“As you well know, parts of my district, especially in north Little Havana, are some of the county’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians,” said Commissioner Carollo. “I want to thank my fellow commissioners for supporting this resolution and our community partners for their involvement, because it will make theses streets safer for our residents and their children. In an area that has so much pedestrian traffic, it is the right thing to do.”
Pedestrian Priority Zone Plans were developed by Miami-based planning firm MHCP COLAB who worked directly with Miami District 3 Commissioner Joe Carollo and his team and Healthy Little Havana, a community-based non-profit organization that promotes healthy living among the residents of the Little Havana.
Little Havana has the highest number of pedestrian crashes in the County according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles crash data provided by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Data for the five-year trend shows that between 2012 and 2017 there were 293 pedestrian crashes and 12 fatalities. Planned improvements will include new crosswalks on school routes, pedestrian signals with lead time for people crossing ahead of cars and narrower crossings at intersections and on designated greenways.
Funding for the development of the PPZ plan was provided by Health Foundation of South Florida as part of its six-year, $3.75 million investment in the Healthy Little Havana initiative, which promotes and advocates for opportunities that improve the health of everyone in Little Havana. “The adoption of Pedestrian Priority Zones in Little Havana will not only make the streets safer for all pedestrians, it will also help to support improved health and better quality of life by creating spaces that allow and encourage physical activity. At the Health Foundation of South Florida, we know that the places where people live, work, and play can have the biggest impact on health. That's why we are proud to support this important work to help transform Little Havana into a place that fosters healthy lifestyles for all.” --Steve Marcus, President & CEO of Health Foundation of South Florida.
“As the Miami-Dade County School Board Member for District 6, I am extremely happy to see a plan that aims to greatly improve the pedestrian safety for students and community members around Little Havana schools. Safety and security is my top priority and I’m happy to see the Health Foundation of South Florida working with the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, FDOT and Safe Routes to Schools Program for this initiative.” Miami-Dade County School Board Member Mari Tere Rojas, District 6.
FDOT has already begun to design improvements at Miami Senior High School’s West Flagler Street and NW 24th Avenue after confirming students were not using the existing crosswalk at this busy intersection. Work will be completed through push-button design/construction contracts as workload, schedule, and funding permit.
As Raissa Fernandez, Board Chair Healthy Little Havana and Little Havana resident explained, “The people of this community deserve a walkable, safe and fun neighborhood that values the importance of safety for them regardless of class or status. I am excited about the work we have done and will continue to work for the betterment of our community."