Car in the subway

Fidel Castro Relinquished power temporarily...yada yada yada, he's getting old and senile; what else could we expect?

Here’s a fun video, how would you react if you saw a car come barreling through the subway station? Quite entertaining, however, considering this was done in Germany in a highly monitored subway; I can only assume that this prankster was surely reprimanded severely...

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LCDs, Billboards, and Lights! Oh My!

There has been a recent big stink made over the plans of a developer to build a new mega-mall on the site of the abandoned Omni plaza and former Herald parking lots. It appears that the new mall will include “Times Square-like” elements such as massive LCD billboards, bright lights, and plenty of advertising space. Nice upgrade. Well that is unless you ask certain activists who are saying that the new lighting next door will visually detract from the Performing Arts Center (and bring traffic too! Oh no what will we do???) Well, good point, it will, but, isn’t that somewhat of a good thing, considering that the PAC isn’t all that visually stimulating to begin with (Excellent points by Verticus)? I find it pretty backwards to worry about the view to and from the PAC and the bay after the damned thing was built 3 blocks away from the shoreline. If we had wanted a new PAC, with unobstructed views of the water and a radical design that would forever impact our skyline, then why did we build it 3 blocks away from the shore where any 4 story run-of-the-mill parking garage could cover it up easily? On that note, nobody is complaining about how hideous a parking garage will look behind the PAC, assuming that one gets built sometime this century.

Why are we so concerned with these issues now and why weren’t they raised earlier? If we desired to have a new cutting edge building that would forever change our skyline (Like this, or this, or this, or this) then why wasn’t it thought of before someone proposed to build a large mall next door? I’m all for the Times Square-Like development (minus the thousands of parking spaces that comes with it) but seriously hope that they find better tenants than Target and Best Buy to fill the space. Otherwise, this will turn out to be another misguided attempt to re-urbanize Miami, just like the PAC…

I find it interesting pathetic that we built this on our prime waterfront land...and this on the landlocked real-estate which is destined to be surrounded by a concrete jungle...Must have been on account of the "traffic" problems it would have caused...This is the poor planning I always tend to speak of...

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Got a Face? You can Drive

If some of you have received traffic citations recently, I wouldn’t be too surprised. I’ve seen more traffic enforcement in the past 2 weeks than I’ve seen the entire summer. I’ve even seen the incredible rarity (and stupidity) of the South Miami Police force motorcycle cops out patrolling US-1 at one or two in the morning for speeders. I say stupid because when was the last time you saw a motorcycle cop out past sunset to begin with, but, this one was sitting in the turn lane facing southbound with all of his lights off (Headlight too! I thought that was against the law), radaring passing Northbound cars? Not your typical sight. I guess our local law enforcement officers have finally decided to crack down on Miami drivers by nit-picking the little things (like rolling stops in Coral Gables, or cruising above the speed limit in the wee hours of the morning in an area that knowingly reduced the speed of US-1 to 40 mph rather than the typical 45 mph to make those tickets sting a little more than usual) rather than cracking down on some of the more crucial traffic issues (the people who drive in exit lanes on the 836 knowing full well they have no intention of exiting, the hapless gridlock professionals on US-1, the red-light runners, or the speed daemons on the palmetto and I-95 at any hour where it is actually possible.) It makes me wonder if our police force is actually trying to resolve some of our traffic issues or add to them.

Some of you may remember that I was recently the lucky recipient of one of these golden tickets. I was going 47 mph in a 45 mph zone which temporarily became a 35 mph zone for some construction that was going on about a mile before I got stopped. Wonderful. In any case, my terrible experience let me realize a few crucial things:
1. Being polite and courteous to a motorcycle cop will never get you out of the citation, but, can get you a price break if you pull over promptly and show utmost respect.
2. The “Driving-Improvement” courses we are all required to take, don’t improve diddly squat and are likely the cause of so many careless drivers to begin with.

I enlisted in one of the on-line courses to avoid getting points on my license (Oh, yeah and to avoid further financial ravaging by Geico.) I thought the four hours was bad enough; the sheer stupidity of the whole course was worse than a kick to the groin. I survived the course by watching the timer on the webpage unremittingly tick away four wasted hours of my life. Then came the “final exam” which boasted some fantastic questions which I guarantee will make most of us better drivers. Here are the highlights:

How many licensed drivers are there in Florida? (I fail to see how this will make anyone a better driver.)
Until what age should a child use in a car seat? (The options for the answers to this one were: 3 years, 5 years, 60 lbs)

How many points can you receive in a 12 month period before your license is suspended? (Um, if you are worried about the maximum number of points, I don’t think you should be driving in the first place.)

What sign is shaped like an octagon? (A Stoptional! Or a S.T.O.P. sign - Slow To Observe Police…Duh!)

The obvious challenge continued throughout the rest of the 40 questions. Needless to say, I passed. Printing out my certificate of completion made me think about how backwards the licensing and driving education requirements really are. I will no longer wonder why area drivers stink- the rules to become licensed are terrible…

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Flying High

  • The people have spoken and I have listened. ManolaBBB has come to me with the interesting idea of expanding the Transit Challenge past the summer to include our cooler months. Apparently she’s been speaking to others who supported the idea and stated that they would be more inclined to ride when the temperatures were bearable. I agree. It’s a wonderful idea and I hope it will encourage more Miami Natives to eventually give public transportation a legitimate try. Keep the ideas flowing…
  • I came across an interesting site with some interesting ideas and graphics for possible projects in Miami as well as a blog. Some of the ideas have some logic to them, while others appear to be nothing more than outright hilarious fantasies. Enjoy…

  • Above is one of the latest photos by James Good. He regularly flies his model aircraft over Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami to photograph the city’s construction progress. Here his plane is flying higher than the 500+ foot Ten Museum Park Condominium and provides an unusual view of how the wall of condominiums on Biscayne Boulevard is shaping up. Oh by the way, the building with white balls is the Miami NAP of the Americas, one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the world for ISP technology and logistics. I believe it is owned and operated by Terremark… Many people seem to ask me that...
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Take the Money and RUN!!!

I present an unusual idea on behalf of the citizens of Miami-Dade County: a county-wide class action lawsuit against the developers who stole millions of dollars from all of us when promising to build low-income houses. That’s right, this crack squad more than qualifies to be today’s Maricones; they epitomize the weekly award to begin with. Sure, the developers are just a few of the bad eggs in the rotten Miami-Dade Housing Agency carton, but, they knowingly took advantage of a flawed system and left our neediest citizens out in the cold while they raked in millions either directly or through real-estate dealings.

The Miami-Dade real estate market is rough, heck, we’ve paid out millions and apparently we still couldn’t afford to get a house, let alone enough to give away at a discounted rate to thousands of underprivileged citizens. We’ve given a few politically connected developers they key to accessing millions of mismanaged public dollars, which, if history serves my memory correctly is no different than in years past. Now, I could go into detail on each project and their respective developer, but, I’ll leave the snooping around up to your own personal Google searches and Miami-Dade Property Record browsing. I did my own research and the results weren’t too pleasant, let alone information we would want to publicize about how inept the housing agency controllers really are.

It becomes apparent however, that we have a collective problem when it comes to managing money in this county. The agency has barely been able to build any houses to begin with, yet, they recently completed work on their new $5 Million office headquarters. Apparently they plan on doing some serious work to assist some of the 41,000 families currently lined up to receive some sort of financial aide for housing costs.

It's because of situations such as this, that Miami fails to gain the positive recognition it could garner. It sickens me to see that so many people are willing and able to essentially steal from tax money earmarked for struggling families. Last time I checked, we didn’t need to create a welfare fund for developers, they should be doing just fine…

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Where’s the building and what happened to the five million?

A press conference was held this afternoon by Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Katy Sorenson, seemingly the only two politicians in Miami-Dade County with good intentions and morals. The subject of the conference: The competence incompetence of the Miami-Dade Housing Agency (didn’t see that one coming.) In any case, the Mayor is calling for appropriate measures be taken to reprimand the responsible parties. I still say we sue em’ to get our money back, on top of the disciplinary action the mayor recommends.
“…I want our money back, I want our land back…If we have to go to court, I want it back…”
-Mayor Carlos Alvarez
I’m glad to see that the mayor agrees…
“Problems in the agency started at the top…”
-Mayor Carlos Alvarez
Precisely what I’ve said before. Many of the elected officials are writing the book in corruption. They usually assign positions to wholly unqualified gophers that continually spread their greedy values and corrupt mentality. Dade citizens need to unite to bring back qualified people to these jobs; people who will make competent decisions for the good of our community. Just take a look at the dedication of many elected officials which often have second jobs as “consultants” to local companies, many of which are in fields where they have absolutely no professional or educational experience, all this while they also serve the needs of the public in job that typically pays them less than their consulting “fee…” What a load, how can we continue to allow this?
“We Put Band-Aids where we need to amputate…”
-Carlos Alvarez
We need to put an end to the corruption. It is simply unacceptable and despicable. We need to cleanse our local government of the scum which plagues it and renders it virtually useless. Re-election should hardly be an option for some of these people as we reveal the truth behind many of their policies and deceptive actions… Here are some more notable quotes from Mayor Carlos Alvarez…
“We keep doing business with the same people over and over again, there are only so many times you can get hit over the head with a baseball bat…”

“This stinks…”
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Odds and Ends

  • Well it's official, when visiting the Carnival Center for the performing arts this upcoming season you won't have to leave the Benz at home with the Nanny and the kids. The Miami Parking Authority struck a deal with the Miami-Dade school board to manage all 770 parking spaces in 4 lots from 6 pm to 6 am weekdays and all day on weekends. One would think it wouldn't be all that difficult for two different branches of government (Parking and Educational) to come to this agreement much sooner. Is there really that much bureaucratic red tape?

  • As is typical with any county run operation, the Airport North Terminal has finally run into the “Let’s make it look shitty to save money” stage of the project. Due to cost over-runs and a 2+ year delay on the project, our marvelous commissioners are endorsing a plan to “scale down” some of the terminal’s original features. This is why County projects never appear quite as nice as the renderings first depict; if only someone hadn’t squandered our money somewhere along the way county projects wouldn’t look so bad. Excellent quote from the article:

    "I've said it before, and I'll say it again: We need to look to keep the expenses of the terminal project down," Mr. Gimenez said after the meeting.

    Well, I said it too, but that was before you guys had the opportunity to screw up. I think we should require our commissioners to take some time and money management classes along with the ethics classes I recommended a while ago before they are eligible for election. One would think that these important management decisions would be left up to a qualified erudite professional with a proficiency in Construction Engineering or Urban Planning, rather than Gimenez’s unsuitable BA in Public Administration. Yes, I know he was consulted by professionals on his decisions, but, the elected officials have the final word, so… this mess ultimately falls on their shoulders. Re-election anyone?
You can read all about Gimenez's Extensive list of Transportation related experience here, on the county commission website. Look at all those committees...Whoa...

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Moment of Clarity

Unfortunately, I believe it has come to that time where I must clarify my position on certain community issues in order to prevent and dispel the skewed misconceptions which have been swirling around in a few comments lately about me. This article does not apply to the vast majority of you, but, I have to post it in order to preserve the integrity behind my name and my website.

First off, I am not a development happy, x-box playing, geek, who prances around gleefully whenever a new shiny glass skyscraper is unveiled in Miami. I do not own or wish to own an X-box, sorry Microsoft. Furthermore, I cringe when I see most of the planned buildings and developments slated to rise in Miami because I know full well that the current infrastructure (Transit, Electrical, Water, Educational, etc.) is not equipped to handle such growth. I cringe because I know that most of the developers are taking advantage of Miami in order to earn quick buck and in the end do not care about the impact their buildings will have on the community or the residents who purchase them. The politics behind much of this growth sickens me and is definitely not anything I stand for. The archaic development codes in this county and city are not suitable for such expansion and our public works sector is not familiar with the concept of sustainable growth. We lack the vision and foresight across all levels of government to plan anything properly and accordingly and in a timely fashion.

With regards to the people of Miami, I believe we all need to become more involved in what is going on in our community. I implore my readers to get involved in community meetings or even by leaving comments on my blog so that we can address issues together. We must hold ourselves as well as our elected officials accountable for the policies which govern us. Republican or Democrat? I say, who cares, we must all be concerned with how our tax money is being misappropriated and we need to first make sure that elected officials are designating our interests as their priorities. We need to enhance our educational system and improve our graduation rates from high schools and universities. We must build stronger communities to come together better in times of need and keep an eye out to lower crime and vandalism.

This is how I truly feel about development and life in Miami. I write my blog with passion daily to try and instill some of that heart into all of my readers. I genuinely care about Miami, not some other country, like many of our residents seem to do. I try to call things the way I see them and avoid sugarcoating topics so that my readers may come to their own conclusions. I believe growth is important for this community to continue to be a player in the global market, however, we must first learn how to grow in a method which will benefit future generations to come.

This is a glimpse of what I stand for and what my site is all about…

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Falling Behind, Quickly

I may have gone a little picture happy below. But, I've come across a bunch of stunning pictures of two major up and coming transit systems on complete opposite sides of the globe. The first two are of the Porto, Portugal brand new Urban Transit Rail system. Mind you, this is a city of 1.5 million inhabitants and look at the sophistication and efficiency of the whole thing. Porto also just unveiled a brand new international airport terminal which is also absolutely beautiful. Makes me wonder if either project ran years behind schedule or hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. With over 5 million people in our metropolitan area, we need to advance some of our public transit projects pronto, in order to keep our status as a "World-class City." I also personally love how the trains travel over green space, no longer making the tracks as “unsightly” to some as they once were (This is also used in Bilbao’s new Urban Train.)

The second set of pictures reminds me of the wonderful plan ole Jebby Bush had us repeal to outfit our state with a High-Speed Train network. This is the
Shinkansen, the Japanese bullet train, capable of speeds of up to 275 MPH on conventional (Well built, Not our worn down system) rails. This is the Taiwan High speed rail, which will link many of Taiwan's major cities along a 360 KM path. The benefit of this train speaks for itself. Floridians really dropped the ball (well twice, we elected him in the first place) when we repealed the Florida High Speed rail act due to a "Lack of Funding." What a load. Billions are spent in this state alone to continue to enhance and expand the existing highways, why not institute a better measure of budget appropriation, Jeb? Perhaps we wouldn't have a lack of funding if we hadn't instituted so many useless tax cuts or decided to invade...You get the point. Our cities have fallen behind technologically and our urban planning is beyond deplorable...

Oh and by the way, the Taiwan rail was built in 8 years and had an October 2006 opening date, which I believe is actually going to occur sooner than originally scheduled...Unreal? No. Just the way things should be...

Pictures Credited to the forumers who posted them here.

(Pictures Removed from post...April 09, 2007)

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Not on My Street

We’ve seen this occur countless times; a good project becomes an ugly mess when too many chefs are placed in the kitchen. The East/West rail corridor is supposed to link the communities of Flagami, Blue Lagoon, Doral and West Kendall. However, Flagami residents are putting up a fight to derail transit plans to place the line down NW 7th street, through the urban heart of their community. Instead, they want to see the train travel along the Dolphin expressway, where it will be relegated to serving as a Park-N-Ride Commuter rail station, at best. The Urban life concept is a foreign one here apparently. Peace and quiet are suddenly extremely important qualities for a neighborhood situated under the flight path of MIA, citing the train would bring excessive noise to their area. Give me a break.

I love how everyone suddenly becomes an expert on the subject, knowing what’s best for the area and its’ future. I thought we hired city planners and engineering professionals for a reason. I mean after all they are professionals who have studied the subject for at least four or five years and have had to pass various certification exams. How is it that Joe Blow Flagami resident, can whine for a little while and have the whole future of Miami Public Transportation in the area changed just because he doesn’t like the idea? What happened to being progressive and doing what is best for our community’s future? Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe the people should have a say in the projects in their backyard, but when is it the right time to trump their ideas and do whatever is best for the future of the community. I believe it is up to planners to a certain extent to guide and steer growth appropriately through intelligent systems. Baylink is great example of a project that should have occurred, with or without the local community support, because of the long-term benefit it would have provided to all citizens.

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Office Boom Could be a Boon

The following is a guest article written by Ryan. This article was written before the Herald's article yesterday regarding the potentially impending office boom we could soon be witnessing and therefore bears little reference to it. Enjoy.
Greetings and Salutations. I’m Ryan, The Sprawl Hater, and I’ll be dropping by Transit Miami once a week or so to offer my perspective on the oft-frustrating, always complex, but never dull journey that is Miami's growth and development.
Has anyone noticed something conspicuously missing from the explosive high-rise boom in and around downtown? If you guessed low vacancy rates, you're probably right. If you guessed a legitimate, centrally located transit hub, you'd probably be right, too. Nevertheless, I'm talking about office buildings, people.

Last I checked South Florida had the worst office sprawl in the country. That's right folks, worse than sultans of sprawl Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas. A Brookings Institute study in 2003 found that of the 13 largest metropolitan regions, South Florida’s major downtown (MIAMI!) had a mere 13% of the metro’s office space. Even worse, virtually ALL office growth in Miami-Dade since 1987 has occurred out of downtown. HOW COULD THIS BE? Or, more importantly, what is being done about it?

Unfortunately, not enough is being done. With nearly 100 new high-rise or mid-rise buildings finished, approved, or planned between Wynwood and Brickell, you can pretty much count the number of new office buildings on one hand. It’s possible we could have 70,000 more condo units here in only a few more years, so where are the new office buildings to compliment 100,000+ aristocrats professionals living in our city’s elongated, coast-hugging core?

The building on the right in the picture above is Met II,
the largest and most noteworthy office building currently approved for construction. It will be between 31-46 floors and is set for completion by 2009 (I’d be willing to take bets on that.) A couple others have been proposed in the Brickell area, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be built - and it still isn’t nearly enough.

This could be a big problem, people. The building boom in and around downtown has been mostly good (sans affordable housing, BayLink, and a delayed Streetcar), but without the offices it runs the risk of becoming a high-density bedroom community. This ultimately defeats the purpose of living downtown: easy pedestrian, taxi, and/or transit access to work and home. An office shortage means demand for parking downtown will remain high (stay tuned for a later post on this quagmire). The last thing we need is people living on Miami Ave. and commuting to Doral office park cities out in suburbia.

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Lets Plan!

Well, I went to the Miami-Dade Transit Planning meeting tonight, just as I had promised. The topic of discussion was the placement of the 87th avenue, 97th avenue, and 107th avenue stations along the east/west rail corridor slated to be operable 2014. 2014 + the usual Miami-Dade construction delays and cost over-runs means I should be seeing this train operating about the time I retire. I basically stayed mum throughout the 87th and 97th avenue discussions because the clearly wiser alternative would be placing the stations north of the Dolphin expressway due to the infinite possibilities and large tracts of land which could be developed for Transit Oriented Developments.

The 107th avenue station placement was the main reason I attended, to contest its retarded placement in between the Dolphin and International Malls. I proposed that two stations be developed, in conjunction with the respective malls in the expansive parking lots they both have. It would remove useless circulators to either mall and provide further space to encourage TOD. In exchange for re-alignment towards both malls, the free land for the stations should mitigate any additional costs incurred. It’s just a thought on how to make a better system where more citizens will be enticed to ride.

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The Rocket was a Dud...

I broke a vow last night that I made to myself some months ago; I went to a Marlins Game and gave the slimy Jeffrey Loria a few of my hard earned dollars for a night's worth of entertainment. I love baseball, don't get me wrong. I hate Marlins’ ownership, past and present. I think they are all terrible businessmen, from the perspective of the customer that is. Loria's recent dismantling and very empty threats take the cake, that's why Friday night games like yesterdays can only attract 13,000 fans, many of them clad in Astro uniforms. I guess that San Antonio deal wasn't really so sweet after all. I'm the first to hate to see the team in their present situation, but, I also hate to see a bunch of millionaires bitch and moan to get public financing for a new ballpark, especially one in suburbia which in the end will do nothing to attract more fans to the stadium. They have a fantastic young crop of prospects, including a former teammate of mine: Gabriel Hernandez who was traded from the Mets in exchange for Paul LoDuca. I hope for nothing but the best for the team, but, would like to see the owners actually do something that would be in the best interests of South Florida baseball fans...

It was nice to see Roger Clemens pitch and lose a game to the Marlins. I can’t speak favorably of the guy, though I respect his abundant accomplishments. Last night though, he was more of a firecracker than that “Rocket” they speak of. It was entertaining to watch the Astro fan in front of me walk out of the stadium like a coward in the eighth inning after spending the night making up various excuses about the fact that his team was facing a no-hitter going into the top of the sixth.

Oh, by the way, the new HD Screens Huizenga had installed for the upcoming superbowl are beautiful. Amazing quality and clarity...

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"Fan Mail" Part Two

The Transit Miami Summer Transit Challenge continues with the story of G. Williams of Miami Beach:

...I've been living on South Beach and working downtown for the last 13 years or so and have not owned a car in all that time. The A bus is a delight (and stops 2 blocks from my apartment). Our household (my partner and I) earns 6 figures, so it's not like we're poor. I have not the least interest in owning an automobile in South Florida. I have arranged my life so that I don't need one. And I have saved A LOT OF MONEY over the course of that time that would otherwise have gone towards the "joy of automobile ownership." No thanks. Keep up the good work.

Excellent story and true example of just how vital a rail link such as baylink could be to both cities. G. Williams is incredibly lucky that his office has remained in downtown for the past 13 years and hasn't up and left for blue lagoon or doral (A popular trend among major employers.)

Keep the stories coming...Lets also discuss what you Transit users see wrong with the current system (Particulary Buses)...I'll be doing a little bit of my own investigating the next time I ride a bus (Next week, or this weekend) when I plan on interviewing some of the fellow riders and transit officials...

Photo From: This Site

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"Fan Mail" Part One

I'm going to take some time to address some "fan mail" I have received via e-mail, forum commentary, or blog comments. Here is one from a forum friend of mine Paul:

Sorry, Gabe. This one is going to hurt. The vote to prioritize the South Link Metrorail extension (Alternative 5) over the Bus Rapid Transit System (Alternative 6) for Kendall failed by one vote on June 22nd! The Miami Planning Organization voted 8-8 for Commissioner Katy Sorenson’s motion to prioritize Metrorail expansion over the other alternatives. The board then voted for the Bus Rapid Transit System which won by a popular vote of 8-5. This system will provide an extension of the current Metorail track to US-1 and 104th. From this stop an elevated busway will take passengers from the 104th station to 312th street, over the existing busway, which will be turned into an express toll lane. We can all thank Coral Gables Councilman William Kerdyk for leaving the country without making his opinion known or making a proxy vote cast (Mari... Monday Candidate?). His vote, which would have been in favor of the extension according to Robert MacDougall, would have been enough to approve the metrorail extension plan. Instead we will get a raised busway and two more lanes for US-1. We can also thank Commissioner Jimenez, who represents Pinecrest, for leading the front against the metrorail. Find out more about MPO’s decision in The Kendall Gazette or the United Citizens for South Link website.

Ouch, yeah that did hurt. Thanks Paul. I actually wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, after I attended the UCSL meeting. The MPO is really in the wrong hands. Jimenez (like all our commission members) is completely oblivious to what the constituents really want and is basically doing what he pleases. Extending metrorail to 104th is meaningless and will do nothing to improve our local traffic issues, enhance our public transportation, or increase ridership. Honestly, it should extend south to The Falls mall at least in order to make some sort of positive impact.

The elevated busway you speak of is actually just a bunch bridges placed at key intersections. This appears to be some sort of a ploy to help traffic flow on US-1 so that cars may turn westward unimpeded. This will however allow the busway to serve as a genuine BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Line. This is crucial for the 10,000-15,000 daily busway users and has proven to be a success in other cities with dedicated ROW's for buses...

I got some more great mail that I will reply to later today...Thanks for writing in, Keep it up everyone...

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Transit Challenge Updates

  • The Transit Miami Summer Transit Challenge is still going on, get out and ride some Public Transit people, even if its for fun. I have received some more stories via digital telegram that I will be sharing soon. Plus, be on the look out for some articles by a new contributor to Transit Miami. Here are the latest Transit stories from some excellent blogs:
  • Rebecca Carter of GreenerMiami has provided us with her latest installment of her progress with the Transit Miami Summer Transit Challenge. It’s nice to see so many people using public transportation to get to downtown events.
  • Rick, spoke recently of his experience driving home daily to Pembroke Pines. I can’t fathom having to make that drive daily; my 10 minute commute seems ridiculous enough for me. And what is up with everyone in Miami-Dade driving with their hazard lights on in the rain? Aren’t we all in the same hazardous conditions? Yeah, I’ll make sure to avoid your car buddy when I plan on having an accident, it’s kind of like those useless “baby on board” signs parents put on their cars…

“Once drivers could no longer see the wreck, they drove as if they had been shot out of a cannon…”

Excellent Metaphor…

I'll be back later with another article...

Museum Krap or parK

Running late seems to be my new norm, but, I was busy changing a flat tire (not mine.)

Alesh seems to have beat me to my own story, presenting the latest plans to revamp the currently hideous and very much abandoned Bicentennial Park (What it originally looked like.) Miami planners have come up with a set of beautiful renderings of a park that will look nothing like what will actually be built. They also apparently have been looking at other successful parks around the world, to try to incorporate some of their elements (Like Grass, trees, and People.) I like the fact that the USS Tin Can won't be docked there any more, however, I fear that Arriola may be seeking to acquire a monstrosity like NYC's Intrepid. Lets shoot for something in between.

The Museum renderings themselves have yet to be developed (or funded, Whoops!) Call me crazy, but I would love to see a Neo-Classical Museum of Science Building. With big, beautiful columns and a design that is totally unlike Miami. Something like the Prado. The MAM, I fear will be ultra modern (Hopefully not Gehry, though I appreciate his style) but should do something to enhance the view of the PAC from the waterfront.

I like the renderings all in all. It appears to maximize the most of the area without over or under developing the site. The Museum placement is ideal, it should have easy access to the metromover stop and the buildings themselves will serve as barriers to the unsightly I-395. Open space abounds as well as recreational space in front of the AAA. Now, the real question is, Can we make it happen???

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Not Going Anywhere For A While...

It wasn't a rhetorical question, more of a declaration. You can still grab a Snickers bar if you'd like, I did.

For anyone who is wondering what the heck the FDOT is up to on the Palmetto and Dolphin Expressways, they created a little website to answer many of your questions. Personally, I love the way they shut down all but one lane at night forcing me sit idle while cars merge psychotically upon me, or the way the left lane of the palmetto is usually blocked off with Bob's Barricades for no apparent reason. I find Rick’s blog's name to be one of my saddest weekly experiences as I sit there gazing at all the other frustrated drivers who, like me, are stuck on the Palmetto.

In any case, the mess they have started now, isn't slated to be completed until 2012 (I'm assuming this date is flexible in one direction only.) As the dolphin expressway is expanded westward to accommodate the sprawl we have all grown to embrace, the FDOT decided to finally fix the terrible interchange between the Dolphin and Palmetto Expressways Slow moving Parking Lots. Simultaneously, the Palmetto is being widened slightly at some key points both North and South of the Dolphin as well as receiving new noise barrier walls and exits, you know, so that cars can flow quicker onto the already clogged Bird Rd, 8th st, Coral Way, etc. Meanwhile the Dolphin is also being widened as it receives a new toll plaza to pay for the current project. Forget Okeechobee, they are currently in the process of depressing part of its roadway to allow the FEC tracks and Hialeah Expressway to cross without impeding traffic (can't have those damn trains get in the way of our cars...)

Someone also decided that it would be a bright idea to enhance Krome avenue south of where it meets with Okeechobee. I'm assuming this measure was taken to help accelerate the development of land outside the UDB; precisely what the "very-well" educated members of our county commission desired seeing that they are always looking out for the best interests of the citizens developers.

The above picture is of the new interchange which will one day "seamlessly" whisk you from the Palmetto to the Dolphin or vice versa...Until then, idle away in traffic, I'll be at the Palmetto, Palmetto Metrorail station that is...


Now all Texans can be Nascar drivers

Well, its official. The Signs in parts of rural Texas have been changed to reflect the speed limit increases in that state. Hopefully they did something to educate people on how to handle a car appropriately at that speed. I'm all for higher speeds, I've experienced the autobahn, we just need to see a more rigorous driver certification program in the U.S. first...

Welcome Miami Herald Readers!

You’ve probably just in stumbled here after reading about the Transit Miami Summer Transit Challenge in Today’s Miami Herald. This is Transit Miami, a weblog I created to openly discuss the urban development and Transit issues facing our beautiful community. I encourage everyone to participate in the discussions by leaving their comments or by e-mailing me their questions (Movemiami@gmail.com.) I believe, through broader communication and awareness, we can begin to address some of the most important issues in our community. I might stray from the main topic every so often to discuss our local politics, sports, and cultural events. In any case, I am glad you came to check out my site.

Articles are published daily (weekends optional) and I have created several reoccurring pieces such as: Weekend words of Wisdom (Sounds a heck more prolific than what they really are,) Moronic Mondays (provides a humorous outlook on the not so humorous blunders and deficiencies of our current politicians and government entities,) and Transit Tuesday (eh, pretty self explanatory.)

Take a look around and enjoy some of my previous posts and post some comments if you’d like. If Transit is not your thing, take a look at some of the other Miami Blogs on the left sidebar…

Pimp my Bus: The LA Solution to Shallow Riders

Mariel Garza of the Los Angeles Daily News recently conducted her own personal Transit Challenge, where she depended solely on the Public Transportation in Los Angeles for a Month straight, Impressive. All in all, her experience flat out sucked (from her perspective.) Her daily commute (50 Miles) aboard public buses took around 3.5 hours a day (this is what Sprawl will do to Miami eventually, especially if we keep expanding the UDB to build lame, poor-planned suburban developments.) She neglected to talk about how much money she saved from not having to fill her gas tank, but, harped about the $75/Month bus pass she purchased.

However, to ride the L.A. DOT's commuter express past a few miles say, to or from the San Fernando Valley you must purchase an extra stamp for $17 a pop. A bus pass for $75 a month hardly seems like a big incentive.

The LA system seems to be as well planned as the independent, extremely non-interconnected, tri county transit authorities. I wonder if their monthly passes are as difficult as ours to attain, where you have to travel to strip shopping centers to purchase one. All in all, Garza, learned about the problems of Public Transportation in her neighborhood, but provided little insight as to what could be done to improve it or make it efficient enough to improve her commute. Maybe "tricking" out the buses on Pimp My Ride, would entice a few of the more materialistic LA riders. LA’s problem is similar to Miami’s in the sense that it’s extremely difficult to coerce anyone to abandon their vehicular dependency, to a certain extent at least. Inching along independently in thousands of cars along the highways is some how more efficient to everyone than working to seek an alternative.

But the most important thing I learned from my bus experiment is that it is both humbling and humiliating to be dependent on the bus. When you drive, you are in control of your destination and thus, in a way, your destiny. When you ride the bus, you give up control to the bus driver, to the other passengers and to chance itself

My car certainly isn’t taking me to destiny, I’m headed to work. Humiliation should never be a feeling evoked by using public transportation and thus here lies one of our fundamental issues in openly adopting transportation use. I guess it just isn’t “cool” anymore to ride the bus to work, or it must that we are so concerned with how others will perceive us if we did so...

Just a Reminder: Transit Miami's Summer Transit Challenge is still going on, so send me your latest Transit story...


Roll Again...

I would like to officially apologize to all my regulars who came back to work on Wednesday in full force and checked out the site for updates (Yeah, Google Analytics lets me see you too.) Posting has been a little schizophrenic lately due to the Cancun Schedule of beer by the pool at 10 am; but, I promise we will be back to normal by the weekend.

It’s nice to be back in Miami (not really) facing the traffic and construction on my regular route to work in the mornings. So, I decided to choose an alternate route, which much to my dismay also had construction on it. I then realized that my third and fourth alternate routes were also torn apart sending cars haphazardly merging into one mess (Or in my case, through the residential neighborhoods surrounding the area.) Fantastic, whose bright idea was it to tear up 37th avenue, LeJeune Rd, Ponce De Leon Blvd, and 27th avenue simultaneously? This person is up for a Maricon Monday award. The second and fourth projects I listed are so adamantly named projects 15 and 17 on the FDOT site. Four major arterials simultaneously rendered useless by State planners. Complete lack of communication by the DOT within the agency, as well as with Coral Gables city planners which I believe are handling the Ponce streetscape disaster. Do not pass go. Do not get to work on time. Do not collect $200. Literally...


The Bus Hog...

I received an interesting digital telegram today, which, upon reading it required me to trump the piece I was working on for today. I figured I’d share it with you all and offer the anonymous author some better insight to why increased Public Transportation use would be more beneficial to all of us, including his own daily needs. It reads:

I can't believe you're still doing this. I'm going to say this just once: using public transportation is a challenge, in and of itself, for a great many of us living in Miami that HAVE NO CHOICE. OK? We have to use public transportation to get to work. And guess what? It's not a matter of whether it's bad or good, whether it's convenient or not, whether it's going to make us feel like bright shiny citizens, it's a matter of our day to day lives. Why are you trying to get people to not drive to work and take a bus? They'll try to take a bus and it will suck and they'll be really unhappy and they'll never do it again. It's not like" trying" a new restaurant or "trying" a really fabulous new merlot. What's next? You want to "try" eating ramen 3 nights a week? You want to "try" bouncing a rent check? Please. You know what? The bus is already full. We don't need anyone else getting on. We don't need you taking up one of the bike racks just so you can blog about it.

The purpose of TransitMiami.com is not to make me or any of my readers “bright shiny citizens” as we gleefully ride around on public transportation like a bunch of kids on carnival rides. I encourage the use of Public transportation, to make Miami a better, more accessible city for all of us. All world-class cities are built upon transportation networks which can suit the needs of all citizens and visitors. Our city is growing at an unprecedented pace and with that growth comes an increased level of traffic congestion. Roads cannot continue to be expanded due to the inefficiency of the process and alternatives such as the buses you rely on to get to work and the upcoming streetcar or metrorail expansions must be sought for all of our use. Logically, people and goods can travel more efficiently and effectively if we traveled together in buses and trains (more efficiently than individual cars, that is.) With greater use, you too will see the benefits of an improved transit system which will receive a greater portion of our public dollars for improvements. Better services for you to make it to work on time, more reliable schedules, and more buses to relieve the current overcrowding you have spoken of.

I know you would like to think that our experiences will “suck” but so far that has not been the case for me, Rebecca Carter, or various other people which have given it a chance this summer. I don’t relate it to trying a new restaurant, its more of a lifestyle change, a necessary change we must all face in order to continue to be a mobile and progressive community.

I’m looking to hear about the experiences of people like you on Miami’s public transportation system in order to help create a better system for all users. If anyone would like to contribute a beneficial story about their own experiences, troubles, or areas which you believe could be improved, feel free to send me an e-mail (movemiami@gmail.com.) Until then, I’ll keep promoting public transportation as the logical solution for the clogged roadways of our community…