Transit study to examine Metrorail extension to Homestead
By Samantha Joseph
An extension of Metrorail to Homestead is among possibilities to be considered in a $1.5 million study to improve public transportation in the southern end of Miami-Dade County.
As more people move to south Miami-Dade, transportation officials want to be able to see trends coming and prepare for increased ridership.
In Homestead, 12,000 homes are under construction and the population has grown 10% in the past three years. In Kendall, developers have targeted large areas for residential and commercial development.
The rapid growth points to the need for more efficient transit services, planners say.
"The sooner we start strategizing, the better," said Wilson Fernandez, who heads the analysis financed by Miami-Dade Transit. "What we're looking at in this study is long-term transportation feasibility."
The Metropolitan Planning Organization, which determines transportation policy in the county, expects to present its findings and guidelines for the area by January 2006.
The study is the first step in soliciting federal funding, which could complement local financing from the $17 billion People's Transportation Plan.
"We're going to look at a range of options to see what the transportation needs are and how we can meet them," Mr. Fernandez said.
The group will examine ways to upgrade the South Miami Dade Corridor, an 8.2-mile busway that stretches along US 1 from the Dadeland South Metrorail Station to Southland Mall, 20505 S. Dixie Highway.
The busway is being extended more than 11 miles to Florida City, from Southwest 112th Avenue to 344th Street, as part of an $88 million project. Once it is completed by August, it would provide a nearly 20-mile route reserved for public buses.
However, planners say they need to do more to meet future needs.
The study will consider several factors, including population projections, transit ridership and potential costs. It will also examine strategies to speed service along the busway.
In the next four months, transportation officials expect to invite public feedback and suggestions on how to improve services.
"Our main goal," said Metropolitan Planning Organization Director Jose-Luis Mesa, "is to safely move the traveling public in an efficient manner."
Details: (305) 375-4507 or www.buswayconstruction.com.