Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Update on closing the Dadeland Gap

I had an enlightening conversation with Carolyn Read, the Miami-Dade Transit employee most involved with closing the Dadeland Gap between Metrorail's southernmost station and SW 67th Avenue. She says the Green Cos., which is about to build offices on county-owned land at the Dadeland North station, will administer a $2 million federal transportation grant for much of the work in completing this part of the popular bike route called the M-Path.

Two parts of the job will be easy, Read told me after walking the gap with David Henderson, the county's bicycle-pedestrian coordinator. That will be to take the path north along S. Dixie Highway from Dadeland South Station to Kendall Drive, and from there to SW 70th Avenue. (70th, you may recall, is the road you'd use to enter the station garage from S. Dixie -- U.S. 1. In this photo, a view from the train platform, you see 70th crossing the Snapper Creek Canal with station parking on the left.)

The tough part will be to get across the Snapper Creek Expressway, which descends to grade level and into U.S. 1 between the Dadeland North station and 67th Avenue. As I look at multi-lanes of cars turning north and south off the Snapper, and the speed with which southbound U.S. 1 traffic enters the flyover, I cringe at the thought of trying to walk my bike across that road. So here's my proposal for the planners:

Leave U.S. 1 at 70th Avenue and use it or the abandoned railroad right of way to reach SW 80th Street (Davis Road), then build east to reach the M-Path just east of the Bikes to Go shop. That railroad property, by the way, is the same land intended for the proposed Ludlam Trail -- which should be no impediment to using it to close the gap that keeps untold numbers of Kendall and South Miami-Dade riders from fuller use of the M-Path.

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