The FDOT (The Department of Streets and Highways) is seeking approval of transportation planners in Broward and Palm Beach Counties to approve five-year plans for road and “transit” projects. The Sun-Sentinel reports:

“A total of $2.37 billion will be spent in Broward County and $916 million in Palm Beach Countyfrom 2012 through 2016.”

Wow, pretty cool, eh? With over $3 Billion in spending we’ll surely be zipping along the FEC corridor from Miami to Jupiter in no time. Perhaps we’ll be able to ride the Ft. Lauderdale Wave Streetcar from my downtown office to the Broward General Medical Center. Heck, maybe we’ll be commuting on some new flashy BRT routes throughout both counties. Nope. This is FDOT we’re talking about – there is only one right way to blow $3.3 Billion.

“Major highway projects in Broward and Palm Beach counties are moving from the top of wish lists to reality.”

Oh Joy! Christmas has come early!

“State officials are including money in the latest plan to build an interchange for FAU’s new stadium in Boca Raton, widen State Road 7 in southern Broward County and expand the last two-lane section of Andrews Avenue in Pompano Beach.

It’s a dramatic turnaround from two years ago when the state had to delay numerous projects because of a decline in gas tax revenues and other resources. The state couldn’t keep up with the rising cost of land and materials to build roads.”

That’s right, we need more interchanges and lanes. Silly me. How could I forget how effective incessantly widening highways to meet ever growing congestion needs has been? For all their faults, the FDOT will be investing some money in Transit. Just what exactly? I’m so glad you asked:

“The county will study improving mass transit on its busiest routes — Broward Boulevard, Oakland Park Boulevard, State Road 7 and U.S. 1. The improvements could range from pull-outs so buses don’t hold up traffic to special equipment that allows buses to pre-empt traffic signals so they stay green longer so they can get through intersections.

Another study will look at improving State Road 7 from northern Broward into southern Palm Beach County, by improving mass transit and adding lanes.”

Wouldn’t want those buses to get in the way of all those cars now would we? Now, let’s get this straight. FDOT suddenly has $3.3B more to spend between 2012 and 2016 in Broward and Palm Beach. So the logical solution is to pump the money into projects already underway? And, for safe measure, to cover their asses and pretend to be serving the best interest of all transit modes, they decided to invest a pittance into transit studies?

“The new projects are in addition to work that already is started or will begin next year, such as the extension of the I-95 express lanes to Fort Lauderdale that will begin next year, the I-595 construction and I-95 widening in northern Palm Beach Countyunderway and construction of a new Eller Drive overpass connecting I-595 to Port Everglades that will start in 2011.”

I know what you’re all thinking. C’mon, 95 Express – dude its a transit project, kinda – we’re getting buses to use those routes and whisk passengers across highways to their destinations quickly and effectively. After all, one of the main selling points of the 95 Express HOT Lanes was the ability for transit buses to access the tolled lanes free of charge, providing transit riders with a cheap alternative to driving alone and simultaneously improving the commute time of “regional” service buses. In theory this plan works. In theory. But we lack the sufficient density to make BRT along our highways effective; and, congestion hasn’t reached the point to justify the time it would take users to park-and-ride.  Plus, BCT and MDT lack the funds to keep these buses operating:

“The Broward County Commission will hold a public hearing at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December  14, 2010, at the Broward County Governmental Center, Room 422, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, for public input on proposed changes to the 95 Express Bus Service.  The proposed changes would become effective on Monday, January 10, 2011.”

The proposed service changes are:

  • Discontinued service to the Golden Glades Park & Ride stop
  • Discontinued reverse commute trips from Miami during the morning peak hours
  • Discontinued reverse commute trips from Pembroke Pines during the afternoon peak hours

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2 Responses to Saying vs. Doing; the difference between FDOT Transit and Traffic Improvements

  1. Thomas Rodrigues says:

    Ha…

    That’ll be an in-depth conversation on Tuesday. To be fair, you can enjoy the ultimate solo stretch limo experience on the 95 Express heading south in the afternoon. But it is pretty crowded heading to Miami in the morning and isn’t exactly deserted going north in the evening.

    The concept of transit is lost on FDOT. And it’s depressing to see them talk about expanding roadways that will only contribute to the justification of further expansion as they encourage more people to drive, and scare pedestrians and bicyclists away from using the public roadways with their widening projects.

    Short-sightedness means we all lose in the long run.

       0 likes

  2. Mike Moskos says:

    I think the last time I looked up the combined BCT and Miami Transit ridership numbers for I-95 Express it was 44,000 boardings a month. Not bad.

    Nice post Gabriel, I’ll give you 2 more examples:
    a. BCT already completed those studies (I was at a number of the study’s public meetings). Top of the list of recommendations: increase the headway on Broward’s busiest route which runs north/south on 441. Almost as soon as the study was completed, Broward announced service cuts throughout the system and a price hike. They should have increased prices slightly more and increased the headway on this overburdened, standing room only all the time route. Or at least, cut the regulations so that private jitney operators would pick up the slack.
    b. Tri-Rail added a 2 deck parking garage at the Fort Lauderdale airport station. Instead of doing something for passengers like, say, adding restrooms, they built a pair of side by side elevators to whisk drivers up to their cars on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Clearly, Tri-Rail believes in its “park and ride” and “kiss and ride model”, ignoring the fact that once you get in a car you continue to your destination. Tri-Rail seems to think passengers will readily pay car expenses, pay for Tri-Rail tickets and endure a longer transit time to save the frustration of driving on I-95. While that’s true for a limited number of passengers, I don’t think it is true for the majority of potential passengers.

    But, despite government’s continuing role in “sustaining the unsustainable”, economics will get in the way: the future will be one with less driving and more transit. Or more likely, transit+biking. The widened roads will one day have a lane devoted to bikes.

       0 likes

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