What if Miami’s vibrant light-rail system of the past existed in the Miami of today?

Let’s explore how the historic Miami Beach trolley route of the early 20th century would look through the Miami of the early 21st century.

MiamiBeachTrolleyRoute_Intro

Click on the video below. You’ll be taken on a virtual fly-through of the the no-longer-existing Miami Beach trolley line through the streets and neighborhoods of today. Please do enjoy for yourself and share with others!

Just imagine if this trolley were still up and running! Light-rail Baylink, anyone?

Also, be on the look-out for more TransitMiami geovisualizations in the near future!

ped safety little havana

Everyone knows that Miami has a serious problem with pedestrian injuries and fatalities; not a week goes by without reading an article about another pedestrian struck by a car. Miami is the 4th most dangerous city for pedestrians and cyclists in the Country right now.

This must change!

We live in one of the most beautiful, perfect climates in the world, yet stepping out our doors for a walk can be fatal. With Emerge Miami, I began organizing walks for pedestrian safety last year in response to this ongoing crisis. The concept is simple, during the time that pedestrians are legally allowed to enter the crosswalk, we have people with educational signs and statistics about pedestrians injuries and fatalities walk back and forth through the crosswalk. We also have educational materials to hand drivers and pedestrians.

Our next walk is in Little Havana on June 29th, a lovely neighborhood that should be safe and walkable, yet speeding cars and infrequent crosswalks make it a extremely dangerous for walkers, especially the many more elderly residents who live there.

As part of our walk we are asking that pedestrians who have been injured, and their families, to come out and join our walk to help put a personal face on this epidemic of injury and death.

For more information or to get involved please contact Elsa Roberts at eroberts@mtu.edu. To RSVP to the event go to Meetup or Facebook.

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They say a picture speaks a thousand words. This particular photo speaks to the state of pedestrian safety in Miami — beat-up and run-down!

Location: Brickell Bay Drive & 12 Street. Thanks to TransitMiami reader Keith Lawler for sending this one in!

Location: Brickell Bay Drive & 12 Street.
Thanks to TransitMiami reader Keith Lawler for sending this one in!

According to Keith Lawler, the Brickell denizen who submitted this photo, this well-intended, yet seemingly ineffective, pedestrian safety signage is now, as of May 29, gone completely . . .

Something’s got to give . . .

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My neighbors and I have been trying for several months to get the County and the City to do something about the out-of-control speeding problem on our street, but sadly the County and City have been dragging their feet and nothing has been done to address this very serious issue. Meanwhile drivers continue to speed on this residential street, at times hitting speeds of nearly 50mph.

Last week, the “Cone Fairy” swopped into Belle Meade in the middle of the night, and placed three traffic cones on NE 76th Street in an attempt to calm traffic on my street. Apparently the Cone Fairy is also sick and tired of the lack of progress by the County and City and she has taken it upon herself to place cones in the middle of the street in order to calm traffic. It appears that a small minority of my neighbors are not pleased with the cones nor do they seem to think that speeding is enough of a concern to properly address this very important issue.

A couple of weeks ago the Belle Meade HOA decided to take a vote on what to do:

This is the direction they choose to take:

1.       Continue on-going process to have stamped asphalt (brick look) to all the crosswalks presently in Belle Meade.  This will add some aesthetics to the streetscape plus make the crosswalks more prominently visible to vehicle operators.

2.       Further pursue the installation of stop signs on 76th Street at NE 7th Court – both east and west bound – in an effort to slow traffic as it makes its way between 7thand 8th Avenues.  The County recently conducted a traffic study of this location to determine the eligibility for these signs and concluded that they were not warranted based on traffic flow.  Those in attendance last night requested that the HOA Board pursue the installation anyway through the political process based upon wanting to slow traffic.  The next step is to contact our County Commissioner, Edmonson, since traffic signage is under the county and get direction from her on how we should proceed.

3.       Initiate a public awareness/education program in Belle Meade to bring attention to the increased number of children in our neighborhood and the need to obey all the traffic regulations when driving through the neighborhood.

Yesterday my neighbor, Jenny Page sent the below email to Commissioner Edmonson and Commissioner Sarnoff in a desperate attempt to get the County and City to do something.

Dear Mr. Sarnoff,

I am a voter and we met one day at our house for a campaign visit.  We were delighted to meet you in person and believe you have done well by Miami and particularly in Belle Meade. I am writing to ask you if you could help make our neighborhood safer by installing 2 stop signs on the intersection where we live, at NE 76th Street and 7th Court.  I am attached a visual map illustrating the exact location and surrounding families.

This is one of the only intersections in Belle Meade without a stop sign and people are speeding like crazy – like 40-50mph sometimes – up and down 76th because of it.  As you probably know it is the street with the guard gate and so many cars are using this street.  There are other, quieter streets/intersections with stop signs so it seems odd that there would not be one here.

Our neighborhood has met about this but there is some discord about what to do, many expensive options came about like a traffic circle, raised sidewalks etc.

It seems to me that a simple stop sign would at least slow drivers down.  This option is inexpensive and causes little inconvenience.

We live right on the NE corner of this intersection and within the 2 blocks of 76th that are affected by the speeders are at least 5 dogs, and 12 children.  The constant speeding of cars puts all people walking, biking, playing in our neighborhood in jeopardy.

Please advise if this is a possibility and what our block could do to move this concern forward.

Jenny Page

 

 Dear Ms. Edmonson and Staff,

I am a voter and taxpayer residing on NE 76th Street in Belle Meade.  We send our kids to the lovely public Morningside K-8 Academy and love the fact that we can walk there.  Though on our street we experience excessive speeding which makes it more dangerous than it has to be.

I am writing to ask you if you could help make our neighborhood safer by installing 2 stop signs on the intersection where we live, at NE 76th Street and 7th Court.  I am attached a visual map illustrating the exact location and surrounding families with kids and grandkids.

This is one of the only intersections in Belle Meade without a stop sign and people are speeding like crazy – like 40-50mph sometimes – up and down 76th because of it.  This is the entrance/exit street for the neighborhood and so many cars are using this street.  There are other, quieter streets/intersections with stop signs so it seems odd that there would not be one here, where there is the most traffic.

Our neighborhood has met about this but there is some discord about what we can do, many expensive options came about like a traffic circle, raised sidewalks etc.

It seems to me that a simple stop sign would at least slow drivers down.  This option is inexpensive and causes little inconvenience and the tradeoff for a safer community is important.

We live right on the NE corner of this intersection and within the 2 blocks of 76th that are affected by the speeders are at least 5 dogs, and 12 children.  The constant speeding of cars puts all people walking, biking, playing in our neighborhood in jeopardy.

Please advise if this is a possibility and what our block could do to move this concern forward.

Many thanks for all your help with our Miami Community!

Jenny Page

 

We here are Transit Miami have been advocating for raised crosswalks, raised intersections or a speed tables. Although we don’t think a stop sign is the ideal solution to calm traffic in the long term, at this point we are willing to compromise with a stop sign if the County were to allow it.

Raised Crosswalk

Raised Crosswalk

Raised intersection

Raised intersection

Speed table. Not to be confused with speed bumps.

Speed table. Not to be confused with speed bumps.

As for the stamped brick crosswalks, it is a complete waste of money and will not calm traffic. I really hope the city does not agree to waste more money on silly infective urban planning in Belle Meade. Urban planning by majority rule clearly has not worked thus far: i.e. the Belle Meade fence. (see video below)

Stamped brick crosswalks will not calm traffic.

Stamped brick crosswalks will not calm traffic.

This  leads me to ask a question- Why isn’t the City of Miami Planning Department involved in any of these decisions? This department has some wonderful professionals. Instead the city’s Capital Improvement Projects Department and the County Public Works Department is involved in all of these decisions.

Something needs to give and City and County need to stop dragging their feet asap before a child is killed in my neighborhood.

If something isn’t done asap I have a feeling that the Cone Fairy will be back with a vengeance.  After all she is just looking out for children, parents with strollers, cyclists and pets. It’s really a shame that some of my neighbors can’t appreciate the  good intentions of the Cone Fairy.

 

 

Nearly six months ago, TransitMiami was proud to offer the broader public an exclusive first glimpse of the renderings for some of the potential designs for our new Metrorail train cars.

As we described back in December 2012, the three models are:

  • SPOON
  • RING
  • SHIELD
Vehicle: Spoon  |  Livery: Neon  |  Interior: Blue/Magenta

Vehicle: Spoon | Livery: Neon | Interior: Blue/Magenta

Vehicle: Ring  |  Livery: Shark  |  Interior: Yellow, Grey-Blue

Vehicle: Ring | Livery: Shark | Interior: Yellow, Grey-Blue

Vehicle: Shield  |  Livery: Status  |  Interior: Red, White

Vehicle: Shield | Livery: Status | Interior: Red, White

Each comes with its own distinctive livery. (Note that there’s also a variant, predominantly yellow, livery for the “RING” model that can be seen in the original post.)

We also want to bring your attention to AnsaldoBredo’s spiffy little 3-minute computer-animated video giving a cordial (albeit far from riveting) view of how these potential new train cars might look on the inside.

SHIELD is the train model featured in the video . . . Have a look! Share your thoughts!

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Microsoft Word - MPath-HappyHour-Flyer.docx

 

Date: May 23, 2013
Time: 5-7pm
Location: Titanic Restaurant and Brewery, 5813 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33146

Ride your bike or walk to Titanic Brewery and get drink specials and free appetizers! Bike valet will be provided by Green Mobility Network. Click here to RSVP:http://urbanhp.wufoo.com/forms/may-is-for-mpath-happy-hour-rsvp/

 

Multiple facets of our community are abuzz with transportation- and mobility-related talk.

We’ve got the Miami-Dade 2013 Transportation Summit scheduled for June 6 and the “Transit Talk” pre-summit summit a week in advance on May 29.

Now we’ve got yet another transportation-/mobility-related event scheduled for a week after the summit, on June 12. It seems the transportation debate in greater Miami is really heating up . . .

The Good Government Initiative (GGI) at the University of Miami is hosting a luncheon called “Can We Conquer Congestion? Mobility for 21st Century.

CanWeConquerCongestion_20130613

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

11:30am – registration | 12:00pm — lunch | 12:30pm — conversation

Northern Trust | 700 Brickell Avenue | Miami, Florida 33131

For your Average-José, there’s some good news and bad news. It’s always best to serve the bad news first:

Bad News: This is NOT a free event, which is something that would generally, under most circumstances, discourage me from posting here on TransitMiami. There’s an elaborate fee schedule for various types of groups:

  • $35 — Individual Ticket (standard/default)
  • $30 — GGI Member
  • $50 — GGI Contributor (Individual Ticket + $15 donation)
  • $500 — Sponsor Table for 10
  • $20 —  Student / Concerned Citizen

Good News: The Good Government Initiative has graciously agreed to offer readers of TransitMiami a special registration discount of $5, hence the reason it’s being posted. Thank you Good Government Initiative — sincerely!

That’s right! Just as you always hoped and knew it would, your TransitMiami readership is finally beginning to pay off! To get your crisp Abraham Lincoln knocked-off the registration price, be sure to enter the following promo code into the electronic form when registering as a “Student / Concerned Citizen” ($20): TRANSITMIAMI .

After the $5 discount, that $15 bucks will cover your lunch (hey, lunch!) and presence at the discussion. Note: the actual level of participation permitted by the public in this “discussion” is to yet to be determined/witnessed. . . . Read on for the justification of my admittedly skeptical disposition . . .

The more ambiguous news — toward which you should be correspondingly ambivalent — is that an event titled “Can We Conquer Congestion? Mobility for 21st Century” is featuring the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX), Mr. Javier Rodriguez, as one of its main speakers (?!).

Javier Rodriguez, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) Executive Director

Javier Rodriguez, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX)
Executive Director

Let’s be clear here: TransitMiami has absolutely nothing against Mr. Rodriguez on a personal level.

Professionally, though, we do take issue with the agency whose reins he controls: MDX.

One need only look through the dozens of TM posts since 2007 revealing the obsessive toll-imposing and highway-constructing machinations of MDX to know how we feel about the agency.

Around here, MDX holds the un-honorably earned reputation of being one of the main progenitors of suburban sprawl and endless highway construction. It’s these forces that underlie congestion and diminish quality of life in our community. MDX is a tenacious antagonist of true urban mobility in the Miami of the 21st century.highway_knot_01

So, please understand that our dissemination of this event comes with a healthy dose of caution and skepticism, probably even an unfortunate hint of cynicism too.

On the other hand, though, there’s also going to be representation by some organizations whose missions and and on-the-ground operations actually reflect the pursuit of our community’s well-being.

Other speakers include the likes of former Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Ms. Katy Sorenson, President and CEO of The Good Government Initiative, as well as people like Ms. Anamarie Garces de Marcilla, Executive Director of Urban Health Solutions and current chair of the Consortium for  Healthier Miami-Dade’s Health & Built Environment Committee.

[***Full disclosure: this author serves on, and is a supporter of, that volunteer committee.***]

Other anticipated speakers include Mr. Joe Giulietti, Executive Director, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (the agency which manages Tri-Rail) and Mr. Mark Lesniak, Executive Director of Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association.

Trirail-Logo

So, if you have the time and the $15 bucks to spare for lunch where people will be talking about transportation and mobility, go for it! And don’t forget to tell them that TransitMiami sent you with that promo code.

Let’s just hope that after sharing all of these critical — but well-intentioned — sentiments, the kind folks from GGI still uphold their $5 discount to TransitMiami readers!  After years of your blood, sweat, and tears, TM readers, you definitely deserve it!

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Written by Peter Smith

Two summers ago, I attended a presentation on mobility at the Department of Transportation’s new headquarters in Navy Yard. My then-boss, Mariia Zimmerman, was speaking on our nation’s preparedness to deal with an aging population in an auto-centric culture, and she gave a startling statistic: eighty-five percent of Baby Boomers live in communities where the car is the only viable means of transportation – walking included – and when asked how they intend to complete activities of daily living – grocery shopping, doctors appointments, church services – when they’re no longer able to drive, nearly all of them chose a single response: my children will drive me. That. Is. Insane. It’s also really poor planning, but first and foremost it’s insane.

I was reminded of this mind-blowing stat this week when my parents moved from my childhood home in one of Baltimore’s shoulder-to-shoulder brick row neighborhoods to a mid-century planned community. Their new home is in the Village of Cross Keys, the first planned community ever built by James Rouse, the man who coined the term “urban renewal.” Past the community’s guard tower, the tree-lined residential streets, named for great Baltimore planners like Edward Bouton and Frederick Law Olmstead, abut shops and restaurants. There’s a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a hotel. It’s just outside of downtown, but feels like a small hamlet. It sounds like a great place to retire, and indeed, it is marketed as an ideal community for active retirees.

The Village of Cross Keys, for all its amenities though, is not without its shortcomings. For instance, it lacks a grocery store… and a pharmacy… and a church and synagogue… and a school. Cross Keys has also been sold as a great place to raise a family, which is even more bewildering. The closest bus stop is outside the community’s fence over a half-mile from the residential heart along roads that sometimes have sidewalks, but sometimes don’t. In short, its boutique shops and chic cafes may make it a great place for retirees to waste lazy afternoons, but they don’t necessarily make it a great place to grow old, or even a great place to just live.

As a society, we’re becoming increasingly aware, thanks to the efforts of the First Lady and others to tackle childhood obesity, of the challenges that our nation’s children face from un-walkable communities; less than five percent of American children now live in a community where they can walk or bike to school. We’re far less conscious, however, of the challenges presented to the older generations, those who will in time be unable to drive and will therefore more than anyone else benefit from walkable, not to mention inter-generational, neighborhoods.

Miami has its share of America’s aging population as well as its share of un-walkable communities. I set out to discover just how big the problem is that Miami will face; how many older Miamians live in communities that will increasingly fail to meet their needs as they grow older? To do this, I looked at population data from Miami-Dade’s 77 inhabited zip codes and stood it up against each zip code’s ratings from WalkScore.

A quick caveat – WalkScore is not a perfect measure of walkability by any means, but validation studies confirm that it’s pretty much as good a measurement as anyone has ever devised. If anything, many of its shortcomings, such as its failure to consider lack of sidewalks or hostile road environments, would mean scores in places like Miami are likely higher than they should be, but as you’ll see, Miami’s scores aren’t very high as it is.

WalkScore assigns a score to any address in the United States and elsewhere that is representative of the area’s walkability. It measures walkability by proximity to amenities, such as groceries, restaurants, parks, schools, etc. The final score falls along a scale of 0-100, which corresponds to the following five walkability categories:

  • Walker’s Paradise (90-100): Daily errands do not require a car.
  • Very Walkable (70-89): Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
  • Somewhat Walkable (50-69): Some amenities are within walking distance.
  • Car-Dependent (25-49): A few amenities are within walking distance.
  • Car-Dependent (0-24): All errands require a car.

Ideally, any individual, especially older Americans would be able to walk to at least the most basic necessities, but as it turns out, for many that’s not the case. There are 463,940 people in Miami-Dade County who are age 60 or older and a full one-third of them live in areas where almost nothing is accessible without a car. Here’s a pie chart with the county-wide breakdown:

 

Untitled1

 

One of the first things that you probably noted was that the percentage of older Miamians living in areas categorized as a “Walker’s Paradise” is zero. That’s because there is no zip code in Dade County that tops the required score threshold of 90; the highest is a respectable 85, achieved by zip codes in Coconut Grove and Little Havana. Once you get over the shock, or not, that Miami is no Walker’s Paradise, you’ll see that about 70 percent of the county’s older residents live in areas where approximately half or more of basic needs cannot be accomplished on foot.

The median WalkScore for older Miamians is 57, which is solidly in the lower-middle share of the Somewhat Walkable category. To give a sense of what a “somewhat walkable” community is like, consider zip code 33186, which includes the area where the Florida Turnpike intersects with Kendall Avenue and has a WalkScore rating of 60. It’s home to just shy of 10,000 Miamians age 60 and older. From a typical house inside the sub-development just off the Turnpike at Kendall Avenue, it’s over a mile roundtrip for groceries, and a mile-and-a-half for a cup of coffee or a trip to the park. The closest bus stop is a half-mile away. For an older person in the hot Miami sun, distances like those can be pretty isolating.

Now, consider that 52.4% of Miamians age 60 and over live in areas that are even less walkable than that. Indeed, nearly 40,000 older Miamians live in communities with a WalkScore of five or less. That’s a small city’s worth of people who cannot travel to any meaningful destination without a car and for whom the inability to drive would mean the inability to remain even minimally self-sufficient.

Anyone has who has lived with an aging relative can relate that perhaps the hardest part of getting old is coming to terms with the loss of independence and self-sufficiency. It’s also no secret that maintaining that independence and self-sufficiency can be the key to maintaining happiness and mental health long into old age. For the Baby Boomers in particular, for whom freedom and independence are central to the generation’s identity, addressing the mobility challenges presented by Miami’s built environment is critical. When answering surveys, Boomers may be amenable to the idea that they will relinquish all freedom of mobility to their children, but the reality will likely mirror other generations’ reluctance to forego independence.

Baby Boomers represent the largest generational cohort in the United States and they comprise twenty percent of Miami-Dade residents. Thanks to advances in health science, Boomers are expected to live longer than any other generation in human history so far, but current predictions are that they won’t necessarily be any healthier into old age than preceding generations.

Older people, for both health and financial reasons, are far less likely to be able to drive. And even if they can legally drive, we may wish to encourage another means of transportation. A study out of Carnegie Mellon and AAA found that drivers age 75 to 84 had similar driving safety records as teenagers with a year or less of driving experience. Once an individual reaches 85 years, his or her vehicular fatality rates jumps to nearly four times that of teenagers.

Now, consider how many Americans will reach those ages. According to projections by the U.S. Social Security Administration, the life expectancy of a man who turns 65 today is 83 years old; for a woman, her life expentancy is 85. And those are just the averages, so roughly half of people will live even longer. One out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past 90 years, and one in ten will see 95 years and beyond. What all this amounts to is that the number of Americans, in both raw numbers and as a percentage of the total population, who are unable to drive because of their age will likely grow over the coming decades.

Demographic tides travel slowly through history. If you look closely, you can see them coming from far and away, and if you plan accordingly, you can subvert their sometimes catastrophic legacies. We can see now with clarity that Miami, like much of America, is on the edge of a quality of life pitfall. Absent descisive, purposeful action, a greater share of Miamians will face isolation and dependence than at any other moment in our city’s history.

Whether we solve this issue by making all communities more walkable or by making walkable communities more affordable and accessible is for discussion, but what is unavoidable is the track that we’ve placed ourselves on. It’s a track to a problem that requires solutions that amount to more than developing “lifestyle communities” that define walkable as “100 feet from a Talbot’s, but 1.5 miles from a Publix.” Solutions must encourage neighborhoods where Miamians can live their lives by car if they choose, but continue to live their lives on foot when driving is no longer possible. Otherwise, be prepared to free up some time every Saturday to take Abuela to the foot doctor.

 

May is National Bike Month. Biking is seeing a nationwide resurgence due to aggressive policies aimed to promote cycling, and as cities and towns in South Florida join the fold by increasing bike infrastructure, now is a particularly good time to bike in the Miami area. If you have a bike that needs a tune up or have been thinking about buying a two-wheeler for a while May is the perfect month to do so!

The bike is up there with man’s greatest inventions. It extends the range one can travel considerably, all while burning no fuel and providing excellent cardiovascular and exercise benefits. In urban traffic conditions, the bike is comparable with cars and public transportation on short/medium trips. One can usually bike around 5 miles in half an hour, which compares quite well with driving that distance under normal traffic conditions, and certainly with taking public transportation (particularly when having to walk to and wait for the bus).

All buses in Miami Dade and Broward County are outfitted with bike extensions. This opens up the possibility of using the bicycle as part of a multimodal trip. If you take multiple rides on your commute, consider biking to replace part of the trip, saving time, money, and enjoying the many exercise benefits of riding.

Of course, going from theory to practice can take some work, so here are some things to consider before hitting the road.

Things you’ll need to bike on the road:

A helmet: it’s not required for those older than 16, it’s usually not comfortable, but it is worth it. Most serious injuries and bike fatalities can be prevented by the simple use of a helmet.

Lights: White for the front, red for the back. Try to get removable ones so they don’t get stolen.

Bell: A loud bell will come in handy, particularly if you are biking on a mixture of roads and sidewalks.

In most places, these common sense accessories are legally required.

If you have never biked in traffic there are easy ways to ease into it. Always stay on the right side of the road. While riding your bike you are legally considered a car and need to obey all traffic laws, stop signs, and lights. Take advantage of the grid and bike down calmer less trafficked streets where possible. Familiarize yourself with the areas in which you want to bike and test out different routes.

One of the frustrating things about biking in the area is that most good bike lanes come to an end at major thoroughfares or ends of towns. But, with a few exceptions, most municipalities in South Florida allow for biking on the sidewalk. Google maps now has an option for bike directions, and smartphone users can use maps to figure out where they are and see which minor trafficked and low speed-limit streets they can take to reach their destinations.

If you don’t have a bike, you can take advantage of low-cost subscriptions to cycle hires like DecoBike in Miami Beach, and B-cycles in Broward County. I would still suggest taking a helmet with you if you plan to use one on the road. These bike systems also make use of smartphone GSP apps, with the deco bike app allowing you to see where you can rent/return bikes. The beauty of this is the short utility trip to the grocery store or other quick stop that would be too short for a car trip but a bit too far to walk. The bike serves as a great equalizer between walking and transit. So if you have been thinking of exercising, cutting down on car/transportation costs, and see the bike as an option I highly suggest giving it a try during this National Bike Month.

Ride safe!

 

Right when we needed it, the good folks at The Miami Foundation are sponsoring a “Pre-Summit Summit” titled Transit Talk in advance of the Miami-Dade County 2013 Transportation Summit.

Wednesday, May 29 — 6:00pm

Avenue D Jazz and Blues Lounge

8 S. Miami Avenue

Flyer_TT2_lo

[Avenue D is another relatively new downtown bar/lounge representing bar owners' understanding of TOD better than politicians. By far the best way to get there is via the Metromover. Just get off at the Miami Avenue station using the northwest stairway. Avenue D is immediately below the station.]

A panel of of transportation planners and advocates will be on-hand to moderate and stimulate the discussion, including Kelly Cooper, Strategic Planner at the Miami-Dade County Office of the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust (CITT), the primary entity organizing the Summit. At least one official Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) should be present too.

One can also expect to hear commentary from Marta Viciedo, primary organizer of the successful TransportationSummit2013Purple Line | U + Transit pop-up transit station which recently attracted a lot of attention to our community’s public transportation lacuna. A representative from the Move Miami-Dade transportation reform initiative, a project of TransitMiami alumnus Tony Garcia should also be present.

We confess that here at TransitMiami we very rarely provide reminders for the many events we post. Here’s one posted a couple weeks back that especially warrants a reminder. Save the date: June 6!!!

TransportationSummit2013

To register for the event, please visit the registration website at:

http://www.miamidade.gov/citt/transportation-summit.asp

The Summit is scheduled to take place at:

Miami-Dade College – Wolfson Campus

Chapman Conference Center 3210

300 NE 2 Ave
Miami FL 33132-2296

There are going to be four break-out sessions in total, with attendees having to choose between one of two topics for the morning and the afternoon sessions. The two morning topics participants have to choose from are as follows (taken directly from the registration website):

Morning Session Topics

Morning Session A: Innovative Financing Opportunities: Transportation projects utilize a wide variety of revenue and funding from federal, state, local, and private sources. With funding for planning and projects becoming increasingly tighter, transportation agencies are employing innovative strategies to finance capital costs.

Morning Session B: State-of-the-Art Transit Technologies and Mode Choice: A key transportation issue for our community is weighing the trade-offs among the various fixed route alternatives. Discover solutions that offer diverse ways to efficiently develop Miami-Dade’s transportation network through ways including bus rapid transit, rail systems, system design, automated guide-ways, etc.

Afternoon Session Topics

Afternoon Session C: Establishing Public Private Partnerships: Understand the importance of new partnership efforts between the private sector and the various levels of government in the state. Also hear about innovative programs in several states and share your experiences.

Afternoon Session D: Corridor and Priorities Planning: The planning and development of multi-modal corridors — “the next big thing project” — starts with consensus among many stakeholders in a region, including the walking, riding, and driving public, private sector, government, and non-governmental organizations. Prioritization involves many considerations ranging from design and construction of infrastructure to community values in areas such as mobility needs and desired land uses. These themes cut across bus (bus rapid transit, exclusive bus lanes, etc.) and rail systems (underground, elevated, and surface alignments), as well as stations, etc.

MiamiDadeTransportationSummit_2013_ReminderLastly, there will be a “Community Visioning Forum” from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

The County seems to be taking this event quite seriously too. This could be it, folks! This could be the year that we start to build a broad, diverse, determined coalition of the progressive to finally push for an environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and economically vibrant set of mobility solutions. It’s time we brought Miami into the 21st century. This Summit could be our chance!

Needless to say, then, our community needs your participation!

To register for the event, please visit the registration website at:

http://www.miamidade.gov/citt/transportation-summit.asp

The Summit is scheduled to take place at:

Miami-Dade College – Wolfson Campus

Chapman Conference Center 3210

300 NE 2 Ave
Miami FL 33132-2296

For the future of Miami, let’s make this event bigger and more momentous than any of us could hope . . .

Local politicians are finally beginning to get on-board with bicycle and pedestrian justice!

The smarter ones are beginning to realize that the remainder of their political careers will be determined by their commitment to active transportation and livable urbanism here in greater Miami.

BicycleSafetyMontProclamation_PepeDiaz_20130521

Tuesday, May 21 — 9:15am

Board of County Commissioners Meeting

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

10950 SW 211 Street

Cutler Bay, Florida 33189

 

Ride on the M-Path to a brewery along the M-Path to meet with Friends of the M-Path to celebrate the M-Path!

Friends_Of_MPath_HappyHour_20130523

Thursday, May 23 — 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Titanic Brewery

5813 Ponce de Leon Boulevard

Coral Gables, Florida, 33146

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Forty years since the publication of a visionary transportation planning document, the shortcomings of Miami-Dade County’s transportation reality suggest that we lost our vision somewhere along the highway, literally.

TransitMiami invites you to take brief trip through time . . .

THE PAST

The year is 1973. The Dade County Public Works Department has just released its State Transportation Programs Proposal for Dade County 1973-74.

In it, a chapter titled Mass Transit (pp. 72-98) makes declarations of a new “beginning on development of a true multi-modal transportation system in Dade County, in which “non-highway elements” are stressed to be at least part of the solution to Dade County’s burgeoning population and economy.

Indeed, there seems to be a fundamentally new consciousness — dare I say, a paradigm shift — reorienting the urban planning and public policy realms away from highways and toward mass transit.

StateTransportationProgramsProposedForDadeCounty_1973_1974

Around 1973, this is the vision the County had for University Metrorail Station. Note the dedicated busway right along US-1. Note the wide sidewalks and crosswalks. Note the number of pedestrians. Note the relative “completeness” of the streets, save for the absence of bicycle facilities, etc. Compare this with this same site (US-1 and Stanford Drive, Coral Gables) today, especially in light of recent considerations to build an elevated pedestrian bridge crossing US-1.

The beginning of that Mass Transit chapter reads:

Metropolitan Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation in recent years have become increasingly active in planning the improvement of mass transit facilities. With less emphasis on highways alone, programming efforts have been broadened to multi-modal transportation facilities, including airports, seaports, rapid transit, terminals for truck, rail and bus companies, as well as the highway and street system that serves them and provides local traffic needs.

There’s a sense that perhaps the mid-20th century notion of highways being the transportation panacea has finally begun to lose potency. A more holistic, more enlightened view has apparently begun to gain traction, one which posits that transportation corridors and corresponding land-uses perform best when designed to serve the myriad means and purposes of mobility, as well as the urban environment’s diversity of functions.

Here are some of the major mass transit proposals from the report:

  • 53.7 miles of high-speed transit served by 54 stations,
  • bus routes operating on expressways and arterial streets,
  • feeder bus routes to complement other bus routes and rapid transit,
  • mini-systems at selected transit terminals to provide local circulation and link traffic generating areas with rapid transit.

THE PRESENT

Fast-forward 40 years into the future. The year is 2013.

FDOT and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) — and the construction, automobile, and petroleum lobbies — actively and aggressively seek to expand highways.

Tax payers are being charged $560,000,000 (that’s right: more than half a billion!) for the highway expansion mega-project at the SR 826 (Palmetto Expressway) and SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway) Interchange.

826_836_ProjectRendering_North

826_836_ProjectRendering_Southeast

Real estate developers eager to cash-in on building single-family cookie-cutter homes along the urban periphery in the west and south of the County lobby to transgress the Urban Development Boundary (UDB). Residential sprawl continues to lower the quality of life on the edges of the city.

Eager to keep its agency coffers growing, MDX writes hyperbolic reports emphasizing inflated demographic growth projections on these suburban outskirts, thereby seeking to further justify its southwestward expansion of SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway). MDX advocates for expanding tolled highways in order to generate increased revenues aimed at the perpetual expansion of highways in greater Miami.

SR-836-Southwest-1-Kendall-Extension-map

Those same city-destroying developers-of-sprawl back MDX — as do all others in the broader network of profiteers — because they perceive as far too lucrative to forego the opportunity to cash-in on pushing the boundary of Miami further into the Everglades and into our fresh water supplies.

Even on roads that have long exhausted their traditional function as “highways”, MDX pursues measures to retrofit them so as to restore their obsolete highway-performing characteristics. This is epitomized by MDX’s “US-1 Express Lanes”, whereby the agency hopes to reduce the dedicated South Dade busways to accommodate new tolled arterial travel lanes for private motorists, as well as, most notoriously, create elevated overpasses (that is, create more “HIGH-ways”).

US1_Elevated_expresslane

MDX_US1expressway_ShareFacilityPlan

FDOT, in collusion with MDX, actively seeks to expand the tolled Florida Turnpike in far south Miami-Dade County.

Meanwhile, our mere 23-station elevated heavy-rail Metrorail system traverses a very linear (and thus limited), virtually-non-networked 25 miles, including the recently added, yet long-overdue, Miami International Airport / Orange Line extension. This is literally less than half the of the 54 stations and 53.7 miles of rail network envisioned in the planning document from 40 years earlier.

Miami Transit in Perspective. Image courtesy of Leah Weston.

Miami Transit in Perspective. Image courtesy of Leah Weston.

Planned expansions to the Metrorail intended to create a true network have been scrapped due to a lack of political will to secure dedicated funding sources, along with an over-abundance of administrative incompetence and corruption.

Taken_for_a_Ride_MetrorailCorridors_MiamiHerald

Source: “Taken for a Ride”. Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/multimedia/news/transit/

After decades of false starts, broken promises, gross mismanagement of public funds, and outright political apathy, the time is now to regain the vision put forth four decades ago. The time is now to withdraw ourselves from our toxic addiction to the 20th century model of single-occupancy vehicles congested on highways. We must stop supporting those who seek to destroy our collective public spaces for personal gain through the incessant construction of highways.

The time of the highway is over. The time for “a true multi-modal transportation system in Dade County  is now.

Has Miami-Dade County lost its vision for public transit over the last 40 years? — most definitely. However, one can find solace in the fact that this is not the Miami of 1973, nor of ’83, ’93, or ’03. We are no longer the Miami of the past.

This is the Miami of 2013. This is our time. It is up to us to set forward — and bring to fruition — the vision for the Miami of 2053 . . . and beyond.

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Ladies and gentlemen: We present to you an important, visionary opportunity to support the creation of not only the first private railway network linking Miami and Orlando via the All Aboard Florida initiative, but also a recreational trail along that same 230-mile stretch!AllAboard_Arriving_web

All Aboard Florida is the ambitious project intended to link Miami and the greater Southeast Florida region with Orlando and the greater Central Florida region. It’s something we at TransitMiami are particularly excited about, and, frankly, you should be too!

What’s even more exciting, though, is the vision being advanced by the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. With our (meaning the people’s) support, Rails-to-Trails hopes to make a small but significant modification to the All Aboard Florida railway plan: ADD A TRAIL!

RTC

That’s right, along with connecting Miami to Orlando with a much-needed railway, why not add a multi-use trail connecting these nodes (and everything in between) too?!

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is asking for our help in this regard with the following message:

Imagine traveling from Miami to Orlando by rail-trail!

It could happen, thanks to a new rail expansion project called All Aboard Florida. But your voice is needed to make sure rail-trail opportunities are included in the plan.

Take action now: Urge the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to include a trail alongside new rail service as part of All Aboard Florida.

All Aboard Florida is a proposed rail connection between Miami and Orlando. This rail line will be America’s first privately built, privately maintained inter-city rail services since the creation of Amtrak.

The best part is that the 230-mile rail corridor also provides an excellent opportunity for trails alongside the railway.

Right now, the FRA is in the early stages preparing an environmental impact study of All Aboard Florida — and they’re accepting public comments through Wednesday, May 15. It’s the perfect time for you to speak out for the inclusion of rail-trails in the plan!

The window for submitting public commentary on this possibility is about to be closed, so be sure to submit your message of support for the addition of a trail alongside the All Aboard Florida railway as soon as possible.

jxvl-baldwin_rt_bloving225x175Let’s make our voices heard: Write a quick, passionate, powerful message to the Federal Railroad Administration in support of a 230-mile trail from Miami to Orlando!

 

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