Monday, January 14, 2013

A Walk to Harbor Island

Continuing from yesterday, I walked the streets of Harbor Island today, joined by Commissioner Chervony.  Harbor Island is the second most populous neighborhood in the village and is all multi-unit housing of mixed low rise and mid-rise buildings.   So I set off on foot, crossing the bridge to Harbor Island.  


View of the flat bridge walkway looking east

So here's the first thing you notice on the bridge.  There's no barrier between the traffic and the pedestrians.  Not on the north side of the bridge anyway.












However, on the south side, the FDOT has erected this dog pound fence, ugly and poorly constructed, and claims it is there for safety reasons.   I guess they figure that people walking to and from North Bay Island are more valuable 
than those walking to Harbor Island. 









Ariving on Harbor Island, I go to cross to West Drive at the three way intersection of East Drive, West Drive and Larry Pankow Way.  Naturally, there's no cross walk.  











After succesfully and illegally crossing the street, I find out that the sidwalks here are not nearly as obstructed as Treasure Island.  Mostly because there aren't any, at least not on the west side of the street.  Well, not entirely.  Here's a vestige of a sidewalk in front of the Islander.   It surprises me the number of Harbor Islanders who complain about parking but since half of them have no option but to drive wherever they need to go, I guess I can see why.  







At least the abandoned property at 7918 West Drive (you can tell by the mailbox) no longer is just rusted rebar.  The weeds have reclaimed it.  Fortunately nobody lives here. It just sits breeding vermin and mosquitoes














This lovely garden spot is maintained by the 360 Condo.  It's actually the public access path to ensure that all residents have access to the water.  It's beautifully landscaped and completely locked with no signage.   But it is ours.  









Here are two more public access points to the waterfront, blocked off and unnoted.  









So Harbor Island, where most of our new residents and young families are living, where the city has spent millions on a pocket park, where parking is so tight that it is by permit only, wins the award for the least pedestrian friendly neighborhood in the village.  

Look, this matters.  Young families have moved into the neighborhood and have kids and old people, who maybe would like to get to the park without risking their lives.  

Miami-Dade Transit is actually not bad and buses to Miami Beach and to the transfer points in Miami run about every 10 minutes.  It's actually possible to live without a car or at least minimally using one and that would alleviate some of the vehicular overcrowding and parking congestion.  

A healthy community needs access to the community.  People should be able to walk to the park, to the businesses, to catch a bus.  Many won't but for those who will, a sidewalk, a walk light that works (none of walk lights on the north side of the causeway work) and a chance not to get killed crossing the street are the bare minimums.  If Harbor Island has any hope, we need to forget about putting any more money in that stupid park and start putting a few bucks in things that work.   

And for the grand finale, I walked back on the south side of the flat bridge, feeling very unprotected by the fence and came across another blocked Treasure Island sidewalk that I overlooked on Saturday's walkabout.  

Kevin Vericker
January 14, 2013





2 comments:

  1. The central junction is a dangerous area for pedestrians, also the entrance to and from the shell gas station, you are constantly in danger of being accidentally hit by a car.

    I assumed that the garden was private property... are you sure it's public?

    Agree 100% about the lack of a sidewalk.

    The city should claim emminant domain on one of the empty lots, erect a parking garage, and get rid of the street parking on one side of harbor island.


    What you didn't mention, and in my opinion, the worst offense, is the complete LACK of street lights for a good part of harbor island at night.

    The area by the lot you pictured, and the ugly parking lot across from it that somehow escaped your camera has no lightning at night.

    There is a sidewalk on only one side of the street, completely obscured by cars. I can easily imagine some horrendous crime occurring in that tight space, and no one noticing until morning, because of the lack of light, and good planning.

    Also, cars whizz by extremely fast, despite the 20mph speed limit. Would love it if they installed a speeding camera on west drive.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The central junction is a dangerous area for pedestrians, also the entrance to and from the shell gas station, you are constantly in danger of being accidentally hit by a car.

    I assumed that the garden was private property... are you sure it's public?

    Agree 100% about the lack of a sidewalk.

    The city should claim emminant domain on one of the empty lots, erect a parking garage, and get rid of the street parking on one side of harbor island.


    What you didn't mention, and in my opinion, the worst offense, is the complete LACK of street lights for a good part of harbor island at night.

    The area by the lot you pictured, and the ugly parking lot across from it that somehow escaped your camera has no lightning at night.

    There is a sidewalk on only one side of the street, completely obscured by cars. I can easily imagine some horrendous crime occurring in that tight space, and no one noticing until morning, because of the lack of light, and good planning.

    Also, cars whizz by extremely fast, despite the 20mph speed limit. Would love it if they installed a speeding camera on west drive.

    ReplyDelete

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