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Front Page » Communities » Miami ready to move ahead on Miami Beach transit connector

Miami ready to move ahead on Miami Beach transit connector

Written by on April 10, 2019
Miami ready to move ahead on Miami Beach transit connector

Miami city commissioners are ready to move ahead on a long-awaited beach corridor transit plan connecting with Miami Beach.

A proposal to establish a partnership among the city, Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach to improve regional mobility between the city’s urban core and Miami Beach via the MacArthur Causeway is on today’s (4/11) commission agenda.

On July 20, 2016, the three local governments and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) executed a memorandum of understanding for continuing efforts to improve regional mobility between the City of Miami and Miami Beach.

The proposed resolution calls for the three governments to enter into a multi-agency partnership to advance efforts in connection with the county’s Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan, adopted by the county commission, which identifies the Beach Corridor Direct Connection Project as one of six rapid transit priority corridors, for the completion of environmental, planning and engineering studies.

The partnership would be created through approval of an interlocal agreement, which would then implement terms of the 2016 agreement.

The SMART Plan prioritizes light rail or premium transit technology along six priority corridors, and a bus express rapid transit network.

The Miami City Commission endorsed the SMART Plan in 2017.

Today’s resolution begins: “… the Parties wish to continue the efforts already underway to improve regional mobility within the geographic limits of the Project, which include the City and Miami Beach, and are defined by the Federal New Starts Study Project … from 5 Street at Alton Road in Miami Beach to the Government Center in the City’s Downtown, part of the City’s streetcar alignment from the City’s Downtown to its Midtown, and from 5 Street in Miami Beach to the Miami Beach Convention Center.”

The legislation says the three parties agree to fund the environmental, planning, and engineering studies, having a total estimated cost for the Tier 2 Study of $10 million, with FDOT providing $5 million, the county $3,750,000 in Charter County Transportation Surtax Funds for the project, and the remaining $1,250,000 in three equal amounts of $417,000, subject to budgetary approval.

Guiding the implementation of the overall SMART Plan is the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization, or TPO.

The organization adopted a resolution in 2016 endorsing the SMART Plan and directed the executive director to work with a fiscal priorities committee to determine the costs and potential sources of funding for project development and environment study for the projects.

The plan includes rapid transit corridors and express bus routes to increase connectivity for about 77% of Miami-Dade County residents who travel outside their residential district for employment in other areas of the county.

10 Responses to Miami ready to move ahead on Miami Beach transit connector

  1. Marc

    April 10, 2019 at 7:12 am

    I don’t understand why all of these plans haven’t been agreed upon from the get go. Did it really need to take two years?!

  2. Denis Kelly

    April 10, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Really cannot understand coming across on McArthur and dumping into south beach. Why not across Venetian?? From the modal center at Omni to a similar center by the convention hall. There are trolleys that can move people North and South. Not having all moving North from 5th Street.

    • Adam

      April 10, 2019 at 7:44 pm

      Yea right

    • Bo

      April 13, 2019 at 1:31 am

      The reason fixed-guideway/rapid transit will not operate over the Venetian is (at least) two-pronged:

      First, the Venetian has two bascule (draw)bridges. Yes, we’ve engineered bascule bridges with railroads, but it’s much more complicated and costly. Direct transit like what’s being proposed is all about eliminating the congestion and/or bottlenecks. Any transit traveling across the Venetian will still be subject to the drawbridges going up and down, however many times a day, by schedule or whim, which would be guaranteed to disrupt transit. Barely anyone enjoys being trapped waiting for a drawbridge alone in their own car, let alone standing-room-only in a public transit situation.

      Second, the MacArthur makes more sense connecting to Jungle Island & the Children’s Museum, closer to PortMiami, and the south side of South Beach, and to form a “wider capture” for transit on the Beach itself. A transit mode traveling over the Venetian would drop off 12 blocks farther north, around Lincoln Road, the middle-north of South Beach. And then from there, where does it go? Northward and it skips the heart of South Beach entirely? Or zig-zag south, then back north again? Not nearly as efficient a corridor.

      The most sense is a loop over the MacArthur, north/south through South and lower-Mid Beach, then back over the Tuttle through the Design District and Midtown, Wynwood, Arts & Entertainment/Omni, then Downtown. Wouldn’t that just about completely link the urban cores with each other?

  3. Gerwyn Flax

    April 10, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    It will probably take another two years before a shovel is placed in the ground. I thought the street car plan from downtown to midtown was cancelled. They seem to work well in Europe as long as they run on a dedicated lane or tract, and not sharing a lane with cars.

  4. MiamiArchi

    April 10, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    The big reason is always that they need to do all of these crazy long studies to make sure they are eligible for federal funds. Over two years ago it was a big article because Miami decided to do all the studies in order to get federal funds. Miami beach meanwhile didn’t want to waste and pushed forward on their end but after a little while backed off after Miami Beach residents said they didn’t want to deal with more construction.

  5. Robert

    April 15, 2019 at 4:26 am

    In the age of on demand technology, we entertain the historical. Trains and straight lines were good in the 1800s and early 1900s, when Rockefeller needed to move his oil. The new titans of industry are in your hand and they’re making apps that bring mobility to new levels.

    The transportation departments are reluctant to change, business as usual is always preferred. Taxpayers is this what we want to spend billions of dollars building? Annual operating costs to accommodate will be hundreds of millions,

    Transit ridership has plummeted over 20 per cent in the last 5 years. We need to rethink public transit.

  6. TransitDave

    April 19, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Back in the early 2000″s there was significant community opposition to the system between the mainland and SOBE , and no local government support. Miami Beach didn’t even want to use their share of PTP funds for the study, much less the project. but now that downtown is catching on, the system makes a lot more sense.

    Let’s hope they make it happen.

  7. Ricardo Noel

    April 25, 2019 at 10:11 am

    All of these studies and planning within the past year, and still they can’t decide. They should have built a Metrorail extension to Miami Beach years ago, instead of this Bus Rapid Transit, just because Carlos Gimenez says it would would be cheaper. But He forgot to think about the long run. When it comes to routine maintenance on the buses, it will end up costing more than the Metrorail.

  8. Dawson Allen

    May 5, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    BRT is better than nothing. I think it’s a sound option for Miami Beach and for South Dade, especially if the public transit authority is able to strongarm neighborhoods into accepting more affordable and workforce housing.