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Published on December 30th, 2015 | by Jo Borrás


Miami Beach Light Rail May Finally Arrive

December 30th, 2015 by  

Originally published on Gas2.


After what seemed like decades of chatter debating the pros (many) and cons (none) of improving mass transit on Miami Beach, it appears that the city is finally moving forward with a proposed light rail/wireless streetcar system.

Once built, the light rail transit system would provide transportation up and down South Beach and, more importantly, allow for convenient public transportation from Miami Beach to Downtown Miami via the MacArthur Causeway. Longtime Florida residents may remember similar promises surrounding the Miami Metrorail project of the 1980s, but — regardless of how long we’ve had to wait — there is cause for celebration here.

“Hallelujah!” writes Josh Baumgard, of Curbed. “Proceed to bang your pots and pans!”

Miami Beach Rail System Map


“I am happy to report that after years of discussions, we have finally taken the beginning steps of making our dream of providing better public transportation closer to becoming a reality,” Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine said in a press release this morning. “Last week, the Miami Beach Commission and I authorized the City to move ahead expeditiously to develop a light rail/wireless streetcar system that will allow residents, visitors, and business owners to move around our City a lot more efficiently and reduce the amount of cars on our roads. Eventually, this project is expected to connect the City of Miami Beach to the City of Miami so commuting between the two will be safer, faster, and more convenient.”

“The initial phase of the project will consist of a 2-way connection on 5th Street and Washington Avenue, and is referred to as the ‘South Beach Component.’ The second phase is expected to take place along Alton Road and 17th Street, complementing the cross-bay route to Downtown Miami. Future contemplated phases are expected to include a route along the Julia Tuttle Causeway connecting Miami Beach with Midtown Miami and eventually the (Miami International Airport).”

This is great news for residents of Miami, who have been stuck for decades with one of the worst mass-transit systems in the civilized world — and should make the landscape a bit more familiar to the throngs of international tourists who visit South Florida from other, more train-faring countries. That’ll be especially true once the proposed Miami-Orlando high speed rail line is up and running!

Source | Images: Curbed Miami.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • This would’ve already been history had they just built it in 2003 like they talked about. And it would’ve been at twenty-aughts prices.

    I don’t think Miami’s one of the worst mass-transit systems. I’ve been other places that fall short. Though I’ve never seen any system that’s completely rider-less. I also don’t think we should mimic places where tourists originate. If they want to see something like home, they can stay… home.

  • Boris

    Hmm, so according to some commenters, this thing will be under water soon. May I ask why 1/4 of Netherlands isn’t under water already?

    • Calamity_Jean

      The Netherlands can use dikes to keep out the sea. Florida can’t, because its bedrock is limestone which is full of small channels that water constantly flows through. When the ocean rises, water will come right up through the ground in Florida.

    • Ross

      My sympathies to Miami. I live in part of the world where the land is rising due bounce back after the recession of Ice from the last ice age. Sea level is barely increasing.

  • Ross

    Is this going to be raised to deal with the inevitable flooding?

    • Harry Johnson


    • Bob_Wallace

      I just read an article about how the land is receding in parts of the California Central Valley. Too much water being pumped out.

      Through those sections the HSR will be built on a rock bed so that the tracks can be raised from time to time.

      • Ross

        I see they’re raising the street levels in parts of Miami but leaving the business below street level. It doesn’t sound sustainable. Who would insure those businesses?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Taxpayers. And it’s something we need to address.

          The homeowners and businesses in areas that are in areas where flooding has become a problem need to receive a ‘one time only’ bailout. Federal flood insurance should not be renewed for a place where a building was significantly damaged due to rising sea levels. Or extreme rainfall.

          We’ve screwed up. Time to move to higher ground.

          • Ross

            Seems inevitable but first lots of taxpayers funds will need to be used so people can learn the hard way.

    • Matt

      Miami is a relative high spot in south Fla. It will be an island as the southern half of Fla. became a shallow sea. But yes, Miami Beach looks to be under water before 2100, even just 5 ft will toast a lot of coast line in Fla. 7 power plants, including several Nukes, will be below high tide.


  • joshua

    cons: It will soon be swallowed by the ocean.

    For this reason I agree that buses would be much better, since there would not be a wasted long term investment.

  • ano333

    There is no reason to do this instead of buses (which would be much cheaper)

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