Miami Intermodal Center (Part Deuce)

Apparently, my recent gushing rant about the Miami Intermodal Center, sparked one hell of a discussion over on CriticalMiami. In any case, I’m going to elaborate on the Center and reaffirm my stance and views of the problems we will continue to face until it’s completed. An excerpt from the MIC website:

“In 1989, Miami-Dade County accepted the Miami International Airport Area Transportation Study recommending implementation of a multimodal transportation access facility. It was conceived as the means to link commuter rail (both heavy and light) and public and private bus service, thereby providing needed regional connectivity and improving access to Miami International Airport. In the early 1990s, the State of Florida implemented transportation policies to encourage users to use high occupancy vehicles.”
Honestly, this thing has been in some sort of planning since 1989 and this is the best we could do? It’s Kinda like watching the credits roll on Nacho Libre and wondering: “How can so many people see nothing wrong with putting this into production?” except instead of the $10 ticket and popcorn, it’s $1.3 Billion. They’ve had a decade and half to plan and it is still horribly behind a schedule which is continuously being pushed back. I’d also like to get a copy of those extremely useful policies implemented to encourage high occupancy vehicle use, so that I can wipe my (well, you know what) with them. A lot of good those policies have done, the complex is still at least another 5 years away from completion and our airport is plagued with unbearable traffic. What a great way to effectively cripple Miami’s Business and tourism sectors while continuing to give passengers a reason to head up to Ft. Lauderdale.

With the $1.3 billion price tag, one would expect this structure to be extremely innovative and filled with cutting edge technology. Just take a look at how innovative the integration between it and the airport is; after you hop off one of the airport’s two independent people movers, walk across the airport baggage claim, you hop on another 1.3 mile long people mover (its price isn’t included in the original figure, btw) which will finally take you to your array of transportation options (Sidenote: did you know the now defunct Florida High Speed Rail was also slated to arrive at the MIC?)

I recently experienced a system similar to this at Madrid’s Barajas International Terminal. Beautiful terminal. Absolutely stunning design. It’s such a terrible pain however to travel from the gate to the baggage area; it takes an approximated 30+ minutes of walking/riding, not including the multiple security checkpoints.

Anyone else get the feeling that Miami planners are completely oblivious to what happens in other parts of the world? I certainly do. This is going to be an ongoing saga folks, like the PAC, so hold on for one heck of a disaster…


Goodnight Miami. Another beautiful photo by our friend: Mr. James Good...



Will the rain ever stop? Here is a satellite view from NASA's website, which has begun the countdown till the highly improbable launch of the Discovery Space Shuttle (Weather Permitting) this Saturday. The 10-Day forecast doesn't seem too bright either...Stay dry folks...

Photo Courtesy of Piano Gecko's Flickr

Status: DELAYED!!!

Speaking of the Miami Intermodal Center and the rental car facility...

The Contact for the new airport people mover will be awarded to Parsons Transportation and Odebrecht Construction to complete the $260 Million 1.3 mile link from the airport to the intermodal center. The four minute trip will be able to handle 2,000 passengers per hour... Lets see 6,864 ft @ $260 Million = $37,800/ft ... efficient?

It may come as shock to some of you, but, the opening of the new Car-rental hub at the MIC has been delayed until 2009! Oh No! I didn't see this one coming, considering on the original plans it was supposed to already be open... Surprise, Surprise, this delay will also push back the opening of the central transfer station from 2010 to 3095... Good Luck getting to the airport until then!


A Lack of Unity...

Last week’s heat victory parade was not only an excellent celebration through the streets of Miami, but it was also a great opportunity for thousands of people to use public transportation to get downtown. Although I personally know several people who drove downtown (shame on you!) record numbers of people used tri-rail and metrorail. Tri-rail itself hit a new peak, with over 18,000 riders on Friday, the most in its 17 year history.

Here’s a touchy subject. Now, no offense to my Broward and Palm Beach readers, but I’m glad there was only one Heat parade, in Miami and here’s why: I’m sick of the “self-imposed segregation” we currently see in the Tri-county, Greater Miami Region. It’s a constant competition against each other, even for a victory ticker-tape parade which is supposed to unify the community not isolate the two regions. If the Mavericks had won the championship, they weren’t going to hold separate parades in Dallas and Ft. Worth, even though the two cities are also only separated by 30 miles. The Greater Miami region (a.k.a. South Florida) needs to come up with its own unified identity, quickly. Heck, our three airports and four seaports are constantly battling each other for no reason; why not unify them to compete with global markets rather than local ones. I understand the importance of every community having its own personal identity, but, we need to look at the bigger picture of what will benefit our region as a whole in the long-run. In the end, a parade up in Ft. Lauderdale would have been as smart as another one down in homestead, if not equidistant…


Weeked Words of Wisdom- Parade 101

A message to all my fellow Miami Natives: Parades are easy and fun, they involve minimal audience participation. Next time, don't flood out in front of the floats...

Image courtesy of Yagru's Flickr...


Once upon a MIC

Just found these above photos on a forum that I frequent. They are of the Miami Intermodal Center, which is so far, just a fairytale. What's an intermodal center? It's going to be Miami's Grand Central Station connecting the new airport people mover, metrorail, tri-rail, Amtrak, metrobus, taxi, and rental cars under one roof. Amazing? Well, yes, if it had been built on time (like the PAC, Airport North Terminal, etc.) Construction "progress" photos on the MIC site date back to October 2001, since then they've moved lots of dirt around, tied up the traffic on LeJeune daily, and wasted plenty of taxpayer money in the process. Meanwhile, we suffer the consequences of the current disorganized system and still do not have a rail link to the airport. Recently, the MIC was even downscaled from its original scale due to 9/11 passenger traffic decreases, however, in a sudden stroke of genius intelligence, the redesign was done in a manner which would be easy to expand the facility later if need be. However, If you look at the first picture, someone forgot to adequately shade some of the metrobus stops of the MIC. I fear this building will be riddled with defects.

There's nothing too revolutionary about the building's design. Similar buildings are rising in other parts of the world which will not only feature cutting edge technology, but will also be visually stimulating. Considering the hundred of millions of dollars that will be poured into this structure, I honestly expected something a little bit more grandiose. But hey, this is Miami, I've grown used to the lackluster designs, ridiculous cost overruns, and most importantly, the complete negligence of the construction schedules initially stated…

Click here for the complete PDF


Planning? Who needs that?

I’ve seen some unsettling things lately about the current and upcoming developments in the city of Miami. I was first set off by an article which appeared in the Herald back in February; it was titled: “Stage is set for theater with no parking.” I thought to myself, wasn’t the whole point of building this thing downtown to create an urban center which is easily accessible by ulterior forms of transportation in what will soon become our most densely populated area? Now, everyone is suddenly whining about a lack of parking, the type of parking you would find if it was built out in suburbia “Centrally Located” as they like to call it nowadays. The new performing arts center is rising within a short walking distance of the current metromover and the upcoming Miami Streetcar, plenty of reason, in my opinion to cut back on those 1,500 parking spaces the venue is seeking to find. Here is a notable quote from that same article; I think it personifies the Miami ideology very well:

''Who's going to walk for blocks in the rain and the heat and the dark and the mosquitoes, especially in that neighborhood?''
--Taffy Gould

Well, if it hot, it’s not dark, so there goes your first worry. That neighborhood is the Wynwood/PAC district and it probably has more pigeons and seagulls than mosquitoes, those are found out in suburbia, where you likely live.

These thoughts of the PAC parking situation were spurred as I recently scanned through the development page of the upcoming City Square project, across the street from the PAC. I came across another upsetting passage, it reads:

“Located next to Interstate 95 and 395 off ramps, over 150,000 vehicles will pass city square every day. Shoppers can access City Square from the Venetian Causeway or Biscayne Boulevard (US1), located one block east of this impressive site.”

Yeah, that’s right, absolutely no mention whatsoever of the free metromover train that will be stopping right outside its door with plenty of customers, residents, and tourists (correction: it’s mentioned on a later page, but, it still seems like an afterthought as the above quote appears on several pages.) Even scarier, perhaps, the development will contain 3,401 parking spaces (750 of which will belong to the PAC), effectively using up a space nearly equal to the retail space just for parking (now that’s what I call efficient.)

I also came across this article, which proudly announces the upcoming construction of a 400 space parking garage in the design district. Isn’t this the very same area that will be serviced by a streetcar around the same time the garage opens?

The point I’m trying to make is that with all of these new developments we are going to get massive hideous parking structures, filled with cars which will further clog our streets. The city and the county haven’t placed adequate pressure on developers and citizens to use and emphasize the existing and upcoming transit services in these areas. Why can’t we learn from our mistakes and those of other cities and plan actually ahead, intelligently? Miami 21 seeks to correct these flaws, but that plan has yet to be enacted as these developments continue to rise atop of massive parking structures. When the PAC opens, I’ll be riding past the traffic on US-1 on metrorail and then walk the rest of the way past the idle cars waiting to pay big bucks for parking…


National Transit Stats

Here are the latest National Transit Ridership numbers; I pulled them off of the AP/Herald wire:

Riders took 9.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2005, up 1.3 percent from the year before.

Streetcars and trolleys posted the largest increase, up nearly 6 percent from 2004.

Commuter rail increased 2.8 percent, while heavy rail was up 2.3 percent.

Bus ridership rose less than half a percent as increases in larger cities were offset by a 1 percent decline in cities with fewer than 100,000 people.

Since 1995, use of public transportation has increased 25.1 percent, faster than the rate of highway vehicle miles traveled, which rose by 22.5 percent.


FIU Fiasco

Well, I may be a day late, but I’m definitely not a dollar short. Hmm, where shall I begin? FIU, Florida Incredible University. It truly is incredible that so many visionaries are at the helm of this institution, leading the Golden (eh, they’re a few shades off) Copper Panthers well into a traffic fiasco. Honestly, I’m really glad the FIU officials have decided that their land is too precious to fit a Metrorail station on their campus, it’s a great Urban Planning lesson in the making (Oh wait, they don’t offer that major, my bad.) Better watch out, or there may not be enough room to fit another one of those hideous, well built parking garages in the future.

FIU officials, (with their all knowing superpowers) think a commuter train just wouldn’t make sense for a school that’s ranked as one of the top 10 commuter schools in the nation (Education should not be accessible to all apparently.) For a school looking to grow in prestige, accessibility, and educational ranks, they are doing a great job at keeping students away.

Someone at the MDTA has got to step to the plate on this issue. We need to look down the road for once and see that traffic is not going to improve any time soon. Let use other cities outside of Miami to see how things are done elsewhere, public education and public transit go hand-in-hand.

Here is a list of major Universities linked by Public Transit rail lines (off the top of my head): Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Boston College, NYU, Tufts, Rice, San Diego State, UMASS, University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, Drexel, Loyola, Tulane, Columbia, UM, Stanford, etc…

Schools that FIU would rather not be associated with apparently…

Run-in with Road Rage

Well, I'd like to apologize for not writing sooner, like I promised earlier, but, I was engaged in an episode of psychotic road rage with an irate pregnant woman. Needless to say, she was hauled off to jail for her actions tonight on her commute home (actions which I will surely comment on after her court appearance (needless to say, I wasn't involved, just a witness to the incredible stupidity.)) I'll cover the FIU Metrorail stupidity later..

What is up with Miami drivers? The driving situation in this county has gotten to such a despicable level; it has to be controlled soon. I get flicked off nearly everyday by people violating driving laws. How have we come to accept this kind of behavior as the norm? Drivers are unqualified. Laws are not enforced. Lives are put in danger. Instead, our law enforcement officers turn a blind eye to the real traffic problems and choose to enforce the minor oddities which have no impact (See: Move-Over Law, Click it or Ticket,etc.) Look at the load they dropping on us now:

"Starting July 1, nearly two dozen local police agencies will be stationed at busy intersections to help identify which cars can clear an intersection before a light changes and stop those that would otherwise get stuck."

Identify? That's going to do a whole lot of nothing, really quick. Let’s be a little progressive for once and get some "Block the Box" Cameras to really penalize the idiots. I honk at these drivers daily, they give me nothing but dumbfounded looks, one finger salutes, and occasional "Nany-Nany-Boo-Boos (Tongue included.)

With a deplorable Transit network and an even worse traffic grid, tempers are sure to flare on a daily basis. Traffic gets worse everyday and the solutions are few and far between. Our local economy will suffer as a result and the quality of life in our urban paradise is sure to be degraded. Glad I witnessed the severity of our latest #1 National Ranking today, now lets do something about it...


The Burning Train

Transit Miami’s Summer Transit Challenge continues today with the very well detailed accounts of United Citizens for South Link’s Co-Chair Priyanshu A Adathakkar. I’d like to thank Priyanshu for taking the time to write down his experiences to share with us all as he dealt with the traffic jams caused by the recent metrorail fire. Remember, the Summer Transit Challenge will be going on all summer long. All you have to do is ride public Transportation once a week and tell me about your experiences through a digital telegram (movemiami@gmail.com) It’s that easy! Enjoy…

On Wednesday June 14th I arrived at the Civic Center Station of the Metrorail a little after 5.30, there was a train sitting there with its doors closed and passengers sitting in it, I waited to see if the doors would reopen since it was just sitting there, neither did the doors open nor did the train move. Finally after about five minutes the train started crawling out of the station only to pull out of the station and stop again just a few yards out on the tracks. Later I was told by people on that train that they were asked to get off the train at Government Center Station and get into shuttle buses.

Back at the Civic Center station I stood there for about 30 minutes with no trains in sight or any information on what was going on, the security guards on duty did not have a clue nor did anyone else, let me take that back, somebody did because the public address system would periodically come to life with a female voice making some kind of announcement this is what everyone heard "Your attention please, your attention please, we are experiencing………….Okeechobee and Vizcaya ………………. " Meanwhile people were coming into the station as shifts at the various clinics and hospitals ended. Both north bound and southbound platforms were crowded to capacity by this time. Finally, a security guard came up to the platform and started telling people that the Metrorail is shut down and shuttle busses will be arriving soon.

Memories from an incident not to long ago came back to me when Metro Rail and US 1 were both shut down by the Coral Gables police because of an ongoing situation in one of the apartments near the metrorail tracks. They had shut down the metrorail at peak hour between Douglas road station and University stations, so we had to get off the train at Douglas get on a shuttle bus that was packed like a tin of sardines and made our way at snails pace to University station. After riding for about 45 minutes we were finally on Ponce De Leon slowly inching towards university, anyway Ponce De Leon runs parallel to the metrorail and we could see that the services had resumed and trains were flying by us, 15 minutes and 3 trains later we were finally at University! With this experience flooding back, I refused to get on the shuttle bus, the smart thing was to wait it out, so I went back down to see close to 100 people waiting for the shuttle and one bus lumbering down towards them. To save time found a Chinese place to eat an early dinner and when I got back to the Civic center Station there was a train waiting and the doors were open!

--Priyanshu A Adathakkar


That TOD, he's just so hot right now...

See, told you these Transit Oriented Development thingies are the hottest item in the development market. Here is a write-up in today's Herald (which I was oblivious to, until now) about the upcoming Brownsville TOD. Here are the highlights of the development:
8.79 acres
100,000 square feet of office space (HQ for Transport Workers Union)
20,000 Square feet of Retail space
300 Housing units
90 on street parking spaces (Could it be true? No hideous parking garage?)

Oh, here is the picture Ryan tried to post as a comment earlier of a TOD in Philly...Sweet building, very modern...

Complain, for the right reasons...

Will the Grove NIMBY’s please stop whining? No, I’m not talking about their latest efforts to continue to balk at whatever proposal is presented to them by The Home Depot (Although, I must say that the latest renderings presented by the company are absolutely stunning for a big-box retailer and the restrictions placed on deliveries and parking facility use are fairly reasonable.) I too understand the atrocities committed by big-box companies like The Home Depot and would also seek such restrictions if they were moving into community. I commend the people for fighting the Atlanta based company (whose persistence is really starting to amaze me now; they must have calculated some ridiculously huge profits for this location in order to still have the motivation to challenge the Grove residents.)

Now, that I have digressed enough from my initial statement and have proven that I truly have nothing against Grove residents, I can continue with the reason why some local NIMBY arguments are weak. Reference this Article in today’s Miami Sunpost.

The plan for the Miami-Dade Transit agency is to build Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) along nearly every stop of the Metrorail (Ex: Datran Towers in Dadeland, Transit Village in Overtown, Allapatah Apartments in Allapatah, etc.) Next stop, Coconut Grove, well maybe not, if Grove NIMBY’s have their way.

The project calls for a 1+ million square foot mixed-use development with retail, office, hotel, and condominium space all leased on County owned land adjacent to the metrorail (like Datran only slightly smaller.) A great idea to boost system ridership and charge rent on the use of the land for decades to come.

Grove NIMBY’s (like the Pincrest one’s down south) argue that the development will have an adverse effect on the current traffic issues in the area. Ok, point taken. But what development won’t have an adverse effect and how do we begin to solve the problem if such TODs aren’t built to get people (like the Grove, Pinecrest, Coral Gables, South Miami and Kendall residents) onto Public Transportation to begin with? It’s a vicious cycle that has cast Miami traffic into a downward spiral.

The real question here, which all residents should ask when a TOD or any high density building such as this is rising, is: What is being done to force residents, visitors, and tenants alike to use public transportation to access this new building? Will there still be enough parking for all employees or is it being designed properly to incorporate metrorail and bus use? (Note, even the Datran complex was poorly designed with each building resting on a parking garage “pedestal” with surely enough parking for office employees, hotel guests, and visitors.)

We can’t change our way of life overnight, but we must begin to implement progressive changes quickly, especially on projects situated on major corridors (Like US-1 and 27th Ave, where this project is slated to rise.) By asking the right questions first, all residents will benefit from the changes that can be forced to occur in the design of local developments without reducing density or profitability. The transit agency has taken a step in the right direction to create the TOD, residents and politicians alike now need to guide developers into creating projects which improve and promote the ever growing public transit infrastructure in our community…


Metrorail Fire...

Breaking News- From WPLG (ABC 10) - The Miami Metrorail has caught on fire at NW 79th st and 32 Ave (CBS 4 Link, ABC takes too long.) The fire has not shut down the metrorail, yet, as trains are running on a single track. The Fire appears to have been caused by the electrified third rail. Aerial Coverage of the scene shows the streets below were closed, however, fire personnel had not yet begun to extinguish the fire...

We'll bring you more updates as the story unfolds...

Big Box Fun

A new 27,000 Square foot warehouse will be rising at 1035 North Miami Avenue, to provide more space for Miami's growing industries. By growing Industry I mean, Nightclubs, but, that's beside the point. The renown Sound Factory of NYC is coming and will be situated in this building designed by Max Strang Architecture, hopefully, by Winter 2006. The club will be four levels (I'm sure this one will be easy to get out of when some dipshit pulls a gun) and will feature 120,000 watts (enough for you to not hear the gunshots and just keep on dancing) of raw music power. Impressive...


Intelligent Gowth

Hey! Pinecrest Nimby's! Here are some more developments going up in your backyard (Ah, yes, it's sad that you have no control over them either) in the newly emerging skyline of the south; Downtown Kendall. This latest cluster will build out the remaining lots east of the Palmetto expressway. It never ceases to amaze me what some Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) can potentially lead to. It all started with the Datran Complex (Which is currently building the fifth of five buildings) built on county owned Transit Land. Excellent way to spur development and require more transit use, we'll be seeing much more of this type of development along other rail stops including: South Miami, Coconut Grove, Overtown, and Allapatah...

Town Center One Homepage (Town Center is such a stupid euphemism for downtown)


In the News...

  • Palm Beach is already reaping the benefits of the new Scripps Research Institute, the Burt Reynolds Museum is going elsewhere. Question: Why the hell is there a Burt Reynolds Museum to begin with?
  • Miami-Dade County has compiled a wonderful list of land that is suitable not suitable for affordable housing, they titled it very appropriately: "The Miami-Dade County Affordable Housing List." Um, Whoops. And we all wondered why there aren't enough new affordable housing units rising...
  • We need another strip shopping center like we need a hole in our heads. This one is being built by Ft. Lauderdale's Paradise Development Group, which seems to build anything but projects you'd find in paradise. It's Mediterranean-style! I wet myself in excitement!
  • After a trip to the finals, you'd think Micky Arrison and Co. would be rolling around in dough. Apparently the heat will be lucky if they break even...


My Chronicles of Transit (Part II)

3 minutes. That is how little I had to wait yesterday for the J route bus to arrive. The ride home was flawless, quick, and just as efficient as if I had driven myself. The bus flowed as quickly as the traffic on LeJeune during the 5 pm crunch. The effectiveness of the whole ride home was a surprise to me; I never thought it could rival driving.
The bus was nearly full to seated capacity. The assortment of people riding the bus home included a couple of flight attendants (Delta and American Airlines), old folks, kids attending summer school at Coral Gables Senior high, and people who looked like they were just running errands.

All of the buses and trains were very clean, well air-conditioned, and for all practical purposes comfortable. The metrorail stations themselves need some help in that department, but in all fairness, they do see a considerably more traffic.

I took the metrorail down to South Miami to run some errands (Post-office mainly) before heading to back home. Having to depend on public transit, required me to plan my day accordingly and made my day go by much more smoothly. I felt better and more energized because of the added walking and saved time and money by planning my day ahead of time.

I now plan to make busses a part of my weekly routine in getting to and from work and other places (aside from my usual use of metrorail on weekends.) My next plan is to try a longer distance (maybe the beach on a Saturday.) I regret that Ryan had such a miserable experience in his attempt to get to FIU but I hope that doesn’t discourage some of you from taking the Transit Miami Summer Transit Challenge. I did and it worked…


Experiencing Public Transit (Part 1)

Well, having already used public transportation for pleasure and recreational purposes on various occasions, today is the first day I depended on the system for my daily mobility. I began my day, 40 minutes earlier than usual and arrived at the UM metrorail station by 7 am (on foot.) The stations and metrorail were busy with what appeared to be working class individuals; the business executives were only visible as I peered through the window of the train at the traffic down below on US-1. I rode the train North to Douglas Rd. (next stop) where I disembarked around 7:12. That’s where the efficiency level of the system suddenly took a sharp drop.

Now, I knew the J bus would take me to my destination, however, the trip planner recommended route 42. So, with that knowledge at hand, I proceeded to the route 42 bus stop. The station had a bit of activity but did not appear to be more or less than usual. Route 37 seems to be the popular route. I waited for 20 minutes, watching a couple of J routes come and go as well as a route 42 heading towards Coconut Grove, empty.

The arrival of the 42 could not have come at better time, as the sun was just beginning to peak over the trees and buildings which were shielding it from me and the heat was just starting to intensify. It appears many people are unaware of today’s free rides as the bus driver himself quizzically glanced at the ticket I just handed him and riders continued to pay or show their golden passports. The bus embarked immediately.

The ride was uneventful and much more serene than my new daily commute down the same thoroughfare in my car. Once on the bus, we flowed seamlessly until I disembarked at my location at 7:50, nearly 50 minutes after my public transit endeavor began. Next time, I’ll spring for the route J, and a shorter commute which could in fact rival driving which often takes me up to 20 minutes… I’ll be back later with the conclusion to my daily errands and a wrap-up on what I think could be improved.


Take a Dump!

It’s National Dump the Pump Day, which happens to land right in the middle of my Transit Miami Summer Transit Challenge. I implore all my readers to take a ride on South Florida’s public transportation today, it’s free! After you do, send me a digital telegram (movemiami@gmail.com) and tell me all about your personal experience (good or bad.) Random entries will be posted on the site along with my own day-by-day account. I’ve ridden nearly every form of public transportation available in South Florida and tomorrow I will test to see if I can survive without my car. Good Luck!

Transit Coupons!


Odds N Ends

  • We took the time recently to check up on the Flagler Street Capital Improvement Project occurring in Downtown (Pictured Above, Look Valet Parking, so that you really don't have to use transit) and were thus far dismayed by the progress. Aside from some "decorative" lamps, a few palm trees, and some bricks around the courthouse, the "Flagler Street Marketplace" as it is referred to on city records, is nothing but a lousy $12 Million makeover for one of our city's principal streets.

  • Alesh, already spilled the beans on this one, but, the gears are in motion to bring streetcars to Miami (again.) They will traverse the city from the Stephen P. Clark Center North, just past the Midtown Miami Waste of Land Development and also head west through Overtown to the civic center area. Late by two years, this project is expected to begin construction next year and be fully operational by 2010. This streetcar system will provide residents with a great amount of mobility and will continue to spur development along its route and in the up and coming design and Wynwood districts.

  • Home owners in the Roads area of Miami are calling for traffic circles to be placed in their neighborhoods to help prevent a potential traffic disaster when all the new Brickell buildings are completed. The benefit of these devices abound keeping traffic under control yet flowing at a fairly constant rate. If only someone would design the things properly (omitting the hideous "Stay Right Signs" (Coral Gables), not encircling the thing with reflective French fry-like barriers (Miami/West Miami), Putting Yield signs instead of Stop signs (All of the above))…

And then there was one

Well, the old Control Tower at MIA is finally coming down. CBS4 covered the dismantling quite well.

Hopefully, someone will come up with the bright idea (other than us) of transferring the tower to Opa Locka Airport to get rid of their current Control Tower, Pictured Below (Yes, it is a high-rise trailer park)...


Disco Lights

Although we don't generally preach about the available methods to improve the flow of vehicular traffic, Larry Lebowitz from the Herald, recently dug up the truth about Miami's hectic streetlight grid. The system is archaic to say the least, as it was considered cutting edge technology back when disco was just coming of age.

As we have come to expect with nearly every county project, the upgrading of the system is years behind schedule and millions over budget (with many consultant firms cashing in on the stupidity.) It never ceases to amaze us how such a car-based society can go so long without upgrading the timing on the streetlights.

However crucial the fix may be, we would like to clarify that there is no easy solution for the traffic in Miami. Though adjusting the timing and synchronization of the streetlights may improve the traffic flow slightly, it is not a plausible long-term solution.

The Institute of Transportation Engineers says that signal timing should be reviewed every year to maintain effectiveness and efficiency.



Reaching for the Sky

Hopefully, our new font and color will be permanent. Thanks to our readers and Alesh for making many suggestions to us on how to improve our new page.

In any case, here are the latest renderings of the proposed 1,200 foot behemoth Empire World Towers, proposed to rise along Biscayne Boulevard. Odds are the FAA will chop the suckers down quite a bit, but in any case, its nice to see how such a tall building would fit in. Images found on Kobi Karp's website.

Below the radar

In an effort to trim the ridiculously high costs of yet another county funded project fiasco, Airport director Jose Abreu plans to reduce the size of the North Terminal. He plans to do this by first receiving approval from the cash strapped American Airlines (um, yeah they won't have a problem with that, considering they choose to add useless fees at every opportunity in an effort to nickel and dime the hell out of us.) In any case, what we find most troubling (aside from the escalating costs) are the insanely high estimated figures for passenger traffic:

When upgrades were designed prior to 9/11, the airport was projected to serve 55 million passengers by 2010, Mr. Abreu noted. "That just isn't going to happen, so we have to scale back accordingly." Now, officials project about 33 million yearly passengers by 2010.

Honestly, who makes these estimations for the use of South Florida modes of transportation? Besides, wouldn't it have been easier to scale down the project before construction began. In any case, here we are scaling down a project that has exceeded its estimated budget by $300 million, 5 years after 9/11. Pure genius, almost as smart as the $2 million we are paying to exercise this same terminal's people mover because of project delays (um, couldn't we have scaled it back then?) Makes you wonder about those "Your tax dollars at work" signs all across the county...


Ryan's Transit Disaster

Unfortunately, as Ryan figured out in yesterday's Transit story, getting around Miami on a bus can be quite difficult without the necessary planning and foresight. As even Ryan noted himself, our sprawl is making our lives much more difficult and is seriously hampering the ability of our transit to move us around effectively. We've noticed that some parts of our system are very effective in moving passengers downtown, however, that is often not the destination of choice for many of the riders. We would like to encourage Ryan as well as our other readers to continue with the Summer Transit Challenge, perhaps by using transit for shorter or non-essential trips first before fully relying on it to conduct your daily business. Use the South Florida Regional Transit Trip Planner to help you plan your next trip (as always, let us know how it went!) Happy riding...