I could not believe my ears last week at a Chamber of Commerce meeting where a panel, including Miami-Dade County Transit Interim Director Yesla Llort and representatives from the Marlins, paraded around the imaginary transportation options that they were promoting in advance of the ballpark opening.

Lets be clear from the start – there is no safe, convenient or fast way of getting to the park aside from driving your car. The notion that a large portion of the 35,000 visitors to the park will come via transit is not only a joke, but is downright dishonest. From the Miami Today article:

 Although parking built for the ballpark will be limited, says Claude Delorme, the team’s executive vice president of ballpark development, between lawn and driveway parking, biking, walking and public transportation, ample modes are available.

Bullshit.

I’m willing to get over the sleazy way that the ballpark was approved. I might get over the fact that they had to tear down one of the few civic monuments that we could all rally around (ugly though it was) – the Orange Bowl had history. I might even be willing to get over the downright mediocre liner buildings and parking garages the city is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on. But what I will not do is tolerate transit professionals, like Yesla Llort, lying about how people will be able to the stadium via transit. There is no premium transit within a 5, 10 or even 15 minute walk of the stadium. Zilch. The buses that run along Flagler go west (from Downtown) and those that run on NW 7 go in both directions. What about people coming from Broward and points south and west. The parking garages only have 4,700 spaces, with an additional 3,500- 4,000 (stretching it) for folks parking on lawns and on-street around the stadium. Did they just build a luxury stadium and expect folks to take the bus and transfer several times to get there?

 The City of Miami, Miami-Dade County and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority are creating a joint effort to provide safe, reliable transportation to and from the stadium, said Ysela Llort, interim director of the Miami-Dade Transit.   ”Mass transit is the best way to get around,” she said.

Really? Not if the trains don’t go there. I have to wonder why these people believe that anyone would go through the trouble of transferring two or three times to get close to the stadium, to then walk a mile from Culmer or Civic station or take a shuttle. Are they nuts? Both of the closest stations are about a mile, without taking into account the treacherous 3′ sidewalks, dangerous intersections, and completely lacking pedestrian amenities along the way. The tone deaf nature of this meeting was nothing short of shocking to someone like me that actually does walk, bike and take transit. If these people used the infrastructure they are claiming thousands of people will use to go to games, they would be more honest about the true state of affairs and make every possible attempt to make the real transit connections possible.

” The city will also offer bicycle-friendly infrastructure and provide bikeways to the ballpark,” she said.

Haha. See my comments from above. I want to take the Marlins folks for a walk from the stadium to civic station at both 5 pm and 9 pm so that they experience what they are promoting as the ‘transit/pedestrian’ experience to the ballpark. At 5pm you will have crazy rush hour along 12 avenue, from Civic center. Then as you make your way under the Dolphin to avoid getting hit (the expressway entrance is a notorious area for pedestrian and cyclist crashes) you make your way over the bridge to NW 7 where there are few crosswalks, narrow sidewalks, numerous obstructions, and speeding motorists trying to get home. On your return at 9 or later from the game, good luck. Poor lighting and sketchy street life (to be polite) will make getting back to the station an even greater challenge. Not only will you have to avoid getting hit by a car, but the area will be a slap in the face for suburban mom, dad and kids trying to get back to Kendall.

We can do better than this. An east/west Metrorail link from the airport that connects to the existing MetroRail right after Culmer where the existing Metrorail veers north ( a mere 3.5 miles) could have a stop at 17 Avenue – less than a quarter mile away (then its another 4.5 miles from the existing Metrorail at Overtown to Miami Beach and you have a direct MIA/ Miami Beach connection). At a mile away, both Civic center and Culmer Station are beyond the 10 min (1/2 mile) walk that is the accepted norm by planners and transportation professionals.  If we start small – increments of transit expansion that use our existing Metrorail line to connect destinations like the stadium/Miami Beach/Airport..etc we will be much better off in the long run than focusing on band-aid projects like trolleys and parking garages.

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19 Responses to Marlins Ballpark Transportation Meeting a Farce; Officials Play Up Non-existent Transit Options

  1. Cody says:

    The problem with these politicians and these “officials” is they truly are all bullshit. They don’t take transit, they don’t walk, and they don’t know the streets. They only know their car and the expressways they drive.

    You think Mayor Regalado takes the 8 or the 11 to Government Center? You think any of these Marlins officials have taken the Metro anywhere? No and no. The MDT headquarters alone were built with massive parking garages right NEXT to the Overtown Metro station. MDT employees don’t even ride the Metro.

    These so called officials speak of transit to sound like the understand Miamians and our needs, but they don’t. They depend on some study by some consulting team paid by our tax dollars to tell them pretty things that real walking, biking, transit using citizens, know aren’t efficient. No one is going to walk from the ballpark to Culmer Station in the middle of Overtown at 9PM? Who are they kidding? What a joke. Where’s the real leadership in this city?

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  2. Cody says:

    And don’t even get me started on a what a waste the trolleys are and will be. What a waste of our time and money. I’m optimistic about our future, but it’s frustrating to see these politicians going in circles. They don’t know Miami, they only know Kendall Town & Country.

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  3. Herby says:

    It is bullshit to think people are going to use available public transpiration to get to the new ballpark.
    On a side note, UM abandoned the Orange Bowl. They did not want to spend money on it to make infrastructure improvements. They decided to move to Sunlife. Unfortunately, the OB had lived out it’s useful lifespan. It had to be torn down.

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  4. Steve Hagen says:

    I bet there was zero discussion of running buses from major surface and garage parking areas…………Sydney, NSW, Australia has no rail service totwo big stadiums in the city (they also have stadiums at Olympic Park ) but they have an area for 30 busses to discharge and pick up passengers and like clockwork 30 pull up as soon as 30 leave for all areas of the city, including a rail station about 2 miles away…

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  5. Craig Chester says:

    Was there an update on the ‘cyclist infrastructure? I am know they are providing bicycle parking, but does this just mean simple bike racks? Are they are in a secure location? Covered? Is there a (gasp) bike valet/check like in San Francisco?

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  6. Devin says:

    Miami is a huge Band-Aid and elected public officials will never understand how to advocate for mass transit and urban cohesiveness because most have never traveled out of the county limits and if they have it’s from airport to shuttle / taxi to hotel. God forbid they rely on how other cities invest in their infrastructure! Something has to be done! Today, Miamians stand at a turning point with urban development and we can’t mess up these newfound opportunities to build upon our existing / non-existing public transportation and infrastructure. Trolleys and bus loops will work great if we had proper rail links to hook up to, but we don’t. How hard is it to add a 17th ave stop and for god sakes build the 27th ave North coorridor already to Joe Robbie. Imagine UM students having the ability to load up at the University stop and head north to stadium! No Drinking and Driving!! Maybe, a hook up to broward rail rail users from there??? Elected public officials need to start allocating monies to public infrastructure and not their pockets! Maybe the day when we have a mayor that actually hires college grads and not their family and friends we can hope for such things as ethics and moral obligations. No more bullshit please! Thanks for the post and the good fight Transit Miami!

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  7. softshooz says:

    We used to take metrofail from UM to the Hurricane games all the time. I think it was the school that provided shuttles from the stop to the O Bowl, but quite often the shuttles were too crowded and we walked.
    It wasn’t too bad on a Saturday afternoon, or even after the game, but I wouldn’t want to do it in rush hour during the week and after a late night baseball game.(there also seemed to be thousands of people doing the same thing so safety didn’t seem to be that much of an issue)
    I also remember as a kid growing up in Westchester my family would take Park-n-ride buses from FIU south to the Dolphin games there.
    Since any type of rail service will be a long time coming, I hope they can come up with something similar, maybe just one or two shuttle type bus services in the meantime.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Really…. who cares? after opening day there won’t be more than 5,000 people at the games. No one will even notice that level of traffic. Unless the marlins pay 100%, I wouldn’t want MDT to run any special services to the games.

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  9. Cody says:

    Extending the Metro to the Marlins Ballpark presents an opportunity to create a Metro line to (eventually) FIU.

    Go on to Google Maps and follow me… The line could spur from Culmer Station across the river, and go down NW 17th Av (Stop #1: Ballpark), line curves west onto Flagler St (Stop #2: SW 19th Av/Flagler St), line curves south down Beacom Blvd onto SW 8th St (Stop #3: SW 27th Av/SW 8th St) and finally ends at (Stop #4: SW 37th Av/SW 8th St).

    The line would eventually continue in phases along SW 8th St to FIU. Where’s the leadership MDT, City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, FDOT, SFRTA?

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  10. Tony Garcia says:

    @Cody: Agreed!!

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  11. Steve Hagen says:

    Annomous has it right……….There will be little attendance at the BALL GAMES BUT
    the real money will be made with HUGE CONCERTS and assorted other events, sucking life out of the AA ARENA……..

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  12. Craig Chester says:

    Steve – if you think the new ballpark is going to suck the life out of the Arena, wait until Genting builds this monstrosity casino! It will be the world’s largest vacuum.

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  13. Tony Garcia says:

    Steve and Anon: agreed about low demand for the stadium in the long run, but it matters to provide transit to areas like this that can actually support the service. With or without the stadium, 17 ave and NW 7 street is a prime candidate for premium transit because of surrounding residential densities.

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  14. [...] Bike Portland looks at how rising transit fares and service cuts might affect bike ridership. Transit Miami upbraids city planners for investing millions in a new ballpark but making no effort to make it [...]

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  15. Daniel says:

    They said at the VIP select-a-seat tour on Saturday that they will run a shuttle from Civic Center on game nights.

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  16. [...] – the Miami Marlins with Ozzie Guillen at the helm. But as Transit Miami's Tony Garcia notes, the public-transit access is pretty bad: "I have to wonder why these people believe that anyone would go through the trouble of [...]

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  17. Tim says:

    “I have to wonder why these people believe that anyone would go through the trouble of transferring two or three times to get close to the stadium, to then walk a mile from Culmer or Civic station or take a shuttle.”

    Funny, because that’s exactly what I plan on doing. Take a bus to Tri-Rail, transfer from Tri-rail to Metro, and then either walk or take a bus to the sadium. It’s only a mile walk lol, I don’t know why he’s complaining about it.

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  18. Tony Garcia says:

    You may be a dedicated fan, but the vast majority of people will not transfer several times and then walk 20 min to a game.

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  19. B says:

    I wonder if Tri-rail has thought of running 1 or 2 extra trains before and after the games, with a special shuttle route (private jitneys may be interested?) between the station and the Stadium. Who knows, some game-day riders may even turn into regulars!

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