100th Avenue Update – Cooper City Commission Makes a Decision

September 15, 2014: Oh, but it took a while to get there, what with circular discussions and painful regurgitation of what we all just heard and clearly understood. Personal styles of the commissioners aside, it was decided to undo the blockage on 100th Avenue at 53rd Street and restore the ability to make a left turn out of 53rd onto 100th, or from northbound 100th onto 53rd – the way is has been for over 20 years.

There are legitimate concerns by folks who live along 53rd Street that too many people use it as a through street from 106th to 100th Avenues, with many of them speeding while they do so. With the left turn blocked off, this concern was mitigated, but the traffic has had to shift up to 51st Street or down to the Sterling Springs entrance, forcing residents to wander through other streets to get to and from their homes, and simply transferring a problem from one street to another. There are no stop signs on 53rd Street so it has been the preferred route compared to 51st with its two stop signs, for traversing from 106th to 100th. It is suspected that many of the drivers using the shortcut to 100th Avenue do not live in the neighborhood, making it even more frustrating for locals.

In reversing the current left turn blockage, the commission further agreed to request a study from Broward County after 30 days, to examine the traffic count on 53rd Street in order to support the installation of stop signs that would alleviate some of the “throughway” issue. It was noted that stop signs are not used for speed control, only volume control, but it was further noted that 51st Street has and has had for many years, two stop signs on virtually the same type of road. We’ll see what the study shows but for now, get ready to make your left turns once again. With the traffic flying on 100th, be extra watchful.

UPDATE: Skip brings up an interesting point about who has authority over traffic devices, and while at the commission meeting, I accepted at face value the comment that the county has final say-so over the placement of stop signs, and the city can only suggest or request placement. The state statues say something else in:
316.006 Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction to control traffic is vested as follows:

(2) MUNICIPALITIES.

(a) Chartered municipalities shall have original jurisdiction over all streets and highways located within their boundaries, except state roads, and may place and maintain such traffic control devices which conform to the manual and specifications of the Department of Transportation upon all streets and highways under their original jurisdiction as they shall deem necessary to indicate and to carry out the provisions of this chapter or to regulate, warn, or guide traffic.

So, is the prevailing municipality for Cooper City actually Broward County? Doesn’t sound right. So, if you look further, you find in

(4) (a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, a municipality may, by interlocal agreement with a county, agree to transfer traffic regulatory authority over areas within the municipality to the county.

So, apparently that is the case with Cooper City/Broward County. At some point Cooper City must have given such authority to Broward County, making the simple task of seeing and resolving (with stop signs) a traffic flow problem (the unimpeded throughway on 53rd Street) a much more complicated one, by having to bow to the authority of the county in this matter.

Now, the Cooper City Ordinances regarding traffic (Chapter 17, link below) does not mention any such agreement but does provide for the installation of traffic calming devices (such as speed humps, round-a-bouts) without specifically excluding stop signs, which could be reasonably interpreted as a traffic calming device.

After more searching, I could not find any reference to an interlocal agreement between Cooper City and Broward County transferring traffic regulatory authority to the county. It may exist, and I’ve emailed City Hall to see if they can provide a reference. Link to Chapter 17.

Now, in their paper, Traffic Calming Do’s and Don’ts (Richard Drdul, P.Eng. and Mike Skene, A.Sc.T, Institue of Transportation Engineers technical papers 1994) they suggest that stop signs are NOT effective as traffic calming devices: While 4-way (or in this case, 3-way) stops are the #1 requested traffic calming device, they are rarely satisfactory or effective for the purpose. Stop signs are intended to assign priority at an intersection, not to slow or divert traffic. Drdul and Skene claim that mid-block speeds can actually increase, that rolling stops or “no” stops actually result, and police compliance is expensive. Something to consider in the case of 53rd Street.

Here is another very interesting article on the subject, that also argues against traffic control devices (stop signs and lights) for traffic calming purposes.

Here is the response from Mr. Bowman at Cooper City on traffic authority: “In December 1981, the City and County entered into a Traffic Engineering Agreement, where by the County would perform traffic engineering functions for the City. In 1993, the City passed and adopted Resolution 93-7-1 in which the City transferred to the County the functions, authority, powers, responsibilities and duties pertaining to the planning, installation, operation and maintenance of traffic control devices. This same agreement was extended to all municipalities in an effort to have a centralized agency responsible for the installation and maintenance of traffic control devices throughout the County. All traffic control signals and signage are covered by this agreement.” There you have it.

Have Something OLD To Sell?

If so, check out Broward Antique Buyer, looking for antiques and mid-century collectibles, primitives, old cameras, silverplate, you name it. Check your closets and see what you may have.

100th Avenue – 3 Years in the Making

UPDATE: August 3, 2014. All the orange barriers are gone except for a batch near the 53rd Street area south of the traffic light. Why? The designers of the road re-do apparently don’t want people turning left either on to 100th Avenue from 53rd Street or from 100th Avenue northbound on to 53rd Street. This has been a useful entry point to Cooper Village for many years and now it’s for some reason, not allowed? The cones are still there because there is nothing more than a yellow line preventing the now-forbidden left turns. A yellow line will not deter a driver in Broward county and even built-in no-turn curbs frequently are ignored. So, we’ll just have to see.  Looks like the handling of this section was overlooked in the build-out.

SPEED LIMIT 35 MPH: It’s a bit hard to know the speed limit because at least one sign on the northbound side is almost totally obscured by its placement behind a palm tree. It’s a shake-your-head-in-amazement placement. There are 40 MPH signs erected but covered in bags. At some point (?) the new limit will be 40. Maybe in another three years? Just kidding. Really.

Speaking of the speed limit, the road is  built to handle speeds greater than 35. And guess what? Some folks are already blistering the pavement with complete disregard for the posted (hidden) limit. An SUV blew past me yesterday on the northbound side doing at least 60. How long before someone gets t-boned by a scofflaw when trying to come out of one of the side streets? Where is BSO? I was told by BSO that they have written 45 tickets and warnings in the last 30 days on 100th Avenue.

Yes, it was July 2011 when trees and shrubs were orange-tagged for removal for the widening of 100th Avenue (Palm, Nob Hill…) and the long wait began. Now, paving has finally begun on this long overdue 1.4 mile project, and the end is in sight – theoretically. IMG_3303As of Tuesday, a forest of Bob’s Barricades still stood guard over a torn up roadway with no workers in sight. Then, finally, the paving began. As you know, many a day went by over the years with nobody working on this project, or on other days, you might have seen a couple of guys pushing brooms or sitting in the shade, all while we have had to endure a gymkhana of twists and turns, roadway lane changes, and suspension-rattling raised manhole covers while the project moped along. So, is the end in sight? Time will tell, and we’ve had plenty of time on this “improvement” already.

JULY 25: MORE THAN TWO MONTHS LATER, AND THEY”RE STILL AT IT.

Flamingo Road Nursery Farmers Market – Update

Flamingo Road Nursery Farmers Market
UPDATE: July 2014 – The Farmer’s Market at Flamingo Road Nursery was remodeled around Christmastime 2013 and the new layout is inviting and attractive to be sure. Within the last few months, a fresh seafood counter has been added, too, open Friday, Saturday and Sunday only with a variety of fresh fish. We always find something new, or something you just don’t see elsewhere, along with quality produce and fruit. Visitors enjoy freshly squeezed juices, ice cream, smoothies, and a large selection of desserts and cookies, along with the friendly service. If you haven’t been in a while, stop in and see the upgrades.

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What was a good farmers market has been transformed to what I’d call a gourmet farmers market with a dizzying display of high-end and different choices in sweets, pasta, condiments, breads, even farm-fresh two-yolk eggs. They’ve sourced fresh produce from farmers in Okeechobee and the freshly-picked corn we had the other day was outstanding. Absolutely worth stopping in for a look. Southbound side of Flamingo Road, a mile or so south of 595, you can make an easy U-turn if heading north on Flamingo.

Cooper City Commissioner Raises. Yay or Nay?

If you can endure listening to the recent comments by commissioners regarding the ???????????????????????????????proposed salary increase, you’ll hear a lot of tap dancing. No one will come out and say it plain and simple - “We deserve more money for the time and effort we put into the job.”

Do they? Probably. It’s been over 20 years since there was a salary adjustment. Commissioners get about $500 a month plus some benefits and many of them put in way more hours and out of pocket spending than that’s worth. They will say they do it, not for the money (no kidding) but because they care about Cooper City. Fair enough.

If that’s so, then why is there a discussion? If the money doesn’t matter, why talk about increasing it?  We could stop the controversy right here. So there must be something else.

When you compare the Cooper City Commission salary to other Broward cities, we’re not even in the ballpark. The average commissioner salary in other cities is north of $20,000 a year while CC Commissioners get about $6,000. The “job” is essentially the same, so what gives? Have past commissions been too shy to ask for more? Could be. So, why now?

As a line item, even a raise to the proposed $20,000 per year each doesn’t dent the total budget, so it’s not a budget killer. In fact, I’d rather have our commission on par with other cities – perhaps we would, as the commissioners claim, attract better talent.

Mr. Sims is going to vote “no” and he stands behind previous no votes – attesting to his desire to serve, not collect more money. And he doesn’t waver from it. Fine. What about the others? They say they don’t do it for the money. We know already. But there’s a but… attracting top talent and so on. They sell it, although weakly. Perhaps if the voters “insist” on them having a raise by not loudly objecting, they’ll reluctantly accept the extra cash. That’s one interpretation.

SO – how about this? They vote in the raise – go ahead and raise the salary to $20,000. That’s on par with the sister cities. BUT… and here’s my BUT… make it effective only for incoming commissioners or those currently on the dais if and when they enter their final term. That way commissioners can continue doing the job mainly for the love of Cooper City while allowing for the argument of attracting top talent to the job in the future, you know, for the betterment of Cooper City. This way, commissioners can butter both sides of their bread – they can keep their claim of heartfelt service, while doing the right thing for future commissions by providing an equitable salary going forward. And if they’re good enough to be re-elected to a final term, they can enjoy the benefit of the higher salary. Put THAT to a vote.

 

Cooper City Antique Mall Adds Friday Night Hours

The Cooper City Antique Mall is now open an extra 2 ccamfronthours on Friday evening, until 8 PM as an added convenience for antique lovers in Cooper City, Davie, Pembroke Pines and beyond. Regular store hours are 10 A-M to 6 P-M Monday through Saturday and 12 to 5 on Sunday. Staying open until 8 PM on Friday gives a chance for shoppers to browse the 10,000 square feet at a more leisurely pace.

Cooper City Antique Mall runs special sales events from time to time and will host a Christmas in July event from July 26 and 27, with everything discounted between 10 to 50%.  The store is located at 9800 Griffin Road, at the northeast corner of Griffin and 100th Avenue, near the Dunkin Donuts. A few recent items sold at the Mall include a 1909 standing Victor Victrola in great operating condition, antique cameras, vintage jewelry, old skeleton cabinet and trunk keys, mid-century glassware, antique silver serving pieces, vintage clothing, antique hutches, vintage lamps, and much, much more. Join them on Facebook to get the latest updates at Cooper City Antique Mall.

Dr. Phillip Mann – Everglades Artist & Much More

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Phillip Mann in front of his gallery of work

Arguably the World’s Most Interesting Mann, local artist and Barry University leader Dr. Phillip Mann was a featured exhibitor at the opening evening ceremonies for the Pembroke Pines “Florida Bounty” exhibition, located at the Pines City Hall, and running through July 21, 2014. Featuring several artists and photographers, the exhibit features different perspectives on local nature scenes including the Everglades.

Dr. Mann has been an artist virtually his entire life, taking up watercolor at the age of eight, and painting oil on canvasIMG_3350 scenes actively for over 40 years. While his early works included industrial subjects, the bulk of his recent work is nature-oriented with a strong focus on the Everglades. His style evokes a sense of Monet and Van Gogh, and in fact, he’s been described by at least one art critic as the “Van Gogh of the Everglades.”

The eighteen or so works presented at the Florida Bounty exhibition represent a fraction of Mann’s current inventory of 80 or so paintings and he relishes the opportunity to have them on view for the public to enjoy. Having sold hundreds of works over the years at various shows, none of his pieces on display were availaIMG_3352ble for sale, at least for now. He has turned down offers of up to $5,000 for some of his work, preferring to hold and display them for public enjoyment. Adding to the beauty of his paintings are hand-selected frames, specifically chosen for each painting.

As the Director of the Entrepreneurial Institute at Barry University, Dr. Mann is constantly encouraging students to reach beyond their perceived boundaries to achieve more than they imagined, including community involvement, and a the institute has a focus on addressing the needs of low and moderate income communities and the reduction of economic disparity among communities through business development and job creation. IMG_3357

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R. L. Lewis

Phillip is also a U.S. Navy Veteran and accomplished antiques collector and dealer, with a prominent space at the Cooper City Antique Mall where a large assortment of art glass and figurines are on display and available for sale.

His work, along with other contributing artists, is on display through July 21, at the Pembroke Pines City Hall, 10100 Pines Boulevard at the southwest corner of Pines and Palm Avenue.

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Exhibit Entry

The opening reception also featured a live painting demonstration by the Highway Man, R.L. Lewis, with his very colorful and evocative style. He painted the scene shown to the right in front of an appreciative audience.

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