If traffic engineers and transportation planners were to learn one thing in the last sixty years, they should have learned that we cannot build our way out of traffic congestion. That is to say, expanding roadways with additional travel lanes only induces demand for ever more road space, which gets us back into the exact same situation of congestion.

At what point will the omnipresent negative externalities of more traffic congestion, pollution and noise cause the people of South Florida to revolt? Highways in San Francisco, Milwaukee, New York City and Boston have all been replaced with human-scaled surface boulevards. Do you think they miss their freeways? How about the traffic?

All signs point to no.

Well, according to the FDOT road building cabal and this Miami Herald article, the people of South Florida are not ready yet, but they may be getting close.

The controversial expansion of the Palmetto Expressway/ Bird Road interchange project chronicled by the Herald as the second to last in a twelve part plan for expanding the Palmetto Expressway. Specifically, Bird Road is set to get fattened to eight lanes, like a nicely plumped Thanksgiving turkey.

Commissioner Souto had this to say about the imminent Bird Road expansion, when it went from four lanes to six.

“It created an expressway in the heart of a community and brought more traffic, more speeding and drag racing along Southwest 40th Street,” said Souto, who still hopes to halt the project. “It eliminated the entire green space and tree canopy along Bird Road, making it one of the least attractive corridors in the county.”

Despite resident and Commissioner opposition, FDOT officials will likely persevere, albeit with a few concessions made to those affected property owners and area stakeholders.

The concession of choice?

Probably a nice series of beautiful uber-beige sound walls!

There really is nothing like ghettofying an already unpleasant, traffic dominated suburban environment with yet another expensive  wall to protect resdients from what should not have happened in the first place. In this regard, I am under the long term impression that most traffic engineers have very little respect for their fellow human beings.

According to the Herald article, the expansion project is really all about safety. Alice Bravo, director of transportation development for Florida Department of Transportation had this to say, “It’s important that we alleviate congestion. When you have so much congestion, the congestion itself turns into safety concerns.”

May I counter this with the prospect of cars, when not stuck in congestion, will travel ever faster due to the wider lanes on Bird? How about residents attempting to cross 8-lanes of high-speed, freeway exiting and approaching traffic to reach Tropical Park? Oh, and those pedestrian refuge islands that help the humans across the existing six lanes, those will have to go to. In the name of safety.

With a price tage of $177 million for this project alone, might I suggest rethinking this “safety” measure for one with an incredible record of performance?

Mass transit. Not only is it more efficient from a life cost, energy, people moving perspective,  but you never have to widen the tracks!

How about it FDOT?

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7 Responses to Palmetto/Bird Road Expansion Must Go On! Says FDOT

  1. joel says:

    I normally take my bike and train to work, but today I borrowed a truck to go to work. I now remember why I take the train.
    I had the misfortune of taking the palmetto to and from work today and passing by bird and palmetto twice.
    you know what i thought to myself as i sat in the middle of the highway without moving?
    “man, a train should be running right up the side of this highway. i’d get to where i’m going twice as fast.”
    mass transit is right.


  2. geniusofdespair says:

    The people are apathetic to Parkland. 7,000 homes and 21,000 to 25,000 people on 1,000 acres in an Agricultural Area (on Everglades buffer land). It doesn’t make sense to me. Thanks for reporting on it Transit Miami!

    Watch the county commission, they want the CITT to approve moving the funds we voted on for new transit to operations and upkeep.



  3. JM Palacios says:

    But you must remember that FDOT’s vision is for a congestion free transportation system! How are we going to achieve that if we don’t build our way out of it? ;-) j/k

    You’re right, they never learned that mantra. Witness also the I-595 corridor, which is supposed to have a transit component to be built after the express lanes. Did it not even occur to anyone that we could add more capacity by building the transit component BEFORE (or instead of) the express lanes?

    Of course not, FDOT thinks they are still a highway department.


  4. Mike Lydon says:

    I was at a brilliant CNU conference recently all about transportation. One of the major issues we covered, beyond lobbying for more transit in the 2009 Federal Transit bill authorization, was re-writing the ITE Greenbook. If you are not familiar, the ITE book is basically the bible for all traffic engineers. If it isn’t in the green book then it isn’t being built. As you can imagine, the only forthing that has been in the green book for decades is likes of this Highway/Arterial expansion.

    Fortunately, ITE has agreed to work with the CNU to restore more sensible road design practices, one where human beings are recognized.
    For more info check out cnu.org, or read a piece I recently wrote for Planetizen about the conference and this important initiative.


    It explains the good things that are happening with traffic engineers and planners.


  5. Robert Mann says:

    Same momma, different address here in Jacksonville. We “Need” I-795, The Western Beltway, Brannon Chafee Expressway. JTB is running full and overflow is flooding the burbs with cars… FDOT - ADD MORE LANES!

    Story was when JTB was built between the Southside and the Beaches, it was to be a expressway wtih mass transit in the middle (someday) of course in practice - we must first cover that space with concrete before we figure out that we needed something more.


    Jacksonville Transit Blog


  6. Felipe A says:

    Sounds like the FDOT doesn’t understand that pedestrians, bicycles, and rail also constitute transportation. They seem to think transportation=cars.


  7. Does anyone know the status of the Palmetto and Dolphin Expressway? They were going to do more work there too.


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