Turnout at MDX’s highway open house last Thursday night was generally healthy.
I’d estimate a solid 80-100 people came through the doors of the West Kendall Baptist Church, eager to learn more about the big new highway project MDX is seeking to sell them on. (I didn’t stick around for the whole three hour event, so my count is unofficial at best. Let’s hope the numbers were more around 150-200 people.)
The layout of the public meeting was informal, and MDX should be commended for conducting the event in a way that maximized the people’s interaction with project staff: Good job on facilitating some community face-time, MDX — sincerely.
Four loosely-grouped information stations were set-up.
- Station 1: “Purpose & Need”
- Station 2: “Process & Schedule”
- Station 3: “Natural Environment”
- Station 4: “Physical & Socio-cultural Environment
Each station had two or three MDX staff members (or staff from one of MDX’s contracted consultant firms, e.g., Stantec) on-hand to solicit residents’ thoughts and provide (typically diversionary) responses to their questions.
Staff were generally friendly. All good salespeople are.
My underlying concern is that when I asked even the simplest of questions, or when my questions were apparently perceived as not ‘softball’ enough, I persistently got some variant of the following response: “Oh, this project is just in the planning stage. It’s way too early to be making those considerations.”
A couple of basic questions to which I received no real response.
- Considering all alternatives, from the least to the most expansive, what is MDX estimating the costs of this highway expansion to be?
- Considering all alternatives, how much does MDX consider the total cost of the tolls to be from the southwest to downtown Miami?
Any response that wasn’t overly deflective still didn’t register as sufficient justification for a new highway. For example:
- Me: If the underlying problem is that nearly all of Miami’s suburbanites commute from the west to the east, why would people want to lengthen their commute by driving farther west, just to ultimately go east again?
- MDX (paraphrased): Well . . . some people already go west onto Krome [SW 177th] Avenue to go back east again.
- Me: Yes, a handful do, but Krome Avenue is currently set to be widened by FDOT, and that will accommodate the relatively few who do.
- MDX (paraphrased): Yes, that’s true; Krome is to be widened; but we need to look into whether widening Krome will be enough.
- Me: . . .
MDX was clearly more concerned with selling its message than informing the people of that highway’s impact on their quality of life.
That message is clear: “Miami: You need another highway at the far edge of the city, either along, or somewhere beyond, the Urban Development Boundary.”
While MDX staff weren’t eager to give out any information that could jeopardize their chances of advancing their highway “dream”, they were eager to give out free Sunpass receptors (electronic toll collection devices). The way MDX sees it, we’ll be needing them.
Many attendees, myself included, made their opposition to the project known via the comment cards distributed by the agency.
Still, more voices will be needed to stop MDX from moving forward with its plans to build more highways in Miami, further constraining our city’s ability to liberate itself from its dependence on automobiles.
In the blinding brightness of the east-facing morning, trapped in our metallic boxes of rage, impatience, and anxiety, the truth called out to us . . .
It called, not as an answer, but as a question . . . a question whose simplicity made a mockery of all those willing to confront it . . .
Out of the blinding light, for that fleeting moment of honesty concealed by the shadows, the truth taunted all those brave enough to accept it . . .
From the blinding light, the truth dared us to regain our vision . . .
RIDE . . . METRORAIL
As a person who traverses through this intersection more than I care to admit, I can say with confidence that the only good part of this project is to allow you to go West when traveling north on the 826. Why they had to supersize the entrances at Flagler Street (which will only create more problems with surrounding congestion) or change everything around is beyond me. Another BILLION down the drain.
“Americans sat in traffic 4.2 billion hours, or 38 hours per driver, in 2005, up from 4 billion in 2004, according to the transportation research center at Texas A&M University.”
- Can’t believe we let this one pass under our radar for so long, but, the Caribbean’s second urban transit system is currently under construction in Santo Domingo. The 9 mile system will feature 16 stations, 10 of which will be subterranean. The system is set to open February 27, 2008 at a cost of nearly $700 Million…
- The Eurostar set a new Paris-London record recently, completing the journey under the Chunnel in 2 hours and 3 minutes. The upgraded service is due to the completion of 68 miles of British high speed rail, stretching from the tunnel to the recently restored Victorian styled St. Pancras International Station.
- The Charlotte Light Rail system hasn’t even opened yet and it is already spurring Transit Oriented Development, 10 years ahead of planners’ forecasts. The development will offer 2,500 dwellings in mixed high density apartments, condominiums, and town homes will offer residents the ease of urban living just outside the city center.
- How to curb LA’s growing parking problems? Eliminate parking requirements in new developments, of course. The best remedy to a downtown cores parking problem is to only make it more scarce.
- The most accessible U.S. Airports. Notice how they are all linked to their respective cities by Public Transportation. Coincidence, we think not…
- MDX to place Sunpass on Sale again. The transponders will be selling for $8.36 instead of their usual $25 price. Discounting a tolling device isn’t exactly the best way to reduce congestion, especially when the toll money is reinvested in highways rather than public transit…
- Confusion on the 836…
- BoB has some exclusive pics of the Miami Skylift being placed in Downtown Miami…
- DWNTWN Miami will do nothing to solve any of the tangible problems facing our downtown. Unlike most of the materialistic or cosmetic fixes people in this city tend to turn to, removing O’s and coming up with some catchy phrase will not solve Downtown’s woes. Can we get some real ideas now?
To simplify, think of traffic as a fluid (water) and roadways as pipes. The obvious is that when there is a clogged pipe (accident) no water can pass through. Easy enough, right? Now, many people assume that by creating a new path for the water (836 extension) water will be able to flow quickly along this new path. But, given the existing saturated nature of the current western routes (Tamiami Trail, Bird, Flagler, etc.) the new extension alleviates a certain amount of traffic from each corridor, providing no specific time difference impact to any single corridor. If too many cars choose to use the extension, then it too becomes saturated and proves to be just as ineffective as the alternate street routes. In then end, the whole system balances out and our overall personal gain is negligible. Plus don’t forget that any gains will be rendered useless once western expansion continues (you know, because of all that extra “capacity” we created) and more cars are found to fill in the gaps along each of the corridors… Good Luck!
“Nothing but a scam, to steal your money anyway they can. Things are just going to get worse and the traffic that will be backed up at that toll plaza in the morning will be a nightmare for the commuters. This county and it’s politcians who permitted this to go thru are nothing but a bunch of scoundrels, and thiefs. THIS COUNTY SUCKS !! I will definitely try to find a way around this toll and not pay them a single red cent. MDX = CROOKS” -A Commuter
“What ever happened to the extensions they were going to build down to kendall and homestead? We voted for the 1/2 penny tax, they took our money to build toll plazas in order to take more money from us! This is nothing new in Miami, they’re simple lining their pockets as usual.
Anyone that does not vote for the property tax cut in January will only continue feeding money to these crooks!” -Mike
“Your 1/2 penny tax is going to a stupid “Move it Yes you can!” public awareness campaign. How about giving us some toll relief instead? Or building the FIU metrorail route? We need to repeal that 1/2 penny tax now!” -Ollie
“What about the taxes we all pay hidden in every gal. of gas? Do the people know the goberment is selling every bridge, roads to China, Chavez and Arabes countries to any one with money. That’s why we have to pay tolls. e” -Pedro
It’s amazing to see how many people blatantly do not understand where the money from the 1/2 penny sales tax goes. MDX is a separate entity from MDT (which it shouldn’t be) and was operating a system of toll roads where only 28% of users were paying for 100% of the tolls. There were some comments calling for the expansion of metrorail, but with representatives like Zapata leading the Sweetwater community against those efforts as well, any reasonable plan to alleviate the problem seems impossible…
- For those of you who haven’t visited the site in a while due to the convenience of the automatic daily e-mails, you may not have noticed the addition of James Wilkins to the Transit Miami staff (more to come soon, too.) James will be primarily writing about architecture and Urban Design here on a weekly basis. His first post appeared on Monday and discussed what could/should be Miami’s most prominent waterfront structures at Museum Park. As always, if you have any news, stories, or general feedback for any of us three, please drop us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org…
- The site will be temporarily out of commission for part of the weekend, sorry for any inconvenience which this may cause…
- New Sidebar Miami Blogs: Hallandale Beach Blog, South Beach Hoosier
- Broward Commissioners approved a new 8,000 ft. south runway for Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday night before a crowd of over 1,000 (mostly opponents) at the Convention Center. The new runway will allow FLL to meet expected demand over the next few decades and will provide the airport with another runway capable of handling most domestic aircraft. The $600 Million runway will likely require the purchase or soundproofing of 2,500 nearby residences and will be elevated over US-1, similar to Atlanta’s runway, pictured below…
- Meanwhile, the state denied FPL’s most recent bid to build a “clean” coal power plant in Glades County. “…the company lost its bid to build the coal plant, in part, due to risks the facility would contribute to Everglades and other environmental pollution…” (Via CM)
- If you build it, they will come…Now, can we just start doing it properly?
- I’ve accidentally neglected TM’s Friend Rebbecca Carter of GreenerMiami for too long. Back in May she covered the Commuter Challenge, which this year featured two Mercy Hospital employees “racing” from SW 152 ST. The commuter who used the busway and metrorail won by 19 minutes! Here is her take on the I-95 HOT lanes too…
- The 836 West extension opens next month and with that, more tolls! Rick says its best: “One More Reason Not To Live In Kendall…” but I find that hard to swallow coming from a Pembroke Pines Suburbanite… In any case, the West extension from the Turnpike to 137th Avenue will be available to SunPass users only…
- India’s Richest Man builds 60 story home…You know, because you need a place to house your family of 6, plus a full time staff of 600…
- PlanNYC 2030…I don’t think Miami has a plan for tomorrow, how can we even begin to contemplate where we’ll be 20 years down the line…
- District Should Welcome Walkers, Not Ticket Them…I agree, for the most part…
- Google Transit 2.0…
- Make Driving less Desirable and alternatives more appealing…”This approach, however, will be effective only if there are good alternatives to driving alone.”
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