It would be unwise to pursue boothless tolling on the Rickenbacker Causeway unless we can first slow traffic as it enters the Causeway. Yes, an oxymoron, wait then hurry up.
Electronic toll collection technology is all the rage but only appropriate for highways. The Causeway functions like the majority of our roads where vehicle drivers interact with others and negotiate movement in conflicting directions. Signals, stop signs and lower speed limits are some of the ways those interactions are managed. Anyone watching traffic from outside of a moving vehicle knows that traffic already moves too fast on the Causeway.
The number of accidents, car-car as well as bicycle-car, attest to the dangerous speed of traffic and the occurrence of this behavior is evident by the frequent scene where cops are issuing motorists citations. The Causeway is heavily trafficked by Key Biscayne residents, tourists and used recreationally by area residents; it is not solely a conduit delivering vehicles from Miami to the end of the Key. Unfamiliar drivers, first time or, occasional visitors may drive more slowly and erratically as they figure their way towards their destination and take in the skyline. Besides the fact that the Causeway has many, many lanes, it bears little similarity to a highway.
Do we need a Rickenbacker Highway for higher density and intensity development? Miami needs to embrace the maturity of dense building but highways don’t have to be a part of that future. Without planned areas of preservation, areas targeted for dense development are counter productive. People living in dense areas would search further away from the urban core for recreational activity, further into the ever-expanding fringes of our County. That type of exploration encourages sprawl and creates even more traffic. Removing an oasis from the urban core does not bring us closer to the sort of maturity that typifies a metropolitan city.
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