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Another perspective on the beauty all around us here in the 305. (📸: @azeez.bakare)
ABOUT THAT BIG DECISION…
Tomorrow the Miami-Dade County Commission will meet to vote on whether to extend the 836 (aka the Dolphin Expressway) about 14 miles to the southwest (exact route still TBD).
Right now Kendall residents have to slog through several miles of bumper-to-bumper gridlock on roads like Kendall Drive before they can hop on a highway that will take them to their jobs north and east.
Miami-Dade County’s proposed solution is a highway extension – one that will be built past the county’s urban development boundary, through wetlands that supply drinking water and help with flood control.
What the commission decides tomorrow is about a lot more than the highway extension. It will also say a lot about what kind of development Miami can expect in the future.
WHY PEOPLE SUPPORT THE HIGHWAY EXTENSION
Supporters point to southwest Miami-Dade residents’ desperate need to get out of gridlock. Time is money, and those residents are losing a ton of time stuck behind their steering wheels every weekday.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is one of the biggest supporters of the extension (here’s his full op-ed in the Miami Herald on why). The situation Kendall residents face is totally unsustainable, he says, and only a highway extension can ease their pain.
WHY PEOPLE OPPOSE THE EXTENSION
Opponents argue that building a highway may ease the traffic in the short-term, but in the long run, it will encourage even more sprawl, which means more people and more cars trying to make the same commute. A highway extension is only a short-term fix.
They’re pushing hard for the county to take some meaningful steps toward reducing our dependence on cars and investing in transit to Kendall instead. Read an op-ed that dives into the argument against the extension here.
On top of the smart growth argument, there’s the environmental one. Whatever route the highway extension takes, it will encroach on wetlands that supply drinking water, help with flood control, provide a habitat for many animals, and feed other parts of the Everglades. This Herald story has the details.
And there’s one more thing: the highway will have to be built beyond the urban development boundary.
RIGHT, SO WHAT’S THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT BOUNDARY?
The UDB is an imaginary line drawn along the western and southern edge of Miami-Dade County. There can’t be any development beyond the UDB. It’s meant to protect the Everglades, which begin just west of it. It’s been amended (a.k.a. moved south and west) dozens of times since it was created in 1976.
Environmentalists worry that allowing the highway to be built past it makes it more likely that the county commission will later approve totally extending the UDB, allowing even more significant development out there. Moving it requires a two-thirds vote. (But that’s not on the table at this point.)
OK, SO WHAT’S HAPPENING TOMORROW?
A meeting on the Comprehensive Development Master Plan. The commission will be voting on two amendments to the CDMP that would allow the highway extension to be built.
If the amendments pass, the proposal gets kicked up to the state government. If they approve it, it comes back to the county commission for a second hearing and final approval.
If the amendments fail, that kills the project, at least for now. But the traffic pressure is so great that it’s probably not the last time this will come up.
I’VE GOT FEELINGS ABOUT THIS. WHAT CAN I DO?
You can attend the meeting tomorrow, which begins at 9 a.m. in the county commission chambers (111 N.W. 1st Street, 2nd floor). There will be time for public comment in support and opposition to the amendments.
Given the strong government support in favor of the extension, there hasn’t been a ton of organizing in support of it, although there is a petition supporting it here.
But if you’re opposed to the amendment, you can link up with smart growth group Transit Alliance Miami – the ones behind “Another Sexy Highway” – or environmental groups like Friends of the Everglades, Audubon Florida, and Catalyst Miami, all of whom have been vocal opponents. You can also call your county commissioners.
PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC
Unlike some of those other rando “holidays” that seem to pop up out of nowhere (looking your way National Button Day), Make Music Day is the real deal. It’s a day-long, free, live music celebration that happens worldwide on June 21 every year, with more than 800 cities participating.
The goal of Miami’s Make Music Day is to expose every resident of Miami-Dade County to either a music making opportunity, or a free performance.
We chatted with one of the organizers, Justin Trieger, who dropped some knowledge about the history of the holiday and the kinds of activations we can expect – like free karaoke, music classes, and performances of every genre imaginable.
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WHAT’S NEW IN THE 305
In our own backyard. The separation of immigrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border has dominated conversation nationwide, and it seems like some of those children might end up here in South Florida. The Trump administration has re-opened the Obama-era “Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children,” although it’s not clear now whether it’s for children who came unaccompanied, or were separated from their families at the border. The Miami Herald took a trip down there to try and piece together what’s happening. (Miami Herald)
On a related note… Gov. Rick Scott joined other state and national politicians from SoFlo in opposing the policy of separating families if they cross the U.S. border illegally, but didn’t actually come out and call for an end to the policy. Instead he blamed the situation on “bipartisan inaction and failure from our federal government.” (Politico Florida, Miami Herald)
Started at the bottom now we here. The Fortune 500 now has a company repping both the 305 and the Cuban exile community. MasTec, a major construction firm based here, is ranked as the 428th-largest publicly traded company in the U.S. The firm was founded by the late Jorge Mas Canosa, who made his way to Miami from Cuba in 1960 and first worked here as a milkman. Last year the firm reported $6 billion in revenue. You might recognize the name because his two sons, Jose and Jorge Mas, are part of David Beckham’s Major League Soccer ownership group. (Miami Herald)
Man in the machine. Remember those driverless vans doing food delivery that Ford hyped so hard? Turns out they’re not so driverless. The “driverless” aspect is about testing how people react when they pick up their orders from the vehicles, but there’s still a human in there behind the wheel. Keep that in mind if one of them ends up cutting you off in traffic. (Miami New Times)
Exile museum in limbo. The Cuban Exile History Museum may soon be on a quest for new digs – after years of lobbying for a spot on “Parcel B” behind AmericanAirlines Arena, supporters say they don’t think they can overcome longer-running support for creating a community park there. The county commission was supposed to vote today on whether to give the museum a lease to the land, but it sounds like the vote is off. (Miami Herald)
It’s complicated. Decreased water flow in the Everglades has caused major marsh die-offs in recent years, but the River of Grass is about to get a lifeline. Federal officials are raising a section of Tamiami Trail so that freshwater can freely flow south once again, restoring more natural water flow throughout the ecosystem. But farmers and residents, including the Miccosukee Tribe, are not so excited. They’re worried about flooding farmland and nearby residential areas. (Miami Herald)
OUR PARTNER EVENTS
⚽ Multiple dates through 7/15: World Cup Viewing at Charcoal beer garden + tapas pop-up (Wynwood)
🎶 Thursday: Jam all over the 305 on Make Music Day (South Beach)
🕉 Thursday: Get zen at New World on International Yoga Day (South Beach)
🖼Tuesday, June 26: Enjoy some food, drink and music while bidding on art (Miami Beach)
📽Friday, June 29: Check out a vintage Japanese gangster film at O Cinema (Wynwood)
🔬Saturday, June 30: Have some summer fun with the kiddos at the Yard (Wynwood)
🗣Saturday, June 30: Hear from legendary poets at the Maroon Poetry Festival (Liberty City)
👨💻 Talk entrepreneurship and innovation with the Beacon Council (Coral Gables)
🎵 Listen to Talib Kweli spin at Wood Tavern (Wynwood)
🕰 Have a fireside chat with the founder of Plum (Wynwood)
📗 Hear Ben Rhodes’s take on working in the Obama White House (Coral Gables)
🙏 Celebrate International Yoga Day on Palm Court (Design District)
🎤 Jahzel Dotel takes over PAMM Third Thursdays (Downtown)
🎭 America’s Short Play Festival comes to town – through Sunday (Downtown)
🏢Test your Dunder Mifflin knowledge at an “Office” trivia night (Brickell)
🍻 Celebrate the life of bartender John Lermayer (Miami Beach)
🎷 Catch some jazz at Ball and Chain (Little Havana)
👞 “Won’t you be my Neighbor?” premieres (Coral Gables)
📽Watch a screening of “Black Panther” at the Barnacle (Coconut Grove)
🗣Join an all-day planning summit on TPS and next steps (Little Haiti)
😅 Get your rear in gear at PAMM (Downtown)
🍍 Eat all the tropical fruit at this festival – through Sunday (Redland)
🎸 Flor de Toloache takes over the 1 Hotel penthouse (South Beach)
🎲 Drink, dance, and play dominoes – 50 percent off with code “domino50” (Downtown)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with New Tropic membership.
ONE MORE THING
Today is Juneteenth, the commemoration of when slavery was abolished in Texas back in 1865. Black leaders, activist groups and organizers see today as a moment to reflect on where the community has come from and where it’s headed.
ICYMI in our newsletter calendar above, BlackTech Week and the Miami-Dade NAACP have organized a BBQ celebration tonight. You can find all the info and tickets here.
– The New Tropic