Saturday, June 19, 2010

River of Grass Greenway (ROGG) needs your help

There's still time to submit your letters by the July 27th deadline!

July 8th Alert:
From Ken Bryan, Florida Director
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

The proposed River of Grass Greenway, when completed, will span the Everglades from Naples to Miami. But the omission of the pathway from an important planning study now would create huge barriers to its completion in the future.

Your comments can help convince planners to include this multi-use pathway in the Tamiami Trail Modifications (TTM) project—but time is of the essence.

Please consider taking action today to help make the River of Grass Greenway a reality tomorrow.

June 28th Alert from Friends of ROGG:
Hello ROGG supporters

ACTION NEEDED. A feasibility study is being conducted to build more bridges ("TTM" project) in ROGG route that is west of Krome Ave. We need to convince the planners to include a multi-use pathway in their study.

We believe this can be done – if we have overwhelming public response.

How you can help:
attend PUBLIC WORKSHOP June 24, 6- 9 pm at South Dade Regional Library 1st Floor,10750 SW 211th St, Cutler Bay, Florida. (presentation at 7 pm)

submit PUBLIC COMMENTS by mail or email or at TTM website before July 27.
ROGG Committee will provide suggested comments after attending public workshop.

TTM Project info:
Send comments to:, Project Manager for TTM: Next Steps Project

BikeWalkLee's Letter of Support
To: Bruce Boler, NPS

Project Manager for TTM
Date: June 20, 2010

Subject: Comments on Tamiami Trail Modification project in support of multi-use pathway

BikeWalkLee, a grassroots coalition working to complete Lee County’s streets, requests the Tamiami Trail Modifications (TTM) project include consideration of a multi-use pathway in the feasibility study. This planned project which will build more bridges in the ROGG route west of Krome Avenue in Miami, is the only way a cross-state multi-use facility in the Everglades will be possible, unless FDOT changes its position about using interstate right-of-ways.

Currently, a multi-use pathway, the River of Grass Greenway (ROGG), is planned across the state along US 41, which BikeWalkLee strongly supports. A pathway in the TTM project would become a component of ROGG. It is essential that this pathway be planned up front now or plan for it to cost more (or not be possible at all) later. The concept of complete streets is to accommodate all users of our roadways at the front-end of the planning process so that we don’t have to pay for expensive retrofits later. We are currently paying for decades of bad roadway planning that didn’t provide accommodations for other modes of transportation and is now having to be retrofitted at a high cost to taxpayers. In these hard economic times, it is critical at all levels of government that we “do it right the first time”. The estimated increase in the overall cost of the project (7-11%) for including a pathway is consistent with the USDOT guidelines (10% or under) of the increase in overall project cost that is not considered “excessive”. Thus, this project does not merit an exemption from the requirement that the roads accommodate all users.

This regional pathway across South Florida is of significant regional importance. It is needed for the safety of bikers and walkers, has widespread support from residents of Lee County, and would be a great economic asset for Southwest Florida. Excluding a pathway from the alternatives to be considered in the EIS would be very short-sighted and inconsistent with the USDOT’s stated vision of “transportation for a new generation” and its commitment to a complete streets policy. We urge you not to shortchange our children and grandchildren in this project.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.
Darla Letourneau

Include Pathway in TTM Plans

by ROGG Committee 6/17/10
What is TTM?
Tamiami Trail Modification: Next Steps (TTM) is a project to evaluate the feasibility of additional bridging of the Tamiami Trail to restore water flow within the Everglades.
• project area is 10 miles long, between 2-12 miles west of Krome Ave.
• lead agency is Everglades National Park, in technical collaboration with Army Corps of Engineers.

A Draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) has been released for public comment, and includes six bridging “alternatives”, ranging from 0 to 5.5 bridge miles, costing up to $330 million. A public workshop will be held June 24. Public comment period ends July 27, 2010.

More information available at the Park Service's website, select “Everglades NP” from the drop down box, then “Tamiami Trail Modifications: Next Steps Project”.

***NONE of the proposed alternatives includes a multi-use pathway***

Multi-use pathway
Proposed pathway: a hard-surfaced 12-ft-wide pathway for non-motorized transportation and recreation, separated from traffic, and safe for users of all abilities and ages.

Reasons to include multi-use pathway in EIS alternatives
• The pathway provides a unique opportunity for education of Everglades restoration, especially considering the close proximity of the TTM project to the greater Miami area. Panoramic views from bridges will provide excellent platforms for witnessing restoration, and best appreciated at speeds far below 55 mph. Without the pathway, TTM project has negligible educational value, yet a primary mission of the National Parks is education.

• Encouraging non-motorized transportation within the Everglades natural area magnifies the environmental value of this project.

Pathway will reduce congestion and carbon emissions; reduce dependency on oil; improve visitor mobility and accessibility.

• US 41 is an integral transportation corridor, thus a full evaluation of transportation issues should be included in the EIS. Federal and state DOT policies require consideration of bike/ped facilities when improving major roads.

US 41 is the only cross-state transportation corridor in southern Florida open to cyclists and hikers, and the sole access road to innumerable Everglades destinations.

• A multi-use pathway, the River of Grass Greenway (ROGG), is planned across the state along US 41. Pathway in TTM project would become a component of ROGG. Adding a pathway after TTM is completed would be very costly.

Cost of pathway
Preliminary evaluation in Draft EIS provides estimates for pathway (p. 4-57) that would result in 7-11% increase in project cost.

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