The people who run this busy highway want some commuters to forget their cars

Park-and-ride bus service is planned for West Miami-Dade commuters through a new station that is under construction at the Dolphins Expressway and the turnpike.
Park-and-ride bus service is planned for West Miami-Dade commuters through a new station that is under construction at the Dolphins Expressway and the turnpike. File

The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, which runs five of the busiest toll roads in the county, has begun construction of a 12-bus bay station with more than 800 parking spaces for commuters.

The new park-and-ride station, called the Dolphin Station Park and Ride Transit Terminal Facility, is near the junction of State Road 836 and the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike.

MDX’s participation in the construction of the new bus complex is part of a strategy by county and state transportation planners to promote mass transit in a car-crazy region.

“What we want to do for Miami-Dade County is give everybody options,” county Mayor Carlos Giménez said in a statement through MDX. “An option to get out of your car and this is one of the solutions. But if drivers do choose to stay in their cars, we are working hard with our partners to improve major intersections. Improving transit countywide is a priority for myself and the commission.”

Dolphin Station was born from a partnership of MDX, the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works, and the Florida Department of Transportation.

Miami-Dade asked MDX to fast-track the planning, design and construction of the facility, FDOT funded the planning and design development and is sharing the approximately $16.9 million construction cost with public works. Once construction of Dolphin Station is done in December, it will be operated and maintained by the county.

“As the commissioner of the district, the Dolphin Station Park and Ride Transit Facility was a top priority for me, and I am excited to see it come to fruition,” said County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who sponsored the legislation that authorized the agreement with MDX and FDOT. “This vital project will serve as a viable alternative to West Miami-Dade commuters, especially those in District 12.”

Dolphin Station will serve as a transit hub for 836 express-bus service, targeting riders from Doral, Sweetwater and other West Miami-Dade areas who travel to major employment sites like Miami International Airport, the Jackson hospital district, downtown Miami and the Brickell financial district.

“MDX was created in part with the purpose of reinvesting its revenue to improve Miami-Dade County’s transportation challenges,” MDX chairman Louis Martínez said. “And I’ll be the first to admit that fixing the community’s congestion issues is not a task that can be done alone. While I’m very proud of the work MDX is doing, collaborating with other transportation agencies is the only way to serve the millions of commuters in Miami-Dade.”

Dolphin Station will feature 849 long-term and 20 short-term parking spaces, 12 bus bays and 10 bus layover bays, a transit hub with air-conditioned passenger waiting areas and retail space, a driver’s break lounge and drop-off areas.

MDX operates and maintains five toll roads in Miami-Dade: State Road 112 (the Airport Expressway), State Road 836 (the Dolphin Expressway), State Road 874 (the Don Shula Expressway), State Road 878 (the Snapper Creek Expressway), and State Road 924 (the Gratigny Parkway).