Planners to punch ticket for Kendall Bus Rapid Transit
A formal endorsement of Bus Rapid Transit instead of rail to bring fast transportation to the high-density Kendall Corridor is up for approval today (9/30) by Miami-Dade County’s Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) board.
The Florida Department of Transportation District Six, which oversees Miami-Dade, presented the Kendall Corridor proposal at a meeting this month.
Acceptance of the proposal today would allow planning to proceed to the next level, Tier 3, with a corridor Bus Rapid Transit alternative as part of the Project Development and Environment Study that is to lead to the high-speed bus service along heavily-traveled Kendall Drive.
TPO approval today would allow the state department to refine the plan with the aim to return to TPO board for final selection of Bus Rapid Transit as the Locally Preferred Alternative for the Kendall Corridor by spring 2022.
The corridor is part of a county government 2016 Smart Plan that is geared to bring six new rapid transit corridors to Miami-Dade, broadening the rapid transit web to include six more underserved sectors of the county.
The Kendall Corridor is to run east-west along the roadway with three separate names, State Road 94, Kendall Drive and Southwest 88th Street, spanning from SR 997/ Krome Avenue/ Southwest 177th Avenue to the Dadeland North Metrorail Station. This corridor connects to major roadways including Florida’s Turnpike, SR 874/ Don Shula Expressway, SR 826/ Palmetto Expressway, and US 1.
Alternatives to Bus Rapid Transit and rail studied by the department and by its consultant Jacobs Engineering Group that were among the highest-ranked included the Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O) program, a curbside Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alternative, and not building at all.
Although elevated heavy rail transit was among other highest-ranked alternatives, the state decided to move forward with BRT because it costs less to develop. Benefits listed for a corridor BRT are transit improvements without eliminating lanes on Kendall Drive, congestion relief to automobiles, and a balanced mobility for alleviating congestion.
Compared to other alternatives, a representative from Jacobs said, it results in better transit performance than either TSM&O or “no build,” better traffic performance than the Curbside BRT on exclusive lanes, a better opportunity to attain Federal Transit Administration funding than TSM&O, and allows for incremental building of ridership on Kendall Corridor.
A 2017 inventory by consultants Gannett Fleming & CTS found 55,300 workers within the study area, which includes a one-half mile buffer extending beyond the Kendall Corridor. The document indicates that by the year 2040 the number of employees in the study area is expected to grow 35%.
Data from the Miami-Dade Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources included in the report indicates that “there are four charter schools with a current total enrollment of 750 students, 21 private schools with a current enrollment of 9,103 students and 10 public grade schools with a current enrollment of 9,151 students in the corridor.”
Additionally, seven colleges and higher education institutions in the corridor have a combined enrollment of 1,011 students, according to the Southeast Regional Planning Model Version 7.