looking east i-395 boulevard lo res

Proposed Boulevard concept, by Andrew Georgiadis

For several years now, the FDOT has been proposing changes to I-395, ranging from an elevated super highway to burying the highway underground, in an effort to add highway capacity, while not exacerbating the blight of the surrounding neighborhoods. According to the project director for the FDOT, the maximum clearance under the new “light and airy” proposal is only 33 feet, hardly enough to chase the darkness that it will cast upon the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, their preliminary ‘studies’ showed that the elevated super-highway was their preferred alternative, playing down the benefits of demolishing the highway, as many US cities have done over the past two decades. Demolishing the highway, and burying it underground will pay off much more than the super elevated version, both in reconnecting the city and in promoting economic development. Check out this great 2007 analysis from Boom or Bust examining all the alternatives.

The blight that surrounds I-395 (and countless other interstates across the country) is well know to have been the result of “progressive” urban renewal in the 1960′s that cut through vibrant communities of color, such as Overtown, and doomed them to decades of disinvestment. Now, under the guise of a second round of urban renewal, FDOT is pushing hard for the construction of the super highway that they argue would reconnect downtown, while still allowing for the free flow of cars from the beach to the City. Bull. This is simply another fake urban renewal program that will not help neighboring communities, and will only add to the blight that surrounds the highway. FDOT maintains that the area under the highway would become a green belt, with parks and active recreational uses. More bullshit. Have they looked under I-95 lately? Directly adjacent to the City of Miami offices on the river, I-95 towers hundreds of feet in the air, with nothing but parking and abandoned lots underneath. Why haven’t they used this area for park space yet? Or take the M-Path, our only answer to a greenbelt under urban infrastructure. Ask our friends at the Green Mobility Network how hard they fight to preserve and improve this important greenway.

Our best bet is to depress the highway and replace it with a true boulevard/greenway that would allow for local circulation above ground, and the highway underneath. Check out the image above of what this greenway could look like. This option has been consistently downplayed by the DOT as too expensive, yet they fail to take into account the developable land that will be free once the highway is removed. True economic redevlopment for the Omni/Park West/Overtown communities.

Downtown with no highways, by Andrew Georgiadis

Downtown with no highways, by Andrew Georgiadis

To make things even more sleazy, there are reports that the FDOT has been trying to convince Overtown that the elevated option will somehow solve problems of blight and isolation in the marooned sections of the community, playing on decades of fear of disenfranchisment and racial politics.   If they actually cared, they would be pushing for the boulevard as that will actually revitalize the area.

Image Courtesy of Skyscraper City

Image Courtesy of Skyscraper City

The FDOT is planning a public meeting August 25 from 5 -7 pm at the Lyric Theatre in Overtown to discuss the proposed superhighway. Please come out and give your opinion.  More on this to come…

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10 Responses to FDOT District 6: Eso no se hace!

  1. Mike Lydon says:

    Hey all, be sure to click on the drawings to maximize your ability to read them. Andrew Georgiadis is a hero.

       1 likes

  2. Kesley says:

    I agree. I would LOVE for the highway to be underground.
    What kind of stupidity is that? The highway is ugly, so let’s make it even taller so it can be more pronounced and noticeable. That’s just BS.

       1 likes

  3. Felipe Azenha says:

    Another half-baked idea by FDOT. Essentially they are proposing the same crap, but only higher. In the long run, this would be very expensive to maintain, as the concrete and rebar would need a serious overhaul about every 100 years or so in order to rehabilitate it to its original strength.

       1 likes

  4. Mike Lydon says:

    It’s really a comedy of false choices, too. I don’t even think FDOT would need to bury the highway underground, but rather replace it wholesale with an urban boulevard. San Francisco did this beautifully, replacing a portion of the Central Freeway with Octavia Boulevard. It offers six lanes: four thru-lanes (two in each direction) and two slip (access) lanes for local traffic.

    Clearly no one at FDOT has read Allan Jacobs’ wonderful Boulevard Book.

       1 likes

  5. Anyoneofus says:

    I love the idea of preferred alternative, this is the alternative they will shove down your throat. I have no clue how they arrive at them, but they are almost never ideal or preferred.
    The drawings are great too.

       1 likes

  6. Tony Garcia says:

    A boulevard would be nice, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening. I think our best bet is to push for the depressed/open cut version.

       0 likes

  7. Mike Lydon says:

    yeah…yeah…yeah…silly me for positing the best solution.

       1 likes

  8. Tony Garcia says:

    Ok ok, I know I’m usually less of a d-bag. I agree that the boulevard is the best option, but I’m just trying to balance between what we know is the right option, and what the FDOT is willing to consider. Just picking my battles.

       0 likes

  9. Mike Lydon says:

    I hear you…

       0 likes

  10. brody says:

    My choice would go with the boulevard, which ideally would be the best, allowing for the two areas to flow simultaneously without the eyesore that is I-395. An elevated option, is by far, the worst option. Thanks FDOT for not doing your job once again.

       1 likes

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