Currently viewing the tag: "Tri-Rail"
Transit Miami is asking all readers to please actively participate in saving Miami 21 and Tri-Rail funding.

Miami 21: Our sources over in city hall have informed us that Miami 21 is literally on life support. The city commissioners are completely oblivious to the true benefits this new zoning policy will bring to the city, helping to create a sustainable, walkable, and accessible community. Miami 21 will create a cohesive and well organized map for future growth in the city, bringing density to the corridors and areas which would benefit from it most while preserving the qualities of every neighborhood.

We urge all of our readers to email/call the city commissioners to voice your support for Miami 21.

Commissioner Angel Gonzalez: agonzalez@ci.miami.fl.us (305) 250-5430
Commissioner Marc Sarnoff: msarnoff@miamigov.com (305) 250-5333
Commissioner Joe Sanchez: jsanchez@ci.miami.fl.us (305) 250-5380
Commissioner Thomas Regalado: tregalado@ci.miami.fl.us (305) 250-5420
Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones: MSpence@ci.miami.fl.us (305) 250-5390

Tri-Rail: In the wake of rising oil prices, our logical friends over in the FDOT are looking to strip Tri-Rail funding for a handful of road expansion projects in the tri-county area. Tri-Rail has launched the save my train initiative to prevent the budget cutbacks which would essentially cripple the agency. We should add that last year Tri-Rail was the second fastest growing transit agency in the country and the fastest growing agency in 2006.

If you have any further questions feel free to contact us (movemiami@gmail.com)

You heard me right — Tri-Rail’s Deerfield Beach Station is poised to have transit-oriented development by 2010.

According to real estate website globest.com, Atlanta-based developer York Residential has received final approval to begin construction on the the Deerfield TOD. The project is expected to cost $180 million, with construction beginning in early 2009. Let’s hope that our market conditions don’t squash this development.

The mixed-use TOD will be adjacent to Deerfield Beach Station along Hillsborough Boulevard. Some specs according to the article:

  • It will include three residential buildings with 467 market-rate apartments and 82 workforce-housing units, 36,000 sf of office space, 14,500 sf of ground-level retail space, a 140-room hotel and two parking garages with 1,146 spaces.
  • The residential units are expected to come on line in 2010 while the completion date for the remainder of the project has not been determined.
  • Target rents for the residential units also have yet to be set. According to Yonce, rents for a one-bedroom unit in the area range from $1,100 to $1,150 per month.
There are also 3,500 employees that work within a quarter mile of the development site, which means there could be a considerable walk-to-work element to this TOD. Let’s just hope that the design is up to far so that walking in and around the development will be a pleasant experience.

Note: Photograph is not a rendering of Deerfield Beach’s proposed TOD.
Photo: mhginc.com

Image Credit: John Vanbeekum
  • The obvious headline story today is Miami-Dade County’s decision to purchase 136 new rail cars for metrorail due to MDT’s prior negligence in maintaining the existing fleet (WTG Roosevelt! I’m so proud of that name clearing hearing the County held in your honor.) Larry Lebowitz wrote a phenomenal Herald watchdog report covering nearly every aspect of this story. Aside from the obvious maintenance issues, we’re disappointed to see that the PTP will be raided again to fix issues which should have been resolved with other funds. The County commissioners have repeatedly abused the intended purpose of the PTP and have all but rendered the CITT useless. At the current rate, the PTP will be milked to fix past screw ups, provide free transit use for veterans, and various other road (vehicular) projects which have passed under the radar. Doesn’t anyone care?
  • Meanwhile, the metromover will be receiving its own new vehicles sometime over the next year at a cost of $26 Million PTP dollars. That’s another $26 Million less for new rail projects in case you are wondering. Bombardier will be building the 12 new cars and is slated to be asked to build an additional 17 cars for another $34 Million. Note: should the county back out of the additional 17 cars by July, taxpayers will pay Bombardier $1 million. Who negotiates these contracts? This must be like taking candy from a baby for the Bombardier Sales team.
  • The “plan” to continue fragmenting the County into more bureaucratic layers of fat is progressing nicely with Palmetto Bay’s desire to annex the Falls neighborhood.
  • We’re #1! Forbes magazine has named Miami America’s cleanest City. I highly doubt the achievement is a result of any of our own doing but rather the result of Florida’s flat geography. In any case, our air is clean, whatever that means.
  • New Bike Lockers are appearing on Tri-Rail, making eco-commuting an easy alternative…
  • Miami-Forum covers the Downtown Foam fest caused by a Sony production commercial shoot…

Tri-Rail Commuter Train, originally uploaded by jmdspk.
Due to the volume of e-mails, I know when we are running behind on a given topic (sorry!) but hey, you can always count on us to cover every transit/development related story sometime within the given week.

This week’s topic is how FDOT, like every other DOT across the country (I guess the Feds set the precedent here), is trying to raid the public transit funds for more road expansion projects in the Greater Miami Area (get used to it folks, we don’t fly with the “South Florida” nomenclature around here.)

On one end is the Florida Department of Transportation, or DOT, trying to keep money it uses to build and improve state roads. At the other is Tri-Rail, struggling to find money to fund the commuter train’s operations and pay for new projects.

Let us analyze this statement briefly. The Florida Department of TRANSPORTATION (not too aptly named, eh?) is trying to raid the nation’s fastest growing public transportation system (tri-rail) of hundreds of Millions of Dollars over the next 5 years for various road widening schemes? Jeff Koons of the Palm Beach MPO and Tri-Rail governing board has the right idea:
“I wish we had more dollars, but by [giving Tri-Rail] the $2, I hope they realize this is a crisis,” he said. “The state needs to take a look at adding some funding sources for regional mass transit.”
Without this dedicated funding source, Tri-Rail, like all of the sprawl inducing road projects, would be dead in the water. The Agency would have until October to come up with $17 million or else shut down in the midst of 2 years of solid growth, capacity expansion, and recent train dispatch control.
If Tri-Rail doesn’t get a dedicated funding source and if the three counties cut their funding next year as expected, Tri-Rail officials say they’ll have to drastically reduce service. Under that scenario, Tri-Rail could default on a $334 million federal grant used to construct a second track because the money was awarded based on the agency’s pledge to operate at least 48 trains a day weekdays.

The troubling aspect of this issue is not only how we continue to heavily subsidize our roadways at an uncontrollable rate, but that our state transportation agency is attempting to financially dismantle our commuter rail system in order to expand congestion. The State continues to battle itself, by working on projects that contradict themselves: Tri-Rail, Road expansion, HOT Lanes, etc. The FDOT epitomizes a transportation agency and policy that is anything but; eager to shift resources away from reasonable solutions and further legitimizing the misconceptions often encouraged by people like Gregg Fields:

But is it streetcars we desire? The mass transit message is decidedly mixed. One day earlier this month, Tri-Rail celebrated ridership hitting a whopping 15,000. There are Burger Kings with more traffic at their drive-thru windows — and they serve food.

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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)

Local:

  • Pedestrians don’t belong on 1-95…
  • Yet another person dies trying to bypass a Tri-Rail railroad crossing…
  • Buy local produce! It’s a key part of creating a sustainable society, a great way to keep money in the local economy, and an effective measure to reduce pollution (less overseas and transcontinental shipments…)
  • Get ready for strict water restrictions next year and pretty much every year after that. Anyone else think that perhaps the County should mandate the installation of water saving devices (such as technology which reuses sink greywater for toilet use) for all new construction?

Elsewhere:

  • The return of Urban Parks. Finally!
  • After they created the largest bike sharing network (note the absence of the popular word scheme, its a network, not a ploy) in the world and reintroduced streetcars to their urban landscape; Parisians are now getting ready to embrace electric car sharing service
  • Collapse of the housing market signals the end of suburban sprawl? James Howard Kunstler thinks so
  • Bike Boxes, what a novel concept to show drivers they aren’t the only ones on the road. Dual bike lanes and Bike Boxes in NYC are even more progressive…

Did anyone know there are plans for a people mover between Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Port Everglades? Neither did I until I heard about it from someone in the Office of Modal Development at FDOT a few weeks ago. The project has not made much news until recently, but there is an ongoing PD&E study to implement such a beast, known as Sunport. The plan is to get people from the airport to Port Everglades efficiently, using a system similar to what we see in many airports. Lea+Elliott, an engineering firm well known for designing automated people mover systems, is on board to help with the planning process.

The people mover system would also include an intermodal center where it crosses the FEC tracks, so it could connect to future Tri-Rail service in that corridor and allow passengers to get to area hotels as easily as the port.

Want to know more about Sunport? This Thursday, January 10, the airport and Port Everglades are hosting a public workshop on the project. Show up at 6PM at the Broward County African American Research Library Auditorium.

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  • Tri-Rail carried more passengers in 2007 than in 2006. The overall system ridership is up 31% since march 2006…
  • City of Miami is working on identifying vacant lots to be used for park space…
  • The County Commission is trying to get the state and federal government to kick in hundreds of millions of dollars for metrorail expansion, everglades restoration, river dredging, pedestrian overpasses, and a regional homeland security hub among other projects… We’ll cover this in more depth later today…
  • Office vacancy rates continue to decline
  • Bike Blog presents a comprehensive wish list for 2008 Bike facilities…

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Many people are going to be traveling this holiday season. The Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald both point out that airports will be crowded and parking scarce for the Thanksgiving travel days. They offer tips like “get a ride,” but they neglect to offer the best suggestion to avoid both the parking issues and the vehicle traffic in the terminal: Tri-Rail. Parking is free at Tri-Rail stations, so put what you would have paid at the airport towards your Tri-Rail ticket and enjoy your gas savings as you zip along towards any of the three major South Florida airports. Or take the Metrorail and transfer to Tri-Rail whichever is closer to your location.

Once you get to the appropriate station, just hop on a connecting bus and head over to the airport. The connections take anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes to get from the train station to the airport terminal, so don’t forget to add in a bit of extra time. If you’re going to FLL or MIA, Tri-Rail provides the free shuttle bus to the airport. If you’re going to Palm Beach International, you’re stuck using Palm Tran routes 40 or 44, but it’s still free with the Tri-Rail ticket.

We all know it would be better if Tri-Rail consistently ran on time and you didn’t have any delays there. And it would be better still if Tri-Rail or even Metrorail went straight to the airport terminal without bus transfers. (We are all patiently awaiting the Miami Intermodal Center!) The last time I took Tri-Rail to the Fort Lauderdale airport, however, I waited much longer for the airplane than I did for the train and shuttle bus. If arriving two hours early for your flight isn’t bad enough, prepare for more delays waiting for your flight to get off the ground. A small delay with Tri-Rail will just cut into the 2 hour+ wait at the airport, so you should have plenty of leeway. It may be annoying to wait for your train or wait for the bus, but remember you’re only getting there to wait some more. Commercial air travel is public transportation. So instead of getting a ride in a car to the airport, why not make your trip public transit all the way?

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Gabriel- I can’t help myself but I have some serious issues with this article which ran in the Sun-Sentinel yesterday listing parking at “South Florida’s” Airports. What’s missing? MIA. Since when is MIA not considered a South Florida airport? Just another instance of the Sun-Sentinel segregating Miami from South Florida (Broward and Palm Beach) a serious nomenclature issue which needs to be resolved and shows the confusion caused by creating so many municipalities within the greater Miami region…

  • Tri-Rail Ridership is up 15% for the first six months of 2007. Making it the third fastest growing transit system in the Nation.
  • MPO suggests running a commuter train from Dadeland North to Metrozoo along the unused CSX tracks (finally!) The plan also calls for two express bus lines to travel down Kendall to 167th avenue and the other along 137th avenue from Kendall to FIU.
  • The FDOT is working hard to salvage the Port of Miami Tunnel plan after the city of Miami commissioners sabotaged it recently by not contributing their measly $50 Million share.
  • A new 45 story tower could soon be rising in the CBD…

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There is a great read today up on the MiamiHerald by Larry Lebowitz titled: Why OB is a Lousy Site for Marlins. Take a second a check it out, he voices many of the same positions we’ve been pushing here on Transit Miami… An excerpt:

Tri-Rail isn’t much of an option. It’s a pain to get from the Miami Airport Station to the Orange Bowl today. Even if Miami-Dade Transit created a straight-shot, game-day shuttle from the Tri-Rail station to the OB, how many baseball fans to the north would use it?

Metrorail will only appeal to hard-core urban dwellers. It’s a little over a mile — too far to walk for most pampered, crime-fearing locals — from the closest Metrorail stations on the north side of the river to the Orange Bowl.

Barring some unlikely seismic political changes at County Hall, no one will be trying to shift billions of transit dollars to expand Metrorail near the OB in the near future.

What about a streetcar that could shuttle fans from downtown transit hubs?

Right now, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz can’t muster a three-vote majority of commissioners to support a streetcar in downtown, Wynwood, the Design District and Allapattah — all on the opposite side of the river from the stadium.

A ballpark in downtown would be closer to I-95, Metrorail, Metromover, and a proposed light-rail system on the Florida East Coast corridor that one day could shuttle fans from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

The economics and politics might be tougher, but an accessible, pedestrian-friendly downtown stadium makes the most sense.

-Larry Lebowitz

This article has been brewing in my mind for quite some time; however, I kept putting off until I saw some sort of definite progress occurring over at the Miami Intermodal Center. With their new website up and running (finally!) we can get some better insight to some of my more pressing concerns, particularly the Florida regional transportation service.

The Miami Intermodal Center concept is fairly forward thinking for such an automobile dependent area such as Miami. It will link local transit (MDT, Tri-Rail, Taxi, etc.) with regional transit (Greyhound, Amtrak, etc.) with the international destinations serviced by MIA in a centralized, modern facility. I’ve had a growing concern, however, with regards to the regional transportation service which will be offered at the MIC and the efforts of the state (or county) to unify regional transportation links within Miami-Dade County. Given that Florida currently lacks a dependent and reliable statewide rail network, I have decided to concentrate on the interaction between the MIC and statewide bus service.

(Does anyone else find the amount of surface parking in the above two renderings alarming? There shouldn’t be such a need for surface parking in such a central multi-modal transit facility…)

Intercity buses provide transportation between cities and rural areas, be it short or long distance. They usually offer limited stops making service faster and more efficient.

Greyhound is an example of a national intercity bus line, but regionally, all of South Florida’s transit systems have come together to offer intercity service to all major cities and towns in the area, as well as the smaller communities that do not have accessible rail service via Tri-rail or Metrorail. It is envisioned that the MIC’s Miami Central Station will accommodate intercity buses offering service into Miami-Dade County. Until then, visit the South Florida Regional Transit Trip Planner for more information.

Via Milliped’s Flickr…

The excerpt above comes from the intercity bus page on the MIC website. While the site places great emphasis on bringing Greyhound into the facility, I could only hope (as a regular intercity bus user myself) that provisions were made to include space for competing intercity bus services. La Cubana, providing Miami-NYC and Atlanta service easily comes to mind. The popular bus service currently operates from its strip shopping center headquarters on 11 St and NW 22 Ave.

Florida bus services GMG, Miami Bus Service, and TMT, servicing the colleges in Gainesville, Tallahassee, and Orlando could also benefit from access to the centralized terminal. Currently these bus services transport passengers from a parking lot on the respective college campuses to the parking lot of the Mall of the Americas. This “parking lot transit” is a fitting representation of American culture and Urban Planning, we spend our lives commuting to and from parking lots in our own vehicles so it’s only natural that when a successful “mass transit” operation appears, we lack the infrastructure for it to ferry us to anything other than shopping malls. Hopefully the Key-West Shuttle and Jet-Set bus service, both of which already operate from the airport terminals, will be offered space in the new facility as well.

While touring through Spain I marveled at the efficiency and popularity of the bus network in that country. It goes to show that despite the widespread efficient rail system in Spain, alternatives are needed to offer citizens a greater variety of choices and competitive prices for land-based regional transit. We arrived in the central city bus terminal of Toledo, purchased tickets for any of the buses traveling between the small city and Madrid every half hour and were well on our way within a few minutes of boarding (fully booked too, no doubt.) Spain is entwined in a vast web of rail and bus networks, all of which terminate in the central city stations accessible by public transit, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.

Bottom Picture Via Robert A1’s Flickr…

Regional public transit corridors are imperative to creating sustainable cities across Florida and the United States. The Miami Intermodal Center takes us a few steps closer to unifying our regional and local transit, making both systems accessible to a wider group of people and more importantly, accessible via local modes of public transit. I hope the necessary parties work to bring our regional bus and eventually rail transit into the Miami Intermodal Center to fully realize the potential the center has to offer…

The day is dedicated to raising awareness that public transportation helps improve the environment and conserve fuel. It also offers the opportunity for people to beat the high price of gasoline and support public transportation as an important travel option that helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
-Via APTA

Locally:

  • MDT’s Buses on the shoulder program is going well. With 50% fewer late buses the pilot program is looking good thus far along the Killian routes.
  • Last year’s fastest growing Transit System, Tri-Rail, is working the kinks out of its latest “service enhancements.” The agency is still struggling to gain dispatch control from CSX and last week experienced a dismal on time performance between 50-60%…
  • Remember those stupid trucks with billboards which drive around and cause congestion, pollute, and obstruct your view? Here are the people responsible
  • Sunpass will be selling at half price to placate 13,000 people who live in sprawl-land, or something of the sort…What I’d like to know is when we’re going to wake up and start using toll money to finance real transit projects… (Via SOTP)

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    Boca Raton Residents are calling for the replacement of Tri-Rail tracks at a couple of intersections along the corridor… To make Tri-Rail a better commuting option you ask? Nope, so that their drive across the tracks won’t be as bumpy… Watch the video for yourself…

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