Light rail is recipe for Miami-Beach link
Written by Samantha Joseph on October 16, 2013
Light rail makes sense as the transportation method for the beach corridor connection to join downtown Miami and Miami Beach, suggests Miami-Dade Transit Director Ysela Llort.
“We need to determine something that blends into the sidewalk,” Ms. Llort said during a joint meeting Tuesday of the New World Center and Transportation & Infrastructure committees of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
The chosen mode must be unobtrusive, easily interacting with the existing infrastructure, she said. Officials must also build it with the acknowledgment that the connection between downtown and Miami Beach is a “financial liability” because of the relatively low passenger volumes, and therefore choose a mode suitable for that capacity.
Light rail seems the logical choice, but officials are awaiting results of a study commissioned to examine transit links from downtown to Miami Beach.
The chamber meeting brought together government officials, transportation planners and civic leaders who all seemed to agree on the proposal to create a rapid transit system connecting the cities.
“It sounds like we have a bunch of stakeholders that are interested in getting it resolved,” said Terence “Terry” McKinley, a contracts attorney with Parsons Corp. and chair of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce..
Among them was Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales.
“In case there is anyone who has any doubts, Miami Beach is very committed to this project,” he said.
Also on board was Alice Bravo, assistant city manager and chief of infrastructure for the City of Miami.
“We’re 10 years behind the gun on this one…,” she said. “We have to be successful or basically we’re tying our hands for the future.”
This is the type of project that could fall apart if one of its backers withdraws support, she said. It’s also vulnerable to political and infrastructural changes.
“Let’s get ahead of the curve on this one,” she said.
Gustavo “Gus” Felix Pego, District Six secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, said, “Let’s get it done.”
He said the project is important for economic prosperity in relieving congestion on highways.
“We are at the intersection of the past and the future…,” he said. “What we must do is have the political will to move forward.”