Kendall’s worsening traffic has resulted in a formal resolution requesting that M i a m i – D a d e Commissioners place a moratorium on development throughout the unincorporated area west of Florida’s Turnpike. The resolution was unanimously arrived by the 10-member board of Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations on Jan. 28.
The moratorium would ban all building west of Florida’s Turnpike from SW 40th Street (Bird Road) south to SW 152nd Street (Coral Reef Drive).
Traffic congestion that causes “increased travel times such as 30 to 40 minutes to access Florida’s Turnpike and the Palmetto Expressway” was the key reason cited by the KFHA board, as well as concerns for lost time and attendant costs.
Terming Kendall traffic as “unbearable” during peak and off-peak hours as well as weekends, the resolution specified lost time, safety problems and frustration of community residents as major complaints.
KFHA board members who voted for the moratorium included Michael Rosenberg, president; Doug Smith, internal vice president; David Iglesias, external vice president; Nancy Pearlmutter, secretary; Dan Cowan, treasurer; Sherry Maer, alternate secretary, and members Jeff Dorn, Les Gerson, Miles Moss, Peter Nefsky and Marvin P. Stein.
“Our quality of life is so seriously impacted, that we are demanding no more development until the traffic problems are fixed,” Rosenberg said. “I can’t imagine anyone who lives in Kendall disagreeing with this resolution. About 400,000 people will end up spending 20 percent of their lives sitting in traffic. It’s enough already!”
The ban on building would remain in effect until service reaches a “D” rating or better on east-to-west roads within four miles of the turnpike, based upon signal light timing at SW 40th Street, SW 88th Street, SW 120th Street and SW 152nd Street, and within the same distance from the Palmetto Expressway for signals at SW 40th Street, SW 56th Street, SW 72nd Street, SW 88th Street and SW 104th Street.
A “D” rating (in part) describes traffic as “approaching unstable flow. Speeds slightly decrease as traffic volume slightly increases. Freedom to maneuver within the traffic stream is much more limited and drivers comfort levels decrease.”
The A (best) to F (worst) traffic flow ratings are part of a federal code utilizing a North American Level of Service published in the Highway Capacity Manual and adopted by local governments to standardize classification of traffic conditions.
Moss, a traffic engineering expert formerly with Miami-Dade County Public Works, said “concurrency remains the real problem” to control compatibility of future Kendall growth with local roadway traffic.
“The current standard for even the highest ‘green city’ development must satisfy standards only within four miles of its boundaries for county approval,” he said. “That fails to take into consideration how severe large-scale developments with regional impact can create on already existing lineups of cars on connecting arterials outside a four-mile distance,” he stated.
As president of the Winston Park Homeowners Association, Moss noted that the community has approved special payments for private policing to control excess of traffic on local streets, mostly caused by commuting motorists seeking shortcuts to stopped-up traffic at West Kendall major intersections.
Michael Hernandez, Miami-Dade director of communications, resonded on behalf of Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
“Mayor Gimenez has consistently supported smart growth and remains committed to holding the line on developing beyond the Urban Development Boundary. As he stated on Jan. 11 during his last community meeting with the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations, Miami-Dade County is taking a global approach to improving mass transit and mobility in our community. That approach includes doing more to reduce traffic congestion on our roads and promote smoother traffic flow, especially in Kendall. The development moratorium that the KFHA is requesting is not a silver bullet and may have other unintended economic consequences in the community.”
Truly Burton, executive vice president, Builders Association of South Florida, echoed the opposition to a moratorium.
“A building moratorium is not the answer. Implementing a county-wide transit program is the answer. Our local economy is continuing to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. A self-imposed recession in the form of a moratorium will put people out of work who (are now) just getting back on their feet.”