President’s Column: The time is now: take control, improve safety

For 23 years BHA News has been reporting the issues that your board representatives and elected officials are working on together. We always welcome your feedback, and at times we need to hear from you to meet your needs. At other times, we need you to make your voice heard.

Now, with two momentous opportunities before us, is one such time.

The first “Game Changer” as described in the cover article would transfer authority of Brickell Avenue from FDOT to City of Miami. This holds with it the promise to significantly improve our local control and increase the safety of our community’s main artery. For years FDOT has not been receptive to neighbors’ pleas to slow down traffic on Brickell Avenue to a uniform, neighborly speed of 30 mph or to add signals and crosswalks to make the roadway safer for both cars and people.


Ernesto Cuesta on the balcony of NeoVertika Condo.

City officials and staffers have supported BHA on this. The police have supported it. And The Miami Herald has written in support of it many times and chronicled the dangers of Brickell Avenue for pedestrians. But FDOT won’t change its stand that lowering it would have any positive effect.

For years, the Brickell neighborhood’s walkers, strollers, bikers and joggers have had a rocky alliance with the highway authority and its need to move cars through fast. Not unlike a bad marriage, now is the time (just like in a bad marriage) to end the acrimony, formally separate, and do what each party needs to do for itself.

Time is short. Write to Commissioners Francis Suarez, Michelle Spence-Jones, and Frank Carollo to urge them to support Commissioner Sarnoff’s proposal and our community’s desire for improved safety in the Brickell corridor, Miami’s economic driver.

But don’t stop yet

Another important movement needs your voice. (See cover story “Police By the Numbers”.) Commissioner Sarnoff and Miami Police Chief Manny Orosa lay out cogent, well-documented arguments as to how increasing Miami’s police force will not only dramatically decrease Part I (violent) crimes, but also outweigh the budgetary investment by yielding economic benefits to the community.

We need to feel secure. We need the quality of life that having more officers brings to a community. We need to know that the police will be able to respond quickly in an emergency.

Again, let your Commissioners hear from you. Commissioner Sarnoff has made it very easy by setting up a petition online at You can also get to it from a link on the main page of the BHA website. It takes just a minute to complete.

Not just any cops

Having local police you can call on and who are responsible and engaged in their community makes all the difference. On behalf of BHA, I want to formally thank Commander Jose Fernandez and Officer Daniel Rodriguez for their work in the Brickell community and for listening to our issues, responding and being there for us. They have given significant attention to traffic and pedestrian safety, issuing 16,000 vehicular citations since December 2012, with about 40% of those for motorists failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians. They answer our community’s calls and work on our particular problesm. They make the difference in making the community safer.

Photo at top: Ernesto Cuesta at podium when FDOT agreed to lower the speed limit from 40 mph to 35 mph December 2010, with Alyce Robertson of DDA, Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade, Commissioner Sarnoff and Mayor Tomas Regalado.

From BHA News Vol. XXIII No. 1, Spring/Summer 2013