MIC: Regional Transit Hub

This article has been brewing in my mind for quite some time; however, I kept putting off until I saw some sort of definite progress occurring over at the Miami Intermodal Center. With their new website up and running (finally!) we can get some better insight to some of my more pressing concerns, particularly the Florida regional transportation service.

The Miami Intermodal Center concept is fairly forward thinking for such an automobile dependent area such as Miami. It will link local transit (MDT, Tri-Rail, Taxi, etc.) with regional transit (Greyhound, Amtrak, etc.) with the international destinations serviced by MIA in a centralized, modern facility. I’ve had a growing concern, however, with regards to the regional transportation service which will be offered at the MIC and the efforts of the state (or county) to unify regional transportation links within Miami-Dade County. Given that Florida currently lacks a dependent and reliable statewide rail network, I have decided to concentrate on the interaction between the MIC and statewide bus service.

(Does anyone else find the amount of surface parking in the above two renderings alarming? There shouldn’t be such a need for surface parking in such a central multi-modal transit facility…)

Intercity buses provide transportation between cities and rural areas, be it short or long distance. They usually offer limited stops making service faster and more efficient.

Greyhound is an example of a national intercity bus line, but regionally, all of South Florida’s transit systems have come together to offer intercity service to all major cities and towns in the area, as well as the smaller communities that do not have accessible rail service via Tri-rail or Metrorail. It is envisioned that the MIC’s Miami Central Station will accommodate intercity buses offering service into Miami-Dade County. Until then, visit the South Florida Regional Transit Trip Planner for more information.

Via Milliped’s Flickr…

The excerpt above comes from the intercity bus page on the MIC website. While the site places great emphasis on bringing Greyhound into the facility, I could only hope (as a regular intercity bus user myself) that provisions were made to include space for competing intercity bus services. La Cubana, providing Miami-NYC and Atlanta service easily comes to mind. The popular bus service currently operates from its strip shopping center headquarters on 11 St and NW 22 Ave.

Florida bus services GMG, Miami Bus Service, and TMT, servicing the colleges in Gainesville, Tallahassee, and Orlando could also benefit from access to the centralized terminal. Currently these bus services transport passengers from a parking lot on the respective college campuses to the parking lot of the Mall of the Americas. This “parking lot transit” is a fitting representation of American culture and Urban Planning, we spend our lives commuting to and from parking lots in our own vehicles so it’s only natural that when a successful “mass transit” operation appears, we lack the infrastructure for it to ferry us to anything other than shopping malls. Hopefully the Key-West Shuttle and Jet-Set bus service, both of which already operate from the airport terminals, will be offered space in the new facility as well.

While touring through Spain I marveled at the efficiency and popularity of the bus network in that country. It goes to show that despite the widespread efficient rail system in Spain, alternatives are needed to offer citizens a greater variety of choices and competitive prices for land-based regional transit. We arrived in the central city bus terminal of Toledo, purchased tickets for any of the buses traveling between the small city and Madrid every half hour and were well on our way within a few minutes of boarding (fully booked too, no doubt.) Spain is entwined in a vast web of rail and bus networks, all of which terminate in the central city stations accessible by public transit, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.

Bottom Picture Via Robert A1’s Flickr…

Regional public transit corridors are imperative to creating sustainable cities across Florida and the United States. The Miami Intermodal Center takes us a few steps closer to unifying our regional and local transit, making both systems accessible to a wider group of people and more importantly, accessible via local modes of public transit. I hope the necessary parties work to bring our regional bus and eventually rail transit into the Miami Intermodal Center to fully realize the potential the center has to offer…

8 Responses to “MIC: Regional Transit Hub”


  1. 1 Anonymous

    The MIC seems architecturally pretty cool looking. Is the bulk of the facility outdoors? Is there going to be room for more than one train line?
    (Just a suggestion) In the future can you shrink your pictures down a little so they don’t take so long to load.

  2. 2 Steven

    I think overall the MIC is a great idea. The Rental Car Center is very much needed so that there are less of the busses in the airport. Additionally, they need to tie the airport in with the other regional and local transit systems so visitors do not need a car. Where I think the project is lacking is the inter-city rail connections. This state desperately needs some form of rail transit throughout it.

    Several years back the voters approved a bullet train for the state. The project was about to enter the procurement phase and train car orders were put in with Bombardier (same people who make the French TGV) but ultimately the project was scrapped by the governor. This was supposed to be yet another connection going through the MIC. Personally, I would still like to see a bullet train constructed in this state. I would settle for a state-wide commuter rail though.

    In the post, the surface parking was considered an issue. Personally, I agree with that assessment too. I think the parking is lacking. During a recent meeting of the CTAC, the issue was brought up. I do not remember the resolve from it but with the joint development parcels as well as parking at the airport being available, I would think there is ample parking within the project area to meet those concerns. This becomes even more evident when one sees the current Amtrack station’s parking.

  3. 3 Anonymous

    Your rail prayers are likely to be answered — http://www.dot.state.fl.us/rail/Publications/2006Plan/PsgrDraftExecReport090806.pdf

    As far as I can tell, FDOT is actively preparing the EIS right now, and planning to move forward with it fairly quickly. I don’t expect much opposition from the state legislature, because the whole thing will make enough money to pay its own costs and won’t need endless subsidies to sustain itself.

  4. 4 Steven

    After reading the site and looking at some pictures from the new website and comparing with google earth, I am really liking the idea of a form of transit traveling the length of the Miami River from the MIC to sites in the East. If done correctly, it could tie into the new ferry services they are planning from the south and the north. Perhaps a route could connect the MIC with the Port of Miami and Downtown near one of the river metromover stations.

  5. 5 Anonymous

    The river isn’t big enough. Remember, there are a LOT of barges from Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean that squeeze up and down the river all day. By the time you factor in the slowdowns caused by slow passings and waiting for bridges to go up, you’d be better off just taking Metrorail downtown from MIC. If there ever WERE such a service, it would be purely for tourists looking for an entertaining ride to SoBe, because locals would never use it.

    The big problem with water transit is that people envision the time it would take to make the trip by speedboat or jetski, and don’t realize that real ferry boats will never, EVER be that fast thanks to manatees and environmentalists.

  6. 6 Steven

    they do have boats capable of going under bridges without them raising. Boats such as those would be possible for the Miami River. The traffic of the larger boats are restricted during the day to limit the impact on road traffic already. If there is a direct connection between the MIC and the Port of Miami, I think a river ferry service could adress the issue pretty quickly.

  7. 7 Anonymous

    OMG.

    Take a REALLY good look at the Metrorail platform at Miami Central Station. In particular, note its height relative to the pedestrian corridor connecting the Metrorail station to the ground-level train stations. If that rendering is correct, they have the tracks dead-ending at the pedestrian corridor (like the east-west ghost station at Government Center, and at Palmetto/Medley Station). They’ll have to demolish and rebuild that entire part of the station in order to extend the tracks to FIU and beyond!

    I emailed their public info office to find out whether their site just has an obsolete rendering. I hope to god this isn’t yet another spectacular example of Dade County Incompetence and Insanity, and that SOMEONE in a position of authority realized that maybe, just maybe, they ought to make sure that whatever they build can accommodate future expansion of Metrorail beyond MIC… if not, whomever made the final decision to go with the original plan desperately need to be drawn & quartered, crucified, or impaled slowly on a rusty iron spike.

  8. 8 Anonymous

    From the schematic I saw a while back, even though it looks like the metrorail goes through the pedestrian through way, I’m pretty sure the tracks actually go just under it with just enough clearance to spare. Keep in mind that the tracks necessary “vertical clearance” for the trains doesn’t go all the way to the top of that covering over it.

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