Archive for the 'I-95' Category

Miami Advertising Eyesores

Let us get something straight; the advertisements all over the city of Miami aren’t murals, they’re big ass ugly tarps. With their abundance and apparent ability to lobby to soften our elected officials, the big ass ugly tarp industry is apparently a lucrative one. Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has the right idea, attempting to restrict these banners to a smaller area, levy heavier fines on non-compliant ads, and reducing the number of legal advertisements. The other option, crafted by city administrators, would levy smaller fines and allow more banners in a larger area. The plans have been in the works since July and after 8 months of deliberation will finally soon come to a vote by the city commission.

“I’m disappointed after spending so much time with the administration,” Mr. Sarnoff said, calling today’s face-off the “first time the administration has really challenged me like this.”

Mr. Sarnoff blamed the influence of mural lobbyists for city staffers’ apparent change of heart, saying outdoor advertising proponents have their “hooks deeply in the administration.”

It is unfortunate that the city of Miami is bowing to special interests. This particular form of advertising contributes little substantial value to the city, degrades the view of much of the city, and undermines any efforts to create a legitimate outdoor advertising industry. Banners, such as the one pictured above (1 of 3 on this particular building), are placed without any regard for building use. This particular “hotel” is fully blanketed with a Budweiser tarp obstructing every window on the eastern façade, facing I-95 motorists…

Mid Week News

Local:

  • Pedestrians don’t belong on 1-95…
  • Yet another person dies trying to bypass a Tri-Rail railroad crossing…
  • Buy local produce! It’s a key part of creating a sustainable society, a great way to keep money in the local economy, and an effective measure to reduce pollution (less overseas and transcontinental shipments…)
  • Get ready for strict water restrictions next year and pretty much every year after that. Anyone else think that perhaps the County should mandate the installation of water saving devices (such as technology which reuses sink greywater for toilet use) for all new construction?

Elsewhere:

  • The return of Urban Parks. Finally!
  • After they created the largest bike sharing network (note the absence of the popular word scheme, its a network, not a ploy) in the world and reintroduced streetcars to their urban landscape; Parisians are now getting ready to embrace electric car sharing service
  • Collapse of the housing market signals the end of suburban sprawl? James Howard Kunstler thinks so
  • Bike Boxes, what a novel concept to show drivers they aren’t the only ones on the road. Dual bike lanes and Bike Boxes in NYC are even more progressive…

Transitography 17


miami traffic jam, originally uploaded by noway.

If the view above seems familiar, its probably because you’ve been sitting in traffic for 50 extra hours per year.

“Americans sat in traffic 4.2 billion hours, or 38 hours per driver, in 2005, up from 4 billion in 2004, according to the transportation research center at Texas A&M University.”

I-95 Motor Speedway Update

Here’s a link to Miami’s pitch for federal funding that would go toward I-95’s new Lexus High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.


Blog/News Updates

Blog Updates
  • For those of you who haven’t visited the site in a while due to the convenience of the automatic daily e-mails, you may not have noticed the addition of James Wilkins to the Transit Miami staff (more to come soon, too.) James will be primarily writing about architecture and Urban Design here on a weekly basis. His first post appeared on Monday and discussed what could/should be Miami’s most prominent waterfront structures at Museum Park. As always, if you have any news, stories, or general feedback for any of us three, please drop us an e-mail: movemiami@gmail.com…
  • The site will be temporarily out of commission for part of the weekend, sorry for any inconvenience which this may cause…
  • New Sidebar Miami Blogs: Hallandale Beach Blog, South Beach Hoosier
News
  • Broward Commissioners approved a new 8,000 ft. south runway for Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday night before a crowd of over 1,000 (mostly opponents) at the Convention Center. The new runway will allow FLL to meet expected demand over the next few decades and will provide the airport with another runway capable of handling most domestic aircraft. The $600 Million runway will likely require the purchase or soundproofing of 2,500 nearby residences and will be elevated over US-1, similar to Atlanta’s runway, pictured below…
  • Meanwhile, the state denied FPL’s most recent bid to build a “clean” coal power plant in Glades County. “…the company lost its bid to build the coal plant, in part, due to risks the facility would contribute to Everglades and other environmental pollution…” (Via CM)
  • If you build it, they will come…Now, can we just start doing it properly?
Miami Blog Updates
  • I’ve accidentally neglected TM’s Friend Rebbecca Carter of GreenerMiami for too long. Back in May she covered the Commuter Challenge, which this year featured two Mercy Hospital employees “racing” from SW 152 ST. The commuter who used the busway and metrorail won by 19 minutes! Here is her take on the I-95 HOT lanes too…
  • The 836 West extension opens next month and with that, more tolls! Rick says its best: “One More Reason Not To Live In Kendall…” but I find that hard to swallow coming from a Pembroke Pines Suburbanite… In any case, the West extension from the Turnpike to 137th Avenue will be available to SunPass users only…
Headlines From Around the World

Friday Headlines

  • The Related Group of Florida is planning the Loft 4 Affordable Housing Condo for downtown Miami. The 404 units in the 35 story tower would be priced starting at $130,000! The best part yet? The building would feature no parking. Truly Urban Living is coming to the heart of the CBD for a change…
    • “If not for this type of concept, you wouldn’t be able to build because you can’t build parking” cost effectively, said Oscar Rodriguez, who heads Related’s affordable division. “That lends itself to more competitive pricing.”
  • Say goodbye to the HOV lanes on I-95. FDOT is working to bring “express” toll lanes to I-95 by 2008. Instead of the one HOV lane, the already gargantuan highway will be repainted to feature narrower 11 foot lanes, two of which will be designated for “express” toll use only. This plan allows users to buy themselves out of the hassles of finding people to carpool with. It’s a total cop out for FDOT and a massive waste of money. Never mind the fact that we wasted $17 Million to install a ramp metering system that was never used, let alone properly analyzed before it was installed. On the plus side, express buses will now run smoother along the corridor, question is, will anyone use them?
  • A US Senate committee rejected Homestead as a possible site for the US Southern Command HQ, currently stationed in Doral. SoCom will remain in Doral in an expanded facility for the next 50 years, at least…
  • Paddy Wagons and Cyclists, you know there is a critical mass happening when you see them together. Despite their best efforts, Miami’s second critical mass, wasn’t exactly too massive: 15 cyclists. Even with the low turnout, Miami Police decided to harass the cyclists, following their every move along the streets of downtown and keeping their beams on them until the group dispersed…
  • Inaccessible Parks. Enough Said. Most local parks are rendered useless to most of us anyway because of their poor designs, maintenance, and integration with their surroundings, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me to see that they aren’t even ADA accessible…
  • Check out what some properly designed bus benches, news stands, and restrooms do for the public spaces of NYC. Designed by Grimshaw Architects, the same firm hired to design Miami’s new Science Museum, the new citywide structures are built out of 95% recycled material…
  • Congratulations to Alesh for winning the Miami New Times’ best website of 2007 and Rick/Alex for winning Broward/Palm Beaches Best Blog Awards…
  • HSR…Where is the US? Touting an Acela Express that averages less than 60 mph…Pathetic…

Expanding The Miami Mentality Theory

I’ve often defined the “Miami Mentality” on this site as the state of mind prevalent in our region which is generally for transit options, so long as other people use them. The Miami New Times quoted my “Miami Mentality” theory today when discussing the new MDT 7-day pass, which sadly means that my theory is becoming more of a commonly accepted belief. To clarify, through personal account and research, I’ve found that the Miami Mentality is generally against density, non-vehicular modes of transit, in favor of traffic relief measures, and in favor of wider highways and parking- plenty of it too. The Mentality also denounces good urban planning principles often by typically stating, or rather declaring: “That would never work in Miami.” Needless to say, it has taken me quite by surprise to see the latest coverage and reactions in the Sun-Sentinel with regards to the proposed managed lanes on I-95. Their news polls, obtained March 29 and April 4, show an overwhelmingly opposite trend to the Miami Mentality:

March 29 Some state legislators want to start charging tolls to use the car-pool (HOV) lanes on I-95 from I-595 in Broward County to State Road 112 in Miami-Dade County. What’s your opinion?

85.4%
Bad idea. These lanes should be available for free to anyone with 2 or more people in a vehicle. (5917 responses)

14.6%
Good idea. It would raise more funds for transportation and ensure the car-pool lanes don’t get too crowded. (1012 responses)
6929 total responses

April 4 State officials say I-595 could be widened much more quickly and less expensively by making it a privately operated road with tolls on its express lanes. Your opinion?

35.1%
Good idea. (1773 responses)

64.9%
Bad idea. (3278 responses)
5051 total responses

Or do they? Perhaps there are some valid reasons behind this shift in the frame of mind or perhaps the Miami Mentality is a little more convoluted than I originally perceived. I’ll choose the latter. Based on the data obtained through the unofficial polls taken by the Sun-Sentinel and in browsing through some of the comments left on the site, it appears that there is a new dimension to the Miami Mentality that I had not previously considered: Money.

“Forgive me for not being able to attend this oh-so important waste of time meeting, but here’s my vote by proxy- NO!!! What a $hitty idea- charge us for what we’ve already paid for? Screw these crooked politicians and their handouts to the contractors- enough is enough!”
-Count me Out, Hialeah, Fl

“The article is at least truthful. The public is invited to discuss the issue. The decision has already been made based soley upon financial reasons. Luxury car lanes have been discussed for years, now they will be a reality. Only in Florida. Guess the Republicans will call it no Lexus left behind.”
-Mike Woods, Boynton Beach, Fl

The views presented outline a general displeasure for paying for expanded highway service, it is expected that the government provide endless capacity and expansions to our already crowded highways. This belief stems from the precedent that the government set throughout the past decades, expanding and creating highway infrastructure “as needed.” The distrust in local policies and “leaders” further exacerbates the situation, casting shadows of doubt across any project where higher costs will be waged on motorists. Contrary to the logic behind congestion pricing, the opinions conveyed show that the new local mentality aims to provide highway and parking access to anyone (which falls in line with the reaction to rising gas prices.) (For more on Congestion Pricing, click here.)

I must also note that the subject matter does not pit public transit against highway capacity expansion. Surely, had that been the case, the results would have shown a desire for rail, provided that others use the system and now apparently that money allocated to the project did not come from highway funding sources (it’s ok folks, there are statutes against that anyway.)

Of course some classic Miami Mentality always finds its way into the picture:

“Maximum use of all lanes is the most efficient use of roads. Car pool lanes do not do that. The “Pay Pool” lanes are only a way for the politicians to get more money without representation. Another non-tax tax. On top of all this Interstate roads are supposed to be free. This is not a state road it is a federal road.”
-just say no, Miami, Fl

“Forget the tolls. Eliminate the HOV lane by opening it up to all drivers. That will increse the available road space by 20 - 25 percent. As an added benefit …no more slow downs caused by drivers gawking at the flashing lights while FHP writes tickets (they have better things to do). It’s a win win deal for both tax payers and drivers, costs nothing and can be put into effect at any time.”
-David, Pompano Beach, Fl

I’m so glad David took the time to do the math for us, he neglected to include how many minutes it would take for for traffic to fill up the additional lane and bring traffic back to a grinding halt (Induced Travel.) Miami Mentality obviously fails to take into account general highway planning principles, is shortsighted, does not recognize the limitations of an autocentric infrastructure, and never considers perhaps that the current method of personal travel and lifestyle are the true problems at hand.

Reassuringly, every so often, a voice of reason chimes in:

“the reason for the carpool lane is to encourage drivers to carpool and take cars off the roads. what they should be doing is expanding the number of car pool lanes to 2 or 3 each way and then maybe more people would carpool.”
-John, Santa Maria, Ca

But, then again, let the few voices of reason come from a city clear across the country

Quick News Links

News and Updates

Well, it’s been a busy last couple of days with planning news…
  • Three bills proposing to give the Marlins a $60 million dollar subsidy to bridge the funding gap for the new stadium easily made it through the state Senate and House committees on Thursday. While the baseball fans in Miami-Dade and Marlin stakeholders should be excited by early popularity of the proposed bills with the state House and Senate, it appears Broward legislators have a bad case of sour grapes over the stadium location. Broward senators are leading the charge against the stadium funding because they’re upset the proposed stadium sites are not located in the suburbs near county line. Speaking of the stadium site, there still has been no settlement; however, it appears the Orange Bowl plan is unfortunately still gaining steam.
  • FDOT is planning on making major “improvements” to I-95 between Ft. Lauderdale and downtown Miami. The proposal calls for the replacing the current HOV lanes with two HOT lanes (High Occupancy Toll) in each direction. Newly installed computer sensors on the highway would measure traffic volume and average speed, which would allow the system to increase or decrease the toll fees in the HOT lanes based on how much congestion there is. Drivers wishing to use HOT lanes would use a prepaid toll card like the SunPass. I’ve never been much of a fan of these “Lexus Lanes”, but I’ll let Gabe elaborate on the issue as he is the resident transportation engineer of the group.
  • Miami-Dade Transit director Roosevelt Bradley was forced to resign last night. Apparently, Bradley is one of the first casualties of Mayor Alvarez’s new powers to hire and fire administrators at County Hall. According to the Herald, Bradley, who took over Miami-Dade Transit in 2002, was inefficient as a boss and oversaw massive deficits under his rule. We’ll keep posting any updates as soon as we hear who might be the next director.

Planning? Who needs that?


I’ve seen some unsettling things lately about the current and upcoming developments in the city of Miami. I was first set off by an article which appeared in the Herald back in February; it was titled: “Stage is set for theater with no parking.” I thought to myself, wasn’t the whole point of building this thing downtown to create an urban center which is easily accessible by ulterior forms of transportation in what will soon become our most densely populated area? Now, everyone is suddenly whining about a lack of parking, the type of parking you would find if it was built out in suburbia “Centrally Located” as they like to call it nowadays. The new performing arts center is rising within a short walking distance of the current metromover and the upcoming Miami Streetcar, plenty of reason, in my opinion to cut back on those 1,500 parking spaces the venue is seeking to find. Here is a notable quote from that same article; I think it personifies the Miami ideology very well:

”Who’s going to walk for blocks in the rain and the heat and the dark and the mosquitoes, especially in that neighborhood?”
-Taffy Gould

Well, if it hot, it’s not dark, so there goes your first worry. That neighborhood is the Wynwood/PAC district and it probably has more pigeons and seagulls than mosquitoes, those are found out in suburbia, where you likely live.

These thoughts of the PAC parking situation were spurred as I recently scanned through the development page of the upcoming City Square project, across the street from the PAC. I came across another upsetting passage, it reads:

“Located next to Interstate 95 and 395 off ramps, over 150,000 vehicles will pass city square every day. Shoppers can access City Square from the Venetian Causeway or Biscayne Boulevard (US1), located one block east of this impressive site.”

Yeah, that’s right, absolutely no mention whatsoever of the free metromover train that will be stopping right outside its door with plenty of customers, residents, and tourists (correction: it’s mentioned on a later page, but, it still seems like an afterthought as the above quote appears on several pages.) Even scarier, perhaps, the development will contain 3,401 parking spaces (750 of which will belong to the PAC), effectively using up a space nearly equal to the retail space just for parking (now that’s what I call efficient.)

I also came across this article, which proudly announces the upcoming construction of a 400 space parking garage in the design district. Isn’t this the very same area that will be serviced by a streetcar around the same time the garage opens?

The point I’m trying to make is that with all of these new developments we are going to get massive hideous parking structures, filled with cars which will further clog our streets. The city and the county haven’t placed adequate pressure on developers and citizens to use and emphasize the existing and upcoming transit services in these areas. Why can’t we learn from our mistakes and those of other cities and plan actually ahead, intelligently? Miami 21 seeks to correct these flaws, but that plan has yet to be enacted as these developments continue to rise atop of massive parking structures. When the PAC opens, I’ll be riding past the traffic on US-1 on metrorail and then walk the rest of the way past the idle cars waiting to pay big bucks for parking…