By Michael A. Rodriguez, NAFAPAC
Its time for elections in Doral again and the candidates running for Mayor of Doral are sending the voters literature in the mail but the information they are providing is very vague. We need real commitments on what they are planning to do with traffic and flooding in Doral. These are two issues concerning the resident of Doral today.
Before Doral became a city, the infrastructures for roads and storm sewers were the responsibility of the Miami Dade County government. The city inherited two marginal systems to deal with the unexpected growth in our city today. Now, we are paying the price. Since the City of Doral took over the planning for our future, we have seen many positive changes and improvements; but in many instances, fixing the old problems will not be easy, it will cost billions of dollars and it will take a few years to fix.
Road and Traffic.
Today, the road and traffic conditions need more attention and we expect that the three candidates running for Mayor provide more specifics on how they are going to fix the problem, instead of vague single line campaign talk.
Our streets are getting overcrowded as a result of the construction of more housing units and the additional cars associated with each house. The only access from the North West corner of the city to reach NW 41 Street are NW 114 Avenue and NW 107 Avenue and the traffic delays are long and frustrating for our residents during rush hours. We need to recognize that these two avenues have areas where expansion to three lanes each way are difficult and costly; but, there are other options to relief the volume of traffic on these avenues. In addition, the traffic congestions on NW 97 Avenue and NW 87 Avenue are affected as well.
In fairness, in the last few years we have seen some road improvements with the new NW 74 Street access to and from the turnpike and the extension of three lanes each way of NW 74 Street connecting East and West with the Palmetto. This alleviated the traffic on NW 58 Street and NW 41 Street, but more must be done.
However, it is alarming to watch the number of new housing units being built today north of NW 58 Street. These new housing units will add an estimated 800 to 1000 new cars on our two overloaded main access roads going south from the North West part of town and by the end of this year the traffic congestions in Doral will be astronomical. As long as our city government continues approving housing projects without fixing our roads, our traffic conditions will be getting worse.
The city and county have several road improvement projects in the planning stage or ready to go but these projects will not become a reality overnight. I can go on and on writing about traffic problems in Doral and submitting suggestions; but the key question is, what are the candidates running for Mayor proposing to do to improve the traffic congestion is Doral?
All things considered, it is time to implement a “Moratorium” of new Housing projects in Doral until the roads are fixed; expanded and new roads are built instead of “adding more wood to the fire” with more housing units. Let’s take into consideration the frustration of the residents in Doral first, and approving more housing projects last. Let’s stop making concessions with developers while the residents suffer the consequences. Let’s put our quality of life first. It is time for the candidates to act with transparency and commitments to help the residents in our community.
Rain and Flooding.
The other problem we are facing in Doral is the flooding of our streets. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd was an eye opener for our city with mayor flooding of our streets. At that time, we had many acres of open green areas in Doral but now the conditions have changed for the worse. As we build more housing, the rain water falling on the roof of homes and paved back yards cannot find enough green areas to seep into the ground and large volumes of water end up on the streets of our communities and into the storm sewers which in many cases are undersized, or in need of upgrading. The crude fact is that, as we eliminate the green areas with more housing and paved areas, the flooding will get worse and the potential for flooding reaching our home becomes very real and alarming. Residents have been watching these flooding conditions in their communities during recent rain storms. We need to protect our homes and, whether the responsibility falls on Miami Dade County or our City, we must take action. We need to address this issue with urgency or we will experience damages to our homes in the thousands of dollars.
The City of Doral should also take a strong position with Community Associations within our city limits by keeping track on what they are doing with respect to cleaning catch basins and undersized storm sewers to prevent flooding. The city should also approve ordinances forcing community associations to do frequent cleaning of storm sewers in their communities, make improvements to correct flooding conditions and submit reports to the city with updates. Many residents are already complaining to the city about flooding.
In many instances, residents driving through our city during and after a rain storm will find many streets with large puddles of water causing traffic slow downs and more traffic problems. As we can see, rain and traffic are very close related and during rush hour the driving becomes hazardous, and an obstacle course of major proportions.
Within the last year, the South East corner of Doral experienced serious flooding problems causing our streets to flood, creating more traffic problems. This is a warning! Without any doubt, a hurricane will come along sooner or later dumping 20” of heavy rainfall in one hour and we will have flooding reaching our homes because the rain water will have no place to go. If the city needs to build lift stations, let’s do it.
In summary, we want the candidates running for Mayor to address these two issues and tell us what they are proposing to do, if elected Mayor in November. We do not want vague answers and empty promises. We want commitments and solid proposals to show the residents of Doral that they have a strategic plan to solve our traffic and flooding problems in Doral. The Lord has given us the rain; but, He also has given us intelligence and ingenuity to achieve the impossible, to build and conquer; so, let’s use the Lord’s wisdom to master these challenges.