GENERAL COMMITTEE MINUTES:
Minutes of meeting
Bob Parks, Chairman, called the Miami River Commission meeting to order at 12:10 p.m. on Monday, March 3, 2003 at the United Way, Ansin Building, 3250 S.W. Third Avenue, Miami, Florida.
Miami River Commission Policy Committee members
Officio (non-voting) members:
Others attending interested in the River:
I. CHAIRS REPORT:
Parks called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone to the March meeting.
He stated that there was a quorum present and asked everyone
for approval of the February minutes.
Jerry Fernandez made the
motion to approve the February minutes.
Janet McAliley seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Bob thanked Sandy O’Neil from Mayor Penelas’ Office and
Jerry Fernandez from SFWMD for their work with the MRC.
This will be their last meeting.
Bob then welcomed Otto Boudet-Murias the new designee
representing Mayor Diaz. The
legislative session opens tomorrow and the MRC is up for sunsetting.
The Governor and the legislature are trying to cut the budget
and the MRC might be on that list. The President of the Senate, Senator King, has written to Bob
indicating his support for the repeal of the MRC sunset provision.
The MRC also has support from the House.
Everyone involved with the MRC is asked to lend his or her
support in this matter.
Miami River Security Presentation
Fran Bohnsack updated
the MRC about the status of security on the River.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Secretary Mr.
Mineta issued another call for a round of grants to improve United
States port security and $145 million was allocated for all U.S.
ports. The Miami River
Marine Group (MRMG) was successful in obtaining funding during the
first round of grants for the completion of the Port Risk Assessment.
That report identified many opportunities for improvement of
security along the Miami River. Some
of the improvements are within the control of the marine industry
while other problems addressed are in the control of various law
enforcement agencies. The
MRMG submitted two grant requests for this round.
The first project was for twenty marine terminal sites
operating along the River. This
requested funding would upgrade those sites with the specific
recommendations included in the original Port Risk Assessment.
These recommendations include: closed circuit television,
cameras, electronic gates, waterside lighting, a badge ID system and
appropriate signage to let people know that these sites are being
monitored for security reasons. That request came to $2,118,800.
The second project was helping law enforcement agencies in
their quest to have better monitoring of the Miami River.
The MRMG interviewed a number of security companies and they
picked ATC International as a partner, which is also partnered with
Cisco Systems. Their goal
was to provide digital colored cameras that have thermal imaging
capabilities with wireless transmission that can go to several sites
and it also provides a vessel recognition system.
This technology can ID both the vessel by the name and shape,
but it can also identify crewmembers.
This technology is cutting edge and very successful.
These cameras will be mounted on all of the bridges and transit
crossings (except 5th Street Bridge).
The MRMG will not be monitoring the cameras, but all of the
agencies monitoring the River will have access to this system under
the lead agency, the Coast Guard.
That grant request came to $1,363,750.
Presentation of Study “Comparing Costs of Options for
Reconstructing the 12th and 27th Avenue Bridges
Over the Miami River”
Bob introduced Professor Weisskoff and Dr. Gary Fauth and asked them to speak about their report. Mr. Fauth reviewed the methodology and conclusions from the report, which compares the economic impacts of bridges verses tunnels at the 12th and 27th Avenue river crossings. The report states the initial cost of a bridge would be approximately $25 million and a tunnel would cost about $40 million. The bridge cost was based on recent experience in Miami. The tunnel cost was based on preliminary engineering estimates. They also looked at the Kinney Tunnel in Ft. Lauderdale and some studies that were completed by Parsons Brinkerhoff for tunnels ultimately not built in Ft. Lauderdale. Dr. Fauth explained life cycle costs look beyond the initial construction costs. They looked at maintenance costs and the costs of traffic disruption and congestion. The life cycle was 70 years. They found an $11.5 million advantage in operation and a $20 million advantage in traffic disruption for a tunnel. If you compare the initial costs and the advantages, Dr Fauth stated that there would be a slight advantage in building a tunnel. The following points show the tunnel advantages:
1) Bridges need refurbishing every 20 years.
2) Bridge openings and closings delay both cars and trucks.
3) Delays can last 2-3 minutes.
4) About 70,000 vehicles per day use the two crossings and openings can block traffic for up to one hour per day.
5) Car time is worth $6 per hour and truck time is worth $20 per hour.
6) Traffic and value of time increase over time (traffic increases about 1% per year and incomes increase also every year).
The study found two conclusions. The first one was that it is reasonable to look at both options when developing a rebuilding strategy. The second conclusion was that a full evaluation would be required with more detail than this preliminary look at the issue. Prior to forming a final decision, officials would need to do an engineering evaluation of construction and operating costs, obtain bids from potential contractors, and conduct a more detailed traffic analysis that looks at the entire network of traffic flows.
Weisskoff presented pictures of the Kinney Tunnel in Ft. Lauderdale. Dick Bunnell asked if the Florida Department of
Transportation (FDOT) looks at building a tunnel as a normal option
when replacing a bridge. Professor
Weisskoff stated that they do if there is a public demand, but they
primarily look at the initial costs and not total life cycle
ensued. Ernie asked what
the status is for a tunnel under the River at the downtown Brickell
area. David Miller stated
that Commissioner Winton is a Co-Chair of the Downtown Transportation
Master Plan (DTMP) and one of his desires was to have a tunnel under
the River in the downtown area. The
DTMP has incorporated a tunnel under the River at the proposed
baseball stadium site and it is in the 5-year plan.
Adam Lukin, Downtown Development Authority, stated that there
is funding available for the tunnel.
Commissioner Barreiro stated that the entire funding for the
tunnel has in fact not yet been adopted.
Megan Kelly stated that the Economic Development and Commerce
Subcommittee felt that the methodology was conservative and should be
supported by the MRC. Megan Kelly made the motion recommended by the
Economic, Development and Commerce Committee, which stated that the
MRC accept the report “Comparing Costs of Options for Reconstructing
the 12th and 27th Avenue Bridges Over the Miami
River” and forward it to the FDOT, City, County transportation and
elected officials and other appropriate public and media officials.
Phil Everingham seconded the motion.
Jim Murley asked if the tunnels would have a toll.
Megan stated that it did not in the analysis. Janet McAliley asked Commissioner Barreiro if it was
realistic for two tunnels to be funded by the DOT.
Mr. Barreiro did not think that the money was there.
David commented that these two bridges were selected since
Commissioner Winton was already looking at the downtown area and these
two locations have heavier traffic than the other surrounding bridges.
By building tunnels, there would be a lot more land available.
A vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously.
Bob asked David to prepare a letter to send to the
aforementioned officials with the recommendation that the report be
given very serious consideration and volunteering the assistance of
the MRC to whatever extent possible.
Wagner Creek Contamination Report
Carlos Espinosa, DERM, stated that they are working with the City of Miami on the dredging of Wagner Creek. As part of the permitting process the City of Miami sampled for dioxin. The results came back positive for the presence of dioxin. Keith Carswell from the Department of Economic Development for the City of Miami introduced himself. Mr. Carswell stated that the City would be holding a public meeting to discuss the Wagner Creek contamination on Saturday, March 15, 2003 from 10 am to noon at the Travelodge Hotel. It is located at 1170 NW 1st Street. He then introduced Craig Clevenger from EE&G. In April of 2002, EE&G was brought in by the City of Miami to complete a site assessment at a City owned property at 14th Avenue and 17th Street. The soils have heavy metals and dioxins and they found debris at the site that is consistent with incineration debris. They expanded their study to collect sediment samples from Wagner Creek in August and October and they found heavy metals and dioxins in the sediment of the Creek. Incinerators cannot be overlooked because based on research; they are a primary source for dioxins. They are however not the only source for dioxins. Other sources include: manufacturing of pesticides and herbicides, smelting, burning of garbage, combustion of diesel and leaded gasoline and pulp and paper bleaching. The upper Wagner Creek basin is a commercial industrial area that needs to be looked at closer. This area drains directly into the Creek. Craig stated that a task force should be created to look at this site. He suggested that the MRC look into this. In the history of Wagner Creek drainage basin, there was an incinerator, a golf course and a nursery and the middle Creek area and several hospitals in the lower Creek area. Craig suggests that the hospital area must be looked at along with the stormwater drainage of the area. The dioxin contamination has most likely come from a from non-point source. Discussion ensued. Wilbur Mayorga from DERM stated that they have a limited number of samples and they must get more detailed samples so they can make an accurate determination of the concentration of dioxins found in the Creek. He then stated that they do have a specific clean up criteria in place when dioxins are found in the sediment on the land. The concentration limit is 7 parts per trillion (ppt) for dioxins found in sediment located on land. Mr. Mayorga stated that DERM must conduct a bioassay test to obtain further information. Ernie Martin stated that the residents of Spring Garden are livid. People do actually eat the fish that come from that water and this is unacceptable. Ernie passed around a picture of children catching fish from Wagner Creek. He stated that there is great economic potential for this area and the Creek is a nice physical amenity, provided it is dredged and cleaned up. Wilbur explained that further sediment testing needs to be done before dredging to determine the proper disposal of the sediment, not to hinder the dredging process. He reiterated that there are also chemicals besides dioxins in the Creek.
Samir El Mir with the Department of Health (DOH) stated that they received the test results last week and they have been working with DERM. They have a limited amount of data currently. Based on the information they have, they did a quick risk analysis in Tallahassee. They took the worst-case scenario and they found that there is no increased risk of adverse health. They need to look at the dioxin concentration in fish tissue. This is not that easy because not that many laboratories are equipped to study this. The next step will be to do a health risk assessment for eating contaminated fish. Gary Winston asked if they were doing anything to warn people about the possibility of eating infected fish. Samir stated that he does not believe that the health department will issue a warning until a study is completed that proves there is a risk. Wilbur stated that 170 ppt was the highest concentration found in Wagner Creek and 7 ppt is the acceptable limit.
asked what is being done with the sediments that were dredged from the
Creek during Phase I and II dredging that was conducted around 1993.
The area that was dredged in 1993 is now the area that shows
the highest concentration of dioxins.
David stated that DERM should talk to Officer Clayton with the
Allapatah Net office who was around during that dredging project.
Clayton told David that the dredge sediment was taken to a
residential area near 19th Terrace.
Susan Markley stated that DERM is not aware that any of the
sediment was disposed of near a residential area.
She explained that the dioxins and other chemicals in Wagner
Creek probably entered sometime in the past from the old incinerator
or other sources. She did
not feel that this contamination event was recent.
Janet McAliley felt that it was an urgent matter to put up
signs warning people of the possible risks.
DERM stated that it is the job of the DOH.
Samir stated that the DOH is not responsible for putting up
signs because it is out of their jurisdiction.
Janet made a motion for the MRC’s Managing Director find
the appropriate agency and request that signs be posted cautioning the
public not to eat fish from the Creek until it has gotten a clean bill
of health. Sallye Jude
seconded the motion. The
motion passed unanimously. Ernie
stated that we must find some resources to go after this problem in a
high priority way. Phil
Everingham made a motion to have David Miller contact the States
Attorney’s Office and/or the U.S. Attorney’s Office concerning the
environmental and possible health problems found in Wagner Creek. Jerry Fernandez seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Bob said that the MRC appreciates the work being done.
Dredging Working Group
Public Safety and Security
Miami River Corridor Urban Infill Plan
Martin stated that the Urban Infill Working Group heard a presentation
from the University of Miami concerning the development of a new
Clinical Research Building at 1150 NW 14th Street near
Wagner Creek. The group
recommends approval of the project and Ernie made the following
motion- That the MRC recommend the approval of the Major Use
Special Permit for construction of the University of Miami’s New
Clinical Research Building at 1150 NW 14th Street near
Wagner Creek. Additionally,
the MRC applauds the University of Miami
for replacing the current surface parking lot on the banks of
Wagner Creek with open space that is landscaped to create a public
gathering space along the Creek that includes – benches, tables,
plantings, and approximately 500 feet of walkway.
Janet McAliley seconded the motion.
The motion passed unanimously.
Economic Development & Commerce
David stated that Senator Alex Villalobos is sponsoring Senate
Bill 732 and Representative Juan-Carlos Planas is sponsoring House
Bill 873. These are the
bills that repeal the sunset provision of the MRC.
David went on to inform the group that Brett Bibeau got married
on Saturday, March 1, 2003. As
a reminder to everyone, April 5, 2003 is Riverday from 11 am to 5 pm
at Jose Marti Park. David
concluded by informing the group about the 30-minute river documentary
film being sponsored by the MRC and Trust for Public Land.
The documentary will be called Of Time and a River.
There being no further business to come before the meeting, the meeting adjourned at 1:50 pm