Archive for the 'Florida's Turnpike' Category

Misguided Transportation Policy is Still Popular in South Florida

Apparently Turnpike planners have missed the boat on established best practice metropolitan transportation policy. According to the Herald, they will be discussing their preliminary ideas to decongest the Turnpike, including a plan to expand the expressway to 10 lanes between 836 and 874, and possibly all the way to Homestead. I guess they want to do everything in their power to justify sprawl and make South Florida as unsustainable as possible.

When are these people going to learn that a “predict and provide” approach to building highways is both counter-productive and unsustainable? It’s been addressed over and over and over again by researchers that widening highways such as the Turnpike, especially at its current capacity, does little but induce more driving demand while simultaneously justifying the auto-dependent sprawl it serves.

Lest we forget that such a project also takes years to finish and usually costs hundreds-of-millions of dollars — money that could be much better spent on transit improvements and maintenance of existing roadway facilities. Such policy is even more appalling within the context of climate change (especially with South Florida’s geography) and a threatened Everlgades ecosystem.

So, I encourage anyone who would like attend the open house tomorrow to go and voice your displeasure with any plan that will widen the Turnpike. Even better if you bring with you the studies I hyperlinked above to support your claims. Let these planners know that South Floridians are tired of wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on futile roadway projects that justify sprawl, do nothing to improve quality of life for Miami-Dade residents, and continue to leave commuters with little alternative to driving. Tell them you want to see sustainable alternatives that are transit-based.

The meeting information:

Thursday, September 27
5:30-7:30pm
Florida Dept. of Transportation District Six Auditorium
1000 NW 111th Ave, Miami

Sorry about the delay folks. I’ve been trying to catch up on all the news I missed last week, while replying to a week’s worth of e-mails, and recovering from some illness I contracted on the way back from Mexico City’s disaster of an airport. Never again will I fly through Mexico City unless it happens to be my final destination. It’s kind of screwy that with all the direct flights between Miami and Cancun that a 2 1/2 hour additional flight through Mexico City would somehow come out a couple of hundred dollars cheaper. Next time, I’ll splurge and save myself the hassle…

In an unprecedented move which will most likely anger most car-commuting suburbanites across the state, a new law aims to tie tolls prices to the cost of living:

The new law requires that all tolls on highways operated by Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise must be linked to the Consumer Price Index. This means that tolls on the turnpike and Sawgrass, plus other toll roads in Central Florida and bridges in the Panhandle, will automatically increase with the cost of living.

The law signed by Governor Christ last month allows for changes to be made automatically every five years or once a year by the state.

It’s about time Floridian motorists started paying reasonable prices for their very unreasonable driving habits. We have to understand that our current growth model (sprawl) and dependence on the automobile simply isn’t part of a sustainable lifestyle. By increasing taxes on motorists, we can further discourage vehicular dependent growth and likewise begin to levy a reasonable fee on the destruction caused by our automobile dependency. We have subsidized this destructive uncanny way of life for far too long, it’s about time motorists began to pay their fair share…

See what the nuts have to say already on the Miami Herald’s Comment section

Our Tax Dollars at Waste

I mentioned this recently, but was only able to snap a picture of it yesterday. There were at least 4 others of these along the way. I find it absurd that our tax dollars are being spent on advertising the fact that toll running will not be tolerated. Instead of highway improvements, more road rangers, or simply more FHP (you know, to catch the toll runners), our money is going down the drain with catchy slogans on oversized billboards. I can only imagine what the Clear Channel bill amounts to. What was the point of those electronic billboards (Florida Sun Guide) if we never intended to use them to actually advertise highway related information? Just another instance of our tax dollars at waste…