Liberty City Trolley plan would cut into Brickell route
Although the City of Miami’s free trolley system extends to all corners of the city, no dedicated route serves the Liberty City area. That may be about to change – with Brickell trolleys running less often as a result.
On the agenda for today’s (4/25) city commission meeting is a proposal to begin a defined regular route for a city trolley through Liberty City connecting with other established public transit routes and services.
The proposed resolution, if approved, would authorize City Manager Emilio González to take all necessary steps, including negotiating and executing an amendment to the city’s current agreement with Miami-Dade County, to allow for addition of a Liberty City route to the city’s trolley system to connect with the existing Little Haiti Trolley Route, Allapattah Metrorail Station, and numerous Miami-Dade County Metrobus routes.
In a background memo, city staff wrote: “Our current system serves many neighborhoods across the City including Little Haiti, Flagami, Little Havana, Coconut Grove, and Allapattah with connections to Metrobus routes, Metrorail, Metromover and other area municipal circulators. However, currently there is no Trolley service in the Liberty City area.
“As such, we are recommending [implementation of] a new Trolley route to provide dedicated service to the Liberty City neighborhood. This route will serve the Liberty Square area, Miami Northwestern High School, Edison High School with service along the main commercial corridors in the neighborhood,” it reads.
The change would be funded by trimming two other trolley routes.
“By reducing the existing service on the Flagami and Brickell trolley routes by one vehicle each, this option will reduce the stated frequency of service on the Brickell route from 15 minutes to 25 minutes and have no discernable impact to the Flagami route,” according to staff.
Savings from these reductions to existing routes will allow the city to run a Liberty City route in a “cost-neutral manner” without increasing the overall peak number of vehicles, staff wrote.
A route map attached to the proposed resolution shows trolley travel on Northwest 33rd Street, 12th Avenue, 17th Avenue, 50th Street, 62nd Street, 54th Street and beyond.
The planned Liberty City Trolley Route would have an expected frequency of about 25 minutes, and operate from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
There is no charge to ride city trolleys – rubber-tired vehicles designed to look like old-time streetcars – and from the outset of the program in 2011 city leaders have stated a desire to keep it free.
Commissioners have tried to offset operating costs by adjusting routes once patterns are established and cost-saving measures present themselves.
Also, in 2016, commissioners approved a new transportation trust fund, created in part to provide funds to support continued operation of the trolleys.
In the current 2018-2019 fiscal year budget, the entire trolley system is budgeted at $14.1 million, much of the money from the countywide half-cent transit tax, with $3,751,152 from the transportation trust fund.