Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition
Then and now: Region’s traffic gets worse
I read staff writer Susannah Bryan’s article about Fort Lauderdale’s traffic nightmare. I could have read the same article 20 years ago.
When I was chair of the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization), we had numerous discussions over the years about this. The situation is exactly as it was, only worse. It is my belief that Fort Lauderdale will never resolve its traffic problem, and it will get worse if the city continues on its current course.
In the early 2000s, we received a presentation that for Broward County to address congestion on I-95, the interstate would have to expand to 24 lanes. This was not only impossible but unsustainable. We were never going to build our way out of this problem. The solution was to move heavily into mass transit, to which many object. That’s why you started seeing new mass transit projects. If we continued to expand roads, we could only hope to maintain what we had and slow the deterioration rate. This is proving true.
If Fort Lauderdale wants to address its traffic problem, it would have to take steps it would never agree to.
First, stop building roads to service more cars. Second, convert roads to mass transit only to move people in dense areas. Third, close some roads entirely and make them pedestrian-only. Finally, require all future housing to include transportation plans. No more parking lots in or around residential buildings. People would have to give up their cars and rely solely on mass transit, bicycles or walking.
I don’t see Fort Lauderdale ever agreeing to any of this, so I don’t expect much to change. In 20 years, you’ll read an article documenting how much worse it has become, or how the city may be dying because residents no longer can tolerate the situation that was created. But by then, those in charge, as in the past, will have long moved on and it will be someone else’s problem. Richard Kaplan, Lauderhill The writer is a former mayor of Lauderhill. (Editor’s Note: The Sun Sentinel editorialized about the traffic mess on Broward Boulevard in 1986, and predicted: “Congestion can only increase.”)