Daily Archives: May 8, 2007

FDOT Plans for the I-395

Intro

The FDOT’s plans for the repositioning of the I-395 is critical for Miami’s urban core, particularly Parkwest and the M&E District. The plans for the Opus tower just north of the I-395 were canceled to ensure that the project would not be compromised, yet we hear of the $1 billion port tunnel bid being approved, but nothing about the I-395 repositioning. Let’s take a closer look at what the project will entail and how it may affect its surroundings:

Project Area:

There are 5 alternatives for repositioning the I-395

Alternative 1(No build):

This involves doing nothing. According to the FDOT, this would not alleviate traffic flow, and corridor deficiencies, not to mention the eyesore that is the existing overpass, which is an impediment for the development in the M&E District as well as Parkwest. In other words, bad idea.

Alternative 2:


Alt. 2 Image: The orange portions are the elevated highway. The red portions are elevated embankments.

(Elevated Midtown Interchange) This alternative involves increasing the elevation of the current overpass in order to make it less visually objectionable. This would also involve adding additional access and exit ramps at 4 locations. Frankly, this is a supersized version of what we have. No good.

Alternative 3 (Elevated Miami Avenue):

This provides for the expansion for the I-395 mainway to three lanes in both directions instead of two. The I-395 would be elevated as in alternative 2.

Alternative 4 (Tunnel):

Alt. 4 Image: The orange portions are the elevated highway. The red portions are elevated embankments.The green part is the tunnel between Miami Ave. and Biscayne Blvd.

This alternative provides for the expansion of the I-395 mainway to three lanes in both directions and includes a tunnel between Miami Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard.

Alternative 5 (Open Cut):

Alt. 5 Image: The orange portions are the elevated highway. The red portions are elevated embankments.The light blue part is the Open Cut tunnel.

This alternative provides for an extended “Open Cut” tunnel that extends from N.W. 3rd Avenue to Biscayne Blvd. “Open Cut” means that the freeway is dug in without a roof. N.W. 1st Avenue, N. Miami Ave., N.E. 3rd and 2nd, and Biscayne Blvd. would all cross the Open Cut freeway as bridges.

Conclusion

It appears that the Open Cut option is the most desirable as it extends farther than the tunnel in Alternative 4. Furthermore, it will be less costly than building a tunnel. The realignment will open up park space in the Parkwest area, surrounding the upstart urban neighborhood with park land to the north and west. This will make the already desirable neighborhood even more desirable. This might explain why Boymelgreen and Kodsi have snatched up so much land in the area. Furthermore, it will eliminate the overpass which is a major eyesore, security problem, transportation and development impediment.

It isn’t clear how much this project will cost, where the funding will come from, or when construction will begin, but it is clear that local and state officials are intent on making one of the alternatives a reality, and it seems Alternative Five is the most likely to be initiated.

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River’s Edge (300 Unit Condo) Planned for Miami River

This development marks another westward development push along the Miami River, which has become a sort of westbound development route. The City is offering nearby land for development. The area is evolving into a rather unique urban sub-segment. River’s Edge will stand 221ft. high with 300 units. the project will occupy 201, 216-20, 243, and 250 N.W. S. river Drive. and 601, 609, 615, and 619 N.W. 2nd street in Miami.

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A Quote to Start the Day

I am reading a captivating book about Mumbai (Bombay) of all places. Here is a quote from it that is relevant to Miami and its seemingly autonomous nature:

“Cities should be examined like countries. Each city has a culture, as countries possess a national culture. There is something peculiarly Bombayite about Bombayites and likewise about Delhiites or New Yorkers or Parisians—the way women walk, what their young people like to do in the evenings, what their definitions of fun and horror are.”

(Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, by Suketu Mehta, pg. 16)

For Miamians living in the midst of their city’s idiosyncracies, life is ordinary, yet there is no Miamian that does not feel a profound social and cultural difference when they cross the county line. The farther they travel, the more alien their city feels in comparison to others. The more exotic they become as people. Accents they never thought they had become evident. Foods they were accustomed to eating are unheard of. Music they are used to listening to is non-existent. Miamians often feel like foreigners in their own country and visitors feel like foreigners in Miami.

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