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Is bus rapid transit the answer to Miami traffic? CEOs discuss the realities

Early morning rush hour traffic heading eastbound on 836 at approximately Northwest 27th Avenue on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.
Early morning rush hour traffic heading eastbound on 836 at approximately Northwest 27th Avenue on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. cmguerrero@miami

This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: Thinking about transportation, are you in favor of the bus rapid transit plan? What in your view are realistic solutions to easing Miami's transit/traffic woes?

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I don’t really know what the best solution for Miami’s traffic woes are. We have tried rail and that has failed. I think that Miami is very large geographically and does not lend itself well to public transportation. Also, culturally we value our personal vehicles greatly. I would have liked for our city planners to look at making our highways two-tier high rather than as wide as they have made them. All of these 6-8 lane highways narrow at some point and the bottleneck is created just a little further down the road. Many cities are dealing with rerouting traffic through tunnels and overpasses and I think that would be a far better solution for South Floridians.

Armando Caceres, CEO, founder, All Florida Paper

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Anything that can be done to improve public transportation in South Florida is a plus. I personally believe that, in the long run, a rail system would be a better model of transportation, but I’m mindful that costs are a major concern for the county.

Kelly-Ann Cartwright, executive partner, Holland & Knight Miami chair of the firm’s Directors Committee

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The ability to provide affordable access to public transportation is vital for the economy of any community. The rapid transit bus plan does begin to address this need at a cost which is much lower than expanding Metrorail. I believe a realistic solution would be to incorporate a ride-sharing type concept that will allow commuters to fill in the “last mile” gap which keeps many from using public transportation.

Ralph De La Rosa, president, CEO, Imperial Freight

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I’d like to see Miami’s public transportation expand west and northwest so that commuters throughout the Miami-Dade suburbs can also benefit from the infrastructure improvements.

Jalal Farooq, principal, Al-Farooq Corporation

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We welcome and support alternate modes of transportation, and we work closely with Miami-Dade County to promote, encourage, and facilitate this type of commute for our faculty, staff and students. The implementation of Bus Rapid Transit would provide an alternative to single occupant vehicles, reducing the number of vehicles on the road and allowing for a more affordable commute option, compared to owning and operating a vehicle.

Dr. Julio Frenk, president, University of Miami

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They need to open up other highway systems and begin using more updated technology, such as the Maglev rail system, which they now have in Japan and China. It would allow for high-speed transportation, not just in the tri-county area but also in the state, making commuting between large cities possible. You would be able to easily commute between Miami and Orlando or Tampa, for example, and not have to deal with traffic or congestion issues.

Kaizad Hansotia, founder, CEO, Gurkha Cigars

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I am all for it. Anything that adds to our public transportation options is a good thing.

Javier Holtz, chairman, CEO, Marquis Bank

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I am not an expert on transportation, however I am not convinced that this bus system will make the difference that we need to see for the average commuter. U.S. 1 is a parking lot for most of the day. I know the goal, ultimately, is to get cars off the road, but I would rather see a second tier added to U.S. 1, with the top tier used for express traffic and the lower tier for local traffic. If this was built to go from I-95 to at least Southwest 152nd street, it would be a huge relief for the area. We already have lanes dedicated for buses and I have not seen that it has made an impact at all.

Noreen Sablotsky, founder, CEO, Imalac

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Miami has become a major city and with growth comes increased traffic and challenges. The rapid bus transit system is a more cost effective option than the extension of the Metrorail system to South Dade, and the county will be able to allocate transportation dollars to fund other critical needs throughout the community. With Brighlline operating, I am hopeful that ridership from Broward will help to alleviate traffic in Miami-Dade County. Brightline has been creative in their partnerships and many people are opting into ride sharing options.

Deborah Spiegelman, CEO, Miami Children’s Museum

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The rapid transit plan would diversify current transportation options. While the Metrorail continues to remain a good choice for some, expanding public transportation with the addition of this bus plan could be part of a larger overall solution to Miami’s traffic congestion.

Steve Upshaw, CEO, Cross Country Home Services

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Meet the new members of our CEO Roundtable

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