Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mayor Re-Elected as Chair of Florida MPOAC

On Jan. 26, Mayor Richard J. Kaplan, was re-elected to be the Chair of the Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council (MPOAC). This is the state organization representing all Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) in the State of Florida. Mayor Kaplan is also the Chair of the Broward County MPO, which is a member of the MPOAC.

MPO's were created by Federal Law for the purpose of planning transporation matters within urbanized areas of the United States. Presently, there are 388 MPO's in the U.S., with 26 of them in Florida. Prior to proceeding with transporation projects, MPO's are charged with the responsibility of determining when and how a particular transporation or transporation related matter may go forward. Road, transit, airports, seaports, bicycle lanes, beautification projects along transit routes, sidewalks, and greeways are just a few of the matters an MPO may have to review.

Mayor Kaplan has served on the MPOAC since 1992, and has been its chair since 2000.


Kelly said...

As the newly reelected Chairman of MPOAC perhaps you can somehow overcome Lauderdale Lakes obstacles that have prevented a Turnpike interchange at Oakland.

An interchange with a large beautiful waterfall & statue of Gleason would certainly put Lauderhill on the map and be big boom to local businesses & property values.

Florida turnpike today has 6 lanes feeding the Sunrise Interchange; the 6 lanes are to be widened to 10 lanes at cost of $496 million. Feeder roads (56 Ave, 47 Ave, 441, etc) in Lauderhill may go from gridlock to lock down. Predictable traffic nightmares could be avoided by providing a desperately needed new interchange at Oakland, like or similar to Turnpike's desired plan.
....................Ref. Sun-Sentinel "Turnpike Turmoil" article posted below in Interchange

eLauderhill said...

It's actually as Chair of the Broward County MPO that I might have some influence. The obstacles come from a lack of initiative to resolve the problem in Lauderdale Lakes along Oakland Park Blvd. This is an internal matter to their city which they must address. However, their city has much to address, and though I can try to nudge them, they must be the one to move forward.

I believe the answer would require a service road running along Oakland Park Blvd. to allow them to remove so many of their traffic lights. This would require the taking of property, which they would find expensive, and politically a problem.

Of course, I would assist in any way that I can, but I cannot direct them into the answer.

As far as our side of the turnpike, some of my other articles speak of matters we are putting forward. Stay tune for more on this subject.

kelly said...

FYI...copy informative article.
TURNPIKE RAMP PLAN RESURFACES..... 5/8/05 Miami Herald by Diana Moskovitz

A group of Broward condominium associations and a hospital want to revive plans for a turnpike interchange at Oakland Park Boulevard.

Florida's Turnpike officials like the idea, saying it could relieve congestion at the nearby Sunrise and Commercial boulevard interchanges.

But Oakland Park Boulevard in that area is congested, and some officials are worried a new traffic light for the interchange will only make things worse.

The idea goes back to at least 1991 and has been looked at twice before, but died from a lack of support.

The Broward Coalition, which represents more than 70 condo and homeowner associations and community groups, began asking turnpike officials to study building an interchange.

Interstate ``95 has has an exit at Oakland Park Boulevard. There's no reason the turnpike shouldn't,'' said Bill Kling, chairman of the coalition's transportation committee.

Also supporting the drive for an interchange is Florida Medical Center, a private hospital in Lauderdale Lakes, immediately southeast of the interchange site.

The project would likely need support from the cities of Lauderdale Lakes and Lauderhill, and from the county transportation planning board.

Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan, who also is chairman of the transportation board, said adding the exit would worsen traffic on Oakland Park Boulevard.

Kaplan said he supports an interchange in principle, but has yet to see a specific proposal that would work.

``Someone has to come up with a design that will not make the traffic problem worse,'' Kaplan said.


State highway officials don't agree about whether the interchange would worsen traffic on the road.

Randy Fox, the planning manager for the Florida Department of Transportation's turnpike division, said traffic on Oakland Park Boulevard is so bad that the added vehicles from a new interchange wouldn't make it much worse.

Fox said the interchange might relieve congestion at the Commercial and Sunrise exits because some of those drivers really want to go to Oakland Park.

Thirteen traffic lights fill the two-mile stretch of Oakland Park near where the new ramps would go. At this point, Fox said, adding another signal for the interchange would add minimal delays.

``It couldn't get congested anymore,'' he said. ``It's already pretty much packed to the limit.''

But John Krane, a transportation planning engineer for the local FDOT division that manages Oakland Park Boulevard, is looking at the proposal from a different view - and at a different time.

A new interchange might have little effect on rush-hour traffic, but it could make traffic worse during the rest of the day, Krane said.

``Maybe it won't get worse in the peak hour, but you could have more hours of the day looking like that peak hour,'' he said.

Road improvements, like removing traffic lights or consolidating business driveways, might be necessary to offset these impacts, Krane said.

On the Lauderdale Lakes side, the interchange has lost a major opponent since the project was first discussed.

Residents of the Hawaiian Gardens condominium community, with 1,800 units just east of the interchange site, used to oppose the project.

Previous residents included thousands of seniors worried about losing their quiet lifestyle, City Commissioner David Shomers said. But many of the retirees have been replaced with those who still work and Canadian snowbirds, Shomers said.

Added noise is coming even without the interchange because of plans to widen the turnpike to four lanes in each direction. The widening alone will require adding noise walls near Hawaiian Gardens.

Meanwhile, more businesses are taking root along Oakland Park Boulevard. For them, turnpike access would be a benefit, making it easier for more customers from outside Lauderdale Lakes to visit them, Shomers said.

``We're just growing up, and we need more access,'' he said.

Kaplan said Lauderhill would be willing to compromise with a partial interchange allowing only exiting from the turnpike.

But a 2001 study by turnpike engineers discounted that idea because it could confuse drivers.

Until a compromise is worked out, the project could remain what it has been for the past 14 years - just an idea.

Fox said the key will be getting enough supporters behind it to push it forward.

``When there is enough momentum, these things bubble up to the top, and they get done,'' Fox said.

* State highway engineers have not determined the precise layout for a possible Florida's Turnpike interchange at Oakland Park Boulevard. But this much is clear: It wouldn't be one of the old-fashioned ``trumpet'' exits, where a large loop carried vehicles on and off the highway.

* Instead, the ramps would likely run parallel to the turnpike.

* Planners now prefer the parallel design because it includes two toll plazas instead of one, which divides the traffic and reduces congestion around the booths.