|I never said NO to any proposal to help alleviate traffic in Beulah and I have been a DIEHARD NFCU supporter--but the rush to build an overpass on 9-Mile road is ALIENATING many District 1 Residents......|
It is understandably disappointing for NFCU to have been denied the back exit out of their campus by Federal Bureaucrats. I’m as disappointed as they are because I hate it for their employees that wait 30 minutes to leave in the afternoons, and I hate it for Beulah residents like me that get stuck in tremendous traffic multiple times daily due to all the NFCU traffic coming down 9-mile road trying to get on and off the interstate at exit 5.
Traffic is a nightmare and nobody adequately prepared our infrastructure for this prior to permitting all this growth. We all know this but meanwhile we can’t refuse to accept the situation we are facing right now. So yes, the back exit was important. It was prudent. Most importantly—this would have pulled a significant amount of traffic north and away from 9-mile road and exit 5—which would have been good for everybody. The back exit was the most common-sense, economical fix had it been accomplished…. but it was not accomplished.
So YES-- everyone now knows that despite a 2-year effort by NFCU, the county, the Governor, the State legislative delegation, our congressman, our senators, and others in tremendously high positions of power—federal bureaucrats have won-the deep state wins; they said, emphatically, NO to the back exit out of 9-mile road through the welcome center and that is the final word.
Suddenly, however, in the vacuum created by this tremendous rejection, a new plan is rapidly forming to address ostensibly the same issue—getting NFCU employees out of their campus in less than 30 minutes. This new initiative, at a very high cost, is the $70 Million overpass above 9-Mile road at Navy Federal Way. This project will be expensive and will take 4-6 years to complete—if the stars align, funding is made readily available, and all the construction goes without a hitch whatsoever. (A similar project at Hurlburt Field took 15 years from start to finish)
There was a strong, almost aggressive push to add this item to our last BCC meeting on January 18th, but I pulled it from the agenda because I wanted more time to vet the project. I wanted to hold a town hall meeting or two with nearby constituents (the ones that are at their wits end with the construction and traffic on 9-mile road already, the ones that must endure another 5 years of construction and congestion on 9-mile road), I wanted more time to contact and discuss this initiative with other nearby developers that were/are unaware of this project and its potential impacts on their properties. Most importantly I intended to have an independent traffic engineering analysis conducted on what is proposed here.
I’m concerned about a 25’ high overpass towering over the back yards of $500,000.00 houses in Nature Trail. I’m concerned about access limitations to 9-Mile road this project might foist on 3 other nearby developments. I’m concerned about all of Beulah being shoe-horned into one onramp at
exit 5 along with all the NFCU traffic. I’m deeply concerned about the cost and viability of this project on several levels -but I didn’t say no—
And I’m not saying no—I’m simply saying I want 60-90 days to vet the project before it is unveiled to my constituents in my district where I live who will not be happy. All I asked for was a little more time. What I got in return was powerful officials and county staff walking the halls of the BCC offices selling this idea to my counterparts-polling them one by one in back to back meetings in rapid fire succession, then next a series of big meetings in Tallahassee about this project with members of our legislative delegation Wednesday of this week(that I neither knew about nor was invited to) and now, to my complete and utter surprise, another commissioner adding this issue in my district to the agenda for action at next week’s BCC meeting!
Up to this point, the board has been congenial, and we have shown deference to one another particularly with respect to hot-button issues like this in each other’s district. Apparently, and regrettably, it looks like this previously accepted courtesy is now being abandoned. Apparently, we are now going to be bringing impactful items to other members’ districts regardless of what the affected commissioner thinks—if requested by the right constituencies. I lament this change that I hope does not fracture this board or take root.
I think the commissioner closest to the people and representing the district affected should be shown deference and be allowed at least the time necessary or the time requested to fully investigate an issue before it is dropped on anagenda over the objection of he and his constituents.
Looks like we won’t be operating that way anymore though….