As the only Commissioner who regularly rides public transportation, I strongly favor improving and expanding our existing system We all know our transit system needs to improve, and I have led the effort to do so including helping to secure federal funding for the South Dade BRT plan and supporting the Aventura train station. It’s a good start, but we need to do more, and I have advocated for the Better Bus Project, a cost neutral, long overdue redesign of our bus routes that will improve speed and reliability of service. I am also working to add more stations on the Downtown to Aventura line and an expansion of rail service to Miami Beach. We have to invest in these systems to get our residents moving, rather than being stuck in their cars or stuck on transit. It’s not just about transit, it’s about our climate! Reduce CO2! P.S. Our first electric buses will arrive this year.
1. Approve and implement the Better Bus Project
2. Complete the bidding process and begin construction of the Beach Corridor rail expansion
3. Evaluate the new electric buses for performance and cost to move towards a fossil free bus fleet to save money and improve air quality
4. Encourage development decisions that focus on density along existing corridors to build more walkable housing and retail and reduce car dependency
5. Review and Implement the recommendations of the moribund Bicycle Master Plan which has been gathering dust for more than 5 years
1. Before we fix things we have to stop breaking them, and I’ve been fighting to make sure contractors aren’t tearing up our sidewalks without properly repairing them, making sidewalks impassable and inhibiting pedestrian movement
2. Get moving on our Bicycle Master Plan which has not been implemented
3. Work with DTPW to install smart traffic signals to enhance assist pedestrian and cyclist safety while helping traffic move more efficiently
4. Speed up construction projects so we don’t have impassable areas. The reconstruction project on Flagler had dragged on forever, closing sidewalks and limiting foot traffic to our local small businesses.
Implement the Better Bus Project recommendations! We must get more out of our existing system, better data on coverage and ridership, and then fill in the gaps accordingly. We have neglected our bus system for years, and then used declining ridership to justify further cuts. I believe that when we have a bus system that is efficient and reliable it will attract people who use it by choice and not just by necessity. I’m extremely excited to break ground on the South Dade BRT system. We have dozens of examples of successful BRT projects around the world, and I’m confident that once people see how it works we can build support for other corridors around the County.
We continue to push the State for long distance BERT routes on the Turnpike.
It will be a mix of public / private partnerships, even more so now that COVID has made half-penny revenue less reliable. At some point in time, a General Obligation Bond may be needed.
Our transit policy and planning system is too cumbersome. We need to evaluate having one county transit authority that can streamline decision making instead of the multiple agencies that make decision making too slow and ineffective.
Overall we haven’t done a very good job but I’m encouraged that we are finally getting things moving in the last couple of years. The Bus Rapid Transit expansion and the Brightline station are finally happening, and I am proud to say I played a key role in getting these projects off of paper and under construction. I trust the power of a good example and the improvements we are seeing will add to the demand for more transit options.
Enhanced mobility goes a long way towards promoting equity. The lack of mobility means that many of our citizens, particularly our lower wage and service spend a significant portion of their time and money traveling to and from work. In addition to the direct cost burden, this time stuck in cars or waiting for buses is time that could be spent helping their kids with homework, or studying to gain new skills or trades. The BRT project is a good start to connect some of our outlying communities to more jobs closer to the urban core, and we need to invest in our East-West corridors to allow all our county residents access to more diverse and potentially better job opportunities while residing in affordable areas. The Better Bus project can cut down on transfer times.
This is where it all starts! If we only have low density development we make transit solutions impractical and unaffordable. A sustainable Miami Dade County needs more TOD to get people out of their cars and deliver transportation solutions that promote human health and help protect our environment.
We have made a good start by integrating the trolley services into the recommendations of the Better Bus Plan, but that is stalled due to the City of Miami’s continued refusal to participate in this important project. We need more coordination across our municipalities.