Miami’s love affair with cars could be ending

Miami is one of the country’s largest metro areas to come alive during the age of the automobile. The result: more than a half century of population growth outside the urban core.

After years of sprawl, Miami’s public and private sectors are investing in dense, vertical development in and around downtown. This, coupled with growing demand for urban living, is creating new promise for the City. Downtown’s population more than doubled since 2000 and current trends are expected to hold steady over the next five years.

All of these new residents – and businesses and tourists coming our way – amounts to more traffic, thrusting urban infrastructure to the forefront in a City where many people are still trying to figure out the difference between a bike lane and a sidewalk.

There’s no silver bullet for solving the problem, but a number of initiatives now on the drawing board promise to help chip away at Miami’s transit woes.

The hope is that the arrival of these projects will go a long way toward putting an end to our love affair with cars.

Tri-Rail Extension to Downtown Miami

aafImagine a commuter rail line connecting downtown Miami with the upper reaches of Palm Beach County. It’s possible, and it could come to fruition in a couple of years if Tri-Rail wins funding to connect its trains with All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral station. Once implemented, this rail line will create instant access for downtown commuters residing in northwest Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. The City of Miami Commission is debating funding for the project this afternoon.

Biscayne Green

Proposed and designed by the Miami Downtown Development Authority, the Biscayne Green will replace four lanes of traffic along the City’s main downtown artery with a grand pedestrian promenade befitting of Las Ramblas in Barcelona or the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The project will reduce Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard from 8 lanes to 4, creating pedestrian access and narrowing the gap between downtown’s streets and the waterfront. We like to think of the plan as a “road diet.”

The Underline

What’s not to love about a project that would turn seldom used land under Miami’s Metrorail line into a 10-mile linear park with urban trails, landscaping and outdoor furniture? The Underline, Miami’s own version of NYC’s High Line, will connect communities from Downtown to Dadeland and create 100 acres of new green space. Now that a master planning firm has been selected, we’re looking forward to the preliminary designs.