Sunday , 21 December 2014
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County Commissioner Suarez addresses Metrorail Issues

suarezI am turning the spotlight to an issue which affects all residents of Miami-Dade County, particularly those who ride the Metrorail. I would like to thank Grant Miller, Publisher of Community Newspapers, for bringing this issue to the forefront. He contacted me to share his concerns regarding the security and cleanliness of the Metrorail stations; particularly, the overpasses which connect both sides of the road to the Metrorail station and platforms. There have been many rider and neighborhood complaints about cleanliness of the stations, particularly the Dadeland South station, and the Douglas Road (37th Avenue) station. Hotel management for the Dadeland Marriott Hotel, which is adjacent to the Dadeland South station, has expressed concerns about the effects of the lack of sanitation on hotel occupants and visitors. There has also been an ongoing issue of chronic homelessness, which has affected many stations, including Dadeland South and Douglas Road. Oftentimes, the homeless have used the stations, their platforms, and surrounding areas as a gathering place, or as shelter. My office has taken steps to address this issue in the Dadeland South community, working with all direct stakeholders to come up with an appropriate solution.

We have been working directly with Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) Director, Ms. Ysela Llort, in order to communicate all of these concerns from the community, as well as discussing various options and potential solutions, which would include revisiting security contracts for the stations. Additionally, we have been discussing ideas and potential programs to establish better levels of monitoring of the 15 overpasses found countywide.

Director Llort has communicated to us the current transit policy of cleaning the overpasses daily, with a deep cleaning scheduled every month. Furthermore, she indicated that MDT is working on addressing the lack of lighting around these areas in order to improve the existing security issues.

Upon direct examination of the Douglas Avenue (37th Avenue) station, my staff noticed some disturbing issues:

– Many of the lights on the overpasses and throughout the station, are currently out or need to be updated/replaced.

– Although a cleaning crew is contracted to clean daily from 5:30 am for approximately four hours, by the early afternoon, the station and its associated facilities (elevators and restrooms) are again in dire need of cleaning and maintenance. Many of the elevators for both the platforms and overpasses have paint on the windows, and more troubling, have strong foul odors emanating from various sources, which can be both a health and safety hazard to pedestrians using these to cross the road via the overpass.

– From a visual point of view, many of the stations and overpasses need to be repainted and/or re-paved in terms of the cement on the walkways and the stairwells. There are many cracks present and there is a great degree of rust visible – this is rather unsightly, and does not present the best possible image for businesses, tourists or local riders, on behalf of MDT. Miami-Dade Transit and the County, overall, can and must do better.

– Security – Many stations only have one security guard working and patrolling the grounds at all times – some have two, including the Douglas Avenue station, but this is not sufficient – more is needed, in order to properly patrol and maintain the cleanliness and working conditions of the elevators for the overpasses, as well as the stations, themselves.

On November 7, 2013, I sent a letter to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, asking for his support and vigilance in addressing the need for constant maintenance and cleaning of all of the Metrorail stations and overpasses, countywide.

With the help of the Dadeland Marriott through a strategic partnership, we have been able to address some of the maintenance and paint issues at the Dadeland South station, but it is only a start. This alone, is not the solution.

Much more work is needed – Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) as well as the County, overall, can and must improve. We bear a responsibility to our community, our tourists, our businesses and our residents. Our future as a world-class community, featuring world-class mass transit and infrastructure depends on the success of this, along with other strategic initiatives, going forward.

 

Xavier L. Suarez

Miami-Dade County Commissioner

District 7

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7 comments

  1. Spotlight to an issue which affects all residents of Miami-Dade County, particularly those who live near public parks and institutions in District 7, the MDC Mayor's former district.
    In 2008 Miami Dade County School David Fairchild Elementary 1761, please be advised that the Public Works Department (PWD) staff again conducted a field evaluation of the area and also met with Mr. William Kinney, School Principal. As a result, PWD offers the following comments: MDC PWD STAFF noted that the school HAS NO on-site loading area for parents to pick-up or drop-off students. Due to this, many years ago, PWD designated SW 45th St. between SW 57th Ave. and SW 58th Ave. as a “limited access” roadway permitting westbound movement during arrival and dismissal times so parents could use the north side of SW 45th St. as the pick-up or drop-off area. Parents may also use the SW 58th Ave. school frontage to parallel park. However, THIS IS OBVIOUSLY INADEQUATE, as parents park along other roadways in the area near the school TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD. To prohibit this, PWD has over the years installed “No Stopping or Standing” signs through the area; though, this tends TO BE INEFFECTIVE, since parents have no where else to pick-up their children. Furthermore, staff found that some PARENTS ILLEGALLY ANGLE PARK along the east side of SW 58th Ave. north of SW 45th St. Parents also park inside the public park to the north on SW 58th Ave. as additional alternate parking. This is DUE again to inadequate loading /unloading areas for the school. At this point due to the LIMITED ROAD FRONTAGE AND LACK OF ADEQUATE ONSITE FACILITIES OF THE SCHOOL, PWD CANNOT ASSIST in any additional way TO RESOLVE your CONERN. However, by copy of this e-mail, it is requested that MR. JOHN DIBENEDETTO, DISTRICT DIRECTOR OF HAZARD, SAFETY, & ENVIRONMENTAL DIVISION, MDCPS, review the current loading operations and facilities of the school to see what MDCPS may be able to do to alleviate the SIGNIFICANT DEFICIENCY in passenger vehicle loading/unloading at the school WHICH IS CAUSING THIS ADVERSE IMPACT TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
    In addition, the survey revealed that this school has adequate and sufficient school related signs and pavement markings, and that all signs are visible to the motoring public, as required.
    By copy of this e-mail, IT IS REQUESTED THAT Mr. Robert L. Parker, Director of MIAMI DADE COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT, PROVIDE SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE with the school speed zone DURING the arrival and dismissal times of the school, AS WELL AS the existing posted “No Stopping or Standing” and “No Angle Parking” signs around the school, as needed.
    Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Mr.Jon Orue at 305-375-2030 or via e-mail at orue@miamidade.gov. Harvey L. Bernstein Educational Facilities Administrator Traffic Engineering Division Miami-Dade County Public Works Department 111 NW 1st Street • Suite 1510 • Miami, Florida 33128-1970 305-375-1874 Phone 305-372-6064 Fax http://www.miamidade.gov/pubworks/
    MDC MAYOR GIMENEZ, DISTRICT 7 COMMISSIONER what steps have your offices taken to protect the CHILDREN, and baby strollers of the tax paying homeowner and to address this issue in the fairchild heights community? Who will be and when will your MDC offices be working with all direct stakeholders to come up with an appropriate solution?? The County and MDC Schools, overall, can and must improve. They bear a responsibility to MDC community, and our tax paying residents. 2008, "Delivering Excellence Every Day"? Really?

  2. Thank You Commissioner Suarez for bringing those issues to light. The Dadeland South Station is filthy and needs to be cleaned up. People who visit from other places shouldn't be afraid to walk to and from the station without someone begging for money or hanging out. There is no security once you leave the station.
    The entire County Commissioners should be ashamed because the public aren't the only ones that noticed this.

    • It is a rating of BBB for Miami Dade County Transit Department "Taxing for Services Not rendered every day"

    • Fraidy Cat! What are people afraid of, that they might have to say, no?? Is it a felony to beg or hangout on public property in the United States of America?
      The dadeland marriott parking garage looks like a mdc waste management site….

  3. It is a rating of BBB for miami dade county public and private schools located in residential communities…

  4. Thanks for bringing this up. Another issue you may consider, particularly at the Dadeland South station, is that the Village of Pinecrest Police often ask homeless folks and anyone who loiters the area just across from the station to go back to the Miami side of the tracks. So instead of dealing with issues on their own territory, they ask them to cross the street. This results in the "gatherings" you speak of. In regards to the security, I have found the officers on duty are just shooting the breeze and not at all patrolling the area.

  5. How much did the 311 system cost to implement?
    All we have to do is contact grant miller and he will contact MDC District 7 commissioner and viola issues resolved… No need for MDC Staff.