Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez
Erroneous reporting on a hearing intended to shed light on the facts about the Kendall Parkway’s consistency with the County’s Comprehensive Plan has instead served to spread more misinformation in our community and, worse, trivialize the very real traffic relief that the project will bring to the residents of West Kendall.
The initial report by Jenny Staletovich of WLRN focused on a hypothetical line of questioning during the administrative hearing about downtown travel times and relied not on the extensive studies conducted by MDX engineers. In essence, the report was based on one witness answering a hypothetical. The Miami Herald followed with its own report based on this misinformation.
Irrefutably, the Parkway would improve the quality of life in West Kendall and South Miami-Dade County by providing an alternative to clogged local arterial roadways (from points listed below), saving from 2 ½ to 3 ¾ hours each week during rush-hour commutes for West Kendall residents.
Here are the facts documented in the traffic study that warrants the Parkway, facts that were entered into evidence for the proceedings (and publicly available for years) yet not reported on:
- Real travel time data shows that it takes approximately 30 minutes to travel eastbound (during the AM peak hour) along Kendall Drive from 167th Avenue to the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike (HEFT). A Parkway interchange at Kendall Drive reduces that commute to about five minutes. That’s a daily 25-minutes savings – not the “6 minutes” seized upon in the hypothetical report.
- A similar analysis of travel times from Miller Drive and 157th Avenue to the HEFT reveal a 23 minute commute. Travel time savings using the Parkway reduce that trip to five minutes (a reduction of 18 minutes).
- A trip originating at SW 136th Street and SW 157th Avenue to the HEFT is also expected to become a five-minute experience when a 34 minutes commute during peak morning drive would be reduced by 29 minutes, thanks to the Parkway.
There is no doubt that a commuter who lives in West Kendall can expect to see their travel time to SR-836 cut in half because of their ability to access a connection from the Parkway without having to sit in stop-and-go traffic on Miller or Kendall Drives and other arterials all the way to the HEFT.
Round trip experiences from these points compound to a total daily trip time savings of 30, 31 and 45 minutes respectively. On a five-day work week, that’s 150, 155 and 225 minutes (or 2 ½, 2 ½ , and 3 ¾ hours saved). Based on a 50-week work year, these time savings are the equivalent of getting over three weeks of time off at work from the first two travel points, and over 4 ½ weeks from the last.
In addition to these travel time benefits, the study documents major reductions in traffic volumes at key intersections during peak hours that will inevitably translate to significant time savings for Kendall commuters, anywhere from a 9 percent reduction in traffic at Kendall Drive and the HEFT interchange to an almost 60 percent reduction in traffic at SW Eighth Street and 137 Avenue.
These are just a few of the many facts about the benefits of the Parkway – including the environmental protection policies we would institute – that are being ignored. The Parkway would have a very significant impact on travel times and traffic volumes in the Kendall area that will translate to a better quality of life for residents. And the Comprehensive Plan policies added by the County to ensure that new development is unable to consume this new capacity offered by a new Parkway, which also would include a designated commuter bus lane that can be converted to light-rail or other fast transit, will ensure that traffic benefits will be there for years to come.
South Dade and West Kendall’s taxpaying residents (that’s one-fourth of our county’s residents) and businesses deserve this project. It goes to the very heart of the economic prosperity and mobility of those who live and work in the area and need real relief.