Guide To Trashing Taxpayers: Marc Sarnoff's Traffic Circle

Next week, New Times is publishing a guide on eight of the worst public works projects in Miami-Dade, where bureaucrats and elected officials take pride in wasting millions in taxpayer dollars on crap residents have little-to-no use for.

As we reveal each one of these boondoggles on Riptide, we're asking readers to send us their suggestions of the most asinine things local government has built in your neighborhoods. We'll pick the best one and send the winner a seven-day pass to try out the wonderfully terrible public bus and rail system provided by Miami-Dade Transit. Leave your suggestions in the comments field or email them to Banana Republican.

Today: An entirely useless traffic circle mysteriously installed right in front of a Miami commissioner's house.

Marc Sarnoff's traffic circle
Year built: 2007
Cost:$127,000
What's Dumb About It: It takes up so much space that school buses can't get around it without backing up at least twice. 

Why It Got Built: Can you say city commissioner?

In 2001, Marc Sarnoff was president of the Center Coconut Grove Homeowners Association. He complained to city and county road planners that he needed a traffic circle to slow traffic in front of his two houses. Their response: the four way stop sign at Virginia Street and Shipping Avenue did a fine job. Six years later, newly elected City Commissioner Sarnoff made the circle one his top priorities.

Of course, he had to gather signatures from two-thirds of the residents on Shipping and Virginia. Well, Sarnoff found an end-around: Mary Conway, who at the time was Miami's chief of operations. In sworn testimony in unrelated criminal probe, Conway said Sarnoff was "always supportive" and had once offered her a job on his staff. Perhaps to show her appreciation, Conway tacked funding for the traffic circle onto an unrelated street-closure project without obtaining the signatures. Even worse, the money came from a sales tax meant to improve public transportation.

Michelle Niemeyer, a lawyer who ran against Sarnoff and lost in the most recent election, says the traffic circle serves no purpose other than to enhance the values of the commissioner's homes. "He doesn't have trucks going by there any more," Niemeyer says, noting the circle is too small for the intersection. "As soon as they drew the outline of where the circle was going, I knew there wasn't enough room for it," Niemeyer says. "Now that it is finally built, it is even more obvious. It even feels tight going around in my little car."



Guide to Trashing Taxpayers:

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
Interstate 95 Flyover
Hialeah Okeechobee Road Landmark
The Metrorail M-Path

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13 comments
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Fred
Fred

Sarnoff's biggest mistake was buying in the center Grove. It's not the north Grove, its not the South Grove. The center Grove is the pathway to downtown Grove and it has little value except for good deals on rental units for the younger crowd. He bought in the wrong section of the Grove and wants us to pay for it! Nothing will really increase his property value. Sarnoff, its all about location, location, location.BTW, that was a park for the people before Sarnoff moved in. When he wanted a dog park and his neighbor complained, he did everything he could to harass those neighbors, from calling the city on property infractions to slandering their teenage daughter. He got his way and took the park from the children and gave it to the dogs!

Theft
Theft

Sarnoff forced the taxpayers to pay $3 mil for a vacant worth $600,000. It was on the dry side of Brickell. Sarnoff was panderibg to Brickell voters for his re-election.

Common Cents
Common Cents

How about paying an inflated $2,500,000.00 for 3/4 of an acre of property on the wrong side of Brickell for a park. THEN, adding insult to injury by spending another $1,000,000.00 to improve said park. The details; it was owned by Tibor Hollo. Simpson Park is 3 blocks away. The property was slated for 16 units. When confronted, Sarnoff would say "this park is within walking distance of 30,000 people." unfortunately, none of them can make it because of the 50 mph traffic that separates them.

Steve Hagen
Steve Hagen

Next biggest waste of over 1.5 million was the plans for Bictennial Park.  Why?  Because the idiots at city hall did it backwards.    Usually, major projects look at various sources of funding and set a budget of what they can afford.     In this case, over 300 residents wanted a simple green park which could have been done for less than two million.   What did we get so far?   A plan costing 1.5 million with an estimated cost of ten million of which only a half a million is actualy for plants and trees.   Four years have passed.

Now the City iso bankrupt so the 1.5 million is a total waste.   This mess was started by Mayor Diaz and manager (the big guy whose name escapes me)  and has been furthered by the Miami Commission and the County Commission allowing art and science museums to go into the park withoyut having the required vote, thus the City has spent even more dollars defeniding a lawsuit which as been goin on for over two years by Miami Neighborhoods United. .

Taxpayer theft
Taxpayer theft

Sarnoff just got the dog park across the street from his two homes renovated again. Renovated for the second time in 6 years. Another $200,000 wasted.

Marc Sarnoff loves to force the taxpayers to pay to improve his personal properties.

guesswho
guesswho

how about the road repairs in Surfside - on EVERY street!

CircleTheWagons
CircleTheWagons

More video from the admitted gasoline huffing nut?  It should be clearly stated who shot the above video...

Also, it looks like that bus could have easily made it around the circle, the editing doesn't make it clear how the bus got into that position.

Is there a park off to the side?  Nice to have traffic slow down in the area for that too.  And how many of these circles are in the Grove?

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

Simple.  If you approach the circle from any direction and want to go left, you have to go 3/4 the way around it, which isn't easy in a long vehicle.  Going straight across in a long vehicle is a bit tricky as well, but not as bad.

That's Sarnoff's dog park you see there.  I believe it used to be a "regular" park until he moved in.  Oh and speeding on those roads isn't advisable, traffic circle or not.  The condition of the streets is so bad that your car's suspension takes a beating.

Rashacameau
Rashacameau

Another boondoggle is the "information kiosks" in the Grove.  How much was spent on that useless project? and what's going on with it now?

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

Word has it that they were built as a sort of barrier so people don't venture into the "other" areas of the Grove

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

It was constructed right in front of his house, not blocks away.

Its funny that he pushed for that waste of taxpayer money when the rest of Virginia Street is full of potholes and in serious need of being repaved.  I guess fixing the street wouldn't have helped his property value

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