The narrative of Miami’s ongoing transformation comprises various story lines, including, most prominently, the burgeoning of its artist community and cultural offerings (as chronicled in the recently released documentary Rising Tide). There’s also the less prominent stories of its increasingly vibrant music scene — attested to by our list of the Top 50 South Florida Songs of 2012 — and its surprisingly rich bike culture (surprising because our sprawled-out, car-centric city would seem utterly inhospitable to bike travel — and, in fact, it can be.)
The day began with a kickstart at Panther Coffee, where many a Miamian goes to meet, mingle, and plan whatever world-waking moves to make next. Earlier in the week the good folks at Tara Ink had offered me a chance to participate in one of Imagine Lifestyles’ much-ballyhooed Ultimate Driving Experiences, which involves getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari or Lamborghini and taking it out on a track at top speed. So on this particular day, the plan revolved around a road trip to Homestead Miami Speedway and how best to get there in style.
It’s a shame. A weekend that featured two celebratory “safe streets” milestones in Miami ended with startling slaughter on the city’s roads.
In a June 11 post titled “In Miami, We Don’t Stop for Pedestrians”, Miami Beach 411 blogger Matt Meltzer made the self-evidently stupid suggestion that motorists break the law — for example, by not yielding to pedestrians — to compensate for “pedestrian-biased laws” that, he says, account for Miami’s traffic problems.
In Meltzer’s shorthand: “lawlessness = efficiency”. Here’s an excerpt:
Proposal: Line every street in Miami-Dade County with trees. Quick, you have only 20 seconds to explain how to do it. All you need is about $35 million, less than the average $40 million spent on one of Miami’s highway overpasses.
Scattering more than 1.2 million trees across the county was only one of 20 20-second presentations on how to make Miami’s urban communities more livable Thursday night at Wood Tavern in Wynwood. The format, started in Tokyo in 2003 by a pair of architects, is called Pecha Kucha — pronounce it as one word and let it roll off the tongue the way you would “buhdonkadonk.”
This post was produced by Open Media Miami, an independent company that works in partnership with Beached Miami to cover neighborhood news along the Biscayne Corridor.
With two government transportation agencies pushing hard for an expansion of passenger rail in South Florida, a new commuter train may soon be chugging through downtown Miami.
As reported by El Nuevo Herald, the Florida Department of Transportation recently proposed a short-term plan to start a passenger route from downtown to Fort Lauderdale using the Florida East Coast Railway, which runs parallel to U.S. 1 (Biscayne Boulevard/Brickell Avenue) in Miami-Dade County and is currently being revamped to transport cargo. The FDOT plan calls for six stations along the route and would cost around $300 million.
The department’s long-term goal is a regional route from Miami to Jupiter, which in total could cost $1 billion, FDOT’s mobility development manager Amie Goddeau said during a town hall meeting on Oct. 18.
At the same time, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), the agency that manages Tri-Rail, is pushing its own proposal for an expansion of the FEC railway. The Transportation Authority says its plan to connect Miami to Jupiter via passenger rail would cost $270 million — $730 million less than FDOT’s — and take between three and five years to complete.
“We believe this new [plan] is superior to FDOT’s approach, as it can be implemented quickly … provides better regional service coverage, and will not require any additional county or FDOT operating funds,” SFRTA transportation planning manager Joe Quinty told Transit Miami.
The committee that oversees Miami Beach transportation says it will have to either double the fare to ride the South Beach Local — from 25 cents to 50 cents — or cut back the service, according to the Herald. The local bus stops every 13 to 20 minutes on its route along Alton Road, South Point Drive, Washington Avenue, and Dade Boulevard (plus a few detours) between 7:40 a.m. and 1 a.m. With 4,500 riders boarding every week, “Miami-Dade Transit calls it the most successful circulator in the county,” Miami Beach transportation coordinator Christine Bettin told the Herald. The head of Miami Beach’s transportation committee acknowledged the local is “a lifeline for many South Beach residents” and called the proposed fare hike “an insignificant amount”. What do you think? Are you one of the 4,500 monthly local riders? Would you rather see the fare double or service cut back? Is the extra quarter “insignificant”?
Dear Governor Scott,
It’s one thing for you to deprive Floridians of the comfort of knowing they have an earthling, eyelids and all, in the Governor’s Mansion. It’s quite another to deprive them of a really cool toy like a bullet train (see below) to appease the Tea Party. Do you not realize they won’t be happy until we retrogress to wagons and galleys?
Listen: I acknowledge the existential absurdity of a train that carries passengers between Tampa and Orlando — two places no human deserves to be — at 160 mph. But how does turning down $2.4 billion in federal dough for a project that will employ thousands of Floridians square with “Let’s Get to Work”? And I know you’re very concerned about the debt — that whole historic Medicare fraud thing notwithstanding — but how does forfeiting the $2.4 billion to California help balance the nation’s books? I can’t make sense of any of it without reaching the cynical conclusion that it’s simply a cold calculation made in the interest of keeping your own job. Which, you know, could backfire. And I don’t think there is a train out of Tallahassee, let alone a bullet.
A Lowly Lad of the Lidded Masses