Miami-Dade’s traffic woes are a secret to no one. Viable solutions have been fleeting though. The key, in my opinion, is the need for an all-inclusive plan that addresses everything at once. This allows us to get past one of the major challenges of past attempts – the arduous task of deciding the actual order in which priorities get executed.
To that end, I want to lend my support for the SMART Plan, an initiative currently working its way through our County government. SMART stands for Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit.
It is a plan to expand mass transit throughout Miami- Dade across six very important rapid transit corridors. The reported corridors include: a Beach Corridor, East-West Corridor, Kendall Corridor, North Corridor, Northeast Corridor and the South Dade Transitway.
Designed to connect to existing mass transit, such as MetroRail and the PeopleMover, these corridors would bring a new dimension to life in Miami-Dade, facilitating a level of mobility that is nothing short of impossible without them.
The SMART Plan corridors include:
- The Beach Corridor, is a proposed light rail or Metromover extension that would connect Miami Beach to the mainland along the MacArthur Causeway. The line would extend into South Beach from the Miami Beach side, and into the Midtown area and Design District on the mainland side.
- The East-West Corridor would be placed along the Dolphin Expressway, with the rail system connecting downtown Miami to our western suburbs.
- The Kendall Corridor rail system would operate from the Metrorail Dadeland North Station and run west down Kendall Drive to SW 162nd Avenue.
- The system’s North Corridor would extend the existing Metrorail at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Metrorail station and run along NW 27th Avenue to NW 215th Street.
- The Northeast Corridor would run commuter trains from downtown Miami to Aventura, utilizing existing Florida East Coast Railway tracks.
- The South Dade Transitway Corridor component would convert the existing busway along U.S. 1 in South Dade into an upgrade rail system. Alice Bravo, Miami-Dade’s Director of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, recently noted in an article she wrote for our friends at EWM Realty International’s annual residential real estate market outlook that; “The goal of these corridors is to connect to the areas currently not covered by the existing Metrorail lines through a much more affordable and rapid-to-construct light-rail or at-grade system….The plan will include a Bus Express Road Transit (BERT) network that will also link the SMART corridors with existing Metrorail routes.”
- She also noted that “…the MPO Fiscal Priorities Committee and transportation partners are meeting routinely to discuss both the financial framework and policies necessary to further advance the plan” and that “Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez has given his commitment to developing a funding plan in order to make this a reality.”
Alice is a top-notch administrator, and has the vision to carry this nothing-short-of-crucial plan forward. Without a county-wide mass transit solution our future has limitations, as we will literally be unable to move around.
We see positive glimmers of mass transit solutions in downtown Miami where the PeopleMover, trolly and bus service facilitate movement for our ever-growing urban core. We have the same vision for Coral Gables, where our proposed development, Coral Gables City Center, includes elements that will allow for strong traffic mitigation and encourage mass transit.
Miami-Dade is at the cusp of a new transit era, and we would be prudent to encourage our elected official’s efforts to bring the SMART Plan to life.
For those wishing to view a short video on the topic, the following link is from the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4Hwa0_9PPg