Carlos Lora doesn’t care what the electronic toll sign for 95 Express says. Fifty cents, $6.00, $10.50 -- it doesn’t matter. After a long day at work as a South Beach condo manager, he’s getting in his Mini Cooper to go home to Hollywood Beach, and he's using the fast lanes to get there.
“And even if it says ‘closed,’ I’m guilty of still jumping on,” Lora says.
South Florida commuters will see some changes on I-75 and I-595 as improvements like noise buffers and new ramps begin.
Because of work on its express lanes, I-75 will get wider lanes near Sheridan Street, which will come with "noise walls" to keep surrounding neighborhoods quiet.
Broward County engineers are also fixing the timing on some traffic signals at exits along I-595, particularly where drivers have complained of lengthy waits at the westbound State Road 84 and Davie Road intersection.
Local planning officials say they have most of the funding in hand to create a giant no-whistles-allowed "quiet zone" from Miami to West Palm Beach. It could be a big quality-of-life improvement for South Floridians who live and work along the Florida East Coast railway tracks.
For All Aboard Florida, the company that's building a new passenger rail line from Miami through Broward and Palm Beach counties to Orlando, this is a big deal that could placate some of its critics.
"I-95 driving is not for the timid or the meek," driving instructor Chris Pearson says. The former cop says new drivers are so scared of I-95 that he has essentially made it his final exam. Or maybe more accurately his final pop quiz.
Rachel Schapiro, (left) and Hinda Adle, (center) interview Rita Grossman, (right) at a JCS meal site on South Beach. Rachel, and Hinda, are part of a group of young professionals, called the Jewish Community Services Alliance, interviewing seniors. The group is hoping to raise $18,000 by September to receive a $165,000 grant from Florida's Department of Transportation.
Rita Grossman’s lifeline to the outside world is a white mini-bus with big, blue letters that announce: Jewish Community Services of South Florida...Senior Ride.
“I don’t know what I would do without it,” said Grossman, 88, of Miami Beach. She points to her cane propped in the corner of a South Beach community center: “If I wanted to walk anywhere with that, I’d have to start at 8 a.m. and just keep going.”
Two years after the hit-and-run accident that killed cyclist Aaron Cohen was killed, the Florida Legislature passed a bill with tougher penalties for drivers who flee the scene.
Gov. Rick Scott signed the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act in Key Biscayne on Wednesday, with Cohen’s family in attendance.
“This happened a year and a half ago and the Legislature reacted,” says Gov. Scott. “They’ve increased the penalties so hopefully this won’t happen to somebody again. You can’t imagine how this would change somebody’s life.”
The federal pot of money preserving local roads and bridges may soon be empty, yet lawmakers on Capitol Hill are miles apart on a solution. Not only local infrastructure but the overall economy is sure to feel the impact.
While increasingly fuel-efficient cars and trucks are easier on the wallet and the environment, they may prove terrible for the asphalt and steel beams on which they ride. Consuming less gas means fewer gas taxes. The federal Highway Trust Fund relies on an 18 cent gas tax on every gallon of regular. For diesel fuel that tax is 24 cents per gallon.
ARRIVAL: This is the ground approach to the proposed All Aboard Florida station in Fort Lauderdale. Architectural trusses are a design feature that will be echoed in all four of the railroad's stations.
All Aboard Florida -- the fast passenger rail that will connect Miami to Orlando through Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach -- unveiled plans for its Fort Lauderdale station on Tuesday.
The $30 million structure will straddle the Florida East Coast Railway tracks on Northwest Second Avenue between Broward Boulevard and Northeast Fourth Street, opening an overlooked and unattractive area near important downtown destinations to development and commerce.
About 56 years ago, in a county devoid of apps, smartphones and cars with pink fluffy mustaches, there lived a taxi industry that didn't rely on Miami-Dade County regulations.
That taxi industry without regulations is long gone, but ride-sharing apps Lyft and UberX are here -- and they're trying their best to stay. The smartphone-based companies connect users with drivers, and like Miami's old taxis, they don't rely on county regulations.
All Aboard Florida, the privately funded project that plans to connect Miami to Orlando with high-speed rail service, has been touted as an alternative to congested highways. It has also been criticized for concerns regarding safety and noise.
Brian Rick is on a crusade. As a spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation he has chewed the ear of dozens, maybe a hundred people -- reporters, friends, anybody who refers to 95 Express as the “Lexus Lanes.”
“You don’t see a Lexus every two or three cars," Rick says. He notices the pickup trucks and work vans. "If you're delivering auto parts or you're delivering medical supplies... that's where reliability becomes essential. "