Getting transit on track in Miami is a work in perpetual progress.
In the March 30 article, A better bus system in South Dade — but first, a light-rail revolt, the South Dade busway has come under the spotlight. The busway is slated to finally become outfitted with the traffic signal synchronization that will make it a true bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor.
But political and community leaders in South Dade have dug in their heels in response to the BRT proposal. They want to see light rail or bust. In fairness, this was promised under the People’s Transportation Plan that asked residents to contribute an additional half cent surtax in exchange for a large expansion of Metrorail, including to the south.
South Dade leaders like Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner and State Rep. Kionne McGhee are right to dig in. For too long Miami has struggled under limited vision.
What seems to be missing, however, from both the BRT proposal and alternate proposal for light rail is what Miami has continually ignored: people. The South Dade busway isn’t attractive because people don’t want to ride buses. Another argument insists that the missing traffic signal synchronization is the main reason for the busway’s underperformance.
All transit-planning entities including the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust and Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works Department must be committed to transit-oriented development policies that ensure pedestrian-focused designs, density, and mixed use as they are to upholding the people’s desire for light rail. The alternative will simply be more of the same: underperforming transit weighed down by negative perception.
Marta Viciedo, founding partner, Urban Impact Lab & Transit Alliance Miami
Maggie Fernandez, president, Sustainable Miami