As you know, Miami Springs is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to install a $2 Million Pedestrian Bridge that would connect the Ludlam Bike Path to the Metrorail station in Hialeah.
There are many benefits to this project. They include:
- Safe access for walking pedestrians from Miami Springs to access Metrorail
- Safe access for cyclists to cross
- ADA compliant crossing
I don’t believe anyone has disagreed with the benefits. The concerns residents are raising is whether the benefits outweigh the negatives. Those negatives have included:
- Crime from Hialeah
- New High Density Housing that will be built at the Metrorail location
- Increased pedestrian walking traffic coming from Hialeah
- Increased bicycle / scooter traffic coming from Hialeah
- Parking Issues
- Closing access to parks and recreation
While everyone has been looking at Hialeah and the threat of of increased traffic and crime coming in from Hialeah, another issue has come to the forefront: TGK
Despite assurances from Miami-Dade Corrections that people are not released from TGK unless they have transportation, the recent alleged car jacking in Virginia Gardens by an inmate released from TGK proves that inmate releases continues to be a problem for Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens residents.
With a new pedestrian bridge providing the easiest access to Metrorail where do you think TGK inmates will walk through to reach Metrorail? You guessed it. The Ludlam Bike Path.
Now, I know what you’re going to say. “Well, they can do that today and walk over the train.” That would be correct. However, Google Maps or WAZE will never direct you to walk over a train bridge. But once you add a Pedestrian Bridge, the fastest, nicest path for residents of TGK to reach the Metrorail will be through VG and Miami Springs’ Ludlam Bike Path.
Don’t believe me? Checkout Google’s recommended walking path from TGK to the Okeechobee Metrorail Station. Today, it sends pedestrians through a 3.7 mile, one hour and 15 minute route via NW 72nd Avenue, NW 74th Street and Hialeah. (Interestingly, Google does not recommend pedestrians to walk down Okeechobee. )
Now, let’s add a friendly pedestrian bridge on the Miami Springs side. Obviously, I can’t use Google to calculate a route that does not exist today. But we can estimate the gaps in between. As you can see below I estimated a walk from Milam Daily Road to Ludlam Avenue. It’s half a mile. I then added a route for the whole bike path to Crane Avenue. It’s 2.1 miles. Add that up and you’ve got a 2.7 mile treck. Let’s add a quarter mile for the gap between Ludlam and the bike path plus another quarter mile to get from the end of the bike path to the Metrorail station. That puts us at a 3.2 mile walk. That’s half a mile less than what Google recommends today and at least 15 minutes faster.
Now add the human factor. Would you rather walk all of 72nd avenue with no trees, shading, and lots of trucks and noises? Or would you rather walk the serene streets of VG and Miami Springs on your way to the Metrorail.
Here’s the point: If we add the bridge to Metrorail, we will inevitably get more TGK releases walking through the entire strip of the Ludlam bike path on their way to the Metrorail. In other words, it’s not just a problem for the people living on the Northwest section of Miami Springs. It’s a potential problem for everyone living along the Ludlam corridor including both VG and Miami Springs residents.
One more thing to think about. All those TGK inmates get lots of visitors. Most drive cars. Some take buses. Some take Metrorail. How do you feel about TGK visitors exiting the Okeechobee Station and walking to and from TGK via Miami Springs and VG’s Ludlam bike path?
I know that there’s a concern that if we tell the FDOT, “Thanks, but no thanks.” We may never get money from them again for other projects. And that is an absolute valid concern. However, it’s important that we look at all the good this project will bring and all the bad. Let’s go into it eyes wide open so that nobody is surprised by the good or the bad.
What do you think?
Will TGK releases walk down Ludlam?
Would you personally use the path?
Do the benefits outweigh the negatives or vice versa?
Share your thoughts in the comments and/or on social media. And don’t forget to contact your council person and let them know what you think about this project.