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Aessotariq

APPROVED: Miami Streetcar project

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Posted on Thu, May. 12, 2005

train05126ti.jpg

MASS TRANSIT

On track?

The Miami trolley, expected to move further along the legislative track today, is still far from the station

BY LARRY LEBOWITZ

[email protected]

While serious financing questions remain to be answered, Miami city commissioners are expected to roll a little farther down the tracks today toward creating a sleek $132 million streetcar system from downtown to the Design District.

Rolling along some of the exact routes where trolleys thrived 80 years ago, the air-conditioned, modern streetcars would link the booming condo canyons, shops and cafes north of downtown with museums, parks, nightclubs and performing arts centers that are planned or under construction.

''This is an absolutely crucial part of the big picture for the future of the city,'' said Commissioner Johnny Winton, whose district would benefit the most from the streetcar. ``We have to get our transportation systems in place in front of the condo boom, or we could wind up with serious gridlock that could kill it all.''

Within a quarter-mile, or a 10-minute walk, of the proposed 6.75-mile track: 60 development projects with a combined 14,400 residential units and 2.64 million square feet of retail and office space planned or under construction.

Read More: Miami Herald

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^That's awesome! I really like the idea of a streetcar line, servicing alot of the development north of the CBD. I almost fell down when it mentioned "60 development projects with a combined 14,400 residential units". lol

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Street cars are great for that area.

^That's awesome! I really like the idea of a streetcar line, servicing alot of the development north of the CBD. I almost fell down when it mentioned "60 development projects with a combined 14,400 residential units". lol

I felt the same Urban. I can't believe all that is going up down there. I bow to you Miami.

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Posted on Fri, May. 13, 2005

MIAMI

Streetcar proposal advances

BY LARRY LEBOWITZ

[email protected]

Miami commissioners, as expected, ratified a preliminary plan Thursday to bring back the city streetcar.

The city's transit planners, consultants and lobbyists in Washington and Tallahassee now will explore an array of financing and operating scenarios, which would build the $132 million first phase from downtown to the Design District, buy an eight-car fleet and generate upwards of $3.5 million annually for operating expenses.

Boosters claim the streetcar could be in service by late 2008 or early 2009, when thousands of new condo units should be near completion, but City Manager Joe Arriola tried to lower expectations Thursday.

The city's future growth is vertical. High-density, high-rise condos are quickly gobbling the skyline. More than $8 billion in development, including 25,000 residential units and 47,000 parking-garage spaces, is planned along the streetcar route.

Read more: Miami Herald

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Heres confused....

If the streetcar will eventually become the primary link to baylink wont metromover be redundant in the areas where they will overlap or am I not getting something

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It's not uncommon for lines to overlap. That helps bring people in from far reaches into the same central area and it helps keep one specific route from getting overloaded.

Baylink and Miami Streetcar would share the same track, but they would operate as different routes ("lines"). So if you are at Government Center and want to get to the Beach, you'll take the streetcar that says "Baylink", and if you want to get to the Design District, take "Miami Streetcar".

With Metromover being free, people would still use it as the primary way to get around downtown CBD and to Brickell (Streetcars have not been proposed to parts south of the Miami River yet). To ride a streetcar, the cost would be equal to regular busfare.

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Is Government Center going to be the primary transfer center for the streetcar as well?

I wonder if they'll revamp Gov't Center to accomodate this new line. I daresay it needs remodeling...

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Government Center is downtown Miami's central hub for Metrorail, Metromover, and Metrobus. Streetcars will stop there as well. The Baylink video shows the streetcar transfer stop being placed where the existing bus stop is, across from the Federal Building, about two blocks south of the Government Center. I wasn't very fond of that, especially since it's so relatively far from the train platforms... I expressed my concerns to the MPO. We'll see what happens. There is a parking lot that lies between the nearest street and the Metrorail/Metromover platform currently used by county employees. That would be the most logical place to expand the center and create a convenient transfer terminal for ground transportation (i.e., bus and streetcar).

As for remodeling or redesign, I have not heard or seen anything about that for the Govt Center complex or any other existing station platform, for that matter. I think that's a secondary priority now, especially given the recent financial difficulties. What we should be focusing on now is expanding the system and getting new track in place and designing those new platforms.

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Related Urbanplanet.org topics: [ | ]

miamistreetcarlogo6zq.jpg

The City of Miami has created a new section on their website on the Miami Streetcar project. Information includes a FAQ, project studies, maps, and diagrams. I haven't read through the whole study yet (it's 156 pages!), but from what I've skimmed through, it looks very exciting and promising. I'll post some of the highlights here once I've read through it.

Included is a nice, large map of what the system will look like. It also shows Metrorail, Metromover, as well as the proposed alignment for Baylink. It will circle downtown's central business district, then head north through the Omni and Performing Arts Center area, and then head through the center of the new Midtown Miami project, and then cross into the Design District and head back.

alignmentmap8rj.th.jpg

For more information, click here:

http://www.miamigov.com/MiamiStreetcar/pages/

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Sounds good. Its great to see how fast South Florida, in general, pushes plans for mass transit through. For the most part, it would take years for anyplace else to get to this point.

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We've reached that critical mass where it's needed. The general public sees this and so there's the political will to do it. It really makes a difference.

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Here are a few highlights from the Streetcar Feasibility Study:

Here we see Phase I of the streetcar line, which will be 6.75 miles of track. The red lines show areas for future expansion. The

shaded areas represent sites within one-quarter mile of a station.

streetcarexpansionmap1ny.jpg

Streetcar line as it would appear on a downtown Miami street (NE 1st Ave)

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Embedding track in the street (Portland):

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A traffic signal for use with streetcar in mixed traffic (from Portland):

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Streetcar, Baylink, bus, Metromover, and Metrorail meet at Government Center station in downtown Miami:

govtcenterexpansion4qs.jpg

Streetcars are a "lighter" version of Light Rail Transit (LRT). Miami had streetcars in its early days, but they were taken out of

service as 'new', 'self-powered', 'modern' buses began to compete with service. Oh, how perceptions have changed since then.

The new streetcar line would replicate the historic line. Streetcars are typically shorter cars than LRT designed to operate

in narrow streets and coexist with vehicular traffic. Both operate using an overhead (catenary) wire, so they have an advantage

over heavy rail in that they can be built at grade on the street at a reduced cost. Streetcars are more suited for local circulation

patterns, whereas LRT works best for commuting routes greater than 10 miles.

Cost is a consideration that must be factored in for any massive undertaking as this one. Streetcars can cost anywhere from

$15-$30 million per mile for construction/capital with a $122 per hour operating cost, $30-$100 million / $167 per hour for LRT,

compared to $50-$250 per mile and $209 per hour operating for a heavy rail system such as Metrorail, which requires grade

separations at all crossings due to its deriving electrical power from a third rail.

Miami Streetcar's main route is NE 2nd Avenue, approximately one block west of Biscayne Blvd. Initially it will circle downtown,

and stop at Omni, the new Midtown Miami project, and the Design District. There are several points along the path where the

streetcar must cross the FEC railroad tracks, which poses certain challenges which are being worked on.

In 2006, the project will enter the design and procurement phase, with construction expected to begin in the third quarter of

2006. The project should be complete by mid 2008, with the grand opening by the final quarter 2008.

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I'm sure the drawbridges over the Miami River really complicate the situation. For now the Metromover serves the "Brickell Village" area west of US 1 fairly well.

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That's a nice system for the estimated costs. Hopefully this will be an example to Florida's other major metros on the cost and benefit of implementing alternative transportation systems.

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I can't wait for the 2nd ave building boom that will come along with the streetcar. That will be where the streetcar makes it's real money. Not in fares but in development oppurtunities.

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I would think that the Brickell area can manage with the Metromover. I'm looking forward to the transit service north of I-395, rather than the downtown core, where we already have transit.

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