Palmetto Expressway tolls not all bad, drivers say

Friday, October 18, 2019 0 Comments

Palmetto Expressway tolls not all bad, drivers say
The dreaded Palmetto Expressway may have a new nickname: the not so bad Palmetto, perhaps?
On Sept. 23, drivers using new express lanes on the Palmetto Expressway began paying tolls with their Sunpass transponders.
Some Miami Lakes drivers like the express lanes; others, not so much.
Whatever one’s feelings about the tolls, those who watch traffic on Northwest 154th Street said the town’s main east-west artery is less congested.
And that’s not just because traffic lights were synchronized earlier this year.
“I’ve noticed the traffic has significantly improved on 154th since the new tolls,” Miami Dade Police
Lt. Jose Gonzalez said during rush hour on a recent Thursday morning. “There is no more backup to get onto the Palmetto.”
Less time sitting in traffic is fine, but it comes at a cost that some grudgingly pay.
Miami Laker Michael
Ferguson feels forced to take the express lane to get to work in Coral Gables.
“I pay the tolls because I have to,” Ferguson said. “If not, my [round trip] commute would be three hours a day.”
Toll prices fluctuate, depending on congestion on the highway.
Southbound drivers can access the express lanes just south of Northwest 170th Street or by connecting directly from the I-75 Express Lanes to the Palmetto Express Lanes.
Northbound drivers access the express corridor at Okeechobee Road or Northwest 103rd Street.
Sydney Dixon commutes from Miami Lakes to South Beach each day and has resisted driving in the express lane.
“I’ve used it once but when the toll price was low,” Dixon said. “Sometimes prices are outrageous.”
She wondered if losing a regular lane to the express lane meant traffic was more congested for most drivers.
An unscientific poll of Facebook users drew these responses:
“Love it! Happy to pay it is saving me an hour of commute daily!” and “I take it in the afternoons and don’t mind paying $1.50. I just wish I could get off on 154th. It’s saving me 1/2 hr commute!”
One writer resented having to pay tolls at all.
“Has become a “JOKE.” We pay taxes and on top of that have to pay TOLLS to get on time to work.”
Early next year, a light at the end of the southbound entrance ramp will briefly halt cars before they drive onto the expressway.
The purpose is to further manage traffic flow, the
Florida Department of Transportation said.

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