HALLANDALE BEACH - By Mayor Joy Cooper
There are so many questions that Hallandale Beach residents have been waiting to ask - After going over our budget, it is time for updates on some questions I have received over the past weeks. Do not forget that the budget public hearings are scheduled on September 15th and September 25th at 5:05 at city chambers.
Hallandale Beach Year Round Schools
For many students around the state and county, school started this past Monday. Our Hallandale Beach Elementary and Gulfstream Middle School students started in late July and in the beginning of August. These two schools are the only year-round schools in our district. Students rather than having a traditional summer break have tracks that give them no more than three weeks off at one time. The elementary school has multi-track year-round which means they started even earlier. So, remember to keep alert driving year-round in Hallandale Beach. Even when school is out we have many young children enjoying our parks and facilities.
Hallandale High is on the traditional school schedule and started on Monday. The Hallandale Beach Chargers Football has already begun their season with a big win. Our students and schools could really use your support. If you have resources, time and/or money, I hope you consider spending them at our schools.
Creating a K-8 Campus
Many of our readers know that we have been working with the school board to create a K-8 campus. The goal has been to move Gulfstream Middle School to the Hallandale Adult site adjacent to the Elementary School. The Adult Center could relocate to the Gulfstream site. HACC was built as a middle school and meets the needs of 600 students. Currently, the middle school does not have a gym nor PE fields. Relocating will address all the needs of the middle school.
Last year, we hoped that the board would approve the move but there were still some unanswered issues. At that time, the board told the parents and city that they will continue with the goal to do a swap. Over the summer, staff has been working with the school board staff and they have made progress. Key issues were programs at HACC, traffic flows and the year-round school schedule.
We have been informed that they are looking at alternative locations for HACC do to programing and bus access. The Educational Advisory Board suggested the bus access could take place behind the commercial property on HBB away from residential uses. They also shared the fact buses now impact residential areas and this was even more of reason to move it closer to the boulevard. Their staff also told the EAB that they may move the programs at the adult center to a batter location. The Gulfstream site could be used for teacher training and daycare. It is a work in progress so I will keep everyone informed.
Why is there a merge Lane on HBB?
Many residents are still perplexed as to why east bound Hallandale Beach Boulevard is reduced to two lanes at the railroad tracks. This configuration was set up by FDOT to address traffic backups that were impacting HBB and US1 heading west. The whole concept is counter intuitive but it has been working.
Over four years ago, the city was working with Broward County traffic division to improve traffic flows on HBB. They had performed many evaluations in preparation of implementing the new computerized signalization system. Many new residents and even old forget that the traffic heading west at peak times was backing up on Federal creating not only gridlock on HBB but also on Federal. The goal was to find a way to extend the green light time heading east and west.
The intersection at the railroad tracks continues over 6 signal patterns. North and South on both Dixie Highway and First Avenue and east/west one HBB with left turns in all directions. This meant each movement had to cycle through the que as a single action adding red light time. FDOT proposed eliminating all left hand turns at the tracks. This would mean that vehicular traffic would need to travel through residential areas for access. It was also found that within the two blocks some right hand turns would not work because of sight standards for turns. While this could be done in some areas it would reduce business access along the corridor.
The alternative was breaking up the left turns. This is what was done heading east. While the cars stack back on HBB the light is green longer in both directions allowing more vehicles to travel east and west across the tracks. As I mentioned, it is counter intuitive but it has worked. FDOT came out to a commission meeting two years ago because of the shared frustration over the issues with the merged lanes and blocked intersections. Their staff provided a computerized traffic flow count demonstration that was performed at the intersection. It proved it does work and we have no back up on Federal. It does not mean we all like it.
At that meeting, the city commission without good alternative, did not want to remove the configuration. Removing it would be a step backwards. We directed our city manager to work with BC and FDOT to re-evaluate the traffic counts. We also asked that FDOT re-address that timing at HBB and I-95 that has created a backup heading west.
Stop in and meet me! “Open Office” hours are Mondays from 12-5 p.m. as part of my constituency outreach. Feel free to come in and visit. I will be available to address the budget, any other issues, ideas or concerns you may have.
As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas for our community anytime by cell/text at: (954) 632-5700 Or on my office number at: (954) 457-1318. You can also e-mail me at: Joy@mayorjoycooper.com. Or: JCooper@cohb.org.