Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is making our traffic woes a high priority. That’s good news. In the past 10 days, the mayor has made or announced significant moves that will ease our crowded roadways in the future.
On Tuesday, the mayor introduced the county’s new transit director, Alice Bravo, the city of Miami’s former chief of infrastructure who played a crucial role in the construction of the $1 billion PortMiami tunnel.
And that’s what we need in Miami-Dade — a light at the end of this traffic-nightmare tunnel. An accomplished traffic honcho with such credentials is just what greater Miami could use.
In introducing Ms. Bravo, the mayor, up for re-election in 2016, said: “Improving and expanding Miami-Dade County’s transportation and mobility options are a top priority for my administration.” In fact, Ms. Bravo is charged with transforming the entire department, the mayor said.
As well she should be, considering the public outcry over our gridlock hell. If the new hire signals a new day for the county’s transit department, Ms. Bravo should be instructed to be a more visible leader, publicly seeking out and addressing residents’ concerns about our stifled mobility. She can’t be just another office-bound department head.
The mayor said Ms. Bravo will be “working more closely with those agencies that provide transportation service in this community, both locally and regionally, in order to more aggressively address the needs of our growing community.” This should be music to everyone’s ears. Lack of connectivity and linkage — on the roads and among the county’s myriad transportation agencies — has hurt the cause.
Ms. Bravo is a good fit for the job. She has been responsible for managing a number of diversified transportation public-private partnership projects. Besides the tunnel, she took part in the Interstate 95 Express Project and the State Road 826/836 interchange reconstruction project and handled the city’s trolley service.
Ms. Bravo, who describes herself as “solution focused,” also is a licensed civil engineer.
We welcome Ms. Bravo to one of the county’s hottest seats.
And this: Last week, with the unveiling of the county’s 2016 budget, the mayor said his finance staff has now identified $2 billion in excess funding capacity that could be available for transportation projects over the next 30 years. Six months ago, such sleuthing had not identified such a hefty windfall. We hope these heretofore unknown billions materialize.
The mayor told the Herald Editorial Board that he has also allotted millions to improve the traffic-light synchronization program with new technology to ease congestion along 10 major community corridors. During our H*ll on Wheels traffic initiative, readers have repeatedly told us that they are certain that the lights are not synchronized. The mayor says they are, but that the boxes that control them need updating so they can be synchronized in real time and for real congestion.
And here’s where readers come in: The mayor said some intersections obviously need remedy, like U.S. 1 and 27th Avenue. But that’s not the only one. We are asking our readers to let us know which chronically clogged intersections are the worst ever and need updated traffic lights.
We’ll make sure the mayor — and Ms. Bravo — get an earful.
Send your nominee to HeraldEd@ MiamiHerald.com or leave your response at 305-376-4627.