The City of Coral Gables works closely with community members and stakeholders to create plans that improve quality of life, and in February of 2016 the City launched a comprehensive transportation planning process at the request of residents and city leadership to increase mobility options and manage traffic congestion throughout the city.
There are no easy answers when it comes to traffic congestion. Coral Gables is a major destination and we are geographically in-between many other destinations. Our neighborhoods will always see cut-through traffic seeking faster routes to work, school and recreation than can be found travelling our major streets. Every Coral Gables resident has their own “secret” path through neighborhoods to avoid sitting in traffic. However, while we need to maintain a well-integrated street grid that connects residents and visitors to jobs and other destinations, the plan seeks to balance the needs of people passing-through with the needs of people living here.
One approach is to re-balance the way people get around, and provide a variety of choices that involve healthier transportation choices like walking, cycling, and transit for those who would like to use them. The plan seeks to make public transit more accessible and convenient, enhance our urban trails, greenways, sidewalks and bike facilities and add traffic-calming devices in our neighborhoods to lessen the impact of cut-through traffic. The Coral Gables Transportation Plan is part of a larger city goal to increase routine physical activity, improve health, lower health care costs, reduce the amount of climate-changing pollutants we release, and ultimately to become a more sustainable community
The purpose of the Comprehensive Multimodal Transportation Plan for Coral Gables is to develop a 10-year blueprint for improving the city’s transportation system and addressing key mobility needs to provide better travel choices for the residents, visitors and employees of the city. The plan’s recommendations will seek to improve the performance of each modal element (vehicular, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and freight) through improvements to the infrastructure and services, more seamless interconnection of modes, enhanced management of travel and transportation resources, and new and revised policies and procedures. Collectively, these initiatives are targeted to address various issues and needs such as neighborhood traffic management, arterial traffic movement, availability of alternative travel modes, and the interface between transportation and land use. The plan will develop an implementation strategy within funding resources to focus on both existing and future transportation system needs. This plan process will be informed by a robust campaign to listen to the city’s citizens and transportation interest groups to formulate a practical and forward-looking strategy to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Coral Gables.
The transportation planning program is divided into several major steps, each with specific tasks that contribute to the final plan. These are summarized in the following outline:
• PLAN FRAMEWORK and DATA COLLECTION
o Develop plan purpose, goals, and objectives
o Collect data and information
o Review prior relevant studies and plans
o Analyze existing and future conditions
o Conduct field studies
o Interview stakeholders
o Initiate public outreach
• PLAN DEVELOPMENT
o Develop ndividual plan elements for each mode and for various policies
o Refine recommendations
o Conduct extensive public involvement activities
• PLAN DOCUMENT AND REVIEW
o Prepare draft plan document for review
o Conduct briefings with elected officials, staff, and the public
o Finalize the plan document based on feedback
o Develop the implementation strategy and identify funding sources
• PLAN ADOPTION
o Adoption of the plan by the City Commission
Transportation is the lifeblood of a community — connecting people to people and linking them to jobs, shopping, education, recreation, and other destinations. Mobility is often taken for granted, but it underpins economic opportunity, personal enrichment, and community interaction. In short, transportation is pivotal in defining a community’s quality of life. The City of Coral Gables has identified the development of a comprehensive multimodal transportation plan as a priority to maintain and improve the linkages between its land uses; address long-standing traffic issues; reshape the mobility network to better balance competing needs and complementary solutions; and optimize the interaction between transportation and land use in shaping the Coral Gables of tomorrow.
Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of mobility choices for Coral Gables’ residents, business community, and the general public is of paramount importance to preserve economic vitality and quality of life within the City Beautiful. In this challenging planning environment, the plan development process will explore innovative management strategies and transportation solutions.
The development of the comprehensive multimodal transportation plan requires significant public involvement, an understanding of the City’s relationship within the larger fabric of Miami-Dade County, and the application of progressive technical approaches and solutions that meet complementary and competing objectives.
The work program for this transportation plan is structured to be:
• Comprehensive: considering all factors affecting the multimodal transportation network
• Multimodal: encompassing all transportation modes and uses
• Integrated: seeking opportunities to interconnect the modes for more seamless travel
• Progressive: incorporating innovative and state-of-the practice tools and techniques
• Proactive: anticipating needs and issues
• Context-sensitive: considering transportation issues, factors, opportunities, and constraints within and adjacent to Coral Gables
• Responsive: driven by community-generated input and dialogue
• Consistent: linking other key City plans and documents, including the Comprehensive Development Master Plan
• Coordinated: interfacing with City officials and departments, and external agencies
• Results-oriented: focusing on developing practical, prioritized, and forward-looking actions to guide the City’s future transportation system investments
The overall schedule for the plan covers 12 months beginning in February 2016. The general work program sequence for the plan development is summarized below:
• February – April: PLAN FRAMEWORK and DATA COLLECTION
• May – September: PLAN DEVELOPMENT
• October – November: PLAN DOCUMENT AND REVIEW
• Summer 2017: PLAN ADOPTION
• ONGOING during the plan: Public outreach and interaction, and coordination with other transportation agencies