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Front Page » Government » State won’t fund study to narrow US 1 downtown

State won’t fund study to narrow US 1 downtown

Written by on October 20, 2015
State won’t fund study to narrow US 1 downtown

A project by Miami’s Downtown Development Authority to narrow a stretch of Biscayne Boulevard from Northeast Eighth Street south to Biscayne Boulevard Way has hit a speed bump.

In July, the authority requested $1 million from the Florida Department of Transportation to fund a project development and environment study, which is needed before work can start.

“With many worthwhile transportation alternatives program applications vying for a limited amount of federal dollars, and after an intensive evaluation process in collaboration with the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Evaluation Committee, the Biscayne Green project ranked No. 16 out of 34 applications received from local agencies in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties,” said Ivette Ruiz-Paz, spokesperson for the transportation department’s District 6.

“Based on funding availability, the department was able to fund only the 12 highest-ranking projects for the current cycle. For future transportation alternative program cycles, project funding is dependent upon funds availability,” as well as endorsement from the planning organization, she said.

Biscayne Green aims to reduce driving lanes to create a grand promenade with grass, trees, street furniture and other features that would link Biscayne Bay and Bayfront Park to downtown.

When the authority applied for the money, it knew it might be turned down. In such a case, Eric Riel Jr., leader of the authority’s planning, design and transportation team, said at that time, “We’ll look at other sources of funding; we’re making a list of them.”

Those sources could include public-private partnerships, other funding from the state or federal government, or contributions from private organizations that support beautification projects or those that promote pedestrian and bicyclist safety, he added.

Biscayne Green would incorporate some parking but would shave spaces from 388 to 187, at an annual revenue loss to the Miami Parking Authority of $1.2 million. It would replace a shared bicycle lane with a dedicated lane and widen sidewalks. The cost for the medians was estimated at $24 million.

A City of Miami traffic study concluded that traffic impact would be minimal once the lanes were closed, authority documents noted.

For the project to move forward, the authority must get the Florida Department of Transportation to agree to reduce the lanes, then work with the parking authority to trim the parking spaces and reconfigure what’s left. The plan calls for some parking to be available at off-peak times only.

The authority must also enlist the help of Miami-Dade County to redesign the intersections, develop a phasing plan, then submit construction documents to all relevant agencies. It is also the authority’s task to identify and secure funding for it all.

7 Responses to State won’t fund study to narrow US 1 downtown

  1. DC Copeland

    October 21, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Thank God! What an insane idea this is, removing traffic lanes in a city infamous for gridlock.

    • B

      October 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Well those particular lanes are only backed up during events, which would still be the case even if there were 20 lanes!

      BTW, we are also a city infamous for pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities, it makes perfect sense to do this in the locations with the most pedestrian and cyclist traffic.

      But instead FDOT is interested in spending $600M on the Signature Bridge to Nowhere which will have no net benefit for drivers or pedestrians.

      • SEFTA

        October 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm

        That signature bridge is solely to add “Lexus Lanes” to the beach, and the tolls to be gained. How iconic it will be remains to be seen.

  2. Simeon gourousis

    October 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Do whatever it takes to get it done. It will enhance the whole downtown and make for a more walkable city

  3. metromoverlover

    October 21, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    The most ridiculous thing ever and I love parks but they could easily put that time and planning on the riverwalk.

  4. Rafael T

    October 23, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    THANK GOD IN HEAVEN! Jeezus. Finally somebody grew a pair and stopped this insanity.

  5. SEFTA

    October 29, 2015 at 11:09 am

    You can not remove cars from Downtown streets with out having a comprehensive TRANSIT system in place, and we don’t.