Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Turnpike Exchange at Oakland Park Blvd.
A resident posed a question on why we can't have a turnpike interchange at Oakland Park Blvd. That discussion has been going on for over 12 years, and no resolution has been found. It is both an issue of great concern to Lauderhill, and a really important question. Why isn't there an interchange there?
Back in the early 1990's monies were allocated by the State and County to study an interchange. At the time there was no interest to proceed, and ultimately the study was never completed.
A few years ago, interest renewed itself on looking at an interchange again, initiating in Lauderdale Lakes. This was in conjunction with the plans to widen the turnpike and adding noise walls. The City of Lauderhill supported such a study, but had several concerns. Primarily the concerns had to deal with traffic flow on Oakland Park Blvd. With numerous traffic lights from State Road 7 to Inverrary Blvd., it was hard to figure how the directing of traffic onto these streets without redesigning the traffic lights on Oakland Park Blvd., would be possible.
The Turnpike Authority did develop a computer design showing how it could manage this traffic. The problem was that the design was fatally flawed, and provided assumptions that would not be possible. My favorite one was the removal of the Inverrary Waterfall. With this failure, the Turnpike Authority was sent back to review this matter with the request of only a partial interchange.
Their original design was to put another traffic light on top of the bridge over the turnpike to provide a full interchange. This would have only made the situation on Oakland Park much worse. Their answer was that since the traffic was so bad anyhow, adding to it wouldn't make much more of a difference. The partial interchange idea would have allowed Sun-Pass entry onto the Turnpike, but only from specific directions.
The problem was, and remains to this day, is that the Turnpike Authority has only shown interest in building a full exchange, not a partial exchange, which could be implemented. The other problem, redesigning the lights along Oakland Park from State Road 7 to the Turnpike has never materialized. The City of Lauderdale Lakes, where this problem exists, has never initiated any progress to resolve. Without the internal interest and dedication of its resources to initiate such changes in their city, little will be produced towards implementing a solution.
The Lauderhill side of the equation is at two points. First is the misalignment of Rock Island Road and 55th Avenue. This we had tried to fix, but since the solution involves a taking of private property, to which the property owner is not interested in, this has led us to a dead end. The other is the removal of the pedestrian walk over. The city has proposed to its removal and realignment to the 55th Avenue traffic light, and this may occur.
Therefore, until the Turnpike Authority returns with a better design to the problem, willing to accept half a loaf, and the City of Lauderdale Lakes pushes to remove several of the lights on Oakland Park, which would require the construction of service lanes, not much will happen in the near future towards an intersection.
This is not to say that there are those that would like to get this accomplished, including the author. However, it would take an extraordinary act of cooperation and compromise to see this through. The City of Lauderhill, on several occasions has supported such movement, only to find a lack of willing partners to proceed.