The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has unveiled a solution to the problems plaguing Okeechobee Boulevard: A ‘Skydrive’ that will serve to elevate drivers above the throngs of pedestrians who have overtaken the streets below.
“We looked at the pedestrian traffic counts and realized that the numbers were extraordinary, with all the crossing traffic to and from the Convention Center, Hilton Hotel, CityPlace, and the Grandview Heights neighborhood”, stated Jim Wolfgang, FDOT District 4 Secretary. “The County has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing a world-class convention center and hotel that is across the street from CityPlace, a premiere shopping and dining destination. The amount of pedestrian traffic is enormous and rising steadily. It’s like a “people sewer” down there, with all those… people… we need a bigger pipe to fit them all through. We considered the idea of a pedestrian bridge, but our cost-benefit analysis shows a vehicular Skydrive will be a better solution.”
Some have speculated the all-powerful “Bipedal Lobby” is behind FDOT’s decision, but it appears the relatively feeble “Road Building Lobby” may have had more influence. A local transportation official who wishes to remain anonymous admitted, “To solve our public opinion problem, we are planning to spend a lot of money on a wonderful new piece of expensive infrastructure to give the perception we have solved the problem. Otherwise the public will keep yelling at us. If… well… when, it doesn’t solve the problem, it’s a great opportunity to up our budget and spend even more.”
Wolfgang expects the new Skydrive to be well-received by the currently besieged drivers. “To use it, simply queue at the intersection, wait for your turn in line, drive onto the lift, roll down your window, press a button, and our Funicular Unit (F.U.) will convey you expeditiously across the mass of pedestrians below. Very convenient.”
FDOT’s partner on the project, Palm Beach County Engineer Jorge Webb, had this to say regarding the design: “We attempted to arrive at an elegant solution for this highly trafficked pedestrian corridor. We considered making a multiway boulevard in the style of the Champs Elysses, but consideration of bizarre European ideas was a nonstarter. So we settled on an unproven technological solution that applies American know-how and ingenuity: The Skydrive was born.”
Some visitors wondered whether the Skydrive would relegate drivers to second-class citizens. “Sounds great, but why only one Skydrive? What about all the other intersections that need to be crossed? Isn’t this just an admission that the ‘Pedestrian is King?” stated Jimmy Leadfoot of Loxahatchee.
But something needs to be done, he said. “You’re really taking your life into your own hands driving across this street. You never know when the errant pedestrian might jump into your path, and a 2,200 pound vehicle moving at 45 mph stands little chance against a hungry convention-goer on a short lunch break.”