Our third campaign in 2016, focused on Transit, was co-hosted with Marta Viciedo and Ralph Rosado. In less than a week, the group swelled to over 1700 members, and more than 400 ideas were generated and discussed.
The most popular idea, suggested by Dan Horton, was to engage community leaders and locals in a period of action where they actually ride public transit themselves to get a hands-on understanding of the issues. That idea came to life on December 9th, 2016, on Public Transit Day.
Many of the ideas from the campaign have been implemented - check out the details below!
PROGRESS SINCE THE CAMPAIGN
Miami-Dade Transit is developing and testing many different first mile/last mile solutions
New and improved buses and trains (including Compressed Natural Gas) are continuously rolling out
Transit service has been expanded in some areas (e.g. a new Flagami City of Miami Trolley route) and duplication of service been reduced in other areas
Miami-Dade Transit has been experimenting with different community engagements to boost ridership
Many agencies, organizations, and developers are exploring Transit Oriented Development (TOD) to draw residents and businesses closer to transit opportunities
Miami-Dade Transit is actively improving rail stations and bus stops through station enhancements
Several technological advancements have been implemented to make transit more efficient and easy-to-use
1. FIRST MILE/LAST MILE SOLUTIONS
A number of 100 Great Ideas participants, including John Gamble, Mari Chael, and Caryn Lavernia suggested that our region needs more “first mile/last mile” solutions to connect people to rail and other high-speed transit opportunities. John Gamble suggested partnering with rental car and ride sharing companies and Mari Chael encouraged biking and further investment in biking infrastructure.
Since the campaign, the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works (here referred to as Miami-Dade Transit) has and is exploring a number of first mile/last mile solutions including:
Ride-On Miami is a county-wide program that provides electric-assist bicycles at transit stations and allows commuters to pay for the rentals using their EASY Card. Miami-Dade Transit employees are currently testing the bicycles, which are located at the Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre and Government Center Metrorail stations, and are working to have the bike docks at more than 100 locations, including all Metrorail and Metromover stations, and Park-and-Ride lots. Phase I of the public roll out will take place in Fall 2018.
The County is developing an on-demand transit system (similar to Uber/Lyft) to provide near door-to-door service through shared rides to transit stops or stations. Demonstration projects are being planned along main transit corridors in the Civic Center and Dadeland areas. A Request for Proposals is expected to be announced in Fall 2018, with the demonstration projects scheduled to start in 2019.
Miami-Dade Transit has partnered with Zipcar to provide hourly rental car-sharing services at different Metrorail stations.
Miami-Dade Transit is in the process of rolling out RideFlag, a smart phone application-based service that helps connect commuters to carpool when traveling to and from major transit stations and terminals.
Bike and scooter sharing programs, like Lime and Bird, have arrived in Miami, but not without their fair share of drama; the companies have been temporarily pulled off many Miami streets while regulatory talks occur. On September 5th, 2018, City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell submitted draft legislation that would allow Bird dockless scooters (not the dockless bikes) to legally operate in his district (Coconut Grove, Brickell and Edgewater) as part of a one-year pilot program to test the two-wheelers’ popularity and safety. Coral Gables has a similar initiative with the scooter sharing company Spin.
Freebee is a free, electric transportation option (similar to a golf cart!) that provides rides within Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, and the City of Miami. Each Freebee vehicle is supported by its unique brand sponsor and accompanying marketing campaign. Free rides are available via the Freebee app.
2. NEW AND IMPROVED BUSES AND TRAINS
Many 100 Great Ideas participants, like John Cordero, suggested that our region needs to stop using the “same old metro cars and buses from the 80's that are constantly breaking down on the road” and replace and upgrade our buses and trains.
Since the campaign, Miami-Dade Transit has upgraded their fleet to maintain service and work towards eco-friendliness:
Miami-Dade Transit is currently replacing 300 of its older buses with new, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses. Today, MDT has more than 100 CNG buses that have been delivered and in service. By the end of 2019, all 300 CNG buses are expected to be in service.
Electric buses are in the works. A resolution sponsored by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, (182156) that aims to have a bus fleet that is 50 percent battery electric powered by 2035, passed at a Board of County Commissioners meeting on October 2nd, 2018.
Miami-Dade Transit reports that new trains are being rolled out as quickly as possible. The second train of the new fleet was put into service on January 30th, 2018 but due to unexpected problems with manufacturing, the arrival of the next 134 trains has been delayed.
3. TRANSIT SERVICE
Several 100 Great Ideas participants, including Josh Sproat, Adam Old, and Camila Souza noted slow and cut service and lack of sufficient routes as major transit downfalls in our region. Josh Sproat stated that “the goal should be to make transit more efficient and connect [people] to their destination while minimizing uncertainty and waiting.” Adam Old suggested “reducing redundant and circuitous bus routes,” Camila Souza suggested “making the service more frequent and widespread,” and Victor Brandon Dover suggested “giving buses their own lane on all key corridors where rail is not yet an option.”
Since the campaign, Miami-Dade Transit reports that budget considerations have necessitated some difficult decisions regarding routes and frequencies. They report that they have had to reduce service on certain routes, but that they’ve done so in a way that minimizes impact, improves efficiency, and utilizes new strategies to make travel more efficient and expedient for travelers:
Miami Dade-Transit has reduced the frequency of bus service, but has chosen to cut frequency during off-peak hours (middle of day and late at night) in an effort to reduce the impact of reduced service.
Miami Dade-Transit reports that they are currently reconfiguring the spacing of bus stops to improve efficiency. With the goal of having 5 stops per mile (1 per every 1000 feet), they have eliminated 300 bus stops and expect to eliminate an additional 300-400 stops.
Miami-Dade Transit is ramping up their usage of Transit Signal Priority (TSP), a technological system that triggers and extends green lights for buses. Thanks to TSP technology on traffic signals along the South Dade TransitWay, Route 34 Express buses, which provide service from SW 344 Street to the Dadeland South Metrorail station, have reduced their travel time from 67 minutes to only 50 minutes.
The County is also upgrading 300 traffic signals with Smart Signal technology. Once activated, the Smart Signals will automatically adjust signal-timing to improve traffic flow and keep signals synchronized as conditions change on the corridors throughout the day. Equipped with cameras, the signals are designed to monitor the intersections and reprogram their own timing to respond more quickly to changing traffic conditions.
Miami-Dade Transit reports that the current bus lines that utilize bus only lanes, highways, and limited stop routes have been a success, and they are going to continue to make use of them to further expedite travel.
City of Miami commissioners have approved an expansion of the free trolley service along Brickell Avenue and have added a brand new route in the Flagami section. The Coconut Grove route was also reconfigured. Ridership has more than doubled to approximately five million rides.
Miami-Dade Transit has evaluated previous studies about waterborne transportation services (i.e. a canal transit system or water taxi/bus) and provided a report to the Miami-Dade Board of Commissioners regarding the implementation of a pilot project, which consists of an express route from Haulover Marina to Sea Isle Marina. Miami-Dade Transit is in the process of finalizing a Request for Information (RFI) and will be issuing the RFI before the year is over. The report provides information on Commuter and On-Demand services. Of note: Miami-Dade Transit reports that due to manatees and other marine life, the slow zone areas necessary to protect the animals makes the trip extremely slow and potentially inefficient.
All new services and plans for future service extensions are laid out in the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) plan. The SMART plan has yet to be implemented; it’s county funding is on hold while the plans are under review by county, state and, federal authorities. The primary component of the SMART plan, the development of six new Metrorail lines to serve the busiest and most underserved areas in Miami-Dade, has been highly contested. While County Mayor Gimenez ran a re-election campaign supporting these new rail lines, he is now advocating for more rapid bus transit along the transit corridors outlined.
100 Great Ideas participants, including Nico Berardi and Carlos Vazquez, stated that in order for public transit to be effective, more locals need to ride. They offered ideas to encourage ridership: Nico Berardi suggested “making public transportation fun and engaging. Pay the fare by doing 20 squats, have colorful slides, available books/magazines/sudokus” and Carlos Vazquez suggested that “business owners give discounts/incentives to folks getting around by transit options such as bus/train/bike.”
Since the campaign, Miami-Dade Transit reports that they are working on a multitude of projects to bring more riders to public transit and make the public transit experience more enjoyable, including:
Miami-Dade Transit has been putting on Perk-n-Ride Days where easy perk merchants, on select days, give out free breakfast, coffee, sandwiches, coupons, etc. to riders at specific stations. Look out for the next Perk-n-Ride Day on Twitter @GoMiamiDade.
To draw more people to public transit, Miami-Dade Transit offers discounts at numerous local vendors when you have an EASY Card or Ticket. Check out the discounts offered through the Easy Perk program.
Miami-Dade Transit has partnered with the parks department to do one-month long pop-up park activations at Metrorail stations to show the connectivity of transit and public space.
Miami-Dade Transit seeks to partner with locals and local organizations/businesses to bring programming to transit stations. If you or your organization is interested in partnering please contact (coming soon!).
An example of a recent partnership is ‘Wake Up Miami!,’ music and art performances every Monday at Government Center Station at 8:30am. These performances are led by PAXy, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating and spreading Miami’s cultural arts and are made possible through a Knight Arts Challenge grant.
5. TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT
Multiple 100 Great Ideas participants, such as Shekeria Brown, Charles Walker, and Matthew Toro, suggested Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) as an important feature to an inclusive, equitable, and efficient transit system. TOD encourages development projects that draw businesses and residential buildings closer to transit stops, therefore encouraging the use of public transportation. Charles Walker says “governments (county and village) must begin encouraging (and subsidizing) businesses to locate within a walkable distance of metro stops” and Shekeria Brown adds that there needs to be a particular emphasis on “including the needs of low to moderate income individuals and families.” You can read more about local efforts to promote TOD here.
Since the campaign, the following progress has been made regarding Transit-Oriented Development projects:
Several current and future joint development and transit-oriented development projects are listed in the 2018 Transit Development Plan Draft, Chapter 4, Section 4.4.1 (including Brownsville Metrorail Station, NW 7th Ave. Transit Village, Brickell City Centre, Senator Villas, etc.).
The Public Housing and Community Development Department (PHCD), Regulatory Economic Resources (RER), and the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) are working together to analyze properties along the County’s transit corridors that are suitable for housing development.
The University of Miami Office of Civic & Community Engagement, in partnership with Citi Community Development, has created a map outlining the distribution of vacant and underused land owned by local governments alongside Miami’s transit corridors. This interactive tool (to be released soon!) will help planners, community groups, and affordable housing developers identify potential development opportunities near transit.
6. STATION IMPROVEMENTS
Many 100 Great Ideas participants suggested improvements and enhancements to stations as a way to make the transit experience more enjoyable and convert people to public transit. From Michael DeFilippi’s suggestion for trash and recycling bins at stations to Amy Rodriguez’s suggestion of electric plugs at every bus station, station updates were a priority.
Since the campaign, some progress has been made to improve stations:
Miami-Dade Transit is in the process of replacing the bike lids, a hard cover that is placed over your bike and locked to provide extra security. They are currently available for free usage at University Metrorail station and are coming to more stations soon.
Friends of the Underline is working with the Miami Dade Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces department and Miami-Dade Transit to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile neighborhood park, urban trail and living art destination called The Underline. Miami-Dade commissioners approved a $14 million agreement to build the first half-mile of the project called the “Brickell Backyard,” Southwest First Avenue in the Brickell area. The Underline aims to 1) build a mobility corridor that integrates transit, car, biking and walking, 2) engage people with art and programming, 3) restore acres of natural habitats, 4) facilitate sustainable development and generate significant economic impact along the corridor.
One of the biggest issues around transit stop improvements is the desire for covered or air conditioned bus stops given South Florida’s brutal heat and intense sun. A few important pieces of information to know: 1) Miami-Dade Transit is only responsible for the bus stops in unincorporated Miami-Dade (8,000 in total) - individual cities (such as City of Miami, City of Doral, etc.) oversee bus stops within their jurisdictions; 2) Bus shelters are traditionally paid for by advertisers, who cover the cost of building and maintaining the structures in return for their ability to post advertisements free of charge on the structures; and 3) Air-conditioned bus shelters are very expensive to build and maintain, and local advertisers have not shown interest in covering the costs associated with these structures. With all that in mind, here are a few updates as to what progress has been made:
For bus stops in unincorporated Miami-Dade, the county has put out a Request for Proposals for bus shelters.
Miami-Dade Transit is exploring options of innovative shelter designs. The best design currently is an enhanced shelter with 4 partial walls, a roof and an entrance from back and front, which would protect transit riders from both sun and rain.
7. Technological Advancements
100 Great Ideas participants suggested a myriad of technological advancements as a solution to different transit issues present in Miami. From the large-scale, like Stuart M. Grant’s proposal of Aerial Cable Transit and Benjamin Evans’s suggestion of the straddling bus, to the more manageable, including multiple people’s suggestions (Josh Sproat, Sean O’Hanlon, Fredo Rivera and more) for live GPS-tracking of buses and trains.
Since the campaign, Miami-Dade Transit has made progress on several technological improvements, including:
Miami-Dade Transit has updated the EASY Pay application to offer both one- and seven-day passes and the ability to add value to your account through your mobile device. Future updates will include the ability to use Apple Pay and purchase different fare products. Eventually, the department would like to integrate all transit applications (i.e. Uber, Lyft, Transit app, etc.).
Miami-Dade Transit is currently adding arrival/departure screens at bus stations. The selected vendor is preparing a revised design and implementation plan so that the department can evaluate alternative designs with added features and functionality. Arrival/departure screens are currently up at Government Center and are currently going up in Park-and-Rides.
Completed in 2017, real time GPS tracking is up and running and available on the MDT Transit Tracker application. A county ordinance (181611) requiring municipalities (incorporated Miami-Dade, like Coral Gables and Hialeah) to provide circulator (like the City of Miami trolleys) information to be uploaded into the county’s tracker application was amended by the Transportation and Public Works Committee on September 14th, 2018.
Miami-Dade Transit has implemented numerous smart-parking technologies, which include parking space counters, pay by phone parking, park-and-ride facilities, and car-share parking at Metrorail stations as well as parking availability accessible via the Transit Tracker app. At Dadeland Mall, there is a parking reservations feature and Miami-Dade Transit is looking to extend that service.
If you are aware of additional updates that you would suggest we include here, please email Sarah Emmons at email@example.com and include relevant information/links. Thank you!