Plan for Kendall Bus Rapid Transit goes flat
The Florida Department of Transportation on Friday successfully deferred a resolution to recommend Bus Rapid Transit for Kendall.
The next phase of this leg of the county’s Smart plan to add six corridors of rapid transit is now paused as officials gather again with the department to explore what can be done.
County Commissioner Raquel Regalado said she is to huddle with the state transportation officials. “We are going to be meeting with them to see what can be done. I think it’s an opportunity to do something that’s a little bit more thoughtful.”
Derrick Holmes, campaign coordinator of Transit Alliance Miami, urged the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) Governing Board to reject the recommended alternative and support a Bus Rapid Transit system with exclusive lanes. “If the goal of the Smart plan is to get people to choose mass transit, we have to give people a reason to do that,” he said. “We do that by making mass transit a more attractive option than driving.”
At a Sept. 20 TPO meeting, state transportation planners had presented a formal request to endorse Bus Rapid Transit that, once passed, would allow planning to move ahead as part of a Project Development and Environment Study that would lead to the high-speed bus service along heavily-traveled Kendall Drive.
The Kendall Corridor is to run east-west along a 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.
The corridor is part of a county government 2016 Smart Plan that is geared to add six rapid transit corridors, broadening the rapid transit web to include six underserved sectors of the county.
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) on exclusive lanes alternative, and not building at all.
Although elevated heavy rail transit was among other high-ranked alternatives, the state decided to move forward with BRT because it costs less to develop. Benefits listed for a BRT corridor are transit improvements without eliminating lanes on Kendall Drive, automobile congestion relief, and a balanced mobility for alleviating congestion.
“I can guarantee you that what people are waiting for, what people have been paying this half penny [transit sales tax for] the entire time [is] not to have buses stuck in traffic,” Mr. Holmes said Friday, “so again, we are urging you guys to sincerely recommend an actual BRT solution.”