A would-be train station to sprout in Wynwood — to make a point

03/07/2013 4:29 PM

03/07/2013 7:56 PM

For years, Miami’s mass transit system has been called a haphazard, disappointing mess — with problems that continued even after voters in 2002 approved a half-penny sales tax devoted to transit improvements.

Other than finally extending Metrorail to the airport last year, the transit tax has largely failed to live up to politicians’ promises. Nevertheless, a group of local urban planning students this week will show Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood what life could be like if new train stations started sprouting in the urban core.

Dubbed “the Purple Line,” this mock temporary train station will abruptly sprout at the intersection of Northeast Second Avenue and 36th Street at noon Friday, and continue operating until midnight Saturday. Train “arrivals” will be simulated by sounds, lights, and even train whistles.

Across the street from the make-believe Purple Line station, musicians, food vendors and street performers will add some entertainment to the mix, while also highlighting the potential of transit stations to become community gathering places. In other U.S. cities that boast better mass transit (such as Boston, New York, or San Francisco), it is not uncommon to see a buzz of pedestrian activity at more-popular train stations.

“It’s all up to the government to put these things into action, and it’s up to the citizens to request this from their government,” said Nicole Estevez, one of the Purple Line event organizers.

One of Purple Line’s goals is to create more public demand for transit improvements. Organizers will be distributing local elected officials’ contact information at the event.

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