In the midst of the passing of one of our own, there is news of a possible alternative to I-95. Our #ThisIsWhere poetry series comes to an end this week, environmentalists tour South Florida, and technology and classical music collide on South Beach.
This week's most read stories include: The demise of the FCAT, drinking beer and practicing yoga, the golden years of marijuana smuggling and six plaintiffs who plan to fight the state’s ban on gay marriage.
A Florida East Coast freight train runs through the middle of downtown West Palm Beach. South Florida's urban core developed around the FEC tracks. Now two projects hope to run passengers along the line for the first time in almost 50 years.
I-95 misery has bent Henry Flagler's railroad tracks full circle.
Long ago, passenger trains on lines Flagler built turned a community called Fort Dallas, pop. 300, into Miami. Then cars on I-95 turned Miami into the Miami metropolitan area, driving a stake into Flagler passenger trains along the way. Now, in a historic swing of the pendulum, that same highway system may be resurrecting Flagler passenger service.
Like many born in the '50s, Interstate 95 had some pretty wild days in the 1970s.
Florida was essentially “a 600-mile bong through which pot was pulled into the lungs of the country,” writes Tony Dokoupil. And “Interstate 95 was the glass tube of the bong,” he told WLRN. “You could not get high in America without touching something that had traveled on that particular stretch of asphalt.”
There’s a good chance you’ve seen the work of Elisabeth Hassett and an equally good chance you didn’t really notice it. Hassett is the landscape architect for the Florida Department of Transportation’s District 4, which includes Broward and Palm Beach Counties. When there’s a need for highway-side landscape design, Hassett has almost definitely had a hand in choosing the plants and the layout -- a far more complicated art than you might imagine.
Venezuelan boycotters and the history of the I-95 road symbol were our top stories. Other honorable mentions include Ira Glass telling us how weird Florida is as a state, Beckham bringing soccer to Miami and -- where does our water come from? Seriously, where?
I-95 according to North Carolina: 76 different designs were submitted between 1956 and 1957 during a contest that would shape the interstate's image forever. North Carolina's colorful design is pictured above.
If North Carolina had its way, the interstate system would look very different today.
Before President Dwight D. Eisenhower had even signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, the American Association of State Highway Officials was discussing the need for “a distinctive interstate route marker.”
The U.S. Highway System already had the iconic shield you see along U.S. 1, AASHO decided the fledgling 40,000-mile superhighway needed its own brand.
The I-95 express lanes' toll increase made it to the top of our list this week, only furthering the idea that South Floridians can't live without their vehicles and highways. Two more stories involving roads and transportation also made it to the top five this week, which made us wonder... are you reading while driving? If so, stop!
In 1990, when we were both 22 years old, my friend Clark and I drove from New Jersey to the Canadian border, bought a box of donuts, turned the car around, and drove the entire length of the southbound Interstate 95 non-stop, as quickly as possible. It was what we called a “high-velocity vacation."
For reasons unclear we decided to only listen to one song the entire way: Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” We had the cassingle.
In response to public complaints about a lack of enforcement on 95 in Miami-Dade County, FHP roughly doubled its enforcement Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., expanding the hours from the originally planned 10-to-4 timeframe.
From the stories you've been reading on WLRN this week, one could weave the following fictional story:
On the day formerly known as Chinese New Year, Cuban hackers got into the city's traffic-light system and were able to rush onto I-95. Once there, they sped to Wynwood only to find that the neighborhood has lost all its appeal. So they decided it was best to head to a place that was truly dead: the ancient Tequesta village downtown.
The people have spoken and now they must slow down.
On Feb. 10, the Florida Highway Patrol launched Operation I-95 Saturation in Miami-Dade County, essentially doubling the number of troopers on one of South Florida’s main arteries. The increased enforcement will be in place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday this week.
“Well, it came about because we’ve gotten complaints that there haven’t been enough troopers out on I-95,” said Trooper Joe Sanchez, a spokesman for the FHP in Miami-Dade County.
Trooper Joe Sanchez has a problem with the 95 Express lanes. Going about 60 MPH in the express lanes, he pulls his Florida Highway Patrol SUV within inches of the median and comes to a full stop. He’s technically on the 95 Express shoulder.