Thursday, June 18, 2009

County moves toward toll road on Busway

A public hearing was set for July 23 on the scheme to convert the South Dade Busway into a toll road. Today's Herald advertisement from the Metropolitan Planning Organization describes the idea this way:
2030 Long Range Transportation Plan Amendment
This proposed amendment is to include the US-1 Express project as a Priority III in the 2030 LRTP Cost Feasible Plan. The US-1 Express project will incorporate managed (toll) lanes using the excess capacity along the South Dade Busway from Florida City to Dadeland South Metrorail Station.
The MPO hearing was to have been held next week but is being moved to Thursday, July 23, at 2 p.m. in the County Commission Chambers, 111 NW First St., Miami.

This scheme is the baby of Commission Chairman Dennis Moss, who floated it when the last leg of the Busway was dedicated in Florida City a couple of years ago. He presented it as a way to relieve traffic congestion on U.S. 1. That, of course, was what the Busway was built to do -- by making the bus service faster and more attractive. At that, it has succeeded quite well.

Bicyclists will be concerned about adding general traffic to the two-lane Busway, however. The South Dade Trail runs parallel to the Busway from Dadeland South and extends past Palm Drive in Florida City. Along the way it crosses the Busway a couple of times, an engineering feature that baffled cycling advocates when the extension was being planned. Now that the Moss plan is going forward, those crossings seem all the more puzzling.

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