County's Transportation Planning Organization Board Approves Bridge Project at SW 87th Avenue
March 18, 2021
Village of Palmetto Bay
The Miami-Dade County's Transportation Planning Organization's (TPO) Governing Board met today at 2 pm to decide whether to approve an amendment to the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and and amendment to the 2021 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to include the SW 87th Avenue Bridge Project.

More than 300 comments were received by the TPO Board on the subject through emails, voice mail messages, live on zoom, and in-person at the Stephen P. Clark Building. Mayor Cunningham, Vice Mayor Tellam and Councilmembers Steve Cody and Marsha Matson and members of the 87th Avenue Bridge Project Task Force, all spoke before the TPO Board asking for a deference of the item, during the one-minute time frame provided to each individual for public comment. Many Village residents also traveled to Downtown to give in-person comments, albeit from the building's lobby area rather than face to face with Board members.
Mayor Cunningham was the first to address the TPO Board members, "We have been working through conflict resolution and will be entering into mediation with COO Jimmy Morales. Our request is very simple, we are asking you to defer item 6A1 until next month to provide Palmetto Bay, my new colleagues and our new Manager the opportunity to work allow DPTW to host a town hall in Palmetto Bay to allow for the community to be able to hear the impact from this and other projects slated for Palmetto Bay and ask questions."

Vice Mayor Tellam added that "there are many solutions, many of which have already been put in place by your actions; circles on Old Cutler Road, BRT, smart lights on US 1, stop signs and "no right-hand turn signs have been determined to be smart solutions."
Councilmember Cody reiterated that the bridge would bring more traffic issues than solutions, "it's going to not solve a problem, it's merely going to move a problem from 168 Street up to 141st Street. Please vote this down, it's not a good idea." Councilmember Matson cited solutions offered in a 2019 engineering study completed by Marlin Engineering such as a dedicated right-turn lane at northbound SW 87th Avenue and 168th Street.

Palmetto Bay previously held a Conflict Resolution Assessment meeting with county staff and attorneys on March 12, 2021, which was carried over to March 15, 2021.
During the initial meeting, the Village asked for a one-month continuance of the bridge item, which was placed on the TPO agenda pursuant to recommendations from the TPO's Transportation Planning Council and the Transportation & Mobility Committee last week. Village officials argued that the additional time would give Palmetto Bay residents the opportunity to learn more about the proposed bridge project, including items such as the project plans, schedule and costs and also to provide the county more time to study the impact of all future transportation projects collectively since none of that information has been shared with the community. The March 12th meeting was adjourned to be reconvened on March 15th pending a response from County Mayor Levine Cava. At the carryover meeting, County staff informed the Village that County Mayor Levine Cava would not be recommending a continuance since the item was placed on the TPO agenda by administration at the direction of the Board of County Commissioners.

Today's TPO meeting was the final step in the process to amend the LRTP and TIP and include the SW 87th Avenue bridge project.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Mayor Cunningham offered the following statement, "I couldn't be prouder to see our community come out today in all forms and prioritizing the future of our Village in the middle of the day and for the past few months. During this process, I have learned so much and know we are all better as a result. We will continue to move forward to get comprehensive traffic solutions for our area."
Mayor Cunningham added, "As I announced at the COW meeting, I will be calling a Special Council Meeting to consider the Village's next steps. As always, I welcome input from our residents."

Please visit our website for details about the Special Council meeting and how you can participate!

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