In response to recent editorials by the East Kendall Homeowners Organization and Ed Levine, I decided to submit my own editorial to the Herald, let’s hope they publish it…

An open letter reply to the East Kendall Homeowners Organization (EKHO):

It is disheartening to see such a motivated and presumably progressive group of individuals that comprise the East Kendall Homeowners Organization speak out so adamantly against a plan that would provide better access to most of the Kendall community. If we are to remain an economically viable community, we must embrace transit growth and the urban living that comes with it, rather than shun it with half-baked objections and trepidation towards drastic lifestyle changes.

The inability to embrace alternative forms of effective transit is disconcerting, particularly in a region currently choking on the congestion induced by its own unchecked growth and sprawl. It is typical of the mentality fostered in this particular region and has been cultivated by our addiction to the automobile. The mentality is further compounded by the opposition to the CSX corridor alternative, presented by Ed Levinson (Community Council 12) last week, which declared that transit along the corridor would only hamper vehicular traffic. This mentality will soon become our prime obstacle in creating a truly urban and sustainable metropolis.

Miami has to sever its addiction to the automobile. Public transit has failed in Miami not because a lack of effort, but because of a widespread opposition to change in community planning efforts and lifestyle changes on the part of our citizens. With regards to concerns on property value, studies conducted by the APTA (particularly in Miami) showed an “assertion that rail transit imparts value to residential property in districts where the population values the access provided by that transit service the most, regardless of the income of the district.”

A less troubling notion is that MDT continues to push costly suburban commuter rail lines, further justifying our city’s unremitting sprawl. MDT should scrap these plans to spread Metrorail across the county to citizens who obviously won’t even use it and should instead work to bring less costly Streetcars and LRT to our urban core. How can we justify suburban commuter trains when we lack the necessary mobile infrastructure in our densest regions?

It is of paramount importance that our citizens educate themselves on the benefits of proper public infrastructure and urban planning before they take up such a bold position against reasonable measures which would help steer the future growth of our community. It is with all due respect that I therefore ask the members of the East Kendall Homeowners Organization to think about what is best for the future of our community rather than themselves.

Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal
www.TransitMiami.com

Share

Related posts:

  1. Transit Miami Profile: EKHO
  2. West Kendall Residents Remain Misinformed about Transit
  3. Kendall Transit Clarification
  4. Open Letter to Commissioner Sarnoff: Quality of Life Funds for Upper East Side Charrette
  5. The Sprawl Gameplan: You Idle West, I’ll Ride the Rails East

17 Responses to An open letter reply to the East Kendall Homeowners Organization (EKHO)

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a former resident of East Kendall, the area is going through many changes. Their is the area of the Falls trying to become its own municipality, and their main issue is trying to keep the area the same. This is hard to do when the whole region is changing around it.
    I agree with the statement about streetcars, but I believe those should be used locally and have higher speed and larger capacity lines such as metro-rail or tri-rail for longer routes. It should not be an either or scenario but a dynamic system of many different types of transit. You have the right idea, and the East Kendall area needs to realize that change is necessary and a comprehensive transit system will only be good for their neighborhood.

  2. Anonymous says:

    GLB-

    Well said!

  3. Chris Mora says:

    How I wish there was Metrorail there when I lived in the area!

    What I find funny is that EKHO’s alternative is bus routes in a community that rarely rides buses. Maybe if the buses were painted to look like Ford Expeditions, Hummer H2s and other SUVs, ridership will go up!

    These are the same people that are still afraid to go to downtown.

  4. Anonymous says:

    i lived in miami all my life and its time for change and people need to realize that. people alway say no to transit project but still fuss about traffic. kendall can’t be the suburban for ever.It’s 2007 and miami dade county is not the nice suburban county no more.ANd the residents need to think about the future. If they need to build and metrorail line in my back yard then its no problem bcuz i know it can it would be good for the county in the long run.Miami is a baby city no more and were at the age where we are adults like New York and Chicago.And Every city that has mass transits.So we need to stop making excuses and lying about all these impact studies and step up to the plate.Damn i’m going to but 100 before something ever gets done in this county.Broward is going the a a full subway lines before we ever vote for a bus line or trian line.

  5. www.Miami-Forum.com says:

    Public transportation is bar-none the biggest problem for our city and it should be our #1 priority.

  6. Kris says:

    This is actually the first I have heard about the train line down the center of Kendall Drive. I live right on Kendall Drive and I would probably jump for joy, if I could walk out and catch a train to Dadeland. I moved here about 3 years ago from the Chicago-Metro area and was shocked by the lack of public transportation. Not that there aren’t a lot of busses out there, but there are so many people in cars that the busses don’t help any. The current train line is great for getting from Kendall to downtown or further north. However, the majority of people live west of the train line and the time it takes to get there is often times not even worth taking the train in the first place. If Miami continues to grow the way it has been, it must do something to support that growth. I was not surprised to see the recent study that Miami was the worst city in the US for angry drivers. To think that it could take almost 2 hours to drive from Kendall Drive 12 miles to downtown is insane. Whatever the city can do to encourage growth as well as reduce the amount of fuel consumption and congestion on the streets - the better!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Suprised to see such opposition to a Metrorail line on Kendall Drive. Driving on Kendall Dr or most anywhere in East Kendall was a nightmare even back when I lived there in the 1980′s, let alone now. No local interest in alternatives to the traffic mess there that has blemished its reputation as a nice place to live? Metrorail might stand a chance to pay for itself IF it actually went more places where people want to go i.e. the airport, Aventura, the beaches, west dade suburbs etc.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think Metrorail is the most reasonable solution for Kendall Drive or that the cost would justify it.
    Heavy rail is too expensive and few cities around the country can get the funding for such projects from Washington. However, light rail, BRT, suburban trains or many other options could and should be considered. I am definitely in for transit.

    the NIMBY mentality really is hurting our community, but keep in mind that the opposers are usually louder in expressing their opinions about transit. there might be more protransit people in miami than what we think.

    one point that hasn’t been mentioned is regarding the comments about metrorail not paying for itself. there are hardly any heavy rail transit services in the WORLD that pays for itself (I think Sao Paulo’s metro is one of the few). If I’m not wrong, not even NYC’s metro pays for itself. Operational and maintenance costs are usually higher than revenue. These systems are built because the benefits of mass transit go beyond the money than can be obtained by fares.

  9. Ryan says:

    Anon 8:44am,

    Don’t get caught up with the anti-transit crowd that always claims “transit doesn’t pay for itself”. Roads certainly don’t pay themselves, either.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ryan:

    I never meant to sound antitransit.

    I actually meant the opposite.
    I am a big supporter of transit.

    Transit brings more benefits than what can actually be measured by fare collection. Increased mobility, benefits for tourism, economic vitality to depressed areas of cities, transit oriented development and many many more benefits are not measured by fare collection, so the fact that transit doesn’t pay for itself (at least directly) should never be an argument against investing on transit. If anyhing, transit is something in which tax money should be spent.

  11. Anonymous says:

    …rather than shun it with half-baked objections and trepidation towards drastic lifestyle changes

    …Miami has to sever its addiction to the automobile. Public transit has failed in Miami not because a lack of effort, but because of a widespread opposition to change in community planning efforts and lifestyle changes on the part of our citizens

    Dear god. With advocates like this, who needs opponents? A diehard opponent of transit expansion couldn’t have done a better job of giving them a reason to fight against it.

    Metrorail might be expensive, but it has one very, very big selling point: it doesn’t interfere with traffic, and people with no intention of ever using it can still rationalize its funding with the hope (misguided though it might be) that it will get other drivers off the road and make more room for them.

    As distasteful as you seem to find cars, they aren’t going away. If you try to pit cars against transit, the car owners will win… absolutely, positively, without the slightest shadow of doubt. The world isn’t perfect. People will ride Metrorail to work, then drive their hummer to Publix because it’s more convenient. Deal with it. Choose the battles you can actually win (like Metrorail expansion), and don’t be shy about marketing Metrorail’s non-interference with cars as a selling point, regardless of how reprehensible you might personally find it to be. You can spend the next 20 years bitching about spoiled Americans living unsustainable lifestyles, or you can fight for projects that will actually make a positive difference in the long run, and lay the groundwork for a transit-friendly Miami tomorrow.

  12. Ryan says:

    Now that’s the spirit. I wonder if Ghandi, Mother Teresa, George Washington, Paul Revere, Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson, MLK, and countless others would second that advice?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. You mean:

    * The Gandhi who was vehemently opposed to India’s partition, but ultimately went along with it to expedite India’s independence? If he said, “No”, it’s likely that the deal would have fallen through, and both Muslim and Hindu India could have remained a British protectorate for at least another decade or two… unless it exploded into a nasty, gruesome civil war first.

    * The Mother Teresa who raised millions of dollars per year in the name of alleviating poverty, but channeled most of it into missionary activities in Africa and elsewhere that had absolutely nothing to do with helping the poor, and everything to do with gaining converts?

    * George Washington, who turned down a third presidential term because he couldn’t stand living in New York (America’s provisional capital) and wanted to go live the American Dream at his very, VERY suburban plantation?

    * Paul Revere, America’s first large-scale industrialist (Revere Copper & Brass, Inc.)? I’m pretty sure he’d have taken a dim view of transit plans that depend upon primarily upon government coercion for effectiveness.

    * The Jackie Robinson who became a baseball legend & MVP the old fasioned way — by being an insanely great ball player who was too good for even the most prejudiced baseball fan to dismiss?

    … the point being that nobody is perfect, and successful people generally know how to pick and choose their battles, and when to recognize that they’ve just been offered the best deal they’re likely to get for a long, long time?

    It might feel good to gripe about evil Kendall NIMBYs, but all that’s going to achieve is getting one or more of them sufficiently motivated to make fighting transit their new favorite hobby. Instead of criticizing them across the board, notice the tiny flickering flame of support for the brass ring of Dade County transit: Metrorail. Nurture it, and maybe someday there will be a new Metrorail line or two serving Kendall.

    Politics is the art of getting people to do the right thing for the wrong reason. Results matter more than good intentions. You can self-righteously crusade for light rail and trolleys against a wall of opposition from homeowner groups, or wave the Metrorail banner (picking up a few random supporters who’ll never use it, but have their own reasons for wanting to see it get built along the way) to answer critics whose loudest complaints have to do with traffic disruption.

  14. Ryan says:

    Congrats - you utilize fallacies and spin like a true politician.

    Look, I could get in a back and forth with you for days, and it wouldn’t matter because every time I make a statement, you’ll respond with some spin argument loaded with fallacies.

    It was pretty obvious when I mentioned the above individuals what I was referring to. Each one of them had been faced with overwhelming obstacles, as well as people like you telling them “they couldn’t achieve their goal”, or at the very least what they believed was ultimately right. However, each one of them, in their own way and under their own unique circumstances, eschewed people’s defeatist, self-interest opinions/attacks and fought seemingly insurmountable forces in pursuit of their goals.

    There’s millions of other people around the world, most of whom we’ll never know or even hear of, that have dedicated their lives to making a positive difference in the name of what’s right, not because they settled for the easier battle they thought they could win.

    Why do you think Miami is so poorly planned right now? Largely because politicians and even citizens for decades have acted just the way you’ve mentioned in your comments. Instead of being part of the problem, giving in to Miami’s private regarding ethos and soft political will, we’re trying to actually spark some change using Transitmiami as one of our tools.

    Moreover, we are not fighting cars because we are obsessive train lovers or hippies; we’re doing so because we are very serious about making Miami a sustainable metropolis, particularly in the face of global warming, our addiction to oil, and the negative health effects accompanying auto-centric lifestyles. Sorry, we don’t plan on sitting back and fighting insignificant battles we “can win” just for the sake of winning or our own self-interests - we want what’s best for Miami’s future. We aren’t going to sit back and watch Miami destroy itself because its citizens love driving too much.

    You can take it from the planning community, the medical community, or the environmental science community - our auto-centric lifestyles are not sustainable.

    We know this and we will continue fighting for a sustainable Miami, no matter how difficult it may seem to enact physical or cultural change.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If transit happens it will be because the business elite in Miami realize that they need it not because do gooders can force it on the population. That is why we have the 1\2 penny sales tax, and the mini bus in Coral Gables, they are not the result of these elites’ generosity.

  16. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    Right, because Miami has such an influential, powerful, dedicated, centralized, and organized business sector that could possibly hold our government accountable for public works projects that would greatly affect them…you know thats precisely why the MIA and MIC projects have progressed so well…

  17. Anonymous says:

    And who has been pilfering for the airport for all of these years but Sergio Pino. Now that things are out of control he pulled out. If he and his ilk wanted a clean airport, better transit etc. we would have it. I applaud all of your work, however the notion that urban political decisions are the result of democratic impulses has been rejected soon after Robert A. Dahl wrote Who Governs? Urban policy is now more of a debate between Regime Theory a la Clarance Stone and followers of Harvey Molotch’s City as a Growth Machine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>