The City of Miami officially went on record Thursday supporting the Plan Z concept for renovating the Rickenbacker Causeway, asking Miami-Dade County to revive the bidding process for the project.
The move, while nonbinding, puts the city at odds with the Village of Key Biscayne, which officially opposed the RFP process. The Miami-Dade County Commission later spiked the RFP, with Mayor Daniella Levine Cava saying a new plan should involve consensus from stakeholders. Since then, however, support for reviving the privatization concept has grown.
The city resolution passed unanimously without debate. No members of the public commented on it.
Commissioner Ken Russell, who is trying to woo Key Biscayne voters in the Democratic primary for Congress, said after the vote that cycling safety and access to Alice Wainwright Park were important factors in his decision.
“We always work together on issues, sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t agree,” he said after the vote. “We’re at the table with Key Biscayne always, but right now we’re with the County plan and hope that it does move forward.”
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the city believes architect Bernard Zyscovich’s proposal has the best shot of addressing safety issues.
“Plan Z for me has been the only comprehensive solution that I see,” Suarez said. “We have to do something. We can’t sit back and keep watching death after death of our bikers without doing anything.”
Suarez said, however, that he wants to continue discussions with Key Biscayne officials. “I’m open to whatever solves a problem.”
Meanwhile, village officials are developing their own set of concept drawings for the Causeway that are nearing completion, said Village Manager Steve Williamson. The goals were set in sessions earlier this year with island residents. After input from council members, Williamson said the concept could be ready for a public meeting in mid-August.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.