For Immediate Release:
July 03, 2012

Media Contact:
Olga Vega

New ordinance requires barriers at shopping centers to prevent vehicles from crashing into storefronts

Ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz in response to tragic deaths of two women last August

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 
Miami-Dade commissioners approved an ordinance that would require anti-ram fixtures to be placed in shopping centers in an effort to prevent vehicles from potentially crashing into storefronts. Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz sponsored the item during the Tuesday, July 3 County Commission meeting. The legislation was created in response to the tragic deaths of two women who were killed last August when an SUV slammed into a store near Bird Road and SW 134th Avenue. The ordinance will become effective in 10 days, provided it is not vetoed by the mayor, and applied to any new shopping center construction.

Commissioner Diaz’s ordinance stipulates that these anti-ram fixtures will be placed in shopping centers when head-in parking is located adjacent to a storefront installation. The fixtures will be installed along the outer edge of the sidewalk to visually and physically separate the vehicular and pedestrian areas.

Commissioner Diaz began working on this legislation after being approached by Juan Carlos Albelo, father of Laymet Albelo, the victim of a fatal accident at a Bird Road shopping center last August. Both Laymet and Celeste Gaitan were killed at Bird Point Plaza on SW 40th Street and 134th Avenue when the driver of an SUV lost control and crashed his car into a storefront where the two women were sitting outside. Celeste was almost seven months pregnant at the time; her unborn child also perished.

Laymet’s father asked Commissioner Diaz to explore the possibility of requiring barriers in shopping centers to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. After discovering similar incidents of accidents in shopping centers, Commissioner Diaz’s office drafted this ordinance.

“Unfortunately, what happened to Laymet and Celeste is not uncommon in South Florida,” said Commissioner Diaz. “However, it’s a tragedy we can easily avoid. These barriers will provide protection for both shoppers and drivers as they go about their daily errands.” 

For more information, please contact Commissioner Diaz’s office at 305-599-1200.


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