Townhall Meeting- Raising West Ave 12/15/2014

Townhall Meeting
Minutes by Travis Copeland

December 15, 2014, 6:00pm, City Hall, 4th Floor
Presenters: Bruce Mowry (City Engineer), Alan Wise (consultant hired by Contractor Bergeron)

I. Background

a. Completely new streetscape of West Avenue, from 5th Street to 17th Street, entire width of the City-owned right-of-way
b. Timing to dovetail with completion of Alton Road construction
c. West Avenue is a City-owned road, and the City of Miami Beach will manage and pay for the project

II. Design

a. City right-of-way is 70 foot width in most stretches of West Avenue
b. A typical section of West Ave will contain (from west to east)

i. Sidewalk
ii. Parking lane
iii. Southbound bicycle lane
iv. Southbound travel lane
v. Turning lane (either dedicated or bidirectional-east/west)
vi. Northbound travel lane
vii. Northbound bicycle lane
viii. Parking lane
ix. Sidewalk
x. Vegetated swales where possible, otherwise transition walls between parking lane and sidewalk where sidewalk is lower than street

III. Raising streets and sidewalks

a. Goal: raising the city, elevating key components, because of sea level rise
b. Current elevation of the street is below high tide level
c. West Avenue street (and sidewalks where possible) will be raised between 18 and 24 inches
d. Every block/intersection will be custom designed to integrate into the raised street (see attached photo and “VI. Harmonization”)
e. Raising West Avenue will be a model for the rest of Miami Beach (and other cities around the world)
f. City Engineer stated that water in the street will be drained within the street and not disperse flood water into private properties

IV. Purpose

a. Miami Beach is built upon oolite/limestone, which is porous, and water/flooding comes up from the ground (unlike Amsterdam or New Orleans, which are built upon hard/clay surfaces that are impervious to water)
b. Therefore, Miami Beach cannot simply build a wall and pump water out
c. The new pumping stations will help to remove floodwater but not prevent flooding
d. The only solution is to raise “ground level”
e. Higher streets will also prevent private property from draining into street (each private property will be responsible for its own flooding)

V. Construction

a. Phase 1

i. West Avenue from 5th to 8th Streets
ii. West Avenue from Lincoln Road to 17th Street
iii. East to West from Alton to Biscayne Bay – 6th, 10th,14th and 17th Streets
iv. Groundbreaking mid January 2015
v. To be completed by August 2015

b. Work will continue in small (1-2 block) segments
c. Separate meeting for design elements (vegetation, street lighting, etc)

VI. Harmonization

a. Presenter Alan described “harmonization” – the integration of sidewalks, driveways, intersections, etc, into the new, higher roadway
b. Presented diagrams for two specific intersections/addresses (see attached diagram of 520 West Ave and 1657 West Ave)
c. Sidewalk level will match doorways; where sidewalks are lower than the street, there will be grades/ramps at intersections and graduated walls (“steps”) between sidewalk and parking lane

VII. City engineer recommended private property owners to:

a. Install pump station and dry well on their private property
b. Raise the building
c. Each private property owner to meet with City Engineer to discuss their private property solution
d. Possible government funding for private property solutions was mentionedRaised streets & sidewalks