Miami Highway Builders Try to Sell a New Sprawl Project to the Public

The Miami Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) wants to build a highway extension in the southwest fringes of the city, near the edge of the Everglades, and to do that it needs to ingratiate itself with the public. At an open house to kick off the public-facing phase of the planning process, agency staff were well-prepared and friendly, reports Matthew Toro at Transit Miami. After all, he says, “all good salespeople are.”

MDX makes its pitch. Photo: Matthew Toro/Transit Miami

The agency team displayed maps giving the impression that MDX will take on “a comprehensive socio-environmental, socio-economic, and socio-cultural evaluation of the project,” Toro writes. But whenever Toro asked probing questions, he was met with an evasive reply or an answer that suggested MDX simply has no ideas besides “widen roads”:

Any response that wasn’t overly deflective still didn’t register as sufficient justification for a new highway. For example:

Me: If the underlying problem is that nearly all of Miami’s suburbanites commute from the west to the east, why would people want to lengthen their commute by driving farther west, just to ultimately go east again?

MDX (paraphrased): Well . . . some people already go west onto Krome [SW 177th] Avenue to go back east again.

Me: Yes, a handful do, but Krome Avenue is currently set to be widened by FDOT, and that will accommodate the relatively few who do.

MDX (paraphrased): Yes, that’s true; Krome is to be widened; but we need to look into whether widening Krome will be enough.

Me: . . .

MDX was clearly more concerned with selling its message than informing the people of that highway’s impact on their quality of life.

That message is clear: “Miami: You need another highway at the far edge of the city, either along, or somewhere beyond, the Urban Development Boundary.”

Elsewhere on the Streetsblog Network: Toronto mayoral candidates are talking about transit, writes John Lorinc at Spacing Toronto, but he isn’t impressed by what they’re saying. City Beautiful 21 is jazzed about an expansion of transit service in North Carolina’s Research Triangle. And Rochester Subway reports that a new housing development will seal off one of the only accessible entry points to the city’s abandoned subway system.

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