Local bicyclists will ride the length of the M-Path on Jan. 14 to cross the new bridge over the Snapper Creek Expressway and celebrate the near-completion of the M-Path Extension. The 12-mile ride will start at Metrorail’s Brickell Station that Saturday at 10 a.m., continuing through Miami, Coral Gables, and South Miami to cross the bridge alongside U.S. 1 below SW 67th Avenue, then on to Continental Park, 10000 SW 82nd Ave.
“Including three cities and a county park in this ride is symbolic of how the M-Path ties our community together,” said Dario Gonzalez of Emerge Miami, one of three groups putting the ride together. The M-Path Extension officially opens sometime in February. That will mark the closure of the Dadeland Gap, the 1.2-mile section that was left out of the M-Path when it was built along with the Metrorail guideway on the former route of the Florida East Coast Railway. “The M-Path is a priceless asset for active, healthy living,” said John Hopkins, executive director of Green Mobility Network, which has made M-Path improvement a key goal of its advocacy program for the past four years. “We are thrilled to see it completed.”
At the Dadeland South Station, the path connects with the South Dade Trail – and from there you can ride beside the Busway all the way to Florida City. They combine to make a 31-mile, offroad route all the way to downtown Miami. Think what that means for walkers, joggers, and cyclists in omestead, in Goulds, in Pinecrest and so on, right up to the Miami River. “May the Snapper expressway bridge show that locally and statewide, we aggresively pursue and improve all types of green mobility which promote walking, biking, and transit,” said Maricé Chael, an architect and co-founder of Bike SoMi.
The M-Path was built 28 years ago as a service road for the Miami Metrorail, the elevated commuter railroad between Dadeland and downtown Miami’s Brickell financial district. Joggers, cyclists and everyday strollers soon adopted it. Today it’s a popular commuter path for cyclists in Coral Gables and points south who enjoy breezing past the rush-hour drivers on South Dixie Highway. While Miami-Dade Transit owns the M-Path, the M-Path Extension was constructed under a contract managed by the Florida Department of Transportation. The project includes new pathway at each end and north of North Kendall Drive, seven signalized crossings, and the 200-foot bridge across the mouth of the Snapper Creek Expressway. There’s also an attractive stretch along the C-2 canal at the Dadeland North Station.
Surveyors started driving stakes to outline the new path in January 2011. The budgeted cost was $4.5 million. Initial financing came through Florida’s share of federal Transportation Enhancement funding, augmented by stimulus money after planners decided that adding a bridge to the initial plan would make for safer travel. The work was carried out in a design-build partnership of C3TS, of Coral Gables, and Community Asphalt, of Hialeah. The steel-truss bridge was fabricated in Alabama and erected by Anzac Contractors, of Miami. For an FDOT fact sheet, visit http://www.fdotmiamidade.com/current-projects/south-miami-dade/m-path-extension-bicycle-andpedestrian-trail-.html The county’s M-Path Master Plan outlines a series of safety enhancements to include lighting, signed and signalized crossings, and some path realignment. Plans for the first of those are underway.
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