Back in March we reported that the city of Miami was using part of its $4.1 million ARRA transit stimulus money on implementing new local rubber-tire trolley service.  Transit Miami contacted city officials to get more information about these important initiatives with regard to proposed routes, community outreach efforts, and future funding. Assistant City Manager Bill Anido and Transportation Coordinator Jose Gonzalez were helpful in providing the following description of the project, as well as the linked maps.

The City’s project consists of purchasing rubber-tire circulators/trolleys and ancillary capital equipment such as shelters/benches and signs to provide circulator service in the Downtown, Brickell, Coral Way, Allapattah, and Overtown communities.  The proposed circulators will enhance both connectivity and frequency of transit service along their respective routes.  The service will essentially consist of the following 5 circulator routes described below:

Downtown-Brickell Trolley: We are partnering with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to finalize the route and stops for the Brickell-Downtown Trolley which will connect to the Coral Way Trolley at the Brickell Metrorail/Metromover Station at SW 1st Avenue and proceed north along Brickell Avenue/Biscayne Boulevard serving the Brickell, Downtown, and Omni areas.  We have currently undertaking a survey of area residents, employees, visitors, and students to gauge the community’s interest for an area trolley service.  I am pleased to report that we have received over 400 surveys, thus far, with extremely favorable outcomes.  In addition, for this trolley route, we are considering providing service during weekends and special events.

Coral Way-Brickell Trolley: The Coral Way-Brickell Trolley will operate along Coral Way serving all the commercial, retail, and residential establishments along the corridor.  The service will terminate at the Brickell Metrorail/Metromover Station at SW 1st Avenue where a connection to the Downtown-Brickell Trolley will be provided; it may also connect to the City of Coral Gables Trolley system on Ponce de Leon Blvd.

Health District Trolley: The Health District Circulator will operate a 2-way loop to provide premium service to the Health District area, the second largest employment center in the City and County.  This trolley will connect to the Civic Center Metrorail Station on NW 12th Avenue and to the Overtown and Allapattah loops described below.

Overtown-Health District Trolley: The Overtown-Health District Loop will provide premium service in the Overtown community via NW 3rd Avenue and will connect to the Health District Trolley.  This connection will facilitate transit mobility between the Overtown community and numerous health care, judicial, educational, and civic institutions in the Health District.

Allapattah-Health District Trolley: The Allapattah-Health District Loop will provide premium service in the Allapattah community via NW 20th Street from NW 17th Avenue to NW 27th Avenue.  This route, similar to the Overtown Loop, will connect to the Health District Trolley in order to facilitate a premium transit connection between the Allapattah community and the Health District, an area experiencing tremendous growth and a significant source of employment in the City.

This is a big step in providing the type of convenient local transit that is necessary to get people out of their cars and riding transit. If you live near one of the proposed lines, get involved! The city is looking to hear from residents on how they can make this a success, so if you have a comment or idea drop us a line at MoveMiami@gmail.com and we’ll forward it on! Stay tuned for more on the trolleys….

22 Responses to City of Miami Trolley Lines: A First Look

  1. Adrian says:

    What do you mean by rubber tire trolley service?
    is it those extremely ugly buses painted to make it look like it is sided with wood?

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  2. Tony Garcia says:

    Jeez…I hope they are not buses painted with wood veneer! While the city is still in the process of developing the specifications, we are told they will use ‘hybrid/green’ technology. In all likelihood they will be rubber-tire vehicles that are a bit wider than buses, and designed to look 1920′s style trolleys (akin to the Coral Gables Trolley). Check out this Transit Miami article with accompanying photo of what the trolley might look like.
    http://www.transitmiami.com/2007/12/19/crazy-new-um-study/

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  3. [...] Tony Garcia added an interesting post today on City of Miami Trolly Lines: A First Look | Transit MiamiHere’s a small readingBack in March we reported that the city of Miami was using part of its $4.1 million ARRA transit stimulus money on implementing new local rubber-tire trolley service. Transit Miami contacted city officials to get more information about … [...]

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  4. Juan Felipe says:

    I have a big big problem with the Brickell-Omni rubber-trolley line:

    “I truly find this a waste of money if a perfectly functioning system (the Metromover has seen huge increases in ridership in the past year and a half, and serves the need of everybody in these corridors already with seamless connections to Metrorail and Metrobus) ALREADY exists just one block from the majority of the line. Instead, why not allocate this money to the fund to build the Miami Streetcar. Now THIS, in my opinion complements existing services, instead of replacing those that already serve the area efficiently. The streetcar would go down Flagler (E-W) go up NE 2 Ave. and connect the Downtown area to Midtown and the Design district, then looping back. I understand that with appropriate connections, bus routes serve all these areas. However, time and time again, it has been shown that people respond to streetcars more favorably than buses -as they see that a fixed guideway ensures quick and uninterrupted travel- and that they carry many more people than buses. The people of southern Brickell Ave. who do not use the buses to get places will NOT use a trolley if provided with one anyway (I use only this portion of the route because it is the only portion with “new service”).

    I understand that the money for the trolley lines is not enough for the whole streetcar line but if we have that money in place, the feds are more likely to match the funds or put in more money, being that a dedicated fund has been put in. Otherwise, it will be pushed into the back burner indefinitely and in a decade or two we’ll look back and think “we were so close…”

    I posted this in early April at http://www.skyscrapercity.com just after going to the DDA Downtown Master Plan meeting.

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  5. Mike Lydon says:

    Juan Felipe, you make a very good argument regarding the Omni “line.”

    As silly as it sounds, aesthetics do matter too. So matter what they deliver it best be attractive, efficient, and clean, or else people will continue to take Metromover or other modes of transport.

    The steetcar does come across as a big ticket item, but the return on investment will be far greater than any rubber tire trolley system. Moreover, this is still about priorities. I have said it before and will say it again, if there is a steady supply of money for new $180 million dollar interchanges or road widenings, we could certainly allocate that to a more efficient, sustainable, and long term investment like a streetcar line.

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  6. AnyoneofUs says:

    The new metro-mover cars are clean, smooth and efficient. They are just slow, and need to go about 20mph faster.
    I’d love to see the streetcar.

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  7. Kevin says:

    I think the Brickell line is a complete waste of money and as others have said, this is prime money that should go to the Miami Streetcar to connect Downtown with Midtown, something that would prove beneficial in the long run.

    Trolleys are just a nice name for bus, what’s the difference? It’s all appearances. We could use this money to jump start the Miami Streetcar, come on!

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  8. Andy says:

    I would love for that Brickell line to reach 26th Street NE.

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  9. [...] The Informed Traveler added an interesting post on City of Miami Trolley Lines: A First LookHere’s a small excerptBack in March we reported that the city of Miami was using part of its $4.1 million ARRA transit stimulus money on implementing new local rubber-tire… [...]

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  10. Dave says:

    For the brickell line to make sense it should serve lower brickell ave and maybe beyond into the grove.

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  11. Tony Garcia says:

    Guys we need multiple forms of transit in this area – Metromover doesn’t go down Brickell the way the trolley does. It is perfectly ok that there is also a metromover and the metrorail and other buses all serving different origins, but passing through downtown. Trolleys are local circulators whose routes can be altered much easier than a fixed guideway system (like the metromover). Besides, the $700,000 price tag for the line is negligible in comparison to the streetcar ($200 Million). These are baby steps, and we need to grow ridership even in spite of not having a good system elsewhere.

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  12. Tony Garcia says:

    PS. Juan Felipe: As a former resident of Brickell I would have gladly taken a trolley to Mary Brickell Village or the Arscht center – two of the destinations on the trolley. Having a trolley along this route, especially in the Omni area, would prove how necessary having the streetcar is and push its funding. Then the trolley could be reused for another route.

    You specifically know how things work here, especially with regard to transit. The only way they are going to fund the streetcar is when they see enough demand for the service – a demand you can grown by simply getting people out of their cars – and into trolleys!

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  13. Blind Mind says:

    Yeah, why have a Brickell trolley? There is already a mode of transport there that works just fine. Id rather see a Coconut Grove/DWNTWN-Brickell trolley.

    Also, whats the difference between these trolleys and a bus? From what I gather, passengers will still sit in the same traffic as the rest of us do in our cars.

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  14. Tony Garcia says:

    The major difference between the trolleys and the bus is the routes they take. The trolley is a local circulator, with short head times and frequent stops, whereas a bus typically goes further distances with fewer stops.

    Seems like that popular suggestion is that the Downtown/Brickell loop is not as necessary as a Downtown/Grove loop. I don’t think the Brickell Loop is bad, but the Grove idea is a good one.

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  15. Juan Felipe says:

    “PS. Juan Felipe: As a former resident of Brickell I would have gladly taken a trolley to Mary Brickell Village or the Arscht center – two of the destinations on the trolley. Having a trolley along this route, especially in the Omni area, would prove how necessary having the streetcar is and push its funding. Then the trolley could be reused for another route.” –Tony Garcia

    First off, I live in the Omni district, about 3 blocks from the Omni Metromover stop. Both Mary Brickell Village and the Adrienne Arsht Center are just blocks from the Tenth Street Promenade and Omni (actually, it is now called “Arsht Center”) Stations respectively. Having lived in Brickell, you probably know that two bus lines (48 and B) serve southern Brickell Avenue: line 48 circles around Mary Brickell Village and loops back south, and both lines stop next to the Brickell Metromover Station where you can get on the mover to the Arsht Center.

    In any case, my issues with this are the following:
    -If you have people in Brickell –south of SE 14 St.- that do not like taking the current buses, or simply don’t for whatever reason, how can you justify spending even $700,000 on a trolley (which is a ‘euphemism’ for bus) on the same route. For that matter, if you have a FREE service on a fixed guideway that is uninterrupted by traffic and has seen increasing ridership, you can’t justify a new system that essentially borders just that: the Metromover lines north of SE 14 St. either.
    -A point to add on to the previous one, the circulator would not complement the mover but instead ride beneath its tracks picking up riders who would then end up stuck in traffic or at a red light anyway. There are seven bus lines (3, 16, 93, 95, C, S, 51, and the Night Owl which I did not count) that run up Biscayne Blvd. from Bayside to the Omni Area (which is another corridor that is not DIRECTLY served by the Metromover). Albeit, people prefer to walk to their nearest station on NE 2 Ave. from their departure point and walk from their endpoint station to their final destination than take these buses. This is due to the absence of fares on the mover, but also due to how much faster it is to ride on a fixed guideway system with set stops every couple of blocks.

    “You specifically know how things work here, especially with regard to transit. The only way they are going to fund the streetcar is when they see enough demand for the service – a demand you can grown by simply getting people out of their cars – and into trolleys!” –Tony Garcia

    Absolutely, I agree up to the part where you begin to imply that having a trolley line is the only way to prove that there is a demand for streetcar service. How was the data compiled to show that there was a demand for the trolleys? You mentioned it yourself, surveys. Otherwise, they used ridership data from the existing services I already mentioned, which defeats the purpose of the need for a trolley line if these lines have high ridership.

    Regardless, the Miami Streetcar would provide service that would not mirror existing bus, heavy rail, or people mover services simply because the vehicles would physically carry MORE people than any bus on the route, because studies show that people respond more favorably to streetcars and light rail than buses, and because having fixed guideway would reduce travel times between Downtown and the Midtown area/Design District and its likely success would create opportunities for the County to see light rail as a favorable alternative to heavy rail for the East-West and North-South Orange line Metrorail corridors.

    Cheers,
    Juan Felipe

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  16. Tony Garcia says:

    Valid Points Juan. I don’t disagree that the Omni area is already served, but I do think there is a difference between waiting 5 minutes for a trolley (even if it is a euphemism for a bus) and waiting 25 minutes for an MDT bus. The advantage of the trolley on this route is that you get the high density area of South Brickell connected to downtown in a more convenient, cheap way.

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  17. tomas says:

    is this what you mean by rubber-tire trolley?

    http://www.phillytrolley.org/trackles.html

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  18. Mitchell Green says:

    There is nothing like the real thing.As far as trolleys are concerned,rubber tires don’t make it a trolley.Flanged wheels,rails and overhead electric wires do!!!

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  19. gustaajedrez says:

    I haven’t got a good look at the trolley routes yet, but I’d just like to point out to the people that say that the trolley is more frequent than a bus that a cheaper solution is just to beef up bus service.

    I mean those aren’t even real trolleys anyway: They’re just modified buses (that to me look worse than trolleys, but that’s just my opinion).

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Information on the trolley

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  21. gustaajedrez says:

    Tony Garcia: Also, the buses that run through Downtown Miami from Brickell and from the Omni run very frequently.

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  22. Lawrence Fredrick Jaffe says:

    7/20/12

    I live in Cutler Bay and I know that I saw a trolley on a side street near my home the other day, but the city of Cutler Bay denies having a trolley. Can anyone tell me if CB has a trolley in effect now? Please!!!

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