Residents oppose planned ‘turbo lane’ on SW 107th

By Richard Yager….

Traffic traveling on SW 107 Avenue at MDC Kendall’s east campus entry.

Residents of three nearby communities are protesting a 100-foot express lane proposed for a section of northbound SW 107th Avenue at the east entry to the Miami-Dade College Kendall campus.

Objecting to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) project are residents of the Village of Kendale, Kendale Country Club Estates and Kendale South, comprising approximately 1,100 homes.

To date, FDOT has conducted a single meeting on July 12 with residents, displaying maps and providing details to create an 11-foot-wide “go-at-all-times” lane from Kendale Boulevard to SW 100th Street, a distance of approximately one block.

A traffic light at the intersection of SW 100th Street and 107th Avenue now allows left turns for northbound motorist into the MDC campus with traffic halted in both directions.

The project, estimated at $805,000, would provide a through lane for northbound motorists on SW 107th Avenue after exiting the Shula Expressway at Killian Drive (SW 104th Street). Now completing design, the project is scheduled to be let for construction by July 25, 2012 with construction to begin in March 2013.

“The work includes repaving the road, widening the east side of SW 107th Avenue to construct an 11-foot go-at-all-times lane (turbo lane) from south of Kendale Boulevard to north of SW 100th Street,” according to the FDOT Project Development website.

Responding to a 2003 “citizen’s request,” FDOT undertook an investigation of the intersection to provide recommendations for improvements, according to Brain Rick, spokesperson for the department.

Afternoon observations showed a high demand existed for left turn movements into Miami-Dade College from northbound SW 107th Avenue to westbound SW 100th Street, he said. Backups of waiting vehicles blocked northbound traffic flow and extended as far back as the Kendale Boulevard, 375 feet south of SW 100th Street.

The backups caused some motorist on SW 107th Ave. to make illegal left turns at SW 100th Street from the through lane and others made illegal U-turns at Kendale Boulevard, Rick’s statement said. Residents turning left from Kendale Boulevard onto southbound SW 107th Avenue were observed “squeezing” their way in between the queue of vehicles on SW 107th Avenue, his report noted.

Engineering analysis performed in October 2010, reaffirmed studies for a “turbo lane” T-shaped intersection at SW 100th Street “as the most feasible and beneficial intersection improvement,” he said.

In response to citizens concerns, a new “Traffic Signal Warrant Study” for the intersections of Kendale Boulevard and SW 96th Street south and north of NW 100th Street, were begun in September and “will be completed very soon,” his report concluded.

“I see absolutely no reason for it,” declared Diana L. Lawrence, corresponding secretary for Kendale Homeowners Association. “I use the Shula and have had no trouble driving north on SW 107th Avenue to the entry at SW 100th Street.”

The resurfacing project includes widening SW 107th Avenue to construct a new 16-inch wide traffic separator for a “Continuous Green T-intersection” at SW 100th Street, according to an email written to Lawrence by Harold A. Desdunes, FDOT District Six Director of Transportation Development.

“The department will present the project once again to update the community with the latest information in an effort to alleviate all remaining concerns which citizens may have and to gain consensus for the design,” he said.

Lawrence has asked the meeting take place in mid-January.

“We want to know if the widening will include elimination of the sidewalk on 107th Avenue between Kendale Boulevard and SW 104th Street, bringing east lane [northbound] traffic closer to our privacy walls. We do not want to wait for another meeting to get this fact straight,” Lawrence responded.

Lawrence and others who commonly use SW 100th Street for access claim an express lane would make exiting with a left turn to go southbound an extreme hazard with nonstop “go-at-all-times” traffic.

“It will bring traffic lanes closer to the walls we have built to shield our back yards from cars and trucks,” she stated. “These privacy walls have often been smashed down by vehicles.”

David Lyons, former president of CANT (Citizens Against Nonconcurrent Task) said protests letters have been filed with State Sen. Ana Rivas-Logan, State Rep. Anitere Flores and County Commissioner Lynda Bell on behalf of the organization.

CANT, organized in 2006 as Citizens Against Nonconcurrent Traffic, was then instrumental in mounting opposition to plans for an East Kendall commuter rail line proposed by County Commissioner Joe Martinez.

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