During this year’s State of the County address, I stated that we must move forward with improvements that will benefit the daily life of the Miami-Dade County’s 2.7 million residents. Specifically, I put great emphasis on transportation and traffic fixes that have become not only an issue of mobility, but a matter of quality of life for our community.
We must utilize available traffic solutions such as intelligent traffic signals and improvements to our roadway network to address the serious traffic congestion problems that are negatively impacting our daily commutes — whether in personal vehicles or transit, or in the movement of goods and services throughout our community.
We must create a path using the latest technology to address the transportation challenges that we face. As we move forward with the SMART Plan, which stands for Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit, we must collaborate with our local transportation partners and continue to build the infrastructure that allows us to be competitive and keep our economy growing.
One of the most critical challenges in traffic and mobility is faced daily by the 600,000 residents of Kendall and West Kendall where most of our recent growth has occurred — yet with no real infrastructure to address their needs. This has created an unacceptable day-to-day condition for those who live in the area and travel to work and other destinations spending hours in their cars.
I have turned to the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX), where County Commission Vice Chair Audrey M. Edmonson and I serve as two of the nine members of the MDX Board of Directors charged with helping find a solution that can be impactful to the area. This collaboration now is bearing fruit through the introduction of a new corridor that consists of a southwest extension of the SR 836 Dolphin Expressway, which we are calling the Kendall Parkway.
This new transportation corridor will border the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) line. However, it is meant to serve the existing communities to the east. I have personally requested that the county’s Regulatory & Economic Development Department draft policies that protect the environment by requiring onsite mitigation, providing safeguards against further sprawl, and addressing any impacts to agricultural lands.
More importantly, in addition to offering a new expressway for vehicular travel, this new Kendall Parkway will contain Xpress Technology lanes that will extend the same transit-express service that MDX will be offering along its existing SR 836, as part of the East-West Corridor of the SMART Plan. The Kendall Parkway will include multi-modal transit hubs that provide commuters residing in West Dade and West Kendall with mobility choices.
The Kendall Parkway will need an amendment to the Comprehensive Development Master Plan to incorporate this new multi-modal transportation corridor without having to move the line. This very important decision will go to our Miami-Dade County Commission on Apr. 25 and then again in July.
So, if you live in Kendall, West Kendall or West Dade, or own a business here, now is the time to show your support for the Kendall Parkway — and let the county commission know how important this decision is to you, your family, and your livelihood. This project can truly become a reality, with groundbreaking by the end of this year.
I am holding a Town Hall Meeting on Apr. 18 to discuss with you details and merits of the Kendall Parkway. At this forum, I also wish to explain why I strongly support this transformative project, which I consider of countywide significance and a step forward for the people of this community.
Please join me at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 18, at John Ferguson High School Auditorium, 15900 SW 56 St. I look forward to seeing you there.