The County lacks a pragmatic mobility solution for District 9 residents and the current policy discussion around maximizing "rapid bus" service rather than realizing what was promised to the voters - more rail - will not motivate District 9 residents, who generally live more than five miles away from a bus stop or Metrorail station, to use public transit. For me, to get to work by walking or biking to a transit station is not feasible nor safe as there are neither dedicated pedestrian nor bike lanes along consistently congested 152 ST, the main road to the County's 152nd ST and US- 1 Park and Ride station. While the buses from the station are generally on-time, upon arrival at the Dadeland South Metrorail station, there is often a wait, or worse, prolonged service disruption, resulting in a tardy arrival to work downtown. This lack of reliable public transit promotes car dependency. I occasionally drive from home to Dadeland South for the rail to Downtown Miami for work.
Traffic congestion is choking South Dade and the region lies in the intersection of mobility and housing issues. The root of this problem is our inability to plan long term in synchronizing our strategic housing plan with our transportation infrastructure. At its core, this lack of long-term planning, sustained population growth, and absence of strong central leadership are the primary barriers for changing this culture.
1. Create a mobility task force, inclusive of the voices of residents who actually use public transit, to provide solutions for improvement
2. With a comprehensive ridership analysis, complete and execute the redesign of bus routes for greater efficiency and utilization and explore fixing bus stops to provide more protection and dignity to transit users
3. Synchronize transit plans with the strategic plans for housing affordability to promote the ease of walkability
4. Explore a focus on alternative modes of transit such as use of ride-sharing fleet (example Uber and Lyft) for on-demand services; such a service would pick you up from your home and take you to a Park and Ride or Metrorail station
5. Explore the reimagination of the public transit governance through the reduction of bureaucracy, such as the consolidation of the TPO with the County's Department of Transportation and Public Works and the consolidation of innovative financial models
1. Have dedicated bike and walk lanes leading to public transit; such lanes should be safe, well lit and lined with greenery.
Our funding mechanisms are tied to our inefficient governance structure for long term planning. We must start there while looking at other creative means with our opportunity zones and CRAs and public/private partnerships where feasible.
In addition, we should also seek federal and state transit related grants such as the VW settlement; such grants can be used to leverage local funds to purchase electric buses and the associated charging infrastructure and to pursue expansion of rail and bus networks.
My vision for transforming the governance structure of our public transportation operations will include leading on the following recommendations:
Due to our fractured and parochical leadership structure, lack of long term planning and transparency, we are struggling with planting the right seeds for our future mobility. We must abandon these feudal policies and create more policies driven with more transparent data. Likewise, we must connect our transit plans to a reimagined governance structure, housing affordability and equity.
I will advocate for more residents who actually use public transit on a daily or frequent basis to be part of a solution driven planning culture for transit. I would also pursue the following equitable mobility solutions:
My vision for the intersection of land use and mobility would include the following short
term and long term ideas:
Given our current public health emergency with COVID-19, we must address the following challenges: