Miami-Dade officials review diagonal footpath plan to increase safety at South Miami junction

MIAMI – The Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works aims to make another intersection in the county safer for pedestrians.

At a virtual hearing on Wednesday, county officials discussed an ongoing project in South Miami. They plan to introduce a diagonal walkway on SW 57 Avenue and SW 72 Street.

After spending time there, you understand why.

While people drive to their next destination, others stand and wait to go to theirs.

“You have to look at all the lights when the walker comes back,” said Joan Bradley. “Can I go now? And then to the next step and the next step.”

Bradley waited minutes to go to the opposite corner, crossing both streets.

It is one of many counting minutes to do the same.

With a lot of pedestrian traffic near businesses, county officials said that’s one of the reasons they want to add a diagonal walkway.

And a local business owner welcomed the idea.

“Safer for customers, people and neighbors,” added Gioani Martin.

Waiting for the walking signal to illuminate all four sidewalks at once can take time. We followed. And it was more than six minutes before pedestrians got the green light.

Most do not wait and avoid traffic.

“Safer streets are more passable and bicycle streets built not only for cars but also for pedestrians,” said Miami-Dade County Vice President Oliver Gilbert.

He calls it thinking. One launched on a section of Ives Dairy Road after our stories highlighted residents calling for speeding action to reduce accidents.

“We can do things with road design to slow down traffic,” Gilbert said. “We can do this with signals and medians. We can do this with a lot of different things.”

From our history last month, he worked with the county to evaluate and implement new strategies for Ives Dairy. There are more than a dozen ideas on the table.

Ives Dairy may be a small stretch of road, but it illuminates the larger mission of the county.

“Whether people can feel safe in their house or on the road is a big step for all of us,” Gilbert added.

Commissioner Gilbert calls traffic safety a team sport. Everyone has a role to play, from the county to the police, along with community feedback.

But above all, we are just beginning to be better neighbors.

During a virtual hearing Wednesday night, officials say the project will be completed at a crossroads near the end of 2023.

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