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Front Page » Transportation » Miami speeding to get streetcars rolling

Miami speeding to get streetcars rolling

Written by on October 1, 2014

A resurrected plan to run streetcars downtown has Miami commissioners pushing hard to improve transit.

Monday, they unanimously urged the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization and Florida Department of Transportation to make streetcars a number-one priority and to find funds to do it, at an estimated price of $200 million.

The city’s chief transportation manager, Carlos Cruz-Casas, said residents ask him nearly every day what the city is doing to deal with horrible traffic congestion.

“My answer is: smart planning,” said Mr. Cruz-Casas as he began a presentation to commissioners about the streetcar project, first floated in 2006 but put on hold when the economy nosedived.

Commissioner Marc Sarnoff brought it up again a few weeks ago, saying now is the time to again advance the project.

With a daytime population of more than 220,000, downtown is growing and congestion levels keep increasing, Mr. Cruz-Casas said.

Although the city and county have added buses, rubber-wheeled trolleys and a rail link to the airport, more connections are vital, he said.

“We need to continue to connect the dots,” Mr. Cruz-Casas said.

Lack of mass transit is a prevalent complaint, said Commissioner Francis Suarez, who called the current system hodge-podge.

“It would be a dereliction of duty for us to do nothing,” he said. The time for excuses is over, he said; “it’s time to think big.”

Commissioner Frank Carollo said, “Transit is a big issue all over.” He said he wants connections to areas like Little Havana, Flagami and Allapattah.

Commission Chair Wifredo “Willy” Gort agreed. From Allapattah to Coral Gables, he said, “we need to link the neighborhoods.”

The 2006 plan called for streetcars from Government Center to the Design District and the Civic Center.

7 Responses to Miami speeding to get streetcars rolling

  1. DC Copeland

    October 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

    “The city’s chief transportation manager, Carlos Cruz-Casas, said residents ask him nearly every day what the city is doing to deal with horrible traffic congestion.

    ‘My answer is: smart planning,’ said Mr. Cruz-Casas…”

    Adding street cars to narrow streets already congested with traffic is not the answer. Street cars will only become part of the problem because they take up space on the roads– and heaven help us if they ever break down on the grid. Traditionally, “smart planning” either solves clogged streets by burying or elevating the solution above the streets, i.e., subways, monorails, etc. Our high water table negates going under the grid. An elevated solution would be the way to go but it appears the powers that be can only look backward for a “fix” that was tossed aside by earlier Miami leaders by the 20’s who had had about enough of the street-clogging 19th century answer to mass transit.

    • SEFTA

      October 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      There should be a light-rail line running up the FEC corridor. There is enough space to hold tracks for FEC, AAF as well as Light-rail lines and a bike/running trail. Unlike the #AAF light-rail can elevate easily over busy east-west corridors. I don’t understand why this corridor is overlooked. It runs through the hearts of the densest populated areas of SE Florida. The AAF will be passing right by 80% of them. It will be $billion dollars for limited service. Light-rail can run on the corridor as well as the downtown streets. Light-rail is attracting $billions in #TransitOrientedDevlopment around the world and we get a commuter train, that may or may not someday run to Orlando where the #HighSpeedRail was to go. Frankly #MetroRail should have been heading north to Fort Lauderdale and beyond decades ago. Now where getting the quick buck interpretation of “#TRANSIT” #LandUseMiami #FortLauderdale #NMB #NorthMiami

  2. marc

    October 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Rubber wheeled trolleys? They’re buses made to look like charming old timey trolleys on short loops adding to the congestion.

    • SEFTA

      October 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      and yes, exactly. They are buses. Words matter. just like the #AAF plan is not #HighSpeedRail as it is referred to in the press.

  3. gregory

    October 1, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    The cities of Dade need to stop the free trolleys and give funds for a expanded metrorail.

  4. ivosan

    October 2, 2014 at 11:39 am

    You will not have dedicated lanes in the tight overcrowded street grid of downtown.

    And without dedicated lanes, streetcar is even inferior than buses or even trolleybuses.

    Metromover however…

    • gregory

      October 9, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Exactly, its not rocket science to just extend the metromover to the design distract.