Tuesday, December 6, 2011

City of Deerfield Beach, Possibly Kills Pedestrian Safety in District 2.

Tonight, looked like City of Deerfield Beach expected something but it didn't happen.  Apparently, in an attempt to quell my efforts to protect the residents of my district.  Ben Preston and City Staff have taken it upon themselves to show FDOT that the City has been negligent in its duty all across Deerfield to protect pedestrians and bicyclist and bring all sidewalks up to ADA compliance.   Charles Debrusca painted a picture that the City has more than three intersections that I mentioned, but that there are over 400 areas that could be upgraded and of those 400, 11 are in dire need, but the City doesn't have the funds to protect the residents of district 2 who frequently used the intersections that were apart of the original request that prompted FDOT to come to town to check on it.  DeBrusca actually said D2's request was a want and not a need, WOW!!!

Debrusca even actually tried to take credit for FDOT coming to town, when in actuality according to an email from Ben Preston Debrusca did not even want to deal with this issue, so for Debrusca and Preston to now claim credit and then basically "sidewalk block" the residents of district 2 from getting the needed safety precautions is a flat out joke and should be a crime.  The City states that we "want" the pads foaesthetic reasons and not as safety precautions at the dark intersection, that is an accident waiting to happen.

Oh, well District 2..I guess Ben Preston cares more for his political career than he does for you or I and our kids.

Now, tonight Debrusca mentioned that an email to FDOT with an attached email from Commissioner Preston is what prompted FDOT to come to town to look at District 2.  I wasn't going to post the email string because it had nothing to do with getting the job done, but since Ben Preston and the City have possibly blocked our efforts to ensure the safety of our family, friends, and neighbors who use that intersection.  They have left us no choice but to post the email so people can see exactly what we are dealing with in our elected officials and city staff.

Make sure that you read through the whole string of emails.

from: Ben Preston
to: David Cody <>
date: Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Hi David, Thanks for my schedule consideration, and you are more than right, I’m very busy. You had not heard from me because I was
gathering additional information for you. First let me say that safety is always important. The yellow mats that you referred to in your e-mail
would be about a $2000 per project per location.  DOT will not take on this project because it is not required for them at the various locations that you referenced.
At some time in the future the city may take on this project.  When I look at the mats I don’t  know that they are reflective,  I don’t think they are.
Let me share with you what they are meant to accomplish. The mats are really for the blind to feel a different texture when stepping on them while crossing an intersection.
When approaching an intersection the sidewalk  texture is different to the blind and different in texture when walking on the mats through the intersection.
I sincerely hope this information will help as you go forward. Your heart is in the right place so I understand your since of urgency. That being said from many different angles it is all a process. We all want to do what is  best for our residents. Thanks
 David Cody
 Ben Preston <>
 Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM
I understand where you are coming from but from my research the yellow pavers are not just for the visually-impaired, which would account for their color.  From my understanding these yellow (in our City) but sometimes red are what are known as "detectable warning surfaces" or truncated domes.  The bright color along with the raised surfaces/bumps allow walkers and bicyclists of all abilities to have a better idea of where the sidewalks transition to a road.  I also believe that they would help City's to better comply with the American's with Disability Act Standards.
As far as the cost, I am sure with research a lower cost can be found for the mats (have you looked into Vanguard of Florida).  Installation whether the City does it or DOT I am sure the pedestrians (visually impaired or other) that utilize them and feel safer at the crosswalks because of them will not care who installed them. 
I do believe that this project is something that should be fought for, not just because it is the right thing to do, especially since the Commission is always talking about Safety for our kids and providing a better community for our kids and promoting a "One Deerfield".  You can not promote these things and then tell us our basic safety needs can't be met b/c you need the money for parks or other. 
No, No, No that just won't do!!! 
You of all people should be concerned that your District alone does not have a single yellow "detectable warning surface", as the other districts do.   
So, I will repeat the intersection at MLK and Hillsboro Blvd in District 2 does not have a street light  illuminating the pedestrians at those crosswalks promoting safety and helping to ensure that your constituents, Deerfield Beach residents and any other individual who risk their lives crossing there are seen by motorist.  If you have ever been headed South and made a left turn onto Hillsboro at MLK then you know that the motorist usually turn out wide to avoid the median there, which is what happened to me as I previously told you, when I almost hit a pedestrian crossing b/c I did not see them because one it was not lit and two they were two far out in the crosswalk.  So, I hope you can see why I am afraid that ignoring this matter any longer could lead to tragedy. 
So as far as I see it we can either see if FPL or whatever entity is in charge of that area will install street lights and/or the "detectable warning surfaces" there so we can feel safe and be just as protected as our counterparts in Districts 1, 3, and 4 (At this time I will not point out the fact that it does seem obvious that mainly only the black district or minority district does not have these safety measures and the questions that arise from that fact).   
What do the residents of District 2 need to do to have our safety taken as seriously by the Commission and City Manager of Deerfield Beach as they obviously take the safety of the residents of other districts, who have both lighting and the "detectable warning surface"?   
*Please note that the intersections at 15th St and Dixie and 10th St and Dixie (which are all traversed by students from the Deerfield Beach Schools and young people) also do not have the truncated domes and all of the areas that I have mentioned the measures that are currently there are almost worn-out and are the same dull gray as all of the surrounding pavement so they do not do anything to distinguish, warn, or be detectable enough for pedestrians or bicyclist of any ability to know the transition between the road and the sidewalk.  Which I believe make them in non-compliance with FDOT Index 304, which states that there may be no more than 4 non-complying domes in any one square foot or surface and the fact that no 2 adjacent domes may be in non-compliance.  It is my belief that all of the current domes in the aforementioned area are in non-compliance to FDOT Index 304 Section 9 of the General Notes.
I am not asking that you fix all the sidewalks right now, all I am asking is that the sidewalks at the major intersections of Hillsboro and MLK, 10th and Dixie, and 15th and Dixie be fixed to include the ADA Compliant and FDOT Index 304 compliant "detectable warning surfaces".
Now here is the kicker...

from: Kelleher, Barbara (FDOT)
to: David Cody <>,
 Ben Preston <>
cc: "Marsh, Cleo" <>,
 "Caballero, Eduardo" <>,
 "Reynolds, Thomas" <>
date: Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 10:52 AM
subject: Pedestrian Crosswalk Safety Concerns

Mr. Cody: Thank you for your suggestions and this follow up email.  We agree that safety is the #1 priority. After your telephone conversation with Richard Evans, of my staff, this morning he alerted our maintenance staff to your concerns. It’s my understanding that Thomas Reynolds, our Maintenance Supervisor, called you to discuss your concerns and he informed you that his staff will look into the matter to see what can be done. Barbara KelleherPublic Information DirectorFDOT District Four

from: Ben Preston
to: David Cody <>
date: Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 2:40 PM
 Hi David, here is what I’ve found. The locations that you referenced  (MLK &Hillsboro, 10th St & Dixie, 15th St &Dixie) are all controlled by FDOT, and not the City of Deerfield. FDOT contractors installed the existing concrete truncated domes and are responsible for any  changes to them.  Not that I can speak for FDOT , but they probably would argue that when the truncated domes were installed the process met code.   In these very tough economic times, money is always going to be an issue.  You mentioned Vanguard of Florida being a possible option for lower cost.  This option was considered but was found to be at a higher cost.  Vanguard of Florida  is a great product but not cheap. Because the truncated domes are already formed in concrete it is necessary to remove existing concrete, and install  the new truncated domes on dry or into the wet cement. You are more than welcome to come and argue your point with the City Engineer, Charles DaBrusco or come before the City Commission.
Thank You
Commissioner B. Preston

from: David Cody
to: Ben Preston <>
date: Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 7:06 AM

I am in contact with FDOT directly and they advised that they will look into it.  I will let you know of the outcome.
In regard to your comment about FDOT's possible argument, I don't think they can take that position because of the ADA standards and requirements which I believe do indicate these compliance measures not only must meet code at installation, but must remain up to code.  The areas that I mention clearly have degraded and it is time to be corrected.  
I don't believe there is a need for me to discuss this further with the City, since you have indicated that this falls under the jurisdiction of FDOT.  Plus, I don't believe that it would do any good. From the response that I have gotten from the City, I have to come to the conclusion that the Commission has gone as far as it is willing to go on this matter, as the subject of money keeps coming up.  I didn't realize you could put a price on safety...Commissioner Ganz at one of the budget hearings even stated that he wouldn't compromise safety to save a penny (referencing the Fire Department)...I guess that wasn't true then as it is proving true here when it comes to actual residents of Deerfield Beach who are not Fire Fighters.  Maybe, you people will consider using CDBG money to provide for the safety of the District 2 residents, as I am sure Burgess remembers that the area is in the target area.
The intersection at Hillsboro and MLK is an accident waiting to happen and if the City won't don't anything to contribute to the safety of its residents (District 2 residents, anyway) then I will see this through however far it needs to go because the safety of my family, friends, and anyone else of District 2 is my primary concern.
If you take the time out of your busy schedule to possibly sit at one of those gas stations and observe that intersection traffic at night and the unlit crosswalks, then tell me what you see.  
Maybe you can work on getting FPL to install street lights at the corners of that intersection, as it is lit on Federal and Hillsboro.  

from: Reynolds, Thomas
to: "Kelleher, Barbara" <>,
 David Cody <>
date: Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 7:15 AM
subject: RE: Pedestrian Crosswalk Safety Concerns

Mr. Cody We should be able to make a determination this week. ThanksTR 

from: Reynolds, Thomas
to: "Reynolds, Thomas" <>,
 "Kelleher, Barbara" <>,
 David Cody <>
cc: "Morris, Ronald" <>
date: Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 6:45 AM

Mr. Cody We have reviewed the three locations and plan to install the detectable warning pads as requested.  This should be completed within the next couple of weeks.  
Thank you 

So, tonight when I heard Dabrusco acting like he or anyone of those City officials was concerned about the residents of D2 or the safety concerns at the intersections, it was a real shocker.  Did you notice how smug Ben Preston was...  I just wanna say now I am not looking to take your seat, buddy...I don't have a bone in my body that would allow me to sell out my community at the expense of it's residents.  Your true colors have shown through...Playing Politics, really suit you Ben!

Anyway, since I got the above confirmation of the installation from FDOT,  notice no City of Deerfield Beach contact.
So, I guess tomorrow the first thing I will be doing is contacting FDOT to see if they are now not going to install the truncated domes as they indicated in the above email.  At least that is what Charles Dabrusca of the City of Deerfield Beach indicated tonight at the City Commission meeting.  I wonder what would have prompted the City to take a stand against this project and then say they ave looking at the City as a whole.  Maybe when it comes to D2, we can't get the improvements that we need unless the other districts get something out of it, too.  Haven't D2 suffered enough with the City funneling all the Federal dollars, meant to clean up the blighted areas of the City like D2, into other places...

Politics, I will not never understand it.  Why can't the City do it's job and stop playing politics with the lives of the residents of D2. 

My only question is WHY???  District 2 residents are the only losers in this game Preston, DaBrusca and the City are playing.

Oh btw, who is paying to sandblast and re-paint the bridge at A1A?  Is that more important than the safety of the City's residents?

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