Like I said earlier, I spent the better part of my Saturday morning at the United Citizens for South Link meeting hammering out some issues with the Florida Department of Transportation, Cutler Bay city officials, and State Representative Julio Robaina. The topic of conversation was the proposed expansion of Krome Avenue. The various reasons officials have given to widen Krome Avenue vary greatly from the ridiculous to the extremely ridiculous. Safety along the avenue is a big concern for the DOT, which, I don’t deny; however, as UCSL pointed out, the safety concerns are not tied to the size of the road but rather its initial design. Some also claim it could be used as an alternate route to access Monroe County or as I see it a very good route for people who want to avoid paying the tolls along the turnpike.

The current DOT model favors a four lane road, yet traffic increases and patterns suggest that this configuration would probably be clogged by the time construction is complete (what a surprise!) This is where I began to raise some interesting points, most notably, if the two lane road isn’t “enough” to satisfy growing traffic needs, or the four lane road isn’t “enough,” or the six or eight or twenty lane road, when will someone stand up and say that widening simply isn’t effective? When and who will be progressive enough to put a stop to the hapless widening and divert the money elsewhere. Well, as it turns out if the money earmarked for Krome isn’t used on Krome it goes to another county for yet another widening project. Looks like the government has safeguards against smart policy…

Representative Robaina understands my concerns and agrees with the basis of my argument that in the end what we suffer from most is a lack of vision or Urban Planning. We both believe that the expansion of Krome will lead to the expansion of the UDB due to the added capacity, something we both stand against. In the end, there is no “easy” solution for Krome, yet the DOT has to figure out a plan for the blighted road.

Believe it or not, there is a lot riding on this road (no pun intended) for all of us. It will determine where future growth will occur; whether we will continue to deplete our land and water resources to the west or learn from our mistakes, take a stand, and change the way we originally built our city. Welcome to New Urbanism…

State Representative Julio Robaina is one of those exceptional politicians that I have met who has an honest and good natured characteristic about him. He is the only representative who is currently standing up against insurance companies to fight for better coverage and policy. He is hosting an “Idearaiser” (creative) this Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm at the Coral Gables High School Auditorium. It seems like a great event for all citizens to go out and state possible ideas to insurers and policy makers alike…

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