Imagine a world where you can breeze down US1 during rush hour without a care in the world. No gridlock. No traffic. You bypass intersections and the suckers stuck in the slow lane because you are on one of Miami-Dade’s numerous newly implemented ‘Managed Lanes.’ From the Palmetto, to LeJeune, to the entire length of US1, transportation officials have rolled out toll lanes across South Florida, and more are to come.
Unfortunately this future is not in some fantasy world – it is the transportation plan being pursued by our Miami-Dade MPO – led by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.
What are managed lanes? The FHA defines managed lanes as, “Highway facilities or a set of lanes where operational strategies are proactively implemented and managed in response to changing conditions.” In most cases this involves variable tolling on the managed lane based on surrounding levels of congestion. Simply put, the lanes are toll roads that run parallel to ‘free’ roads, allowing users to pay a premium to bypass traffic.
As you can see from the map above from the Miami-Dade MPO Near Term Plan, the planners at the MPO have some serious confusion about the relationship between managed lanes and transit. MPO planners are conflating their need for more revenue with their responsibility to provide better mobility throughout Miami-Dade. What follows is what MPO planners have in mind for your transportation future (Disclaimer: I didn’t make this up – it came directly from the MPO Near Term Plan):
Once the SR 836/826 interchange reconstruction is complete the managed lane system can be expanded. A combination of tolling, express lanes and transit services, similar to the operation on I‐95 Express managed lanes represents a greener, cost effective strategy to meet the demand on the transportation system. At a relative minimal cost of implementation this strategy provides a feasible approach that has proven to yield the desired results of mobility improvements that will help transit become more sustainable.
Greenwashing at its worst. To claim that adding capacity to the road will lead to any sustainable benefit is disingenuous at best – and to further claim that this will yield some transit benefit is an insult to the people of Dade county.
The optimal strategy for managed lanes is to convert existing lanes and shoulders , as was done with the I‐95 Express project. Managed lanes in the 2035 LRTP comprise 99 center line miles of improvements. Approximately 27% of those improvements are identified as “Cost Feasible” in the LRTP, 61% are funded only for planning design and right‐of‐way. The remainder of the facilities are unfunded.
FDOT is undertaking a PD&E study for the development of managed lanes on the Palmetto Expressway.
This north‐south corridor is an important link between the Kendall area and the MIC completing a grid of
future managed lanes carrying express transit services.
MDX has initiated a PD&E study for the integration of a managed lane project along the South Dade Busway along US1. If the PD&E study finds that managed lanes are feasible and if the improvements are made to the Busway, it would be operated as a managed lane and the available capacity would be “sold” to auto drivers. The fees paid by private autos would be based upon the demand, in order to preserve free flow conditions. Buses that currently use the exclusive right‐of‐way would operate in mixed flow. Revenues from the tolls would first go to repay the bonds then secondly would go to pay for the operation of the facility. The level of revenues dedicated to transit would still need to be determined and the FTA, who paid for a portion of the Busway, will need to approve the planned project. FTA has stated that the approval of the project would be based upon the level of benefit provided to transit.
Thank goodness for the FTA. We have written extensively on the conversion of the busway to an expressway, but this is the clearest indication yet that MDX is up to no good. They acknowledge that toll revenue would go to other needs before even being considered for transit, and that the FTA is not yet on-board with their plans because there is no benefit to transit riders. The citizens of Miami-Dade County are being fleeced of their right to convenient and easy mass transit so that county leaders can build ‘lexus lanes’ from one end of Miami to the other.
Different from progressive congestion management policies, like London’s now famous congestion pricing plan, managed lanes are not intended for urban, transit served areas.They provide a fast alternative to both non-tolled streets AND transit, and are described by the FHA as a ‘highway facility.’ While congestion pricing is meant to control/reduce car demand in urban and transit served areas, managed lanes are simply extra capacity and another revenue source for cash strapped transportation agencies.
Regarding London’s congestion pricing plan, Next American City had this to say,
London’s congestion charge system charges private car users who enter the zone £10 ($16) per day between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. The scheme has been a huge success, resulting in a 20% drop in car use, £120 million ($197 million) annual net-revenues, and the fastest growth rate for the city’s bus system since the 1940s. …
As a result of the congestion charge, CO2 emissions fell by 16% within the charging zone, with nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions dropping too. Functional benefits also exist. Average traffic speeds have increased by 37%, with delays to private journeys decreasing by 30% and bus journeys by 50%. Speedier journeys have also reduced average taxi fares.
Congestion pricing is an important part of urban mobility management – but the managed lanes plan proposed by the Miami-Dade MPO is nothing more than a veiled ploy to undermine transit service, and expand highway capacity. There are plenty of ways to expand transit ridership, but managed lanes is not one of them. We need strong and vocal support of transit reform and expansion – NOT the slow dismantling of transit service to the benefit of Miami-Dade’s Mercedes driving population.
Subscribe via Email
Find us on Facebook
- Al Crespo on Overtown Commissioner Knows Her Highway History: FDOT Fails!
- UDB on Highways and the Decay of Once Glorious Overtown
- Guillermo on City of Miami’s 2013 Transportation Summit Video
- ivo on Why Does FDOT Want Our Streets?
- Matthew Toro on Poll: Who Should Control Miami’s Downtown Streets?
- David on Poll: Who Should Control Miami’s Downtown Streets?
CategoriesAccident Architecture bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Downtown Miami FDOT High Speed Rail Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Planning Real Estate Development Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Development Boundary Urban Growth Urban Planning Walkability
- A New Federalism Needed to Support America's Modern Metropolitan-Oriented Economy June 18, 2013In an essay adapted from their new book, Jennifer Bradley and Bruce Katz examine America's traditional 'dual sovereignty' federalism. They argue that metropolitan areas should play a greater role in governance through a collaborative federalism. […]
- 'Rest Stop for the Urban Age' to Hit NYC Streets June 18, 2013How many times have you hunted in vain for a place to charge your phone for a few minutes while running between errands? Hunt no more. An experimental, and elegant, solar-powered cell phone charging station is set to hit the streets of New York. […]
- German Development Debacles Give Architecture a Bad Name June 18, 2013Architects Christoph Ingenhoven, Meinhard von Gerkan and Pierre de Meuron, designers of three of Germany's most disastrous developments speak about their troubled projects and the damage inflicted on the status of architecture in the country. […]
- Momentous Climate Plan Being Development by Obama June 18, 2013An historic plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions is being covertly developed by the Obama administration, reports Neela Banerjee. The plan could for the first time set limits on the country's biggest emitters: power plants. […]
- London’s Lived-In Look June 18, 2013London calling! PlaceMaker Hazel Borys fuses her passions for great cities, efficient transit, civic art and form-based coding into one lavishly documented examination of the English capital. Cheers, mates! […]
- Commuter Rail Lines Multiply, But Where Are the Riders? June 18, 2013Despite a flurry of new commuter rail lines in operation, ridership increased a mere .5% during a record year for transit. Worse yet, some of the newer lines saw the greatest decreases. The answer: increase service to attract riders. […]
- 'Best Square' in Paris Returned to the People June 18, 2013Over the weekend, the $30 million revamp of Paris's iconic Place de la République opened to the public. By transforming the square from a place for cars into a place for people, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe has earned a distinguished "anti-car" label. […]
- Who Deserves Blame for New York's Parks Disparity? June 18, 2013Many assume that the affluence of the surrounding neighborhood determines the health of New York City's parks. According to Lisa W. Foderaro, elected leadership, rather than location, determines which parks in the city are better maintained. […]
- America's Most Urban President Should Embrace Its Cities June 18, 2013While he cannot do much to rewrite the Constitution, which favors rural America, or reverse a century of history, which gave rise to the suburbs, Obama, the most urban president, can do more to embrace the city as an innovation incubator. […]
- Designing a Divorce? What It's Like to Work With a Spouse June 18, 2013Spurred by the simmering debate over whether Denise Scott Brown deserves recognition from the Pritzker Prize for her work with her husband Robert Venturi, Justin Davidson explores the nature of designing with your life partner. […]
- A New Federalism Needed to Support America's Modern Metropolitan-Oriented Economy June 18, 2013