Friday, July 24, 2015

Traffic and Roadways: Miami's Achilles Heel ... by gimleteye

A recent Miami Herald poll by Bendixen & Amandi International identified "traffic congestion" as the second most important issue identified by voters, after "jobs and the economy". No wonder.

Borrowing a term used in economics, transit supply is inelastic. Although we have maxed out on capacity to absorb automobiles, elected officials continue to permit new developments across the county. The tipping point was breached a long time ago. Traffic congestion not only diminishes quality of life for current residents, it is a real drag on job creation in South Florida.

The answer to traffic congestion, at least in the minds of Miami-Dade county commissioners, has been to dump more cars into commutes from the western suburbs and in the minds of Miami City commissioners, more permits for condos to rise vertically in concrete canyons.

Elected officials should be held accountable, but they are not. Only a few years ago, Gov. Rick Scott and the state legislature eliminated state planning mandates intended to regulated traffic by requiring concurrency, or, a clear picture how transportation infrastructure would accommodate new population growth. That concurrency never worked in Florida is a testament; not to the willingness of elected officials to turn a blind eye so much as the talent of transportation planners and lobbyists to rationalize irrational behavior. At the same time, voters whose lives are turned upside down by traffic believe elected officials are just doing their jobs when they permit traffic-inducing construction and development to overwhelm capacity.

To this list of transit debacles that are crowding out people, you may add your own:

1) Brickell Avenue at any rush hour.

2) Access to Miami Beach via Alton Road.

3) Commuting to and from Bird Road or any of the east/west corridors.

4) US 1 at Ponce and LeJeune Rd. in Coral Gables.

5) Any cultural or sports event in downtown Miami.

Still, in the Bendixen & Amandi poll, 67 percent of respondents glided past traffic while favoring the creation of the largest mall in the United States in northwest Miami-Dade.

At Politico, Miami-based writer Michael Grunwald recently published an investigative report on a related issue: "Overpasses: A love story ... With American transportation in crisis, why are we spending our money on massive new roads? An investigation of one city’s addiction to megahighways." For those further interested, our archive under "traffic" looks at how this issue plays out over time in Miami-Dade.

Well worth your time, to read.


Anonymous said...

Miami Beach will always be the king.
Chapter 130, Article V of the Code of the City of Miami Beach establishes the "Fee in
Lieu of Parking Program" where under certain circumstances new development or uses
may pay an impact fee to the City if they are not able or do not wish to provide required
parking on-site.
On September 10, 2014, the City Commission updated the "Fee in Lieu of Parking" from
$35,000 to $40,000 per parking space, in order to reflect changes in property values and
consumer price indexes as required by Section 130-132 (d) of the City Code. ln
conjunction with this modification, the City Commission referred a discussion item to the
Land Use and Development Committee pertaining to the current off-street parking
requirements in Chapter 130 of the City Code.

They never collected the old fees. They waived them.

Anonymous said...

Great read. System is definitely broken, but a fix is so tough. O&M (with unions) make the capital investment in transit solutions non-competitive to the highway, from both a ribbon cutting and bang for the buck perspective (cap vs. on-going costs and that's how funding allocations are measured). Also, fairbox collection doesn't cover the cost for transit systems anywhere. I am not out of my car daily, but have started to on occasion. I would gladly pay another 1.5 penny sales tax to cover transit subsidies. Lets find solutions! Thanks for sharing that article.

Anonymous said...