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Front Page » Top Stories » Aerial tramway could end snarled traffic to ballgames

Aerial tramway could end snarled traffic to ballgames

Written by on September 27, 2016
Aerial tramway could end snarled traffic to ballgames

Commuters frustrated with snarled traffic – or fans headed for a baseball game – might take to the skies if an alternative that was investigated by the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) earlier this year proves workable.

The planning organization commissioned an 87-page study on aerial cable transit, which was conducted by Jacobs Engineering Group, Eco-Transit Technologies and CH Perez and Associates.

“The Miami-Dade MPO is interested in understanding the applicability and potential benefits of an [aerial cable transit] system being added to the local transit network,” the study report said. “Specifically, previous studies conducted by the Miami-Dade MPO and others have identified new transit markets and corridors in Miami-Dade County, but these potential transportation projects have been adversely impacted by either the high cost of right-of-way or the lack of available right-of-way.”

With aerial cable cars, or gondolas, right-of-way is not an issue, the study said, and that’s why many Latin American, Asian, North African and European cities are using them. Austin, Texas, and the Georgetown area of Washington, DC, are also considering gondola systems, it noted.

The disadvantage is that aerial cable systems are not designed to travel long distances, the report said, with the typical route spanning just 1 to 3 miles.

The consultants studied eight major activity centers in Miami-Dade and evaluated each for aerial transit. They were Miami Beach, PortMiami, downtown Miami, the Health District, Marlins Park, Miami International Airport, Dolphin Station west of Miami International Mall, and Florida International University’s main and engineering campuses in the western part of the county.

The evaluation focused on whether the cable system would duplicate existing transit or planned transit improvements along the routes that connect the destinations to population centers.

“This…feasibility study serves to start a high-level discussion of the potential to add the [cable] mode to Miami-Dade’s transit network,” the report explained. “Additional market analyses, planning studies, and engineering efforts will be required to examine any promising alignments in greater detail. Further travel demand analysis, outside the scope of this initial study, would be required to develop more accurate ridership estimates and better understand market demand for any [cable] service.”

The investigation found that most of the activity centers are already served by planned or existing transit, including express or enhanced bus service, a private-public partnership being developed by Miami Beach, possible Metrorail or Metromover extensions, Brightline and Tri-Rail train service into downtown, municipal trolleys and bus rapid transit.

But one route stood out as a possible venue for the gondolas: Marlins Park to downtown, the report said.

“The study team did not fully plumb the depth of stakeholder interest and support for this investment option, but based on its economic characteristics, market opportunities, and technological risks, this alternative’s overall evaluation is high,” it said. “With its short length and two-station arrangement, the stadium-downtown leg of this proposed service would be an economically attractive demonstration system with much lower capital and operating costs than other alternatives.

“From a markets perspective, this option, linking a major parking facility with downtown, linking downtown with a major entertainment venue, and linking a vibrant resurgent cultural district with downtown, appears to tap several reliable and substantial sources of passenger demand. If city and county leaders are interested in further exploring [cable] options for their jurisdiction, this is the most attractive alternative identified by the study.”

The gondola line might even qualify for federal funding, the report said, assuming there were no environmental concerns and other standards were met.

“Once funding and permits are in place, actual construction of the system would be reasonably quick, typically in the range of 12 months or less,” it said. “The stations and terminals are the only substantial civil works required for the project. Erecting the towers and stringing the cables for a 5,000- to 7,500-foot system could be accomplished in a matter of weeks.”

9 Responses to Aerial tramway could end snarled traffic to ballgames

  1. DC Copeland

    September 28, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    One running from MetroRail/Miami Central to Marlins Stadium and back might work. But let the team pay for it. Luria and company have already gotten more than their fair share from the public coffers.

  2. Hugo

    September 29, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Totally agree with DC, I think it could run from Miami Central to the ballpark and from the CSX line down 107 and end at the FIU main campus. The marlins have already used to much of our tax money and if they want public access they would have to put their part.

  3. John Dohm

    September 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Love it! This is a potentially great solution for transit between both airports and seaports: between Port Everglades and FLL, and between PortMiami and MIA.

    – John Dohm

  4. Robert

    September 29, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Nothing like sitting up in the air hanging from a steel cable connected to steel towers watching a beautiful electrical storm approaching.

  5. Sean

    September 29, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Another waste of time and money. Add it the 50 mile high pile of studies that go nowhere.

    The county needs to build a system that can move the masses. Stop studying and use the money instead on the un-teen projects that need to get going. There is NO money for this and other new projects. Please stop this madness.

  6. MIA First

    September 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

    PortMiami to Downtown to Marlins Park.. Three Stations..
    Instant Success!

  7. JS

    September 30, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Duh. Would have been smarter to build Marlins Park Downtown in the first place. Then you wouldn’t have a need to spend how many more millions to connect. ” If you build it they will come “, does not apply to short sighted Miami politicians.

  8. JS

    September 30, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Oh god yet another mode to connect to the pile of disparate crap we have. Extend Metrorail throughout this county NOW. One of the lines we need is straight down Flagler which would take care of this idiotic plan. At LEAST extend the Metromover even though it shouldn’t really be for longer distances.

  9. Hugo

    September 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Ive used these cable cars in different countries, fully developed and lower developed countries. I actually like this idea for short distance commutes for example from government center to marlins park or if it ever happens from Dolphin mall to FIU. They are cheap to maintain and most importantly, you don’t need a right of way to construct it. As for the storm issue, there various ways of dealing with wind or lightning. Every pilar could use a conductor to neutralize impact. Now, if they want to sell it as a long commute option like the south dade corridor. I would probably say that would not fly here.