|Public Safety and Neighborhood Quality of Life Committee Members
|Alina T. Hudak, City Manager
|March 22, 2023
DISCUSSION REGARDING DIRECTING THE CITY ADMINISTRATION TO HOLD COMMUNITY MEETINGS WITH OCEAN DRIVE STAKEHOLDERS ON THE FEASIBILITY OF PEDESTRIANIZING OCEAN DRIVE DURING CERTAIN HOURS OF THE DAY ONLY, WHILE REOPENING OCEAN DRIVE TO VEHICULAR TRAFFIC.
Pursuant to the direction of the Mayor and City Commission (City Commission), Ocean Drive was re-open to vehicular traffic in January 2022, from 5th Street to 13th Street. The introduction of vehicular traffic onto Ocean Drive included a single southbound lane, and a northbound and southbound bike lane on the east side of the road. Additionally, the City Commission directed the Administration to create a temporary pedestrian plaza on Ocean Drive between 13th Street and 14th Place.
On December 21, 2022, the City Administration and Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) staff met to discuss DTPW’s concerns with the current configuration of the promenade and associated operational challenges. During the meeting, DTPW staff expressed that a permit for the promenade as currently configured would not be approved and required that the City submit a modified plan to address the operational challenges as well as a methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of the modified plan for DTPW’s review and approval. The continuation of the promenade on a pilot basis would be contingent upon the County’s approval of the modified plan.
Over the past few months, City staff from various departments, including Police, Fire, Transportation and Mobility, Parking, Public Works, and Facilities and Fleet Management have worked together to develop a modified operational plan for the promenade that balances the needs and desires of the affected residents, property owners, businesses, stakeholder groups, City emergency services, and visitors, and which addresses the concerns expressed by DTPW. The proposed modified operational plan, described in further detail below, was transmitted to DTPW for its review and consideration on March 3, 2023.
The modified operational plan consists of allowing vehicular traffic to access Ocean Drive via gates arms at 14 Place from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday – Saturday, which aligns with the time periods when most deliveries and services for the affected businesses occur. This operational plan is expected to drastically reduce the volume of delivery trucks and service vehicles which currently cannot access Ocean Drive within the promenade portion and must therefore perform their services from the alleyway. As such, by reducing the number of trucks and service vehicles during the early morning hours when the bulk of this activity typically occurs, the Administration believes this operational change will address DTPW’s concern regarding the volume of vehicles using and potentially blocking the alleyway and the challenges associated with that operation.
With respect to a methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of a modified operational plan for the temporary promenade, the City proposes to collect traffic data at 13 Street, 14 Place, and 15 Street along Ocean Drive to document the existing conditions with respect to traffic volumes. If the modified operational plan is approved by DTPW for implementation on a pilot basis, City staff is prepared to collect and analyze post-traffic data and provide to DTPW for use in determining the effectiveness of the modified pilot. In addition, City staff will conduct observations and garner feedback from affected residents, property owners, businesses, patrons, visitors, and workforce with regard to the modified pilot. As contemplated, the City, in collaboration with DTPW, will use this data and feedback to evaluate the pilot and determine if any additional changes to the pilot are warranted to address the County’s concerns.
Additionally, the City is currently in the process of engaging a design consultant to implement the design phase of Ocean Drive from 5th Street to 15th Street as part of General Obligation Bond Project 31 to reconfigure Ocean Drive on a long-term basis pursuant to the Art Deco Cultural District (ADCD) vision plan. The consultant scope of work will include analyzing the feasibility of configuring Ocean Drive with two lanes, one lane, or fully pedestrian. The consultant will hold community meetings and provide feedback.
Given the current and ongoing measures being taken to evaluate the viability of potential Ocean Drive configurations, both through the G.O. Bond project and the pilot promenade, it is recommended that community meetings be conducted once DTPW has reviewed the proposed modified operational plan for the promenade and, if approved, after the modified plan has been implemented and evaluated based on the methodology acceptable to DTPW. Additionally, it may be prudent and efficient to coordinate community meetings in tandem with the design consultant being engaged for the G.O. Bond project as this consultant will be evaluating the feasibility of configuration options.
|Is this a "Residents Right to Know" item, pursuant to City Code Section 2-14?
|Does this item utilize G.O. Bond Funds?
|Mobility - Improve the walking and biking experience.