How do you measure the success of a scenic highway? One construction barrel at a time.
Mile for mile, the Florida Keys Scenic Highway continues to be a leader in Florida's scenic highway program. Last year, we constructed almost 25 miles of new trail, resurfaced a significant portion of the Overseas Highway, added bike lanes to the highway shoulders, added seven pedestrian crossings to improve safety, and brought a spectacular eight-acre waterfront parcel on Florida Bay into the public domain.
We're not done yet.
This year, we are adding bike lanes along the entire County Road 905 route through the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, rehabilitating two of Henry Flagler's old railroad bridges, designing two scenic overlooks, installing more than 10 miles of landscaping, starting the rehabilitation design for the iconic old Seven Mile Bridge, adding six more miles of trail and constructing a pedestrian overpass across Adams Cut.
The overwhelming success of the Florida Keys Scenic Highway Program is due to the continued commitment by a host of public and private partners.
Being an Area of Critical State Concern, our region faces more challenges than any other area of Florida. On a daily basis, we work to balance development rights, environmental protection, a booming tourism-based economy, hurricane evacuation needs and quality-of-life issues for our residents.
Our scenic highway corridor is surrounded by a national marine sanctuary, and we have five state parks; wildlife refuges; six local governments; a state road department; a state-designated trail; water, power, wastewater and telephone utilities; National Register of Historic Places structures, more endangered plants and animals than any other place in Florida, commercial businesses, and layers of bureaucracy and permitting issues for every good scenic highway idea that we want to bring to fruition.
It didn't take long to realize that these issues would be insurmountable for a single entity to overcome. Our corridor management entity (a term coined by the state Department of Transportation) was forced to morph into a strong partnership between various government agencies, our 501(c)3 group and the private sector businesses that line the highway.
The public is encouraged to help strengthen the scenic highway message by participating in scenic highway events and offering big ideas to improve the corridor. We all take our role as stewards of Florida's only federally designated All American Road very seriously.
For more information about the Florida Keys Scenic Highway, please contact me at 304-0412 or via e-mail a firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to join the Florida Keys Scenic Corridor Alliance, our 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, contact President Gina Boilini, at email@example.com.
Monroe County transportation planning manager