Yesterday I attended a Tier 1 workshop put on by MDX to explain the US 1 express lane project development and environment study. Considering how large this proposed project is and how many residents and businesses it will have an effect on if it goes through, there were not a lot of people in attendance.
Based on the current study, the express lanes will have potential overpasses at each intersection on the busway where there is currently a traffic light. The maximum height of these overpasses will be 24-25 feet high, which is the height of the Metrorail track.
The impact on the abutting neighborhoods of having this expressway will be significant. While trying to ease congestion on US 1 and decrease travel times from the southern end of the county to the Metrorail stations are laudable goals, as currently conceived, I think the project is going to create havoc on the neighboring communities and create more traffic, not less, along the corridor. Having an extra 2-3 lanes of “express” cars exiting at the end point will create a logjam. Add to that the plans to link the expressway to the Turnpike and the Palmetto and you get the picture.
This project will have a significant impact on the surrounding neighborhoods as well, with the potential to affect property values, mostly downward in my opinion.
If the whole goal is to get people out of their cars and onto Metrorail, wouldn’t it be a smarter use of taxpayer dollars to build Metrorail down to the southern part of the county as originally proposed. If they add express buses to the bus lanes, that could also help.
If you live in any of the neighborhoods that abut the busway, please contact Tere Garcia, Public Information Officer at MDX. Her number is 786-277-9292.