should consider creating a parking decal to identify the vehicles of island residents.

“As far as the level of aggressiveness to be applied in ticketing and towing on our islands goes, our position is that the residents’ issues should be of overriding importance.  These islands are our homes.  We must park here.  Our guests must park here.  Workers we employ on our properties must park here.  At the same time, we need to be able to navigate our streets and the City needs to be able to provide emergency services.”

Venetian island residents howl at Miami Beach when cars get towed from their neighborhood

On Saturday, the tow trucks rolled to Rivo Alto and DiLido islands on the Venetian Causeway, at the orders of the city of Miami Beach.

They towed more than a dozen cars.

Some belonged to island homeowners. Some belonged to their friends. Some belonged to workers with jobs at one of the homes.

Here’s an account from Rivo Alto resident Tony Santos:

“A complaint was sent in by someone on Rivo Alto that there were cars parked on the pavement in front of homes.  Based on that complaint, MB Parking Enforcement came out and ticketed and towed cars parked on the city streets on Rivo Alto.

“I stopped them from towing my wife’s car this morning because I heard a terribly loud noise of a truck in front of my home for a little while; otherwise there was no warning of any kind at any time.  The MB Parking Enforcement officer confirmed that to me as well.  While she was very professional (and I have to admit that given the fact I rousted out of bed, I was not taking too kindly to the situation), she stood by her orders.  Upon promising to move the vehicle, I placed it in neighbor’s driveway.”

By the count of some residents, the city had at least seven cars towed from the front of homes on DiLido Island, in addition to cars ticketed and towed from Rivo Alto.

The action created a furor on the islands during the weekend, and demands that Miami Beach city hall back off.

The issue, according to Venetian Island Homeowner Association president Greg Carney, is the city classifies the tiny streets on the three city Venetian islands — Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino — to be highways. And ordinances say “that vehicles cannot be parked in the travel lanes of HIGHWAYS,” Carney said in a letter to homeowners.

“The idea is twofold as I understand the Parking Department’s or CIty Attorney Office’s interpretation,” Carney wrote. “First, you don’t want cars being parked to create a hazard.  The idea here is if cars are parked in travel lanes on major through streets like Alton Road or the Venetian Causeway, fast moving traffic will be forced into the path of oncoming fast moving traffic, which creates an obvious safety issue.
“Second, vehicles should not be parked in such a way as to force pedestrians out into fast moving traffic for obvious safety reasons.
“In addition, there is another requirement that there be enough of a travel lane maintained on any public street whether HIGHWAY or not that emergency vehicles (e.g., police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, etc) be able to get by without hinderance for obvious reasons.”
Of course, the roads on the Venetian Islands do not function as thoroughfares like Alton Road or the Venetian Causeway.
One resident, who has lived on the island for 18 years, posted this note on a message board:
I got a ticket 4 months ago for parking in front of my house but not in my driveway.  I had no room because maids, maintenance, pool guy, etc. were there.  This is a problem and should be addressed.  We should be able to park near our homes…. there is no where to go.  There needs to be a way to handle all of this!
Carney said the city ought to apply some logic to its enforcement.
“The only rational solution, as I  have discussed with the City on a number of occasions, is to have the City interpret that the ordinance does not apply to non-HIGHWAYS and to deem our streets not to be HIGHWAYS,” Carney said.
“I strongly urge them to get this resolved once and for all: it seems as if it should be easy – modify the official interpretation of the ordinance and tell Parking to leave the residents alone.  I think it highly unlikely that the county or the State will come after the city for how it enforces parking on local city streets even if the county or state thinks our streets are HIGHWAYS.  Cut the residents some slack.”
He called on island residents to contact the city manager and their commissioners “to express frustration over this issue.  It sure has frustrated me.”