Early in the morning on September 8, 1993, Uwe Rakebrand and his wife, Kathrin, are driving from the Miami airport to a hotel on Miami Beach in their rented red Toyota Corolla. They have just arrived from Germany on a belated honeymoon.
As they approach I-95, the couple's car is bumped from behind. Kathrin had just read a crime brochure explaining what to do in this very type of situation, and Uwe follows its advice: Don’t pull over, it might be a robber.
There is nothing worse than a three paragraph preamble to a listicle. So all you need to know for this, in case you haven’t been following our End of the Road series, is that WLRN spent the last year doing stories about the final 87 miles of Interstate 95 -- the South Florida stretch. We’ve learned some very useful/strange things along the way.
Please enjoy the following facts for personal use and distribution while attending local cocktail and dinner parties.
South Florida drivers will need to relearn the ins-and-outs of the I-95 express lanes. Specifically where to get in and where to get out.
“Phase 2” of 95 Express will extend the so-called “Lexus Lanes” to Broward Boulevard. Weather permitting, the expansion is scheduled to open this spring. Those plastic divider poles could start popping up this month.
Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, head of the Republican Governors Association, recently claimed that the GOP was becoming the party of I-95. While it's not unheard of to use Interstates as a political lens, using an entire 2,000 mile Interstate is a little strange.
About two weeks after the November midterm elections, the Republican Governors Association met in Boca Raton. During a press conference, newly appointed chairman -- and Tennessee governor -- Bill Haslam told a group of reporters about a recent revelation.
Earlier this year the Florida Department of Transportation entered into a partnership with the traffic data company Waze. The Israeli startup, now owned by Google, lets “Wazers” use a smartphone app to report the location of crashes, congestion, potholes, road kill and police officers among many other things.
The agreement is purely a “data-sharing” partnership. Waze gets access to the stream of information produced by the road sensors FDOT uses to monitor traffic flow on Florida’s major highways. And FDOT gets access to the myriad reports filed by Wazers.
When Arthur Bowditch Fay set out to chronicle his 300-mile Interstate 95 commute from Spotsylvania, Va. to Leonia, N.J., he came to the realization that the English language did not have the words to describe what he was seeing and doing.
So he invented those words:
dreamile (noun) [dree-mahyl] “The distance traveled while... daydreaming. Usually nothing of the dreamile is remembered.”
About 30 years ago, Hancock Advertising, Inc., was awarded eight of the first 10 permits to put billboards on the City of Miami’s highways. Seven of those billboards went up on Interstate 95. It would take a two-year legal battle over the word “on” to determine whether or not the eighth sign was also on I-95.
At best, the signs were confusing. At worst, an incentive to illegally pylon-jump between express and non-express lanes.
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Transportation will shut down two problematic electronic 95 Express tolls signs: one above the northbound 95 express lanes near Northwest 54th Street and one on the southbound lanes near Northwest 144th Street.
“It really doesn’t add benefit at this point,” says Rory Santana, who runs the 95 Express system for FDOT.