After winning preliminary approvals in June, a controversial plan to extend the Dolphin Expressway through the Everglades to West Kendall was OK’d by Miami-Dade commissioners on Thursday by a 9-4 vote.
The 13-mile project, according to critics, defies sound urban planning practices and threatens natural ecosystems. Earlier this year, the so-called Kendall Parkway plan earned the nickname “another sexy highway” in a sarcastic marketing campaign launched by Transit Alliance Miami.
While the final route of the six-lane extension is still being finalized, the new tollway will push beyond the county’s own Urban Development Boundary—a line that separates protected natural lands like the Bird Drive Basin wetlands from developments like subdivisions and malls.
In addition to likely making traffic congestion worse, encouraging suburban sprawl, and threatening the Everglades, opponents argue that the $1 billion plan could come at the expense of the kind of mass transit improvements the county actually needs.
Despite winning over the majority of commissioners and appearing to be a forgone conclusion, the project still needs to secure state, federal, and Department of Environmental Resources Management permits. Meanwhile, the county’s new “sexy highway” could potentially face some not-so-sexy lawsuits. Stay tuned.
- Miami-Dade county doubles down on cars with Kendall Parkway highway expansion [Curbed Miami]
- Miami transportation archives [Curbed Miami]