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
The County’s zoning and planning department must not have too much urban planning experience. The board blatantly does not understand the transit oriented development concept and instead chose to bow down to the heeds of the Coconut Grove NIMBY force. In case you aren’t aware, the CCG NIMBY Coalition is against density, height, and growth, but typically still wonders why the Coconut Grove Central shopping/business district is nearly vacant and not bustling with activity. (Note: they are also against expanding the UDB for further sprawl, but refuse to allow such development that would prevent it from happening in the first place.) In an effort to prevent further traffic, the NIMBY Coalition of the Grove sought to severely scale down the density of a proposed transit oriented development at the Grove metrorail station, opting instead for shorter buildings with more parking spaces. So let’s get this straight, in order to combat further traffic issues they are fighting to bring more parking to a new development that will be adjacent to a transit station? Sheer stupidity. The US-1 corridor is primed for denser development with fewer parking spaces to force use of alternative means of transportation throughout our neighborhoods including walking. Just in case you were wondering here is the definition of a transit oriented development:
Transit Oriented Development is the exciting new fast growing trend in creating vibrant, livable communities. Also known as Transit Oriented Design, or TOD, it is the creation of compact, walkable communities centered around high quality train systems. This makes it possible to live a higher quality life without complete dependence on a car for mobility and survival.
Hence my initial remarks on the zoning department’s actual planning experience. Below is a copy of the story from the Miami Today:
HEIGHT FIGHT: A developer’s plan to build a 250-foot, 25-story residential and commercial tower on 5 acres next to the Coconut Grove MetroRail station at US 1 and Southwest 27th Avenue is being scaled down by the county’s planning and zoning department. County officials were expected to detail their proposal to limit Coconut Grove Station Development’s tower to 19 stories and 200 feet at the Rapid Transit Developmental Impact Committee Wednesday (11/24). The county also wants to reduce density and increase parking for the project, which has triggered seven years of debate.
Fifteen story buildings are way too short for a parcel next to a transit stop. You’re not using the land efficiently. The mixed-use towers sounds like a much better plan. Having the retail conveniences so close to the station will be excellent for ridership, not to mention curbing urban sprawl and building responsibly. Dense urban infill is the way to go.
January 23, 2007
I came across an interesting comment posted on The Miami Herald in response to the strong mayor victory. Apparently we’re not the only ones dissatisfied with the leadership over at Miami-Dade Transit.
Hopefully, now the escalators along the
Brickell Avenueroute will be fixed after more than one year out of service for “upgrades”. Got a nice reply about this matter from Mr. Bradleys office after a couple of months, but still, no solution to the problem.
- Posted by: Silvie
Perhaps if they hadn’t wasted our money replacing perfectly good trash receptacles we would have escalators and elevators for patrons to use…
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