Can Miami fix the traffic nightmare in Brickell? Plans are in the works.

Brickell has become a focal point for Miami nightlife and lifestyle. But along with the skyscrapers and glitz has come gridlock and safety concerns.

Brickell has become notorious for reckless driving and lack of pedestrian-friendly walkways, resulting in a number of injuries and fatalities. Miami-Dade County has more road fatalities per 100,000 people than Washington D.C., Seattle, and Los Angeles. Crashes in our area result on average in about four deaths and 16 injuries every week. 

Several specific incidents in the Brickell area highlight the problem: 

On Dec. 18, 2021, witnesses reported cars were street racing on Southeast Seventh Street when one lost control and hit two college students. Both victims were severely injured after the incident. 

On Dec. 9, 2021, another incident involved a drunk driver and a motorcyclist. 

The city of Miami is working to make Brickell’s streets and sidewalks safer. Brickell’s busiest intersection was rebuilt in February 2022. with a scramble crosswalk that allows pedestrians to cross the street in any direction (diagonally and perpendicularly) and prohibits cars from turning on red. 

“As a resident of downtown Miami, I have firsthand experience of the challenges pedestrians face in navigating through busy streets,” said Miami-Dade District 5 Commissioner Eileen Higgins. “I am thrilled that DTPW has moved forward with adding scramble crosswalks to its toolbox of strategies that improve the pedestrian experience – getting our residents out of their cars and into their sneakers.” 

Although the city is slowly taking action, residents are pleading for more officers to supervise the area. 

“If we let the streets in Brickell remain highway-like, residents will continue to get injured

and residents will never feel fully comfortable walking around neighborhood streets,” Brickell resident Ricardo Ampudia said on Facebook

According to the Miami Downtown Development Authority, Miami-Dade is the number one county in Florida for hit-and-run crashes. The DDA is an economic development and marketing agency charged with bringing businesses, people, and visitors to Downtown Miami. Among its goals: keeping the neighborhood clean, safe, well-lit, and walkable. 

The agency set its downtown master plan for 2025, which consists of designing and rebuilding roadways to calm automobile traffic and improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

In 2021, Miami-Dade launched a plan called Vision Zero  to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2040. 

“It’s critical that we make all our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists in order to create a more walkable, livable community,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Daniella Hakim is a junior at Florida International University majoring in Digital Communication and Media with a Minor in Marketing. She looks forward to pursuing her passion for writing as a journalist and novelist.