In an effort to address the long-time issues of traffic on the Brickell Avenue Bridge, Miami’s Downtown Development Authority has set its sights underground. The authority has been at odds with the Florida Department of Transportation and the US Coast Guard about what they claim to be “improper bridge openings” that often occur during restricted times, including morning, lunch and afternoon rush hours. Furthermore, the authority has claimed that these openings are often for pleasure craft, and can be blamed for many of the unpleasant traffic situations in the area.
According to a recent article from Miami Today, authority board member, Richard Lydecker, senior partner of the Lydecker-Diaz law firm, together with his colleagues, spent several hours analyzing bridge-keepers’ logs on the matter. They have concluded that the established US Coast Guard rules are not being followed. But the argument didn’t stand as US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen got involved, claiming the marine interest along the Miami River would be negatively impacted if the rules were enforced as they are currently written.
For several years, the idea of building a tunnel under the Miami River has been discussed, and after much controversy, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has fully funded a traffic study that is necessary for the project to move forward. While the issue really needs to be addressed immediately, unfortunately, a study such as this will likely take 12-18 months to complete.
“There are studies that may very well be done and paid for,” said Alicia Cervera, board member and managing partner of Cervera Real Estate. Instead of waiting for the new data, she suggests using current research that must have been completed for real estate developments in the area, like Related Group’s One Brickell, or Swire Properties’ Brickell City Centre. With these projects still in the developing stages, their data must be fresh, and therefore useful. The authority should be able to use the information to either back the tunnel project or insist on the enforcement of the current rules. Either way, the traffic situation in this area needs to be addressed and work on improving it will hopefully begin as soon as possible.
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