The July 21 article Car-free and frustrated, about transportation options in downtown Miami should remind leaders that it is time to invest in transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements in Miami’s urban core.
While downtown is the most well-connected area in Florida, our transit system lags significantly behind metropolitan cities like New York and Chicago, and even smaller cities like Denver and Portland. Efforts to connect downtown to other areas via the proposed Miami Streetcar, Baylink light rail system, East-West Metrorail line and Tri-Rail Coastal Link should all be prioritized when it comes to allocating government dollars. Public-private partnerships should be pursued as necessary to expedite these critical projects. And for-hire ride-sharing services and digital-dispatch systems such as Uber and Lyft should be allowed to provide people with additional options.
Bicycle and pedestrian connectivity also deserve our attention. The Miami Downtown Development Authority pushed to have downtown designated as a Pedestrian Priority Zone (PPZ) by the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County, and we will continue to work with our partners in implementing the PPZ principles of creating safe and welcoming streets that prioritize people over cars. The DDA is also advocating for enhancing downtown streetscapes, such as Flagler Street, South Miami Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard, through the use of city, county and state funding.
As downtown Miami continues to grow as a 24-7 urban center and bustling residential neighborhood, we implore our partner transportation agencies and governing bodies to support the funding and implementation of projects that will improve both public transportation and the bicycle/pedestrian experience in the area. Miami will not be able to compete as a true global city without world-class transit and bike/pedestrian systems.
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Javier Betancourt, deputy director,
Downtown Development Authority, Miami