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Front Page » Transportation » Out-of-sync US 1 signals vex city hall

Out-of-sync US 1 signals vex city hall

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Written by on April 15, 2015

Out-of-sync US 1 signals vex city hall

Imagine paying a $6 toll for the privilege of driving into Downtown Miami.

City officials, frustrated by growing gridlock, are discussing using tolls to encourage more Metrorail use, hoping to get more cars off the road.

Talk of congestion was initiated by Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who asked city chief transportation manager Carlos Cruz-Casas to report April 9 on traffic’s chokehold on the city.

The bottom line from city officials is that Miami-Dade County’s traffic signals along US 1 are out of whack and turning the vital thoroughfare into a stop-and-go parking lot.

Mr. Sarnoff acknowledged that the county is responsible for the entire county roadway system, but said it is not devoting enough time and attention to the City of Miami.

The US 1 corridor is the only connection to major urban centers, from the Kendall/Dadeland area to Brickell and Downtown Miami, said Mr. Cruz-Casas.

While traffic has grown on the artery, volumes along major roadways crossing US 1 have increased too, causing big back-ups at Southwest 27th Avenue, Southwest 32nd Avenue, Bird Road, Douglas Road and other intersections.

Mr. Cruz-Casas told commissioners that the county’s traffic signalization is out of sync along US 1. And the 12 traffic signals along four miles of US 1 from LeJeune Road to the Rickenbacker Causeway add up to heavy congestion.

His report also noted:

•More mixed-use developments and the addition of residential units in Downtown Miami are changing travel patterns.

•Traffic growth on US 1 has balanced out, creating similar levels of congestion throughout the day in both directions. More than 4,500 vehicles per hour were counted each hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

•The dynamic growth of Miami is outpacing the signalization system and officials need to find a way to meet the travel demands.

Mr. Cruz-Casas told commissioners that he and Deputy City Manager Alice Bravo will meet next week with members of the county’s public works department and those who deal with traffic signalization.

“The meeting is scheduled for next Monday and it is my goal to discuss different issues regarding traffic signalization within the City of Miami. The main focus will be on the US 1 corridor, Brickell area-wide, near the recently opened Whole Foods in downtown, and downtown-wide signalization improvements,” Mr. Cruz-Casas told Miami Today.

“Improvements to be discussed will vary in nature and will be targeted to the need of the areas.  Some will be to increase vehicular capacity, while at other locations might be to enhance walkability and pedestrian safety,” he said.

Ms. Bravo told commissioners the reality is that the area’s roadways are “bursting at the seams” and “all solutions are transit-based.”

It was City Manager Daniel Alfonso who specifically mentioned a $6 toll to drive downtown.

“Transit-based ideas are the solution for US 1. I was thinking, like in New York, you pay $6 to go into Manhattan. Maybe we put a $6 toll before you come into Downtown Miami on US 1, and people would park at Dadeland South a lot more and get on the train,” he suggested to commissioners.

12 Responses to Out-of-sync US 1 signals vex city hall

  1. Vivian Vidaud

    April 16, 2015 at 10:29 am

    As the city grows the only/best solution for traffic congestion is a better public transportation system. Is true that you are charged to entered Manhattan but people in there do have many options, not being this the case for Miami. Instead of charging the people more, local government should invest in trains corridors running all over the city. Like Europe, and big cities in United States that is the only successful outcome in this issue.

  2. Ben Grimm

    April 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    More Metrorail will encourage more Metrorail use. The same politicians who can’t seem to understand this are the same politicians who have access to the various government transportation planning agencies. But for some reason they still have meetings where to come up with dumb ideas like this $6 toll.

    Note: Manhattan is separated from rest by water. The $6 toll is to cross the bridges and tunnels. Miami isn’t an island.

  3. Max Wyler

    April 16, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    The article left out a big reason for many traffic delays on US#1, road repairs, tree trimmings and sidewalk repairs during the middle of the day! Why does the county insist on closing lanes of US#1 at 10am in the morning to repair a sidewalk on 27th Ave? Why do they insist on closing lanes for construction at 7pm? Why do they close lanes to trim plants on the pink wall on US#1 during the middle of the day? All this work should be done from midnight to 5am! The extra cost would be more than made up with gas savings, employees arriving on time to their jobs and customers being able to get to businesses timely. As a property owner and employer on US#1 I have seen my property become less desirable due to the many delays from this type of unnecessary closures. Before we spend millions on fixes, let’s be smart and fix the lights and do repairs at night.

  4. B

    April 16, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Everybody in Miami agrees that traffic congestion is one the the major quality of life issues we face. Yet few people are willing to sacrifice what it takes to address the issue. $6 may seem a bit steep especially to start with, but we can phase it in $1/year over 6 years. It should also be proportional to congestion like the I-95 express lanes. The fact is people value their time enough that they are in fact willing to pay more than $6 in the express lanes.

    The fact is, we simply can’t build more highways since we’re out of space. Besides more highways just means more traffic volume but the same level of congestion. Signal synchronization works best with a grid of 1-way streets, which US1 most definitely is not. Congestion tolling is the only proven method of controlling congestion. Fundamentally a free market-based approach to the age-old problem of the “tragedy of the commons.” No, sorry, but free market does not mean “free!”

    It absolutely makes sense to start this on the one corridor that does have good mass transit-US1. Meanwhile, we need to finally build out the Metro-rail system that voters mandated both in the 70’s and again in 2002. The revenue from congestion tolling should be dedicated 100% for this purpose.

    • Ben Grimm

      April 17, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Tolls don’t reduce congestion in the absence of mass transit options. In the presence of mass transit options tolls are unnecessary.

      • Victor

        May 14, 2015 at 3:15 am

        All you going to do with a $6 dollar toll, is shift the traffic through neighborhoods. You can’t put a toll on every street or block off streets, to restrict traffic. That will just create more congestion.

  5. gregory

    April 16, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Again the of City of Miami officials is messed up. The logically thing to do is to stay on the county back about expanding rail. Not once in this article did commissioners ask for more rail. Even the mayor didn’t want to use funds for the trirail but the City of Miami wants to make Biscayne Blvd less lanes. These guys are an joke.

  6. alexm

    April 20, 2015 at 11:07 am

    More money into local government, and everyone forgets about a transportation tax voted on by citizens to improve our traffic problems! And local government wants more money, and the best idea is lets place more tolls just as they did on i95…come on, all you have to do is cut the government waste and corruption, NOT MORE TOLLS TO HIT THOSE OF US THAT MUST DRIVE OUR VEHICLES FOR A LIVING!!

  7. A Bunuel

    April 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    SCRATCH ALL THESE LINEAR PARK IDEAS

    Invest in intelligently. Expand the Metrorail West and South using the tracks already there. From the Airport you can shoot across to Dadeland, west to Sweetwater, Westchester, etc.

    Create an elevated express lane hugging the metrorail with exits at Bird, Sunset, Kendall, and join it with the Pincrest to Homestead extention.

    • Ben Grimm

      April 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      Basically, build a direct line for you. Yeah, great idea. LOL

  8. Adam Old

    April 27, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Sort of funny that the City of Miami subsidizes driving by requiring developers to build more parking than they need or want, and yet is trying to toll people into driving less. How about getting rid of the minimimum parking requirements (especially on small buildings) in T4-T6 districts before we start elevating toll lanes.

  9. Victor

    May 14, 2015 at 3:08 am

    I live in the coconut grove area and I have learned to not leave my home between 430pm and 6pm, if I can. I never take US1 South during rush hour, I usually get off around sw 8th st and work my way to 27 ave through neighborhoods. I don’t go to downtown for anything, which translate into a lost of business for local merchants. They keep building and building and the roads are getting worse and worse. The 836/826 interchange, will do little to relieve traffic.

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