The proposal being pushed by Mayor Gimenez will only create more traffic problems at a time that demands solutions.
The Kendall Parkway is a proposal to extend the 836 (Dolphin Expressway) South and West past the urban development boundary to serve the growing resident population in West Kendall. This past week, Mayor Gimenez met with business leaders to reaffirm his support for this project, which he iterated in his State of the County address at the beginning of this year as a priority. The fervor and resolve the Mayor has in this decision is misguided and should be redirected to projects that would genuinely relieve traffic woes.
The urban development boundary is designed to protect the Everglades from undue burden of development, light pollution, water runoff, and traffic. This blatant disregard for that boundary with a six-lane highway is a clear indication of ignorance as to the purpose and history of the creation of that boundary. Miami Dade Transportation estimates put the 2050 traffic count on the proposed highway to be 77,000 cars daily, mostly redirected from the Turnpike. The issue with this form of analysis is that it does not understand how growth operates.
When the Palmetto Expressway was built in 1960, it was effectively west of the city, with mostly agricultural land past it. It also was built as the extension of the Florida Turnpike, as it previously stopped at Golden Glades. In the following 2 decades, the city swallowed the highway, and a ring road past the ring road had to be built to accommodate this, creating the Turnpike extension 4 miles past Palmetto. Again, over the course of 2 decades, the city swallowed the highway. Now we are considering making the same move all over again, building a ring road past the ring road past the ring road, 5 miles past the Turnpike extension. If this is built, it will encourage sprawl-like growth in all of the wrong places, and exacerbate, not solve, our traffic woes, and increase that 77,000 traffic count in ways that we cannot imagine.
Local politicians across the country over the past half-century have fundamentally misunderstood how infrastructure development decisions have worsened the exact problems they are trying to solve. If they can commit to mass transit solutions, cars in the inner city will become less used, allowing for more space on the road for those in the suburbs to move a little more easily. These chain reactions are incredibly important in understanding how traffic decisions should be made, and where resources should be allocated. This project does not act to get 1 person out of their car but simply redirects the traffic for a bit, and then funnels it back into the same highway that is the most trafficked highway in the county. This is not a sensible solution.
This project will not solve its issues but create more in the process and waste hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used to create the South Dade Transitway, the North Metro corridor, or the Beach Link. All of which will remove cars from the road, easing traffic more than the Kendall Parkway ever will.