Massive plan for downtown traffic restructuring on Miami City Commission's agenda
By Frank Norton
Downtown driving in Miami could be reshaped today by city commissioners.
Changes to two-way streets, a tunnel under the Miami River and the rerouting of Interstate 395 below ground, among dozens of other projects, are included in the Downtown Miami Transportation Master Plan.
"I fully anticipate a unanimous adoption of the plan," said City Commission Chairman Johnny Winton, who helped initiate the study three years ago.
An endorsement by the commission would clear the way for city administrators to begin prioritizing funds, said Clark Turner, transportation planner for the city.
He said much of the plan was designed to work with elements of Miami-Dade County's estimated $17 billion transit plan, funded in November by passage of a half-cent sales surtax.
The study estimates the city will receive annual proceeds of more than $10 million from that surtax.
The Miami Downtown Transportation Master Plan, as it is called, has one goal: create a 24-hour transportation network capable of supporting aggressive population growth in an increasingly 24-hour destination.
The city estimates that up to 34,000 residential units could rise downtown over the next 20 years, bringing up to 80,000 new residents to the area.
While that could raise an added $15 million to $34 million in annual tax revenues, it would also require an infrastructure overhaul.
Otherwise, the study warns, "traffic congestion will worsen and not only discourage new business and residential investment but also push existing businesses to relocate."