In a move celebrated by representatives for Miami’s automotive community, the Florida Department of Transportation announced last week that starting in this summer all state roads in South Florida will have merge lanes repurposed into “Mega-Boost Super Passing Lanes”. The decision was applauded by a majority quorum of Miami-Dade County Commissioners as “innovative”, “forward-thinking”, and “the first of its kind in the nation, if not the world.”
The lane changes will designate all repurposed areas as “no-yield zones”, in which motorists are permitted to use former right-hand merging lanes to accelerate to at least 15 miles per hour above the speed limit in order to pass any obstructive drivers on the left. Plans include repainting the lanes with reflective arrows to indicate faster velocities and spatial entitlement. Drivers using the “Mega-Boost Super Passing Lanes” will have the standard limited distance for merging, but are now expected to overcome slower traffic and transfer into the left-hand lane immediately. Turn signals are optional. Police have been instructed to enforce proper conduct by citing drivers for minimum speed violations, at the officer's discretion.
“We realize what Miami needs to make our increasingly dense traffic move,” FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego explained in an interview with The Plantain. “Our traffic concerns are not going anywhere, so we need to think outside the box- traditional roadway plans clearly aren’t serving our community.”
After months of contentious and frustrated exchanges between various committees on infrastructure, FDOT’s lane realignment plan was first proposed to the Metropolitan Planning Organization, receiving instant approval for advancement to the County Commission. According to MPO transcripts, the proposals were met with unanimous applause, prompting District 12 Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz” to enthusiastically declare: “There’s our solution. Let’s put those suggestions for expanding transit and Metrorail lines to bed.”
While final approval from the County Commission was slightly more tepid, FDOT received enough votes from district representatives to move ahead. District 13 Commissioner Esteban Bovo, who sponsored the proposal and introduced it before the commission, energetically voted in favor with two thumb’s up.
“This is one of the best transportation plans I’ve encountered on this commission,” he remarked in closing statements. He then added: “Thankfully, I can stop setting an example by taking the train.”
According to Pego, the “Mega-Boost Super Passing Lanes” were inspired during a routine FDOT staff meeting while transportation planners were participating in a daily Super Mario Kart competition. While staffers bickered over a particularly heated race between Luigi, Bowser, and Princess Daisy, one FDOT employee is reported to have snapped his fingers and exclaimed: “Wait a minute! Why don’t we try that?”
The plan, nicknamed in interoffice correspondence as the “Rainbow Road Realignment Proposal”, was included among a number of similarly inspired suggestions, such as a partnership with Waste Management to dump discarded banana peels on all major state roads. Other designs included increasing funding to the Seaquarium in exchange for deceased sea turtle’s shells to repurpose as barricades against slower drivers, and to develop a good-conduct reward system in which motorists with no history of traffic violations or collisions will be permitted to carry one Bob-Omb per weekly commute to toss into neighboring vehicles and thereby clear roadway congestion.
“FDOT relies upon Mario Kart to model roadway infrastructure planning,” claimed Pego. “It’s the perfect system for roadway efficiency that both speeds up commutes and encourages Miami drivers to adopt a healthy combative automotive conduct.”
The minority opponent to the proposal, District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine-Cava, voiced her apprehension before the quorum, citing her concerns that the plan would endanger drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, and likely result in serious injuries, if not deaths.
“Miami-Dade already has one of the highest roadway fatality rates in the country,” she explained in her dissent. “Do we really want to enhance those numbers exponentially?”
Her appeal was not enough to sway support, however, as fellow commissioners used her logic against her. One refutal, from District 11 Commissioner Joe Martinez, claimed: “Those numbers would be short term, since any fatalities would just clear up more road space for everyone who can handle the responsibility of being a driver.”
The only other dissenting vote on the plan was from District 10 Commissioner Javier Souto, who slept through the entire meeting. His slumber was interpreted as abstention.
Motorists can expect the “Mega-Boost Super Passing Lanes” to open county-wide on June 1st. Bob-omb deliveries and waiver forms will be mailed to addresses registered with each qualifying vehicle.