Currently viewing the tag: "Dolphin Expressway"

It’s no secret that TransitMiami is opposed to the expansion of highways in our community.

Still, we like to understand how they work, and the applied engineering science that goes into measuring their structural performance.

Florida International University produced a fascinating video describing the work of some of its faculty and students from the Lehman Center for Transportation Research.

FIU professors and graduate students talk about their efforts to monitor MDX’s under-construction 836 (Dolphin) / 826 (Palmetto) highway interchange with specially-designed sensors measuring the shrinkage and strain on the concrete over time.

Just imagine if we invested the same kind of money and science into expanding and improving our public transportation rail network!

 

 

Despite having recently spent hundreds-of-millions of dollars to widen and extend the Dolphin Expressway, there is already a new effort to try and squeeze even more capacity on the perpetually congested highway. According to MDX, the eastbound shoulder between the 826 interchange and the NW 72nd Ave on-ramp is being converted into a new travel lane in a futile attempt to keep up with traffic demand. To account for the elimination of breakdown lanes, the speed limit will be permanently lowered to just 45 mph along this stretch. There goes another $800,000 in a desperate move to reduce congestion and justify millions spent on highway construction that will never do anything to fix Miami-Dade’s long-term mobility crisis.

Photo: Wikipedia

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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.”

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A recent CBS4 “investigation” supports our claims that road expansion simply isn’t the solution to the traffic woes in our region. The report puts the new 836 west extension to the “test,” with two vehicles racing to a central meeting point on Bird Rd and SW 137th ave. The results were disappointing to those hoping that the extension would provide western suburbanites with a speedier alternative to the turnpike (you know, because of that exorbitant toll.) What the CBS4 report and many natives fail to understand is just how traffic, roadway expansions, and arterials interact with each other.

To simplify, think of traffic as a fluid (water) and roadways as pipes. The obvious is that when there is a clogged pipe (accident) no water can pass through. Easy enough, right? Now, many people assume that by creating a new path for the water (836 extension) water will be able to flow quickly along this new path. But, given the existing saturated nature of the current western routes (Tamiami Trail, Bird, Flagler, etc.) the new extension alleviates a certain amount of traffic from each corridor, providing no specific time difference impact to any single corridor. If too many cars choose to use the extension, then it too becomes saturated and proves to be just as ineffective as the alternate street routes. In then end, the whole system balances out and our overall personal gain is negligible. Plus don’t forget that any gains will be rendered useless once western expansion continues (you know, because of all that extra “capacity” we created) and more cars are found to fill in the gaps along each of the corridors… Good Luck!

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The new tolls on the 836 will be opening up soon (July 1) along with the new MDX 3 mile west extension of the highway. You can read all about it here. But, once again, the comments section of this article is where we’ll find some of the finest examples of the Miami Mentality:
“Nothing but a scam, to steal your money anyway they can. Things are just going to get worse and the traffic that will be backed up at that toll plaza in the morning will be a nightmare for the commuters. This county and it’s politcians who permitted this to go thru are nothing but a bunch of scoundrels, and thiefs. THIS COUNTY SUCKS !! I will definitely try to find a way around this toll and not pay them a single red cent. MDX = CROOKS” -A Commuter

“What ever happened to the extensions they were going to build down to kendall and homestead? We voted for the 1/2 penny tax, they took our money to build toll plazas in order to take more money from us! This is nothing new in Miami, they’re simple lining their pockets as usual.
Anyone that does not vote for the property tax cut in January will only continue feeding money to these crooks!” -Mike

“Your 1/2 penny tax is going to a stupid “Move it Yes you can!” public awareness campaign. How about giving us some toll relief instead? Or building the FIU metrorail route? We need to repeal that 1/2 penny tax now!” -Ollie

“What about the taxes we all pay hidden in every gal. of gas? Do the people know the goberment is selling every bridge, roads to China, Chavez and Arabes countries to any one with money. That’s why we have to pay tolls. e” -Pedro

It’s amazing to see how many people blatantly do not understand where the money from the 1/2 penny sales tax goes. MDX is a separate entity from MDT (which it shouldn’t be) and was operating a system of toll roads where only 28% of users were paying for 100% of the tolls. There were some comments calling for the expansion of metrorail, but with representatives like Zapata leading the Sweetwater community against those efforts as well, any reasonable plan to alleviate the problem seems impossible…

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