An efficient alternative to transit
Six rapid transit corridors and a network of express buses will help incentivize the use of public and massive transportation in our County.
By: Edda Pujadas
DORAL, FL – “The Smart Plan will provide a world-class transit system that will support the economic growth of Miami Dade.” Aileen Bouclé, Executive Director for the Miami Dade Transportation Planning Organization stated this during her participation in the most recent monthly workshop of the Doral Chamber of Commerce.
During this event, Bouclé explained the benefits and scope of the Strategic Miami Area Transit Plan (SMART) and stated that it is based on building six rapid transit corridors within the County, together with a system of express buses.
During her presentation, Bouclé stated that Miami Dade County is a global center for trade, culture, entertainment, the arts, and international trade and for this reason the SMART Plan can incentivize its economic development by bringing a renewed interest from the domestic and worldwide markets to invest and/or establish new businesses here due to an improved transit system.
“The SMART Plan will also ease and improve the access to the main employment centers, to the most important shopping areas and the most recognized touristic attractions in Miami Dade County through a modern rapid transit system,” added the Director of the TPO.
An important factor that Bouclé mentioned is the benefits that this will bring to the labor sector. By building the infrastructure, it is estimated that big investments will be made; the options in transportation related to accessibility, connectivity, reliability and convenience; the shortening of commuting times; the improvement in productivity given the fact that less time is going to be spend on commuting; savings in transportation costs (gas, auto maintenance, auto insurance and tolls).
Bouclé also mentioned that an important part of the labor force of the Miami Dade County comes from Broward and Palm Beach Counties, therefore the SMART plan will also help improve the regional connectivity.
“In addition to this, from these transportation projects we will get three effects for the labor market: the first one is the direct jobs that will be created by the infrastructure projects, these are workers, labor coordinators, planners, engineers, construction workers, designers, managers and many more.”
We also have, Bouclé emphasizes, the indirect jobs that will be created by the vendors of construction supplies and material, the maintenance and operation of the projects, such as steel, concrete, and wood, as an example. And the third effect will be the induced jobs to be generated by the spending of these workers in areas such as food and entertainment.
“It is important to take into consideration that transportation projects also bring opportunities for other residential and commercial developments around the facilities that create indirect jobs due to the transit accessibility and connectivity around these areas.”
At an International level, Bouclé believes that the SMART Plan will increase the worldwide competitivity of the region. “Miami is already recognized for the importance of its port and airport together with its touristic value. This modern transportation system will drive it even further because it will be adding mobilization benefits for the investors of big corporations same as for the tourists that come to visit.”
The SMART Plan will increase the transit options in Miami Dade County along six critical corridors that are linked to the local, regional, domestic and world economic markets. These corridors are: The Beach corridor that runs from Midtown Miami to the Miami Beach Convention Center and that assists the largest number of tourists in the region and where the major employment centers are concentrated; the East-West corridor, from the Miami Intermodal Center to the Florida International University and that is the one most used by cargo transport and travelers.
The Kendall corridor, from the Dadeland Metrorail station to SW 167 Avenue, one of the most congested roadways and with the highest demand; the North corridor from the Martin L. King, Jr Metrorail station to NE 215 street which is a key region to be improved for job access, sports centers, and educational facilities.
The Northeast corridor, from Downtown Miami to Aventura with a big demand of commuters and that is part of the regional program that extends to Palm Beach, and the South corridor from the Dadeland Metrorail Station to Florida City which happens to be the one that is experimenting the fastest growth in population in Miami Dade County.
The Mayor of Doral, Juan Carlos Bermudez, expressed his satisfaction for the visit of the Director of the TPO to the facilities of the Doral Government Center and assured that they are searching for effective solutions to the traffic problem that affects all the residents and visitors of Miami.
Mayor Bermudez, who also sits in the Governing Board for the TPO, stated that our city has characteristics that affect the vehicular congestion inside our city. “There are several closed communities that interrupt the free transit of cars and we have a golf course that sits in one whole square mile without public roads.”
Additionally, the Mayor of Doral mentioned that the city is surrounded by two highways, 836 and 826. This, in turn, brings businesses and economic growth to the region and thus implies that many drivers use our streets in order to avoid paying tolls on highways.
“The SMART Plan impacts us positively, especially the East-West corridor. For example, along the Turnpike, West of the Dolphin Mall there will be a bus station with a route to connect with Doral and Downtown Miami. Our Trolley system is going to be connected to this station. These buses are the ones that are going to be called Bus Rapid Transit and they are going to run along a lane designed solely to them, without traffic.”
While referencing the first results of the SMART plan and how it has benefitted transportation in Doral, Mayor Bermudez spoke about the funds that were obtained to finance the Trolley service that runs from our city to Florida International University (FIU).
“This Trolley route to FIU would not have been possible with only the funds from Doral and at that time the University did not have the resources to provide their portion, so the TPO is providing the part corresponding to FIU for the next three years. This service has been a great help to the students and workers of our region,” stated Bermudez.
Another project soon to be approved that the TPO is considering for Doral is the improvement of sidewalks, which is also very important for the mobility of pedestrians.
For the first Mayor of Doral, his participation in the Governing Board of the TPO is fundamental to get positive accomplishments for our city.