The Florida Department of Transportation will have public meetings this week to discuss changes to the NW 36th Street corridor from the Palmetto interchange on the west to US-1 on the east. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on the changes that most impact the residents of Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens.

ELEVATED HIGHWAY

One of the proposals for NW 36th Street (that’s been around forever) is to extend the State Road 112 Highway to the Palmetto Expressway (State Road 826) via an elevated highway.  This would become an incredibly horrible eyesore and dramatically increase the noise to our neighborhood.  (OPINION:  If FDOT wants a connecting highway, it should be built on Airport property AND include a sound barrier wall to reduce the sound.  But it should not be located over NW 36th Street creating a dark and dingy roadway and shelter for the growing number of homeless.

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According to documents from the FDOT, Miami International Airport has asked about an elevated section to access BOTH the Palmetto Expressway and NW 36th Street Westbound.  We believe this would look something like the overpass on NW 25th Street that connects from Perimeter / NW 67th Avenue to NW 82nd Avenue / 25th Street.

WESTBOUND SR 112 EXTENSION

One of the proposals presented by the FDOT is to create a new exit for NW 36th Street that bypasses South River Drive / South Royal Poinciana Boulevard and bypasses LeJeune Road.  This would alleviate traffic on SR112 and the bottleneck that happens between LeJeune and South River Drive.

However, there are some drawbacks.  As you can see below, it will eliminate the eastbound left hand turns to Kenmore Drive and Coolidge Drive.  This makes it much more difficult to get to Pollo Tropical or the EB Hotel from eastbound 36th Street.

Also, it’s not clear if this will reduce westbound 36th street to just 2 lanes to make space for the SR112 extension?  As you can see in the depiction below, it appears to show just 2 lanes on westbound 36th street.  That looks like a big bottle neck waiting to happen.

36th Street:  SRP to Curtiss Parkway (HOTEL DISTRICT)

As you can see below, this is a snapshot of NW 36th Street between South Royal Poinciana Boulevard (SRP) and Curtiss Parkway.  This stretch has horribly tight, 5′ sidewalks on the north side of the street (aka WB – west bound side).  This is where people who are visiting Miami and staying at our hotels experience a very pedestrian unfriendly sidewalk.

In the proposed option 4A shown below, we’re disgusted to see the eastbound or airport side of the sidewalk expanded to 11′ across while only increasing the hotel side or westbound pedestrian sidewalk from 5′ to 6′.  This is unacceptable.  This is FDOT prioritizing a handful of cyclists from Doral over the thousands of hotel guests who walk up / down 36th street every day.  We believe the sidewalks should be flip flopped.  Increase the northern or westbound sidewalk to 11′ and increase the eastbound or southern sidewalk from 5′ to 6′.  There aren’t many waking pedestrians on the airport side which will provide plenty of room for cyclists with 6′.  But my goodness, let’s use this opportunity to make our hotels more pedestrian friendly and more inviting for families with kids.  This is the one opportunity we have to make our hotels more family friendly, more pedestrian friendly and have FDOT pay the bill.

THE 11 FOOT SIDEWALK IS ON THE WRONG SIDE.  WE NEED THE 11 FOOT SIDEWALK WHERE THE HOTELS ARE, NOT THE AIRPORT PERIMETER.

36th Street:  67th Ave & 57th Ave (Virginia Gardens)

Below you’ll see the current layout of NW 36th Street and Perimeter Road from NW 67th Avenue to NW 57th Avenue:

  • 6′ westbound sidewalk
  • 3 westbound lanes 36 St
  • 15′ median
  • 3 eastbound lanes 36 St
  • large median
  • 2 westbound lanes Perimeter Road
  • 2 eastbound lanes Perimeter Road

Proposal 3B – Buses Only

We like that this proposal increases the westbound sidewalk to 11′.  Let’s make the entire 36th Street wesbound sidewalk 11′ wide.  This is good.

This proposal adds a Transit only westbound and Transit only eastbound lane.  (OPINION:  I despise transit only lanes because 99% of the time, the lane sits empty and unused.  Sure, it helps people using buses move a little faster, but it also creates problems with vehicles that need to make right turns that intersect these lanes.  Plus, it doesn’t make any sense to have an 8 lane stretch in Virginia Gardens to only be bottled back into 3 lanes at 57th avenue and 67th avenue.  This proposal makes no sense to me…except for the awesome 11′ sidewalks.  Love that!)

Proposal 3B – Trucks Only

This is just like the proposal above, except instead of a dedicated bus line we get a dedicated truck line.  This gets even more dangerous for cars making right hand turns.  Plus, it suffers from same bottle necks at 67th avenue and 57th avenue.  This proposal makes no sense to me.

Proposal 3A – Dedicated Truck Lanes

This idea forces passenger vehicles to just 2 lanes and creates a special trucks only lane.  In my opinion this is very dangerous when attempting to make a left hand turn or right hand turn.  Plus, trucks need to make left turns and right turns as well. This does not seem to be a practical or safe solution.  The only thing good about this proposal is the 11′ sidewalk for pedestrians on the westbound lanes.

67 Ave – Perimeter Rd – 66 Ave – 36 St

FDOT wants to study improving this section by synchronizing the lights.  I’m sure that will improve some of the issues at this section.

2 EASTBOUND THRU LANES

Call me crazy, but stopping people at lights creates congestion, pollution, time, fuel, and money.  Tell me one reason why we can’t have 2 dedicated through lanes eastbound at NW 66th Avenue in Virginia Gardens? We can stop the eastbound traffic on the left lane, but the 2 right lanes should be going all the time.  Only one lane needs to stop to allow the vehicles that are making a left from 66th Avenue onto NW 36th Street to enter.

We propose that the right 2 lanes at NW 36th Street and 66 Avenue are permanent flow through lanes and never stop
We propose that the right 2 lanes at NW 36th Street and 66 Avenue are permanent flow through lanes and never stop

I see no reason why FDOT can’t make this happen. There’s no major intersection further east or place of interest that would require someone who makes that left turn to need to jump 2 additional lanes to the right in a hurry.

As you can see below, we have a similar design further west in Doral at the intersection of NW 41 Street and NW 112 Avenue.

I’d like to see the FDOT add this simple fix to alleviate some traffic congestion at NW 36th Street at minimal cost.

FDOT MEETINGS

The workshops will be held simultaneously, both in-person and virtually.  The first workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, and the second will be on Thursday, June 24, 2021.  Both workshops will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the same information will be shared during both events.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021:

  • Attend In-Person: FDOT District Six Auditorium, 1000 NW 111 Ave, Miami, FL 33172.  To RSVP visit click here.
  • Participate Virtually: Via GoToWebinar. Register by clicking here. Participants can also call in by dialing +1 (914) 614-3426; Access code: 811-903-539.

Thursday, June 24, 2021: 

  • Attend In-Person: Holiday Inn Miami-International Airport, 1111 S Royal Poinciana Blvd, Miami Springs, FL 33166.  To RSVP visit click here.
  • Participate Virtually: Via GoToWebinar. Register by clicking here. Participants can also call in by dialing +1 (951) 384-3421; Access code: 958-531-540.

The in-person workshops will be in compliance with all current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and social distancing will be followed. 

 

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