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Miami-Dade Commission To Require Shopping Center Barricades

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Miami-Dade County has been called the place where any problem can be solved by the jerk of a knee, and Tuesday, Miami-Dade commissioners found a new twitch. In 10 days, the county plans to require shopping centers to put barricades between cars and shoppers to prevent out-of-control drivers from driving into storefronts.

The new ordinance, sponsored by District 12 Commissioner José "Pepe" Diaz, would apply to new shopping center construction, and only to shopping centers.

Commissioner Diaz's ordinance stated anti-ram fixtures will be placed in shopping centers when head-in parking is located adjacent to a storefront. The fixtures will be installed along the outer edge of the sidewalk, blocking out of control cars from hitting a storefront, and incidentally making pedestrian access from the parking lot to the stores more restrictive.

The answer the county found was not to try to improve driving safety, or examine the underlying cause of the accidents and take action there, but to require contractors to pay the price of barricading every new shopping center in Miami-Dade County.

"The cost factor is something that is an impediment but the cost of life, there is really no price to that." said Diaz.

A representative of Diaz's office said the commissioner had spoken with members of the contracting trade who expressed support for his plan.

The commissioner's office said it had collected no data on the added cost the barricade projects would impose.

Diaz said he proposed the ordinance after two women were hit by a car and killed last August as they sat at a table outside of a shopping center storefront.

The father of one of the victims in that accident asked Diaz to take action. He made his proposal Tuesday, and a majority of the commission agreed.

When asked about the research the commissioner's office had done about the number of shopping center collisions, CBSMiami was told that a member of the staff had "googled it" but could not say how frequent a problem such accidents are.

Ironically, shortly after the ordinance was passed a car smashed through the wall of a home in Hollywood. Had the accident happened in Miami-Dade, no ordinance would have prevented it because the action taken Tuesday does not address office buildings or private homes.

It would also not have affected an accident like the one that killed two people when a car smashed in to Jumbos restaurant in Liberty City, because that was a stand-alone building and apparently not covered under the ordinance.

The commission made the decision not to require all shopping centers in Miami-Dade to be retrofitted.

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