Tomorrow, on Thursday, June 13, the City of Miami City Commission will consider Resolution #13-00581.

This resolution would formalize the transfer of virtually all of downtown Miami’s Brickell Avenue from the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to the jurisdiction of the City of Miami.

Think about that: Brickell Avenue. It’s the core of our financial business district and a burgeoning residential and commercial area.

One wonders why FDOT ever had control of one of our city’s most important thoroughfares in the first place.


It’s great news. Our city’s streets belong in the hands of our own local municipalities. They don’t belong in the hands of techno-bureaucrats up in Tallahassee, nor in any other one of FDOT’s just-as-detached satellite offices.

While far from perfect, our local public officials and planners are more sensitive to the day-to-day realities on our streets; they are more aware of land-use dynamics and current and pending real estate developments; they are more conscious of existing long-range and master planning documents (including plans for special districts, public transit corridors, bicycles and greenways, waterfronts, ecologically-sensitive areas, etc.); they typically have deeper, more productive working relationships with other locally-based jurisdictions; they better understand the on-the-ground interplay of bicycle, pedestrian, and motor traffic; they are more sincerely invested in the well-being of the local community of which they themselves are a part; and, most importantly, our local planners and politicians are comparatively far more accessible and accountable to us, the people to whom the streets belong.


Note the streets highlighted in blue in the map inset; they run through the City of Miami’s Downtown Historic District, in southeastern Overtown. Those are the streets FDOT wants to take from the City of Miami. In return, the City of Miami would get the one in red, Brickell Drive. Map produced by FDOT.

So all is well in the Magic City, right? FDOT is beginning to realize that its role in 21st century Miami is growing smaller and smaller and we’re more than capable of running our own streets.

The state transportation juggernaut is starting to return our city streets to the local government authorities because it’s reached the undeniable conclusion that local municipalities and counties can run their own streets better than some gigantic, geographically-disconnected government bureaucracy . . . right?


In exchange for relinquishing Brickell Avenue to the City (where it belongs), FDOT wants something — quite a lot, actually — in return. Specifically, FDOT wants several streets running through the Downtown Miami Historic District (see the table below).


In total, FDOT is trying to take 2.4 center lane miles from the City of Miami in exchange for about 1.9 center lane miles.

(A “center lane mile” is the length of the actual road, from point A to point B. A standard “lane mile” takes into account the number of lanes on that same stretch from point A to point B.)

FDOT wants to take = 2.40 miles

FDOT wants to give = 1.92 miles

Thus, not only is FDOT pursuing streets it really has no right to and should have no interest in to begin with, but it’s actually trying to take more street length from the City than it is offering!

The City Commission will be voting on this around 2:00pm on Thursday, June 13.

Mr. Mayor and City Commissioners: Take what belongs to the people of the City of Miami. Bring Brickell Avenue under our local jurisdiction.

But do not, under any circumstances, forfeit those streets in the Historic Downtown District to the State.

FDOT should give = 1.92 miles

City of Miami should give = 0.00 miles

The real question is: Why does FDOT want control of our local streets to begin with?


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5 Responses to Dear FDOT: Stop Trying to Take Our Streets!

  1. @MiamiMance says:

    I’ve been wondering for a couple of weeks why FDOT wanted those streets in downtown Miami but I think I may have figured it out. In this week’s online version of Miami Today News, there’s an article discussing FDOT’s attempt to take 50% of parking revenues along all state roads. The law didn’t pass this year because it was attached to the Miami Dolphins stadium upgrade bill that never made it out of committee. While Brickell has no on street parking, the streets highlighted above are lined with parking and as downtown continues to develop parking revenues will create a steady stream of revenue. Miami Parking Authority is set to fight the law in next year’s session but it looks like it will pass. It’s only speculation but that’s what could be happening.

    Also, it is really unfortunate that Miami was offered a chance to take control of Brickell Avenue only AFTER the FDOT reconstruction. Had it happened before the FDOT work, we may have had a better chance of including pedestrian and safety improvements.


  2. This “swap” of jurisdiction could be a BIG mistake. The City Commission need to:




  3. Lucas says:

    The only roads FDOT should control in our city are the expressways. I don’t trust them for any other road. All their roadways feel so unsafe.

    The city should have control of Brickell Avenue, but certainly not relinquish control of the streets in our historic Downtown.


  4. Kathryn says:

    All the right of way and taxable space that was forfeited decades ago for interstate 95 should have been considered as already swapped fair and square for Brickell/ US-1.

    This feels like Big Government to me. Since when does Governor Scott want his departments controlling more, not less, of local responsibilities. I wonder if he even knows this is going on.


  5. adam says:

    The streets should be managed according to the principle of subsidiarity: that decisions should be made by the smallest (most local) governing body that can competently make them.


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