By Stan Morris, City Manager
(Friday, March 4, 2022) – The beginning of 2022 brought much change to our city, and with that change, new improvements to our daily operations. Moving forward, the management team will be providing a regular update in the Islander newsletter on the City’s most important projects, events, and happenings each quarter.
Most recently, Interim Police Chief Mike Grandinetti retired and I appointed Captain Edward Santiago as Interim Chief. Mike was with the SIBPD since its inception and played a part in its tremendous growth and success. I wish him all the best in his retirement. Interim Chief Santiago has also been with our PD from the beginning in 1998, and I have complete confidence in his ability to succeed. Eddie and I will work closely together to expedite hirings and fill open positions throughout the department. We anticipate a Commission vote on a permanent chief no later than May 2022.
As the Mayor discussed, traffic and pedestrian safety is a top priority and we are prioritizing prevention and mitigation. To bolster education and enforcement efforts on the road, the Police Department added two officers to the patrol traffic unit who will be out patrolling the streets. This is a specialized division that will focus solely on enforcing traffic violations and making our city safer. To gain a better understanding of our resources, the City is consulting with Architects Design Group (ADG), an expert in building police departments. They will conduct a feasibility study of our current building and other city-owned properties to present options for expanding the physical space for our PD now and in the future.
In February, the Mayor and I met with the Florida Department of Transportation to discuss concerns about Collins Avenue and Sunny Isles Boulevard and possible strategies and tactics for improving pedestrian safety. One of which is “scramble” crosswalks, which would adjust select intersections’ traffic light settings, allowing for longer lights, but no turns on red. This would give pedestrians the exclusive right of way to cross the street safely, from any direction, even diagonally, at the same time.
We also discussed reducing the speed limit from 35 mph to 30 mph. FDOT supported the idea of a comprehensive speed study and considering the results. The establishment of the Mobility and Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee is another step forward in our endeavors to make the streets of Sunny Isles Beach safer for all pedestrians and motorists. We have also hired a pedestrian safety and roadway consultant to work closely with the committee.
After productive meetings with the Newport, we extended the Pier’s hours in February from 7 am – 7 pm to now 7 am – 10 pm. This change was brought about through a citizen request and we are happy our residents are able to enjoy the Pier for longer hours.
A new improvement coming to the Building Department in the coming months is electronic plan review for all permit types. Not only is this environmentally friendly and in line with our ECOMMITTED pledge, it is both time and cost effective for City staff.
If you are a Resident ID Cardholder, you should have received the Cultural & Community Services new recreation magazine, Live & Play, in the mail. This is just one more advantage of our Resident ID Card program. If you did not receive the magazine, you can pick up a copy at any City facility or download it online at sibfl.net/liveandplay.
As I’m sure you are aware, last month we welcomed newly elected Commissioner Jerry Joseph, who won the Seat 1 election, and Commissioner Fabiola Stuyvesant, who was elected to permanently fill her provisional commission appointment for Seat 3. Senior staff and I have met with both Commissioners, and we look forward to working together.
The first quarter of a new year is always important. We establish priorities and set the goals and objectives for the year. My hope is that through regular updates, you will be engaged with your local government and informed on important news. As always, our website and social media platforms are a great resource for factual city information.