All Aboard Florida station plans reviewed
Written by Lidia Dinkova on June 18, 2014
To keep plans for a downtown Miami train station on track, All Aboard Florida is to address concerns for the station’s design, maintenance and connectivity to surrounding developments.
A review committee, comprised of about a dozen county staffers and three City of Miami representatives, has set conditions All Aboard Florida is to meet before the committee sends its recommendation to the county commission, which has final say.
The committee could potentially have the power of derailing the project as the county can only override a negative recommendation with a supermajority vote. City of Miami representatives’ say carries particular weight – if they don’t like the project, the committee is to send a ‘nay’ recommendation.
The city has asked All Aboard Florida to address concerns with station plans.
“This is a gateway to Miami. We want to make sure that this is a showcase,” Miami Zoning Administrator Irene Hegedus, who sits on the review committee, told Miami Today.
All Aboard Florida has revealed plans where train tracks escalate onto a 50-foot viaduct.
The city is concerned about soot accumulating on the viaduct from the diesel-powered trains. Dealing with the dirt, Ms. Hegedus said, comes down to using the right materials and implementing a maintenance plan.
The city wants to make sure that the viaduct crosses atop Northwest Eighth Street – an already busy thoroughfare only to become more congested with upcoming development – in a way that is conducive to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
“We want to see the spacing of the columns, the height, the clearances, the overall approach,” Ms. Hegedus said.
And, she added, the city will examine the station’s connectivity – to the east and to the west.
At a committee meeting Friday, All Aboard Florida vowed to address concerns and coordinate with the county and the city.
“We are studying both at-grade connections and if possible above-grade connections,” said Olin McKenzie, associate director of station architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.
An above-grade connection, such as a sky bridge, would be more likely to stretch from the station east toward the upcoming WorldCenter development.
County staffers on the review committee had no objections but had conditions for All Aboard Florida – from meeting with community advocacy groups to address station effects on the homeless to providing seamless connectivity between the train station and the nearby Metrorail and Metromover.
“You are going to have fare-paid areas and free areas. You don’t want to pinch yourself in a corner and have a pedestrian bridge only reachable if you pay,” Jeff Cohen, of the Public Works and Waste Management Department, told All Aboard Florida.
Mr. McKenzie said there’s to be connectivity between Metrorail and All Aboard Florida at Northwest Third Street. Connections on the northern part of the station require more studies, he added.
Aside from Ms. Hegedus, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and Planning and Zoning Director Francisco Garcia represent Miami on the review committee.
The committee is to make its recommendation, likely through a vote, on July 2, and the county commission is to consider the item later that month.