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Front Page » Government » Light rail is recipe for Miami-Beach link

Light rail is recipe for Miami-Beach link

Written by 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.”


6 Responses to Light rail is recipe for Miami-Beach link

  1. Dave Hein

    October 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I dont know why they think ridership would be light.
    The buses C, S, M, 120, all cross the McArthur several times an hour.. And avoiding traffic during the holidays, and all those stupid marathons, they seem to have every month that totally stops the buses from going to or getting from the beach. They might need metro-rail..
    Switch to more local shuttle buses on the beach, and have those big buses stay on the mainland.

    And if it tied in with the Omni Terminal, Jungle Island, the Childrens Museum, the New Museum being built on the Miami side, and can you imagine if it actually went somewhere on the Beach, like South Beach, Lincoln Road, or the Convention Center??? Miami Beach is only 7 miles long, why don’t they run it up Washington and/or Collins all the way maybe stopping at Mt. Sinai too.

    They say they want MASS TRANSIT, but it rarely goes anywhere people want to go..

    I live on the Beach and I would love to see a fast, uninterrupted means of travel to Downtown without the traffic.

    Why it took so long for metrorail to go to the airport is beyond comprehension, and the fact that it doesn’t run to the Beach is even more Mind Boggling.

  2. Jim G

    October 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Dave Hein has some good points about stopping all of Metro buses from going across the MacArthur Causeway and focusing their resources on service dedicated in Miami Beach especially feeding patterns from Mid Beach and North Beach into the proposed light rail system in Miami Beach.

    The light rail system should loop around from the proposed Gran Central Station incorporating Metrorail, expansion of Tri Rail along the FEC service, Metromover, and FEC’s All Aboard service with light rail stations along NW/NE 6 Street serving Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus at N Miami Avenue, American Airlines Arena/Bayside at Biscayne Boulevard, and Port of Miami.

  3. Marc

    October 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Relatively low passenger volumes? Just reading the wishy washy comments of these officials infuriates me. It’s 2013 this city is congested like all get out, the mass transit here is deplorable, and all they can say are things like “Let’s get it done.”. Well no ****.

  4. SEFTA

    October 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Did they say 10 years behind? Try 30 years behind. How much money was spent for this conclusion that had been being talked about for a decade now? I’m assuming they are considering the MacArthur Causeway for the crossing tho no details seem to have been discussed. If so, it should go north on Alton to Dade Blvd crossing over to head north on Collins Avenue/Indian Creek Drive corridor.

    Low passenger volumes!? Unbelievable. These are the people in charge? Unbelievable! If it were designed correctly, (I don’t have much confidence in that), it would be a game changer.

    It sounds like they are hoping the buzz just goes away so they can address the problem in another 10 years. So lets all give them a big pat on the back and everybody say Job well done and see you in 10 years.

  5. B

    October 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Low passenger volumes are because there are currently only busses, not rail. Anybody knows busses carry less people than trains and trains will be more popular than busses… And for busses, ridership between Miami and Miami Beach is very high, despite the frequent traffic jams the busses get stuck in.

    I agree the goal should be for all public transportation between the mainland and beaches to be rail.

    I would not end the light rail at downtown though, with a few more miles of track, we have a great oopportunity to connect to the Marlins stadium, Little Havana, and downtown Coral Gables!

  6. DC Copeland

    October 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I’m dismayed to read in your 10/17 edition that “those in charge” believe light rail is the mass transit solution between Miami and Miami Beach. Miami-Dade Transit Director Ysela Llort wants “something that blends into the sidewalk.” “Something” like that is not the answer. In fact, it becomes part of the problem. Building at grade on a pre-existing traffic lane is a recipe for gridlock especially when the light rail car breaks down (or in Miami Beach, when it can’t power through the inevitable high tides which could derail it). As far as construction, each foot of roadway the “light” rail system will use will require tearing up and realigning infrastructure to accommodate the weight of the cars. That will mean years of construction headaches for commuters. That’s why major cities will go under or above ground to solve their mass transit problems, something that appears to be out of the question re our high water table. One solution that seems to always be ruled out from the get-go is the monorail. Years ago a study was done that showed a 9-mile double-track line running from downtown Miami to the Miami Beach Convention Center could be done for less than $500 million dollars within a 3-year period (including 6-months of track testing). One of its unique features was that it ran “at grade” along the south side of the MacArthur Causeway saving millions of dollars since it eliminated the typical pylons associated with monorails. The other feature: it ran north and south on beach sand– again saving time and money since busy Beach streets didn’t have to be torn up for light rail.