Tag Archives: San Marino

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 water lines repaired; boil water order in effect until Friday.

Residents of Rivo Alto, DiLido, San Marino, Palm and Hibiscus islands are under a precautionary boil water order until Friday as result of damaged caused by a Venetian Causeway construction crew.

The boil water order does not include Belle Isle.

The water line was repaired early Wednesday after being damaged on Tuesday and disrupting water service.

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.”

Venetian Causeway construction creeps forward with February end date unlikely

We have another Venetian Causeway construction update, as we enter the last quarter of 2011 with the roadway a mess and work dragging on.

Several points on the causeway — San Marco Island in particular — provide a white knuckle experience, even at 20 miles an hour, with bicyclists, joggers, cars and buses competing for space on a roadway with deep potholes and 90-degree curves.

Last week, Venetian Island Homeowner Association president Greg Carney relayed news that the work on Rivo Alto, DiLido and San Marino islands was about to switch from the north to south side of the causeway, but that shift hasn’t happened yet.

Now Venetian Causeway Neighborhood Association head Jack Hartog has shared a progress report from the county that targets the completion of the work on the causeway itself (not island interior streets) at February, 2012.

That doesn’t include the San Marco work, which is part of a Miami-Dade County water line project and a city of Miami drainage project. That effort — right now the most difficult traffic challenge — is a particular irritant to Hartog,  who lives on San Marco.

It is a “major mess in what is in effect my back yard (I wake up almost every week day morning at 7 am to the sound of heavy moving equipment warming up, just moving, or making that really annoying rear motion beeping sound).”

Hartog said “the MDC Project Manager reports as of Sept. 1, 2011 the following as a  Construction Status Summary:

— The relocation and removal of trees — 30% complete.

— The subsoil excavation — 0% completed.

— The embankment activities — 30% completed.

— The subgrade activities — 33% completed.

— The drainage activities — 40% complete.

— The Traffic Signal and Lighting activities — 15% complete.

— The roadway base activity — 25% complete.

— The activities requiring concrete work — 15% complete.

— The first lift of asphalt paving — 18% complete.

— The sodding activity — 0% complete.

— At present,  the project completion is Feb. 2012.”

He summarized this way: “I think February 2012 as a completion date is very ambitious (and that end date, to my knowledge, in any event will not include the final landscaping, because I have been told the County will use its own resources to do the landscaping).

“It is also, of course, one month later than promised. Some of the delay, I have been told, was due to unexpected buried structures found at the outset of the project and FPL coordination issues, so the contractor apparently is not
responsible for at least those parts of the delay.”