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Traffic Safety in Sunny Isles Beach

Road Report – October 21, 2021

The Road Report is an update on traffic and pedestrian safety initiatives, key statistics, events and news from the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department.

This week, SIBPD conducted multiple traffic enforcement details on SR-826/Sunny Isles Boulevard/163 Street and Collins Avenue. The goal was to increase awareness of and compliance with traffic laws and enhance the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. Officers handed out educational materials to pedestrians and motorists, and conducted traffic stops for red-light runners, speeding, reckless driving, and additional moving violations.

Monday, October 18, 2021
300 Block of Sunny Isles Blvd
10 am – 2 pm
44 Citations & Educational Materials Given

Tuesday, October 19, 2021
186 Street & Collins Avenue
10 am – 2 pm
30 Citations & Educational Materials Given

Wednesday, October 20, 2021
159 Street & Collins Avenue
10 am – 12 pm
11 Citations & Educational Materials Given

We would like to remind motorists that the speed limit when entering Sunny Isles Beach via eastbound SR-826/Sunny Isles Boulevard/163 Street is 35 mph. Slow down and be aware of the traffic signal near Gateway Center. You must stop at the traffic light when the light is red. Follow these simple traffic rules to keep yourself and everyone else safe on the road.

Safety Tip of the Week: October is Pedestrian Safety Month. Motorists, be alert for pedestrians in crosswalks and on sidewalks. Use extra caution when turning into or crossing driveways. Remember, pedestrians always have the right-of-way. Pedestrians, you MUST use crosswalks to cross the street and only when the pedestrian crossing signal is flashing. Failure to follow these traffic safety rules is dangerous for you and everyone on the road.

Park Your Phone in the Pouch: We encourage all drivers to ‘Park Your Phone in the Pouch,’ whether that be in your bag, purse, glove compartment, or one of the City’s phone pouch giveaways. Need an extra pouch? Stop by the Government Center main lobby to pick one up!

Key Statistics*

Since Initiation of the Zero-Tolerance Traffic Enforcement:

  • Issued 4,946 citations
  • Responded to 409 traffic crashes**
  • 16,656,474 estimated total vehicles traveling through the City***

* Estimates are as of Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 11:59 pm.
** “Crashes” is the FDOT required technical term for all accidents, ranging from single-vehicle minor accidents, including those in parking lots, to multi-car major accidents on state roads.
*** Estimates were taken from License Plate Reader (LPR) cameras located on Collins Avenue, the William Lehman Causeway, and Sunny Isles Boulevard.

State and National Statistics

Safety Initiatives

Zero-Tolerance Traffic Enforcement – Ongoing

Initiated zero-tolerance traffic enforcement and a traffic safety educational campaign, inclusive of the safety initiatives listed below.

Collins Avenue High Visibility Enforcement Detail – February 26 – May 14

Through a contract with the University of North Florida in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation’s focused initiative to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department is conducting a high visibility enforcement detail on Collins Avenue to increase awareness of and compliance with traffic laws that protect the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. Learn more at sibfl.net/hve. View photos from the February 26 Detail at our online photo gallery.

On 2/26, the SIBPD provided educational contact to:

  • 451 Pedestrians
  • 63 Bicyclists
  • 87 Motorists

Increased Police Presence on Sunny Isles Boulevard (163 Street) and Collins Avenue (SR A1A) – Ongoing

The Sunny Isles Beach Police Department has increased officer and patrol presence on Sunny Isles Boulevard and Collins Avenue. Officers will continue to conduct traffic stops for red-light runners, speeding, reckless driving and additional moving violations.

Last year, our police department issued 194 careless driving citations, 175 speeding citations and 136 stop sign citations. Since January 1, 2021 and our increased HVE details, PD issued 259 speeding citations, 190 red light citations and 157 stop sign citations. They are also issuing upwards of five tickets a day in our school zone, more than ever before.

Signal Light at 189 Street & Collins Avenue (William Lehman Causeway Entrance)

We have received inquiries regarding the installation of the signal light at 189 Street and Collins Avenue northbound at the Lehman Causeway entrance. We made the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six aware of the need for a signal light at this location shortly after the Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon (RRFB) was installed in 2018. We recognized that it was prone to confusing motorists, which caused rear-end accidents, and was less effective at protecting pedestrians. We have been working with FDOT to prioritize this project, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant delays.

In July, the City urged FDOT to expedite the removal of the RRFB at 189 Street and Collins Avenue, and FDOT confirmed that the project would be expedited, dependent on the availability of materials and the contractor. This month, FDOT advised us that the mast arm has been ordered and they anticipate construction to begin by April 2022, pending the availability of materials. We understand our residents’ frustration that this important project has been delayed, but the pandemic has caused unprecedented issues worldwide with manufacturing, shipping and labor.

Installation of Pedestrian Crossing Signage on Collins Avenue

We have an important update on traffic rules for a few of our Collins Avenue intersections. In September 2021, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) completed the installation of pedestrian crossing signage at the intersections of Collins Avenue and 172, 174 and 183 Street. Motorists are no longer allowed to turn right on red onto Collins Avenue from these intersections. The signage also alerts motorists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks when turning left on green. We urge everyone to stay alert while driving and to take notice of these new signs at our intersections. The safety of our pedestrians continues to be a top priority for the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department.

FDOT Traffic Safety Improvements

The City of Sunny Isles Beach, along with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), continue to address traffic and pedestrian safety throughout the city. FDOT recently installed flashing lights, a radar speed sign on westbound Sunny Isles Boulevard, and pavement speed limit markers on each eastbound lane on Sunny Isles Boulevard, just west of the pedestrian signal light. Our Police Department initiated a substantial zero-tolerance program, and also purchased six solar-powered, FDOT-approved radar speed signs to remind drivers of the speed limit and warn them of their own speed. They will be deployed at strategic locations throughout the City. One future safety measure we asked FDOT to consider is the installation of rumble strips coming off the bridge eastbound on Sunny Isles Boulevard to alert and slow down inattentive drivers.

FDOT District 6 Multi-Agency Enforcement Event (April 14, 2021)

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six, along with the Bal Harbour, Surfside and Sunny Isles Beach Police Departments, through its NE Community Traffic Safety Team program as well other law enforcement agencies conducted a multi‐agency traffic safety enforcement and educational detail on Wednesday, April 14 , from 8 am to 5 pm. This event was made possible through the mutual‐aid agreement and the Northeast (NE) Community Traffic Safety Team program. Law enforcement focused primarily on distracted driving (as part of the ongoing FDOT Put it Down campaign), aggressive driving, red‐light running, speeding, seatbelt use, move‐over law compliance, bike/pedestrian safety compliance and general traffic safety. Educational materials provided by FDOT were distributed during the operation.

This detail resulted in:

  • 1 Arrest
  • 145 Citations
  • 53 Warnings
  • 226 Educational Contacts

View photos from the April 14 Detail at our online photo gallery.

Hosted a Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Forum with FDOT & Miami-Dade County – Thursday, March 25, 2021

On Thursday, March 25 we hosted a Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Forum where residents shared their questions, comments, and concerns with City, County and State representatives. We look forward to evaluating the ideas discussed and working with FDOT to prioritize the viable options.

Hosted a School Safety Night at NSE/SIB K-8 School – Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Sergeant Estevez spoke to NSE/SIB K-8 students and their parents about pedestrian and bicycle safety at a School Safety Night event on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow Digital Media Campaign – March 2021

The Sunny Isles Beach Police Department is a partner in the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow campaign. The campaign is a focused effort that aims to increase awareness of pedestrians and bicycles on roadways and sidewalks. You can find campaign messaging on our Facebook and Twitter social media pages, or by visiting alerttodayflorida.com.

Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR)

When looking at the data, it is evident that our police department’s efforts are working. Between February 11 and March 16, 2021, just over one month, our Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR) detected approximately 2.3 million vehicles traveling through Sunny Isles Beach, a considerable amount when you consider our population of just over 23,000. During that period there were 44 traffic crashes and 1,286 moving violations issued. When you break those numbers down, many can be attributed to minor accidents, incidents happening in parking lots and medians, not necessarily on the road or involving pedestrians.

Distracted Driving Digital Media Campaign – Ongoing

The Sunny Isles Beach Police Department is a partner in the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Put it Down Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign. The campaign is a focused effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. You can find campaign messaging on our Facebook and Twitter social media pages, or by visiting fdotmiamidade.com/putitdown.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program – Ongoing

Created in 2010, this Program consistently promotes safety measures and awareness in our community. The Program has hosted more than 50 community events with these goals in mind. In 2018, the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department began a formal effort to increase traffic enforcement and implement zero-tolerance for law breakers.

Our Off-Collins Bicycle Route is an excellent way to travel north or south through Sunny Isles Beach while mostly avoiding busy Collins Avenue. This interior route provides residents with a safer alternate option for walking or biking around the city, which is a substantial improvement to pedestrian safety.

Public Engagement Activities

We asked residents to submit their comments, questions and concerns regarding safety on the road. We received 17 new public comment cards, totaling 48 public comments thus far.

These comments included 27 recommendations for road safety improvements along with 18 statements expressing the need to correct drivers’ behaviors. Two viable suggestions mentioned were the use of automated enforcement controls such as speed detection and red light cameras. We are pleased to announce that both of these concepts are in progress and updates on them will be shared as details are confirmed.

Additional highlights from these public comments included:

  • All 48 public comment cards agreed that safer streets must be a top priority for our area.
  • We received 27 recommendations for road safety improvements, some of which are already in progress or in discussion with FDOT and MDC.
  • 18 individuals expressed the need to correct driver’s behaviors including the need to eliminate right turns on red, drivers running red lights, and speeding on our roads.
  • 14 comments emphasized that pedestrians and bicyclists must also follow the rules of the road and should be held accountable if they are not.
  • 9 individuals felt that that an increase in police presence and enforcement on our roads was needed, while 7 individuals expressed gratitude for the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department’s increased efforts. 3 individuals also felt that the increased presence made them more aware of their own behaviors.
  • 9 individuals felt that safety on our roads was a shared responsibility among all users including motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists (including skateboarders and scooters).
  • 6 individuals felt that a dedicated bike lane on Collins Avenue was needed, while 4 individuals felt that bicyclists need to be off-Collins for the safety of pedestrians.

Traffic Safety Tips

Please review these guidelines to ensure a safer experience in Sunny Isles Beach for residents and visiting pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic. The speed limit on both state roads, Collins Avenue and Sunny Isles Boulevard, is 35 miles per hour. The speed limit on all side streets in the City is 20 miles per hour. At designated times, in school zones, the speed limit is enforced at 15 miles per hour.

 On the Road

  • Remember: pedestrians always have the right-of-way
  • Use caution when turning and look both ways to ensure a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk
  • When the pedestrian crossing light is flashing, vehicles MUST stop; it’s the law
    • Keep in mind that a pedestrian crosswalk may be mid-block, not only at intersections
  • Vehicles must come to a complete stop in both directions when a school bus is stopped with flashing lights
  • No stopping or standing is permitted in driving lanes
  • Always wear a seat belt in the car
  • Do not text while operating a motor vehicle. Distracted driving is dangerous and texting while driving is illegal. Florida Statute 316.305 allows law enforcement to stop motor vehicles and issue citations to motorists that are texting while driving. 
  • Florida Statute 316.306 prohibits the use of wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in school and work zones. An active work zone means that construction personnel are present or are operating equipment on the road or immediately adjacent to the work zone area. 

On the Sidewalk

  • Never assume a vehicle will stop for you; do not rely on drivers to see you
  • Walk on sidewalks and do not leave the curb suddenly
  • Cross at intersections with traffic lights featuring a lighted ‘walking person’
  • City Ordinance 2014-432 prohibits skateboards and hoverboards on sidewalks along Collins Avenue and Sunny Isles Boulevard

On a Bicycle

  • Bicyclists may ride from Heritage Park in the north end of the City to Gateway Park in the south with only a short traverse onto Collins Avenue near Publix
  • Always wear a bike helmet properly
  • To be more visible to motorists use front and back flashing lights
  • Use hand signals when turning or slowing to a stop
  • While bicycles should have the right-of-way, make eye contact with drivers to understand their intentions

What’s New

North Bay Road Pedestrian Bridge & Gateway Pedestrian Bridge

  • These two bridges provide alternative routes to walking on the busy Collins Avenue and Sunny Isles Boulevard.

Government Center Pedestrian Crosswalk

  • This mid-block, signalized crosswalk allows easy access to safely traverse Collins Avenue. In the future, the City plans to construct two pedestrian bridges over Collins Avenue.

The Meaning of Pedestrian Signals 

If you wish to cross the street, you must push the crosswalk button and wait for the walking person signal before crossing.

Walking person symbol

  • Stays on about 7 to 15 seconds
  • ACTION: Walk briskly across the crosswalk.

Flashing hand symbol

  • Counts down by seconds
  • ACTION: Consider where you are before you take action. If you are in the middle of the crosswalk, keep walking briskly. If you are standing on the curb, stop. DO NOT start crossing; wait for the next walk signal. The flashing red hand tells you there is not enough time to begin walking.

NON-flashing hand symbol

  • ACTION: DO NOT WALK
  • Wait for the Walking Person signal to flash. Your safety is worth a few seconds more of wait time.