Miami Mayor Tries To Persuade Miami Beach To Support Baylink
By Frank Norton
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is flexing the muscle of his city’s downtown development potential to leverage Miami Beach’s support for BayLink, a proposed transit link between the two often-competing municipalities.
Mr. Diaz met this week with Miami Beach’s city and business leaders to promote a commuter system and stressed downtown Miami’s growing regional importance.
"I think our area is poised to become the most attractive in terms of music, arts and entertainment," he told a room of about 50 representing the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and City Commission.
"But the only thing that is going to make this work is if we plan and plan together, and that includes transportation," he said.
Last week, Miami Beach city commissioners OK’d the hiring of engineering consultant HDR Inc. to investigate BayLink possibilities and develop an alternative that would favor Miami Beach, City Manager Jorge M. Gonzalez said Tuesday.
The consultant’s findings will be presented in July, he said, adding that a likely technology is a mode less intrusive than the light rail first proposed by both cities.
According to Miami transportation planner Clark Turner, a streetcar system as used in Portland, OR, would be the most practical transit infrastructure for Miami Beach.
The Miami mayor told Miami Beach officials that Miami Beach, more than any other city, needs the transit link. He said the eventual expansion of convention and meeting space in downtown Miami would complement Miami Beach’s ability to attract and hold large corporate meetings, perhaps offering rooms across the bay.
"And wouldn’t it be nice," he said, "if they could take the BayLink back and forth?"