Open Letter to Governor DeSantis: Time to Reel In FDOT

Dear Governor DeSantis,

Here’s a summary of today’s meeting with FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault and District 6 Secretary Jim Wolfe regarding Biscayne Boulevard.

It became clear that FDOT will not make any safety improvements to Biscayne Boulevard anytime soon, even though there have been over 2,550 crashes in an 8 year period (3.3 mile stretch of Biscayne Boulevard) and there seems to be almost weekly car crashes where motor vehicles end up on the sidewalk and crashing into people, buildings, bus shelters, trees, mid-block crosswalk signals, light posts, fire hydrants, garbage cans, sign posts, etc.   

FDOT insists that the problem on Biscayne Boulevard is an “enforcement issue” and not a ”design issue”. The truth is that we cannot enforce our way out of this problem.  It is simply too expensive (police salary, pension, benefits, etc) and our police officers should be focused on more important things than issuing speeding tickets. FDOT needs to design roads that don’t encourage speeding and that requires as little enforcement as possible. It is possible to design roads that discourage speeding. However FDOT, for some reason, does not want to design roads with the safety of all users as their #1 priority.  This fact became painfully obvious during today’s meeting. 

In addition, in a brief side conversation I had with Secretary Thibault, it was suggested that if we wanted to make design changes to Biscayne Boulevard “the local municipality should take ownership/control of the road.”

Punting the problem to the local municipality, in this case the City of Miami, isn’t the solution. FDOT needs to own this problem (and also the fact that Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians and cyclists). FDOT needs to provide solutions not only to make Biscayne Boulevard safer, but to make all FDOT streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Does FDOT expect that all local municipalities should take over ownership of the thousands of miles of FDOT owned roads throughout the state so that FDOT doesn’t have to design streets with safety as the #1 priority?  

Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the country and most of this growth is happening in our cities. Pedestrian and cyclist deaths will continue to rise in Florida if FDOT is not reeled in. 

We need your help Governor DeSantis.  What can you do to help Floridians?

Felipe Azenha