I am contacting you just to give another perspective on the proposed streetcar project. I was an unsuccessful candidate for the commission office that Marc Sarnoff now occupies. We both opposed the streetcar project as part of our campaign platforms. My position has not changed. Previous to running for office, I was the Executive Director for two City CRAs through which a large portion of the system would run and from which the City was looking for funding. There is a huge anti-development mentality presently existing in the residential communities of
especially in the Miami Upper Eastside. The proposed streetcar project would do exactly what you speak of – encourage additional development along the streetcar corridor. It’s not an issue of whether the streetcar is needed or not; it is an issue of future development and the community has said enough is enough. On top of this, one must recognize that more and more the CRAs’ funds are being siphoned off for projects deemed for the well-to-do and having no benefit for the affordable housing group. One cannot take this project out of context from the other projects for which CRA funds are being sought – increasing commitment to the new Performing Arts Center, a seaport tunnel, improvements to a park slated to house two museums, and a new baseball stadium. All of these cause huge community opposition for the use of CRA funds when affordable housing goes largely ignored. You speak in the pure scheme of planning for development and here, in the City of , the development has already run amuck with little or no planning and no concern for traffic and infrastructure needs. Now, to suggest a streetcar project that mostly serves underdeveloped areas instead of already existing hi-rise residential units is looked at as another example of poor planning and will cause only what you suggest – more hi-rises along the streetcar corridor. Miami
Nothing is as simple as you lay it out because there are always other issues which are impacted, Frank.
Tri-rail scored a touchdown this past weekend, attracting record setting numbers of passengers for weekend ridership. How so you ask? Likely because Chicagoans have effective public transportation back home and they probably figured we did too…
Our region is in dire need of an area wide policy against current land usage patterns. Our neighbors to the north have realized this, why can’t we?
I found this on the myregion.org website, which has a wealth of information. One of their desired outcomes is something I have had a great deal of difficulty achieving with
Our Desired Outcomes:
- Build a new regional mentality
- Strengthen and create regional coalitions
- Maximize opportunities and address challenges
Changing people’s minds will be the hardest objective for any visionary plan in this Country. The already disillusioned “American Dream” has morphed into an uncanny desire to lay claim to large tracts of land, repeatedly misuse resources, and generally live in an unsustainable manner. To attempt a reversal of this mindset would require a figurative amending of the constitution as well as widespread progressive leadership to reverse the suburbanization of American Culture witnessed over the prior six decades…
- Heck, they even address the fragmentation which has occurred in the region…
- Check out who is on board…
Take the trolleys to avoid gridlock
TRANSIT PROJECT SORELY IN NEED OF LEADERSHIP MIAMI
If there is any hope of avoiding downtown gridlock, it will depend on Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and the City Commission leading the charge for improving the plan for, and then building, the proposed trolley system once championed by former City Commissioner Johnny Winton. Since Mr. Winton’s suspension after a drunken fracas with police, the trolley plan has become a City Hall orphan. The city could finance half of the $200 million construction cost with state dollars, but only if the mayor and commissioners soon show state officials that they are committed to relieving congestion in and around downtown.
Hook up to Metrorail
The 10-mile trolley system’s two routes would carry riders to museums, the
for the Performing Arts and the office core. The routes would circulate between downtown and the Design District and from Wynwood to the edge of the Jackson Memorial Hospital Medical District. Therein lies one of the problems. The westward route stops far short of the Metrorail station at the Carnival Center . In fact, under the current plan, the trolley would link up with only one Metrorail station — Civic Center . That isn’t sensible. While the plan includes circulator buses to feed the trolley, hookups with Metrorail and the planned Baylink to Government Center are necessary to effectively integrate Miami Beach ‘s mass transit systems in the future. Miami-Dade County
Tracks for the trolley would be built at grade level, meaning the project could be completed much sooner than elevated rail systems. Cars would be powered by overhead electric lines. If the city approves the project now, trolleys could be carrying riders by 2011.
Some critics complain about the cost. But the city has funding sources, including proceeds from the countywide half-cent sales tax for mass transit. The city already has invested $5 million in an environmental study, engineering and survey work, and ridership studies showing that more people are willing to ride trolleys than buses.
Take the long view
Probably the riskiest aspect is that the city would hire a private vendor to build, maintain and operate the system. Such public-private ventures are common in
Europeand only beginning to catch on in the . The city would pay the vendor $8 million annually for operations and upkeep. Structured properly, the joint agreement would include incentives that would encourage the builder to avoid cost overruns and delays that hamper many public projects. United States
Elected officials sometimes focus too much on short-term issues that can be completed during their time in office.
Taking the long view doesn’t always bring quick political benefits. But 2011 — the projected finish date — is not so far off. The choice is trolleys or gridlock. The time to decide is now.
I mentioned this recently, but was only able to snap a picture of it yesterday. There were at least 4 others of these along the way. I find it absurd that our tax dollars are being spent on advertising the fact that toll running will not be tolerated. Instead of highway improvements, more road rangers, or simply more FHP (you know, to catch the toll runners), our money is going down the drain with catchy slogans on oversized billboards. I can only imagine what the Clear Channel bill amounts to. What was the point of those electronic billboards (Florida Sun Guide) if we never intended to use them to actually advertise highway related information? Just another instance of our tax dollars at waste…
Shankrabbit is among the many people arriving and chronicling their weekend visit to
I came across a great article which addresses the ineffectiveness of our country’s passenger rail network: Amtrak. Alexander Kummant, Amtrak’s newest director, is plotting a course to expand the floundering passenger rail market. The article highlights Amtrak’s flaws while discussing the future of overseas rail which may soon be linking
Letter to the Editor High-density development best way to cure traffic woes By GABRIEL J. LOPEZ-BERNAL 4EG
I’m writing in response to Wednesday’s article “SG, City Commission talk transportation.” If the city of Gainesville is actually intent on reducing traffic and creating a pedestrian-friendly urban environment, then they need to concentrate on improving the existing options and limiting the city’s footprint. Traffic signal improvements will only improve roadway capacity and will do little to discourage residents from driving daily.The city should aim to severely curtail its urban sprawl by creating higher-density developments that encourage citizens to walk or seek alternative forms of transportation. Creating a sustainable environment is more than conservation. It involves careful urban planning to reconstruct a city that is readily accessible to human beings rather than vehicles.
“You move to the beach, expect some salt on your windows.”
“Let me get this straight, people moved into a place called Symphony House and are complaining about music?” (Mayor Jim Naugle) said. “You shouldn’t expect to open your windows and hear birds chirping. This is a city.”
Amidst an unprecedented building boom and surge in urban dwellings and living, the
Sarnoff said the Streetcar was too expensive and would be used to fuel more overdevelopment in areas already overwhelmed by high-rise residential condos. He argued that a fleet of environmentally friendly circulator buses would better serve the city at a much cheaper price.
Is this guy joking? Areas overwhelmed? I’m sorry we might disrupt the calm village like quality that every CBD is supposed to embody. This is what happens when we continue to allow ignorance to exist in our local government. It’s not about providing a benefit to local developers; it’s about creating an urban lifestyle that area residents are craving. The environmentally friendly bus idea is beyond ridiculous. Let’s spend $600,000 a pop on a hybrid “circulator” bus which will a) do nothing to enhance the urban fabric of the community or route b) realize far less ridership numbers than the streetcar could easily guarantee c) make urban life next to impossible for everyone not living within a few blocks of the metromover d) be a gigantic waste of money e) be the worst idea I’ve ever heard and f) continue the terrible parking garage pedestal and further increase area traffic because countless studies always conclude that there is a permanent negative stigma towards buses in the United States.
What irks me is the desire to kill a project even before the facts have been heard. This guy is a lawyer, not a transit planner, engineer, or urban planner. He’s behind ecologically friendly construction in the city but knows little of how to actually create a greener city (here is a hint: it involves making the city denser, easier to walk, and has abundant public transit.) He ran against bad government but is suddenly the epitome of the bad government decisions we are trying to fight. Now, don’t get me wrong this isn’t a tirade against Sarnoff, but rather against the thought process, given the real facts, on the
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