(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Commissioner Javier D. Souto is introducing an ordinance for first reading during the Tuesday, July 3rd Miami-Dade Commission meeting that would amend a previous law requiring developers to install guardrails on any street adjacent to or abutting a canal, lake, or other body of water. The commissioner is proposing to extend the guardrail requirements of a safety barrier to include parking lots near bodies of water in unincorporated Miami-Dade.
The new ordinance stipulates that guardrails would be required when new parking lots are constructed, while owners of existing parking lots would be given an 18-month amortization period to set aside the funds for this safety improvement. Commissioner Souto originally sponsored the initial street guardrail ordinance in 2008 following death and injuries of teen motorists who swerved off the road and drove into nearby canals. He also spearheaded a campaign urging the state to install guardrails or cable barriers on state highways adjacent to canals to protect motorists, as well as on medians to prevent head-on collisions. The Florida Legislature did eventually fund this initiative, leading to new cable wire barriers along highway canals and separating the grassy median on the Florida Turnpike stretching from South Dade to Orlando.
“We live in a very beautiful state, but unfortunately we cannot avoid building roads and structures near bodies of water we enjoy for recreation, irrigation, storm water drainage, and other uses,” said Commissioner Souto. “All too often, we hear of tragic cases where drivers lose control and accidentally plunge into a nearby canal or lake. Barriers are there to prevent this from happening. We need to consider expanding this protection to commercial properties where parking is also near water. The same dangers exist there as on the road.”
For more information, please contact Commissioner Souto’s office at 305-222-2116.