Artist renderings of proposed turnpike  bypass on US1 facing Palm Drive.

Artist renderings of proposed turnpike bypass on US1 facing Palm Drive.

Public Meeting on Turpike Bypass of Florida City - Tuesday, July 20

Local community leaders and elected officials are encouraging the public toattend an FDOT Public Hearing on proposals for a“Widening Project and Environment Study affecting US 1 from Palm Drive to Campbell Drive.”

Unfortunately, the south end of the project could see a proposed continuation of the 20ft-high elevated Turnpike, past Palm Drive, coming down to ground level closer to the beginning of the Stretch to the Keys.

Local businesses who depend on this accessiblity include Florida City, Homestead, and the Everglades and Key Biscayne National Parks. With a bypass, they will miss the 8 to 10 million cars that stop and shop annually.

As noted last week by Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace, not only will the businesses be shut out, but the relatively small amount of traffic congestion on the ramp at the end of the turnpike will move a half mile down the road, but with worse results. “From what I understand, if that filtering of cars into Florida City as they stop to get gas, go the convenience store, stop at a restaurant or shop, if instead most of the cars drop down onto the same narrow roadway simultaneously merging onto the Stretch, it could bottleneck it even more.” said Mayor Wallace. “We think this is the most detrimental project we’ve ever seen proposed for Florida City.”

Mayor Wallace spoke to Congressman Carlos Gimenez on Wednesday afternoon. Gimenez told him that although he will not be able to be in town himself for the meeting (ie. Cuba) Florida City has his full support in opposition to the bypass project, and he will be fully represented by staff at the meeting. Wallace relayed that “Gimenez says he travels that Stretch himself regularly and he doesn’t see the traffic problem being sufficient to justify this.”

Mayor Wallace said that Gimenez asked who is in support of the project, and Mayor Wallace said no one, other than the FDOT staff. He noted Gimenez said with all he’d heard he’s kept asking where is the other side of this. Wallace stated that he does not know of any political push for the project, nor was the projected generated by the community.

Mayor Wallace said the only support is through FDOT, “Even the state representatives aren’t for it. What I find gratifying is with all that is going on in Washington, the bipartisan support I see for opposition to this project gives me hope. Maybe bipartisanship still works some places, because it seems to be working here.”

Wallace said he has spoken with Rep. Jim Moody (R) who represents the Keys, and Rep. Kevin Chambliss (D) who represents South Dade. Both have stated their opposition to the bypass, and plan to be in attendance at the hearing. 

Said Mayor Wallace, “I think that one of the thing’s I’m looking forward to is telling the story that the community did show up, and I hope they will. I don’t know if they need much encouragement because I think they are lathered up and ready to go.”

You must be registered to attend the hearing, whether virtual or in-person. Go to www.TurnpikeSouthMiamiDade.com.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 20th. 5:30 pm will be an open house to see their display documents. The formal presentation is at 6:00 pm. It will be held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway Champions Club, 1 Ralph Sanchez Blvd, Homestead.

Draft documents are on-dislplay through July 30 at the Cybrarium, 80 W. Mowry Dr., Homestead.

You can also notify by email or phone your local representatives to voice your opinion. They work for you, and want to be clear on the opinions of those they represent.

- Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace, mayor@floridacityfl.gov, 305-247-8221

- Congressman Carlos Gimenez, (305) 222-2160,  https://gimenez.house.gov/contact

- Rep. Kevin Chambliss, (305) 256-6300, 

- Rep. Jim Mooney, (305) 453-1202

 

(2) comments

Uncommon_Sense

My guess is the DOT thinking is that the light at US1 and Palm is a major contributor to the traffic bottle neck and backup. By bypassing that light the traffic will flow more freely. It does nothing however to fix the larger issue of the weekend traffic on the stretch. If anything it will make traffic on the stretch worse.

Uncommon_Sense

Seems the backup from the turnpike isn't due to a merging of lanes, but driven by the fact that the turnpike ends at a stoplight (Palm) and that by bypassing that stoplight it wold greatly alleviate the issue. It wouldn't improve the issue on the stretch but would prevent the turnpike backing up so far. The backup sometime goes all the way to Campbell.

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