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Quote of the Day

Today’s quote of the day comes from FDOT spokeswoman Barbara Kelleher.  She spoke to the Miami Herald about a recent report issued by the Daily Beast which designated I-95 in Florida as the most deadly highway in the nation.

It’s no longer possible to add lanes.  We don’t have the money to buy all those homes and all that right-of-way in order to add lanes to what’s already there.”

Kelleher goes on to say:

“What can be done, has been done already: Installing express lanes in Miami-Dade — and eventually in Broward — to separate long-haul drivers from short-range commuters, and using signals at on-ramps so motorists don’t crowd onto the expressway at once.”

Ummm….how about public transit?  Is that not an option? I’m glad FDOT does not have the money to purchase all the homes and all the right-of-way necessary to expand 1-95.  They would be delaying the inevitable- we would be in the same predicament 20 years from now. Then what? Buy more homes and more right-of-way?

I’d like to remind FDOT that the “T” in FDOT stands for Transportation. Transportation is not limited to motor vehicles and highway expansion. Rail, bicycling and walking are considered transportation too!

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4 Comments

  1. LG says:

    Right on! I had just posted something to a previous post saying exactly the same thing before I saw this. I couldn’t agree more.
    It’s a slap in the face to all taxpayers for her to say something like that. Unbelievable!

  2. Rog in Miami Gardens says:

    Spot on, Felipe! There is still this horribly misguided perception that citizens in Florida don’t utilize public transportation. This, of course, ignores a sizeable portion of the commuting public.

    Once again, this confirms my belief that if you aren’t:
    a) a home owner
    b) making more than $60,000
    c) Upper-middle class
    d) a car owner
    e) a consumerist

    You’re completely and constantly ignored by policy makers.

  3. Mike Moskos says:

    I was at the FDOT’s 2060 Transportation Plan meeting. Trust me, the writing is on the wall for rail for exactly the reason she sited: we don’t have the money to build another 1-95 (and duplicates of other interstates in Florida). My concern is that people will get sticker shock at the cost of rail (even though it is much less than new roads) and we will have even more decades of inaction. I have a suspicion that the whole point of involving the public in the state’s 50-year transportation plan was to “build a broad base of support” for inner city light rail and intercity Amtrak and high speed rail. High speed rail is REALLY expensive, but well suited for the flat geography of Florida. The alternate view of course is the low ridership of Tri-Rail: 14,000 a day (that’s the same number of people who ride one bus route in Broward, of course it is the busiest route, travelling along State Road 7/441).

  4. Rog in Miami Gardens says:

    Mike,
    The challenge is that policy makers are still using old-fashioned techniques to guage the need for public transportation.

    We can’t always use current usage as a basis to guage whether an expansion might be necessary in the future. It’s more complicated than that. We’ve got find a way to guage “pent-up” need as well. Of course, that process takes a lot of ground work research and strong funding, but it can be done.

    Part of the reason Tri-Rail is “underused” is because it does not extend into neighborhoods south of the airport, i.e.: Coral Gables, South Miami, Kendall and those West of the airport, i.e.: Westchester, Sweet Water. I garauntee you that if they were to extend Tri-Rail service (which, by the way, the tracks are already in use by freight trains in many of the neighborhoods I just mentioned) usage would increase significantly. Additionally, in terms of Broward, a line needs to run along 595, capturing passengers living in neighborhoods along that highway who need to get to Downtown, FT. Lauderdale/Miami.

    Finally, Tri-Rail numbers might be low, but the fact of the matter is that over the years it is one of a handful of systems across the country whose ridership has actually experienced a net increase.

    To conclude, we have a window of opportunity right now with the B.P. mess in the Gulf. By juxtaposing that disaster against the regular, everyday costs of car dependency, we could really build a strong campaign against highway expansion. ONce again, we need to move away from the old-fashioned tactics of trying to get motorists out of their cars by only focusing on gas prices. We need to do a better job of educating the public about how their driving habits can have an over-arching effect on their natural, social and economic environments.

    Public transportation advocates — myself included — haven’t really done a good job of educating the public. We tend to always be on the defensive.

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