Currently viewing the tag: "MDT"
Miami-Dade Transit has set March 25 as the date of the next public meeting to discuss plans for the new Metrorail line connecting the Earlington Heights station with the Miami Intermodal Center under construction near the Miami International Airport. The actual meeting will start at 7:00 p.m., with an open-house being held before, at 6:00 p.m. The location of the meeting will be at the Sheila Winitzer Central Administration Building Auditorium: 3300 NW 32 Ave.

Several items of interest regarding this particular segment of Metrorail:

  • It will be the first extension of the train since the extension to Palmetto station;
  • This segment will not be constructed with federal funds, but solely from the half-cent transportation tax implemented in Miami-Dade county, along with state funding;
  • Once opened, this segment will provide a much-needed alternative for transport into the airport both by tourists using the airport’s facilities, and for workers providing services.

Further information can be found at this link to Miami-Dade Transit’s website.

  • The State growth management planners have officially drafted a report recommending Miami-Dade County commissioners to reject the most recent bids to move the Urban Development Boundary further west. The issue will now head back to county commissioners who will vote again based on the state’s recommendations.
  • We really did not see this going any other way, considering the state has repeatedly warned County Commissioners on the devastating consequences our area would face should the UDB be extended west. We hope that Sally Heyman stays true to her word and reverts to her original vote against the expansion and are perplexed that this issue will somehow only narrowly be defeated. When it comes to the UDB, much of the county commission does not vote in the best interest of constituents. We’ll keep you posted as to when the County will be meeting, but in the meantime e-mail your county commissioner
  • Miami-Dade County Commissioners gathered in Washington D.C. this week to meet with Federal Transit Administrator James Simpson to discuss the fate of the upcoming N/S and E/W metrorail extensions. The N/S extension was recently downgraded due to financial uncertainty within MDT. Simpson urged the county officials to work together and put an end to the racial bickering which has plagued much of the county’s projects since the 1970s.
    • We hope that the County administration comes back home with a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished in order to see these projects come to fruition. MDT and the Commission should be ashamed that these critical projects were downgraded because of poor management however, given the poor management of previous projects and ridiculous cost overruns, this really shouldn’t surprise us. Transportation options shouldn’t become the center of a cultural war, on the contrary, transit should unite our neighborhoods and make county-wide mobility easier for all.
  • The city of Coral Gables is looking into creating plan that would provide free parking to the drivers of electric vehicles. The plan is being considered after a recommendation by the city’s economic development board altered Commissioner Ralph Cabrera’s initiative to provide more downtown bicycle parking. Meanwhile, some within the city were looking to expand the initiative to provide reduced parking fees for owners of hybrid vehicles.
    • We commend Commissioner Cabrera for introducing some greener initiatives and for the city’s support in making Coral Gables a bicycle friendly community. Free parking for electric vehicles may be ahead of its time, considering that few electric vehicles are available on the market today, but the city is headed in the right direction in providing the local infrastructure to even make this technology possible. The exclusion of hybrid vehicles from this proposition is recommended by Transit Miami due to the varied nature of hybrid vehicles (20 mpg Yukon Hybrid - 50 mpg Prius.) We believe the city needs to continue in the green direction by subsidizing only virtually zero emission projects (Bicycle, EV, Trolley, Pedestrian, etc.)

    Recall the post where I had the opportunity to interview Miami Beach chief of Staff AC Weinstein? Good, because here are some thoughts I drew up on the conversation, many of which I commented directly to AC throughout our first of many discussions on the future of Miami Beach…

    Now, the first question on development, I fear, may have been interpreted a little bit too literally, but that is what happens when you try to be so precise with the wording of questions. The intention was never to correlate the cranes in Miami ensure economic vitality, but rather insinuate how in such a difficult market would Miami Beach continue to grow in order to ensure a steady tax revenue stream and thus guaranteeing the future economic vitality of Miami Beach industry. I was also hinting that height restrictions and true urban density should not be so interconnected with increased congestion on the Beach and that absurd limitations would only hamper future economic options for Miami Beach.

    I was disappointed (not surprised) upon hearing Mr. Weinstein’s reply regarding Baylink, but was utterly dismayed when discussing the reasoning behind it. The basic arguments presented against Baylink (by the Beach) have been: Hurricanes, Washington Avenue, the Flexibility of Buses, and now apparently Historic Character. Hurricanes, we’ve addressed, this is a moot point considering all wires and structures will be built to hurricane standards and underground wires are not out of the realm of possibilities. Coincidentally, the reconstruction of Washington Avenue occurred at time when Miami Beach officials were beginning to object to Baylink (remember the famous quote around then: “Baylink will further enable those people to readily access the beach?“) Baylink would only further enhance the Washington Avenue streetscape, requiring only insertions of tracks while leaving much of the rest alone. My Favorite: “Flexibility of buses.” Miami Beach is like what, 11 blocks wide where most of the streetcar will be traveling? I doubt selecting any of these two streets will pose a problem when the streetcar will be virtually within a 4 block walk of nearly every address South of the Bass Museum. You really can’t go wrong. As for the Historic City comment, please look below at the Miami Beach Streetcar Map in 1928, or click here for some solid video evidence.
    My qualm with the whole Baylink discussion was that the office of the mayor has yet to provide a legitimate alternative transit solution to handle the city’s current and upcoming demand. The reports I’ve seen both indicate that congestion will reach unbearable levels by 2011 (the economic vitality I was hinting at earlier would certainly suffer) all but promoting the idea of a longer termed solution. The office mentioned no plans to improve (or green) bus capacity, build transfer stations, or work with MDT to enable better signal prioritization along key corridors.

    We’re pretty excited the Mayor’s office created the Green committee, however we’re not quite sure what tasks the committee will be tackling or what the stated goals of the committee are. There aren’t any plans, yet, to push for mandatory LEED certification on new construction or considerations for alternative fuels, car sharing, or other equally progressive programs.

    The Bikeways and expanded bike lanes were a breath of fresh air. It’s reassuring to see the city take the necessary steps to move in a bike-oriented direction and even require bicycle parking. I hope the city (and perhaps the green committee) see that the addition of transit will only further enhance the cycling options while creating a much cleaner environment along the beach.

    All in all, my conversation with Mr. Weinstein proved to be beneficial to us here at Transit Miami, as well as with many of the Miami Beach constituents. Mr. Weinstein provided us with a glimpse of the mentality issues we’ll have to face in the coming years in order to see real public transportation options come into fruition while providing a fresh, new perspective on the bicycle/pedestrian improvements the Beach hopes to make.

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    From MDT:

    (Miami-Dade County, FL) — The Feb. 26 and Feb. 28 public meetings on the status of the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC)/Earlington Heights (EHT) Connector Metrorail extension project have been postponed until further notice. The meetings will be rescheduled at a future date.

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    • Happy Valentines Day, Now go ride Tri-Rail for free (Sun-Sentinel)
    • Former Omni Mall stepping up security to boost public safety at the new mixed-use complex (Miami Today)
    • MDT is planning on buying 136 new rail cars for metrorail rather than refurbishing the existing ones. The anticipated cost is $200 million more than refurbishment. (Miami Today FYI)
    • Community Councils sticking around- for now (Miami Herald)
    • You can learn to drive, part 5 (Bicycles) (Critical Miami)
    • Miami’s own mini-ciclovia. These events need more publicity. (Miami-Forum)
    • MDT is shopping for more Bike Racks for Metrorail. Why it took 2 years is beyond me. (Spokes ‘n’ Folks)
    • What happens when Emerge Miami’s Critical Mass and Politicians collide? Commissioner’s Sanchez’s commitment to join the next ride. (Riptide 2.0)

    In case you’ve spent the past couple of days living in a cave (or more likely, not paying attention to local transit news) there is trouble brewing on the horizon (by horizon I clearly mean this week) over at MDT. I know we haven’t touched up on MDT in a while, but we’re long overdue for some updates.

    Last week, the FTA dealt a serious blow to the next major phase of metrorail expansion, the north corridor, by downgrading the once favorable rating of the project. The new Medium-low status doesn’t quite kill the project yet, but it places some serious funding hurdles in the way, which, if overcome, will set the project back by 6 months to a year (in MDT terms: we’re realistically looking at a 2+ year delay if funding is eventually secured.) Not all hope is lost yet on the nearly 10 mile long corridor; the FTA is choosing to downgrade the status of the project because of the “county’s long-range financial forecasting” rather than ridership projections or cost benefits of the corridor itself. The FTA seems to be in favor of the project but is rather questioning the ability and leadership of MDT.

    First, I want to thank everyone who has shared their thoughts regarding the Metrorail Train Tracker. It is precisely this kind of input/involvement that is so critical to helping improve mass transit and livability in Miami-Dade County.
    Judging by comments and emails, it sounds like many Miamian choice-riders would opt for riding Metrobus at least once in a while if the schedule was much more predictable. I very much agree and feel strongly that GPS tracking for buses is the future in coach transit. Just to get an idea of how a system in Miami-Dade might function, check out this link that shows a live map of GPS-tracked buses in Boulder, CO (it even shows the live speed of each bus!).

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    Back in November, we showcased Miami-Dade Transit’s new “Train Tracker” program, which is supposed to allow Metrorail riders to easily locate trains and know exactly when they are projected to arrive at your departing station.
    We want to know if you’ve used it, and how effective/accurate it has been thus far. Has it made your commute any smoother or more predictable? Has it made it more likely that you’ll use Metrorail? As always, your thoughts and opinions are much appreciated.

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    Over the coming weeks, months perhaps, we here at TransitMiami will be working hard to reshape and rework the website with new content and a new message. We plan on using your feedback to shape the site in a new direction and by bringing you more of the type of content you’d like to see. We’d like to hear from you for some insight on what we can do to make this site better for you, our readers. Leave us a message, give us a grade on the left sidebar, or email us with your more personal thoughts (movemiami@gmail.com)…

    We are also working on finally forging some relationships with the agencies which matter most in Miami. My e-mails to MDT director Harpal Kapoor have thus far fallen on deaf ears (blind eyes, perhaps?) We’d like to establish ourselves as a bigger voice in the community for transit/planning advocacy and plan on doing so with or without the help of the agencies responsible for much of our planning problems thus far (FDOT, MPO, MDT, BCT, etc…)

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    Miami-Dade Transit is finally rolling out some high(er) tech service upgrades, which should make riding Metrorail at least somewhat more pleasant and definitely more predictable. From the MDT press release:

    (MIAMI, November 2, 2007) – Miami-Dade Transit is proud to announce a new online system that allows Metrorail customers to check the next train’s arrival time right from their computers and mobile devices.

    The new Train Tracker is available at www.miamidade.gov/transit/mobile. The site is specially configured for web-enabled mobile devices. Customers can simply select their station from the drop-down menu, then click “Go” for the arrival times of the next southbound and northbound train. Passengers should refresh times frequently by clicking “refresh times.”

    The Train Tracker site also features links to the Metrorail system map and schedules for all the bus routes serving each Metrorail station, as well as information on connecting routes and transit customer service phone numbers.

    Customers also can check Train Tracker on their computers or laptops at www.miamidade.gov/transit by clicking the “Where is the Train?” link under the Metrorail icon in the Quick Links portal in the upper right, or they can go directly to www.miamidade.gov/transit/traintracker.asp. Train Tracker also is available on the electronic transit information kiosks located at Miami International Airport and the Government Center and Dadeland South Metrorail stations.

    “This is the latest example of how we’re using technology and the Internet to improve how we communicate with our customers,” Miami-Dade Transit Director Harpal Kapoor said. “Train Tracker will take the guesswork out of waiting for the train so passengers can plan their trips accordingly.”

    To further improve the customer service experience, Miami-Dade Transit plans to install overhead electronic signs at every Metrorail station displaying Next Train arrival times. The first sign was installed in May at the Government Center station on the second floor next to the Metromover entrance.

    The official public launch and demonstration of Train Tracker will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Government Center Metrorail station, 2nd floor, near the Metrorail turnstiles.

    Miami-Dade Transit staff will be available to demonstrate how the system works and show customers how to access Train Tracker on their mobile devices. Cell phones and mobile devices must be web-enabled and have a web browser to access Train Tracker.

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    If you read the Herald yesterday, you probably saw this article. It’s not so hard to believe given the bizarre political culture of Miami-Dade, but the proposed North Corridor extension of the Metrorail may be in trouble.

    Apparently, the administration of Miami-Dade College North Campus has been working with county transit planners for the last three years to bring not only a station on campus, but a gym/wellness center, a 2000-space parking garage, a conference center, classrooms, and a bookstore. However, all of this would have forced a $26 million relocation of the US Army Reserve Armory at NW 27th Ave and NW 119th St, which the county cannot afford. Furthermore, it appears that these expenses were never even taken into account in the Environmental Impact Statement given to Washington, which means any federal aid allocated to the county for the North Corridor would not include these MDC expenses. From the Lebowitz’s Streetwise column:

    And here’s where it gets really strange. All of the letter-writing traffic is one-way, with Vicente (of MDT) memorializing his understanding of what agreements were reached in these meetings.

    Nobody from Transit ever responded — even though the agency clearly couldn’t afford to make these ludicrous promises to the college and hope to compete against dozens of other U.S. cities for $700 million to $825 million in matching federal funds for the North Corridor.

    Transit’s files are curiously thin on the issue. And three key players from Transit’s side of the talks are no longer with the agency. One retired last year. Bradley was fired in March and one of his top aides a few weeks later.

    Yet, records show that Transit was already warning federal regulators in early 2006 that it might not be able to afford the armory relocation, forcing the agency to consider the station closer to the MDC-North main gate.

    Why Transit couldn’t brace Vicente with the same candor about the armory site in early ’06 remains a mystery. And someone definitely should have told him, in writing, that the agency couldn’t build that massive conference center-garage without endangering the federal funding.

    This is upsetting for several reasons. First, this was supposed to be the next expansion of Metrorail, before the East-West extension or anything in Kendall. MDT is this close to receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds to help finance the expensive project. Keep in mind, the transit market is extremely competitive nationwide as cities everywhere are scrambling to make up for lost time and do the right thing by improving their public transportation systems. At the same time, federal funds are shamefully low, which means Miami-Dade is very fortunate to be in the its current position. As Lebowitz says in his column, redrawing the route or ceding to MDC’s demands is totally infeasible right now because of high costs, wasted time, and the potential for jeopardizing federal aid.

    It’s also upsetting because the whole thing is just so juvenile. This is the kind of thing that just cannot happen at this level of government, especially when dealing with billion dollar capital projects and $800 million subsidies, not to mention the future of Miami-Dade County.

    I was driving by the Douglas Road pedestrian overpass last weekend when I noticed that the fence designed to “force” people into using the overpass still hadn’t been fixed after an accident partially destroyed it last summer. Interestingly enough, a new path has formed in the grass and once again there are people darting across this treacherous stretch, rather than climbing the flight of stairs or using the elevator. We analyzed this particular overpass a year ago.

    Meanwhile plans to build a third US-1 pedestrian overpass adjacent to the UM Metrorail station are currently underway. The Miami Today News Reports:

    The meeting is 4-7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Holiday Inn University of Miami, 1350 S. Dixie Hwy in Coral Gables. Free hotel parking is available.

    Free Hotel Parking? Yes, let’s drive to a planning meeting designed to build better facilities for walking. This doesn’t make any sense… I came up with a visual as to how close this meeting will be to the Metrorail:

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    Transit Miami reader/contributor Dave sent me an excellent price comparison he composed on the cost of transit:
    Listed are the comparable monthly passes (basic all purpose pass for busses, trains and transfers) and what the single cash fare would be for one trip. The number of trips listed is how many trips you would have to make in a month for the pass to be worth while for simple round trips.

    Miami monthly metropass: $75, single fare $1.50 (50 trips)
    Boston monthly metropass: $59, single fare $2 (29.5 trips)
    New York monthly metropass: $76, single fare $2 (38 trips)
    Chicago monthly metropass: $75, single fare $2 (37.5 trips)
    San Francisco (Muni&some Bart stations) metropass: $45, single fare $1.50 (30 trips)

    Maybe its because Miami-Dade’s transit thinks we need to pay more than other cities for our monthly pass because we use the transit system so much more often than these other cities do (sarcasm)?

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    18 years later, tell me what’s the difference…

    “I’d Use it if it went in the direction I was going”

    “The system is only Half of what they originally promised…”

    “I’m just amazed at how virtually nothing has changed in the 18 years that this clip was filmed. It’s as relevant now as it was back then.”
    -Rick, SOTP

    Via: SOTP, Grambrunk

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    MDT will be purchasing 39 large Hybrid Buses (similar to the one pictured above) next year to come into service in 2009. There are also initial plans to buy 180 smaller Hybrid buses which would come into service by 2012.

    Click here to watch the video…

    Click here to learn more about NABI…

    Thanks to the Reader who sent us the link to the article…

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