Miami Beach Committed to Light Rail Project

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After what seemed like decades of chatter debating the pros (many) and cons (none) of improving mass transit on Miami Beach, it appears that the city is finally moving forward with a proposed light rail/wireless streetcar system.

Once built, the light rail transit system would provide transportation up and down South Beach and, more importantly, allow for convenient public transportation from Miami Beach to Downtown Miami via the MacArthur Causeway. Longtime Florida residents may remember similar promises surrounding the Miami Metrorail project of the 1980s, but — regardless of how long we’ve had to wait — there is cause for celebration here.

“Hallelujah!” writes Josh Baumgard, of Curbed. “Proceed to bang your pots and pans!”

 

Miami Beach Rail System Map


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“I am happy to report that after years of discussions, we have finally taken the beginning steps of making our dream of providing better public transportation closer to becoming a reality,” Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine said in a press release this morning. “Last week, the Miami Beach Commission and I authorized the City to move ahead expeditiously to develop a light rail/wireless streetcar system that will allow residents, visitors, and business owners to move around our City a lot more efficiently and reduce the amount of cars on our roads. Eventually, this project is expected to connect the City of Miami Beach to the City of Miami so commuting between the two will be safer, faster, and more convenient.”

“The initial phase of the project will consist of a 2-way connection on 5th Street and Washington Avenue, and is referred to as the ‘South Beach Component.’ The second phase is expected to take place along Alton Road and 17th Street, complementing the cross-bay route to Downtown Miami. Future contemplated phases are expected to include a route along the Julia Tuttle Causeway connecting Miami Beach with Midtown Miami and eventually the (Miami International Airport).”

This is great news for residents of Miami, who have been stuck for decades with one of the worst mass-transit systems in the civilized world — and should make the landscape a bit more familiar to the throngs of international tourists who visit South Florida from other, more train-faring countries. That’ll be especially true once the proposed Miami-Orlando high speed rail line is up and running!

 

Source | Images: Curbed Miami.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.