Miamians Have A Desire Named Streetcar
Written by Deserae del Campo on April 27, 2006
By Deserae del Campo
Miami and Florida Department of Transportation plans for a $200 million streetcar system linking Government Center downtown to Miami’s Design District and the Civic Center complex are winning early applause.
Praise echoed in presentations this month to the Downtown Miami Partnership, the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, the Overtown Advisory Board and the Bayfront Park Management Trust.
"With the recent events taking place in downtown Miami, there should be a number of different modes of transportation for the area," said Tim Schmand, park trust executive director, "and the streetcar is another option for people to move around in downtown Miami in the future."
"The meetings have been very positive and very supportive of the project," said Winsome Bowen, the city’s project manager. "The project is definitely a plus in terms of enhancing mobility in downtown streets."
"The hope from our group is that the streetcar will reduce traffic congestion," said Luis Derosa, spokesperson for the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce. "It was a good presentation. One issue that we discussed was extending the streetcar in the Edgewater area onto North Bayshore Drive or using Biscayne Boulevard, but we were told it was not feasible."
Two routes are planned on city streets.
A 6.75-mile north-south loop between Northeast First Street to the south and Northeast 41st Street to the north would run primarily via Northeast Second Avenue, with some north-south segments along Northeast First and Second avenues.
The second route of 2.89 miles consists of an east-west loop to the Civic Center area via Northwest 20th and 17th streets.
"We have been getting favorable responses from all our meetings," said Ms. Bowen, though during a meeting in Little Haiti and the Upper East Side, residents were concerned about handicap access.
A city timeline introduced during a kickoff meeting in March shows a financial plan in the works for spring 2007, construction in winter 2007 and streetcars hauling passengers by spring 2010.
"We are still working out the details of funding," Ms. Bowen said.
City officials are still looking at funding from the city, the Florida Department of Transportation and the People’s Transportation Trust Fund.