The FDOT (The Department of Streets and Highways) is seeking approval of transportation planners in Broward and Palm Beach Counties to approve five-year plans for road and “transit” projects. The Sun-Sentinel reports:
“A total of $2.37 billion will be spent in Broward County and $916 million in Palm Beach Countyfrom 2012 through 2016.”
Wow, pretty cool, eh? With over $3 Billion in spending we’ll surely be zipping along the FEC corridor from Miami to Jupiter in no time. Perhaps we’ll be able to ride the Ft. Lauderdale Wave Streetcar from my downtown office to the Broward General Medical Center. Heck, maybe we’ll be commuting on some new flashy BRT routes throughout both counties. Nope. This is FDOT we’re talking about – there is only one right way to blow $3.3 Billion.
“Major highway projects in Broward and Palm Beach counties are moving from the top of wish lists to reality.”
Oh Joy! Christmas has come early!
“State officials are including money in the latest plan to build an interchange for FAU’s new stadium in Boca Raton, widen State Road 7 in southern Broward County and expand the last two-lane section of Andrews Avenue in Pompano Beach.
It’s a dramatic turnaround from two years ago when the state had to delay numerous projects because of a decline in gas tax revenues and other resources. The state couldn’t keep up with the rising cost of land and materials to build roads.”
That’s right, we need more interchanges and lanes. Silly me. How could I forget how effective incessantly widening highways to meet ever growing congestion needs has been? For all their faults, the FDOT will be investing some money in Transit. Just what exactly? I’m so glad you asked:
“The county will study improving mass transit on its busiest routes — Broward Boulevard, Oakland Park Boulevard, State Road 7 and U.S. 1. The improvements could range from pull-outs so buses don’t hold up traffic to special equipment that allows buses to pre-empt traffic signals so they stay green longer so they can get through intersections.
Another study will look at improving State Road 7 from northern Broward into southern Palm Beach County, by improving mass transit and adding lanes.”
Wouldn’t want those buses to get in the way of all those cars now would we? Now, let’s get this straight. FDOT suddenly has $3.3B more to spend between 2012 and 2016 in Broward and Palm Beach. So the logical solution is to pump the money into projects already underway? And, for safe measure, to cover their asses and pretend to be serving the best interest of all transit modes, they decided to invest a pittance into transit studies?
“The new projects are in addition to work that already is started or will begin next year, such as the extension of the I-95 express lanes to Fort Lauderdale that will begin next year, the I-595 construction and I-95 widening in northern Palm Beach Countyunderway and construction of a new Eller Drive overpass connecting I-595 to Port Everglades that will start in 2011.”
I know what you’re all thinking. C’mon, 95 Express – dude its a transit project, kinda – we’re getting buses to use those routes and whisk passengers across highways to their destinations quickly and effectively. After all, one of the main selling points of the 95 Express HOT Lanes was the ability for transit buses to access the tolled lanes free of charge, providing transit riders with a cheap alternative to driving alone and simultaneously improving the commute time of “regional” service buses. In theory this plan works. In theory. But we lack the sufficient density to make BRT along our highways effective; and, congestion hasn’t reached the point to justify the time it would take users to park-and-ride. Plus, BCT and MDT lack the funds to keep these buses operating:
“The Broward County Commission will hold a public hearing at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14, 2010, at the Broward County Governmental Center, Room 422, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, for public input on proposed changes to the 95 Express Bus Service. The proposed changes would become effective on Monday, January 10, 2011.”
The proposed service changes are:
- Discontinued service to the Golden Glades Park & Ride stop
- Discontinued reverse commute trips from Miami during the morning peak hours
- Discontinued reverse commute trips from Pembroke Pines during the afternoon peak hours
According to the Sun Sentinel, two children were hit while riding their bicycles in Ft. Lauderdale on 1000 block of E. Sunrise Blvd on Monday. The children were taken to Broward General Medical Center with minor injuries. The driver remained at the scene.
The New River and sailboats are inseparable. With naught but drawbridges in their way east of I-95 and Tri-Rail’s New River bridge, sailboats frequent that part of the river. Even the mighty US-1 bows to the sailboats by tunneling beneath the river.
A threat looms on the horizon, however. Passenger rail service on the Florida East Coast (FEC) corridor could mean a 55′ bridge over the New River, limiting the height of sailboat masts. According to a Sun-Sentinel blog post, Mayor Jim Naugle, a supporter of the FEC project, laid down the law, saying, “Thou shalt not restrict navigation.”
I fully agree with his desire to protect boat traffic. I was at a public meeting for the Sunrise Blvd. Bridge over the Middle River and saw the majority of attendees voice their support for a drawbridge to replace the current low fixed span. Despite the added costs, I would agree with them as well. When you see all its canals and rivers, you can understand why Fort Lauderdale claims the title “Venice of America”. But if they do not keep these canals open to boats, they cannot accurately keep the title.
Fort Lauderdale should vigorously protect the navigation rights of boaters. They must realize, though, that it comes at a cost. Just as a tunnel was constructed on US-1 at a much higher cost, a tunnel could be constructed on the FEC tracks for passenger service. The thing is, when the state cannot foot the bill for it, the city must be willing to pay for the expense. Throw another tax on the rich sailboat owners if you must. I’m sure they would rather pay more and keep their river open.
Photo by Flickr user scottlenger.
Contrary to what bloggers like Len Degroot or Alesh Houdek might be inclined to believe, Fort Lauderdale is neither dreaming nor out of touch with reality. With gas prices skyrocketing, people want alternatives to cars. Transit has never looked better.
Tuesday at noon, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the city commission will meet in City Hall to discuss funding. The Sun-Sentinel seems to be the only source of information on this meeting. If I didn’t have to work I would be there.
Perhaps it’s worth noting that there is at least one representative from a car dealership on the DDA Board, Gale Butler from AutoNation. Since the DDA is responsible for this project, it looks like the auto dealerships are more inclined to see this project happen than Miami’s streetcar. Let’s do The Wave!
The people mover system would also include an intermodal center where it crosses the FEC tracks, so it could connect to future Tri-Rail service in that corridor and allow passengers to get to area hotels as easily as the port.
Want to know more about Sunport? This Thursday, January 10, the airport and Port Everglades are hosting a public workshop on the project. Show up at 6PM at the Broward County African American Research Library Auditorium.
In honor of the Ft. Lauderdale Boat show opening today, we present Larry Ellison’s Rising Sun, a 453 foot behemoth private Yacht. It is reportedly the largest private mega yacht not owned by a head of state and fourth largest in the world (it has 82 bedrooms, a gym, and a wine cellar.) Mega Yachts, generally those measuring over 80 feet, are apparently the hot item at this years boat show, that is if you have tens of millions of dollars laying around…
Also, the Iconic MIAMI wall…
- Meanwhile, Aeromexico, one of the South Terminal’s new inhabitants, recently announced it would end its Ft. Lauderdale service…
- Emirates Airlines will be visiting MIA on September 6th…Miami-Dubai Service coming soon?
Update: Alex’s View, though he clearly hasn’t visited the disaster known as Heathrow or walked the infinite corridors throughout Barajas…Not two of the airport’s we’d use to compare ourselves to…
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org…
- 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
- 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?
- 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…
- India’s Richest Man builds 60 story home…You know, because you need a place to house your family of 6, plus a full time staff of 600…
- PlanNYC 2030…I don’t think Miami has a plan for tomorrow, how can we even begin to contemplate where we’ll be 20 years down the line…
- District Should Welcome Walkers, Not Ticket Them…I agree, for the most part…
- Google Transit 2.0…
- Make Driving less Desirable and alternatives more appealing…”This approach, however, will be effective only if there are good alternatives to driving alone.”
Photo courtesy of Flickr account: Andrew M Butler
The LRT along the FEC corridor appears to be the favored alternative transportation choice of those in favor of and against the
“You move to the beach, expect some salt on your windows.”
“Let me get this straight, people moved into a place called Symphony House and are complaining about music?” (Mayor Jim Naugle) said. “You shouldn’t expect to open your windows and hear birds chirping. This is a city.”
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