NE 79th Street.  Miami's worst urban street has a design speed of 40+mph. 3 lanes going west to east and 1 lane going east to west.

NE 79th Street. Miami’s worst urban street has a design speed of 40+mph. 3 lanes going west to east and 1 lane going east to west.

NE 79th is unequivocally Miami’s worst urban street. The street is awkwardly configured with 3 lanes going west to east and 1 lane going east to west. Sometime in 2013 FDOT will begin a resurfacing project from I95 to the Biscayne Bay.

NE 79th Street project will be resurfaced from I95 to Biscayne Bay.

NE 79th Street will be resurfaced from I95 to Biscayne Bay.

I’m plugged-in with what’s happening in my neighborhood and I happen to live 4 blocks away from 79th Street.  About two months ago I found out that FDOT would be resurfacing NE 79th Street and apparently the FDOT has been conducting a series of meetings with “neighborhood stakeholders” in the last year. I am on the board of the MiMo Biscayne Association.  Over the past two years we have met with FDOT officials on several occasions to discuss making safety improvements along Biscayne Boulevard. Not once during any of our meetings did FDOT mention that NE79th Street was due to be resurfaced. Where’s the community outreach? Why didn’t FDOT reach out to the MiMo Biscayne Association or Transit Miami?

With respect to Biscayne Boulevard, the MiMo Biscayne Association has been rebuffed by FDOT and they make every excuse not to make any safety improvement although I have documented over 15 crashes in less than a three-year period in which cars usually end up on the sidewalk.  Basically, FDOT officials have said to us is “ Biscayne Boulevard was just recently resurfaced, so speak with us again in 20 years when we resurface again”. FDOT officials have also said “ safety is matter of perception”.

So let’s put outside FDOT’s lack of community outreach for now. I’ve heard that the current resurfacing project is only a “temporary solution”.  WTF does “temporary solution” mean? Sounds exactly like the I395 “Bait and Switch” which FDOT just pulled with the “signature bridge” construction project. I’m very happy to see that Mayor Regalado and Commissioner Sarnoff have filed a lawsuit again FDOT.

My fear is that FDOT will pull the same “Bait and Switch”. They’ll do this resurfacing project with a promise to come back soon and we won’t hear from them again for another 20 years.  Meanwhile, 79th Street will likely see a new train station along the FEC corridor in the next 7 years.  There is a lot of new development happening in this area and pedestrian activity is increasing everyday, yet FDOT continues to design their roads as if it were 1960. They are clearly not planning for the future

My sources from within the city have informed me that FDOT has not conducted a traffic study or traffic count for 79th Street in 10 years. So I’m going assume that they haven’t conducted any pedestrians on cyclists counts either.  Not that it matters since FDOT plays by their own set of rules and standards; they have little regard for anyone not in a vehicle.

FDOT’s current proposal is the equivalent of putting “lipstick on a pig”.  Thanks to pressure from the North Palm Grove and Shorecrest neighborhood associations FDOT has agreed to add some lighting and 5 additional crosswalks in the scope of this project.  But this is not good enough. FDOT can and should do a lot more.

The MiMo Biscayne Association’s has adopted a resolution regarding NE 79th Street. Transit Miami fully supports this resolution:

 79th Street: Miami’s Worst Urban Street:

WHEREAS, the Florida Department of Transportation will begin
resurfacing 79TH Street beginning in August, 2014, and
 
WHEREAS, the FDOT Plan will do very little to improve safety for
pedestrians along this poorly design street, and
 
WHEREAS, 79TH Street from Biscayne Bay to I-95 has 3 lanes going west
to east and 1 lane going east to west, and
 
WHEREAS, little parking is available for the 79th Street small shop
owners aside from on-street spaces, and
 
WHEREAS, the eastbound lanes have a design speed of 45 MPH through
the heart of the city, and
 
WHEREAS, 79TH street is the focal point of the Upper Eastside
community, and
 
WHEREAS, the 79th Street merchants have joined with MiMo Boulevard
Association for support of their Urban Streets, and
 
WHEREAS, Both 79th Street and MiMo Boulevard merchants are
promoting the revitalization efforts taking place on those streets, and
 
WHEREAS, 79th Street and MiMo Boulevard are the two vital
commercial roadways that affect the economic redevelopment of the
Upper East Side, 
 
THEREFORE, THE MIMO BISCAYNE ASSOCIATION AND THE 79TH STREET
BUSINESS ASSOCIATION CALL FOR THE FOLLOWING CHANGES AND
ADDITIONS TO THE PROPOSED FDOT ROADWAY PLAN:
 
1. CHANGE THE 3/1 EAST/WEST LANES ON 79TH TO 2/2 LANES
GOING EAST AND WEST.
2. CREATE AN 8’ PARKING LANES ON BOTH SIDEs OF 79TH STREET (Off-SET PARKING)
3. PROVIDE MINIMUM SAFETY STANDARDS BY PLACING
CROSSWALKS AT EACH INTERSECTIONS OF 79TH STREET AS WELL
AS MID-WAY BETWEEN THE INTERSECTIONS AT 7TH AND 10TH
AVENUES
4. REDUCE THE DESIGN SPEED OF 79TH Street to 30 mph.

 

The FDOT will be presenting their plans to North Palm Grove Neighborhood Association on Wednesday March 27 at 7:00 PM at Legion Park.  This meeting is open to the public.  Whether you live in the area or not, please consider attending this meeting.  It’s important that Miamians take a stand against FDOT.  Miami’s worst street can very easily become one of Miami’s best signature streets.  FDOT will make every excuse in the book why they cannot make the improvements that are being recommended.  It all boils down to BS excuses.  If we can put a man on the moon, we can figure out a way to make our streets business and pedestrian friendly. Lack of will and vision from FDOT prevents any of this from happening.

Feel free to send an email to District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and let him know that FDOT’s current plan for 79th Street is not acceptable to anyone but FDOT.

 

2 Responses to FDOT and the Resurfacing of NE 79th Street. Why 79th Street Matters to the Complete Streets Movement in Miami?

  1. Eli Stiers says:

    As an attorney and resident of the Upper East Side, I am encouraged by Commissioner Sarnoff’s and Mayor Regalado’s suit against FDOT and intrigued by the proposition of citizens suing FDOT for a similar breach of their duties to the public.

    The FDOT needs to be reminded that they work for the people, not the other way around.

       1 likes

  2. Biju says:

    We need bike lanes! It’s 2013 but it certainly feels like 1979 in Miami!

       1 likes

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