Miami-Dade Breaks Ground On South Bus Rapid Transit Corridor, Kicking Off SMART Plan

Miami-Dade has broken ground on the first of six mass-transit corridors collectively known as the SMART Plan.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held by the county on June 4 to mark the start of construction of the South Corridor.

The South Corridor will use Bus Rapid Transit technology.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava said the county would continue to push for rail on the South Corridor, even as BRT is being built. Crucially, the BRT system and stations are being designed to be converted into rail.

Levine-Cava also said the BRT technology would be “gold standard.” Amenities will include preemptive signals, off-board fare collection, and level boarding.

The threshold for conversion to rail is when the system reaches 35,000 daily passengers.

In the meantime, the BRT system was fully funded with $100 million from the federal government, $100 million from FDOT, and the remaining $100 million from the county.

It was the first time Dade has received federal transit funds since the Metromover extension in 1993 and the original South Miami-Dade Busway in 1999.

When completed, the new rapid transit system will run 20 miles on exclusive transit right-of-way, parallel to US-1, with signal preemption.

A ride from Homestead to Downtown Miami will take 60 minutes.

There will be two end-of-line terminals at Dadeland South and SW 344 Street, and 14 new “iconic” state-of-the-art transit stations.

There will also be a All-Stop line that serves 16 additional stops, in addition to the 14 stations on the limited line.

 

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Anonymous
7 months ago

It’s terrible that they’re wasting this money instead of putting in rail, but the worst part is it’s pretty clear based on the renderings that when it is converted to rail it will be at grade rail. Elevated rail is much better as it doesn’t cause east to west traffic at crossings. Such a disaster and so indicative of the terrible leadership Miami has had for so long.

Anonymous
7 months ago

I just got back from Mexico City which uses a similar system in their Insurgentes Line. I was pleasantly surprised. The stations made it feel like you were using light rail and was faster than light rail running at ground level without dedicated lanes like in other cities. This could be up and running very quickly. With the option of converting to true rail, it seems like an inexpensive temporary solution.

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

The major problem I see is the lack of long term planning. Elevated rail should have been the final goal. As stated above, it seems the conversion is built for at grade rail. We are doing BRT but let’s be smart. US1 is the major N-S corridor with at least 28 E-W crossings. This will be the new bottleneck. We just can’t get it right lol.

Citizens of Miami for Metrorail
1 month ago

It’s actually a very expensive solution. Spending $200 Million dollars on a project with plans to remove in 20 years. The BRT does nothing to solve the biggest pain point. Changing MODs at Dadeland. You will it be able to get to Homestead to Downtown in 60 minutes and the city will make some excuse as to why they can not meet those goals

Anonymous
7 months ago

Elevated rail out here, but we can’t get a corridor between Miami Airport and Douglas Road, straight through a relatively dense and walkable area?

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

Yes, elevated ramps at intersections on an existing right of way. There were documents 10 years ago with that plan. There is no right of way anywhere else except the existing CSX tracks and FEC. Most avenues like lejune etc are state roads. The hurdles are steep in those corridors. Also eminent domain in Coral Gables etc won’t be popular. We only do that to the poor in Overtown.

Anonymous
7 months ago

^^”It’s terrible that they’re wasting this money instead of putting in rail,”
For those pushing for “rail at any cost” for a line that cannot muster 35,000 per day in ridership would be losers. You get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!

For those thoughtful people who understand Federal funding mechanisms (the adults in the room) weighed the options and it was a no brainer. Accept the Federal Funds and implement a program to have Federal dollars pay for your local stations, state of the art ticketing systems, and all the infrastructure except for the rail and the cars.

If there are enough people to put their money where their mouths are, this line will get up to 35,000 riders a day, and voila….Miami-Dade can get their name in the hat for more funds for the rail.

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

Then design the stations to accept elevated rail conversion. They are so thoughtful, they can think about that. Why at grade???? Short-sighted

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

33,000 daily boardings on the entire metrorail system as of April. While going through existing dense areas. Top stations in order: Brickell, Government Center, Dadeland South, Dade Land North. Two of those are bus oriented transfer points. Let’s be smart and use data, not talking points.

Citizens of Miami for Metrorail
1 month ago

Its not about cost. The signature bridge is 820 million. The re do if metro mover is 153 million. There were no discussion of cost or ridership when the county approved the north rail. It’s about a disdain for people in the south and giving them something to shut them up. We will not shut up. We will remember sally heyman and Jean moms trine and the others who voted against metro rail.

Anonymous
7 months ago

BRT is the right choice for this corridor. Now, building Psydo-BRT for the East-West corridor, which it seems like they’re going to, would actually be a HUGE mistake.

Anonymous
7 months ago

I can’t wait for all the cars to tailgate the pseudo-BRT on 836. The cops won’t care either. Give it a year, and they’ll announce that it’s being converted to yet another tolled “express lane”

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

This is why no corridor should have taken BRT as a solution. Especially not the easiest corridor to implement rail even with ROW. Short sightedness at work. The regions in Miami Dade have become enemies for funding. All communities together should have held their ground. With a seamless mass transit rail experience for all the corridors. But no, cut off your nose to spite your face attitude in Miami-Dade. Look for BRT to be everywhere but Brightline and the casino mono rail with 3 transfers idea.

Anonymous
7 months ago

I used to advocate for rail here, but that spending is needed in other, more dense corridors such as NE to Hollywood/FLL and west to FIU. This project lacks any existing rail lines and would most likely be proposed as elevated rail like the existing MetroRail. Way too expensive when there’s already a dedicated BRT right-of-way

Modern busses can completely resemble high-quality light rail cars. The line already has it’s own separate ROW, but suffers from terrible traffic engineering. Fix the signalization to always prioritize the BRT, while allowing them to travel at higher speeds, and then we’re finally talking about a plan that is “smart”

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

Look at Brightline and how many incidents of the trains hitting cars. Now imagine a bus hitting the car. Too many intersections where the traffic will be backed up W-E for miles means people will be taking chances and causing incidents. The bus will not be travelling at those highspeeds through these intersections. The money should have been used to created elevated crossings with ramps, while keeping it BRT as you said it already is. That is a clear pathway to rapid transit.

NYC Loves Miami
7 months ago

I think it’s a mischaracterization to say trains hitting cars, when it’s actually the people driving these cars that aren’t following road signs and lights.

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

I think I made is clear that the traffic will lead to people taking chances and causing incidents. This will make traffic even worse with accidents and major crossings blocked for hours.

Jesse
2 months ago

A bus takes just a few seconds to cross an intersection so why would east-west streets be backed up for miles? A well-designed Gold Standard BRT will serve South Dade well.

Citizens of Miami for Metrorail
1 month ago

Several reasons why this is a problem. One: their is existing traffic. Two: Traffic will continue to grow as the south is built out. Three: it’s not one bus, it’s several buses throughout the day. No one is served well by a fragmented transit system that’s creates unnecessary boarding an in boarding thereby increasing travel times, thus making it less attractive to use transit.

Anonymous
7 months ago

The signalization of traffic lights it’s a major problem in Miami which creates this terrible traffic all over city. They must focus to fix this problem.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Brickell is even more of a mess now than before. They added traffic lights at the Underline on 7th/8th and there is ZERO synchronization with the rest of the grid. The back-ups coming over the S Miami Ave bridge and on 8th heading towards BCC are 10x worse than pre-Underline.

I’m not saying I’m against the Underline or pedestrian access, just that they could have done a much better job at traffic engineering. It’s as if they didn’t even hire one.

Citizens of Miami for Metrorail
1 month ago

The “modern buses” only take you to Dadeland and you have to transfer. What about the lost hours waiting for a bus or train?

Anonymous
7 months ago

What a massive waste of money.

Extend the rail and stop wasting money with studies and other useless bandaids.

Anonymous
7 months ago

No.. you’re gonna get more trolleys and buses….

– MiamiDade Transit Authority

Anonymous
7 months ago

Wow, they already watered down the terminal design! I wonder what else they will value-engineer.

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

Glad someone else caught that. What happened to the giant fans???

Citizens of Miami for Metrorail
1 month ago

I actually discussed this with the city this is the answer I got:

The vault design submitted by the Design-Build Team was reviewed and evaluated by key designees representing the different municipalities along the South Dade TransitWay. The design-build procurement method was used to leverage many potential benefits of this type of contract, including flexibility in innovative design concepts while meeting general intent of the vault system.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/326230464789937/?ref=share

Anonymous
7 months ago

Love the concept and love the design but as long as parking lots in the city core continue at full force, mass transit will never work. If it’s easier to drive, why take the bus? What makes it easier to drive? Cheap available parking. Mass transit works in major cities because of two things: density and lack of parking.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Idk, personally if I I lived in homestead I’d be happy to take this to not have to deal with the traffic on US-1

Anonymous
7 months ago

It’ll come. If the population keeps growing, land in the core will become too valuable or expensive to build parking and traffic will just keep getting worse amking it more attractive to take public transportation. Even FDOT and MDX can’t keep building and expanding highways everywhere.

Anonymous
7 months ago

“What makes it easier to drive? Cheap available parking”

Gee.. I didn’t know it was that simple. You people that whine about things like high car insurance rates in Miami need to listen to this guy.

Anonymous
7 months ago

The word “SMART” is a bit overused for this plan. Extend the metromover to the whole Miami and beach, now that’s a smart plan that belongs to a major city in 2021! Not buses!

Anonymous
7 months ago

First, we have to study that concept, and then we’ll tell you what we’ve decided after studying the study if it doesn’t take more studying.

– MiamiDade Commission

Anonymous
7 months ago

Extending a low-capacity system like Metromover through high-population areas is about as “smart” as converting corridors through low-density areas like this to rail.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Saying what the Metromover system can’t do when it’s never been tried is like saying what feet can’t do when you’ve never had them.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Good for them! Progress.

Shawn Kouri
7 months ago

Yayyyyyyyyyyyy

Yes!!!! These bus stations are going to be so cool. Some of them may even have parking garages. That area is basically a bus terminal desert once you go south of Cutler Bay. I’m glad they’re doing this.

Citizens of Miami for Metrorail
1 month ago

The bus stations may look cool. But once again Miami has chosen form over function. You will not be able to get from Homestead to Downtown in an hour. The pain point is transferring at Dadeland.

Anonymous
7 months ago

If you look closely you can see some clowns holding shovels

Anonymous
7 months ago

Daniella should be running all future ideas by this group of commenters first.

Anonymous
7 months ago

This line will have very little use south of Cutler Ridge.
A metrorail extension to Cutler Ridge could by warranted at some point.
I cannot see a line to Florida City. Bus Rapid Transit can be faster than rail by using express busses between high demand points.

Citizens of Miami for Metrorail
1 month ago

I think this is a valid argument. I would have rather seen them use the $200 million to go as far south as they can. A train further south benefits everyone because the people south could connect quicker. And instead of spending $200 million on a system they plan to rip out.

Anonymous
7 months ago

I briefly thought the 168 station and parking deck was an expanded Williamson Cadillac

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

Miami-Dade strikes again. We need elevated rapid transit to reduce crossings. Nice shiny stations are cool but what is better is the time savings and convenience with using transit. I would have rather the money been used to create elevated crossings and keep all the existing stations the same. Yes, even the embarrassing tarp thingy we call stops now. Yes, its not pretty but we could have slowly added nicer stations, parking garages and rail. We would have elevated ramps at least at the most busiest intersections. 6 years ago I saw these plans for ramps, but now nothing. What are we doing?

Anonymous
7 months ago

“We” do not “need” elevated rapid transit when you can’t even get 35,000 riders in an MSA of 4 Million+

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

33,000 daily boardings on the entire metrorail system as of April. While going through existing dense areas. Top stations in order: Brickell, Government Center, Dadeland South, Dade Land North. Two of those are bus oriented transfer points. Let’s be smart and use data, not talking points. With your logic, we don’t need any elevated rapid transit in Miami Dade.

Yeppers
7 months ago

Literally nobody wanted BRT. lol.

Anonymous
7 months ago

LOL, BRT sounds like the Metromover.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Looks like the new progressive mayor agrees with this approach from the last mayor.

Manny
7 months ago

Are buses diesel or electric? No overhead electric lines?

Bryan Riley
7 months ago

There has already been an issue with the bus builder contract. I think it was electric-battery powered but who knows. Check out Doug Hanks on twitter for updates.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Why would bums and homeless want to commute at all?
Why not just circulate in downtown on the MetroMover where the air conditioning and the money is?

Anonymous
7 months ago

They commute to get drugs to feed their addictions

Jesse
2 months ago

It seems to me that most posting comments have no idea of what a Bus Rapid System (BRT). Like anything else, even trains, a community can do a mediocre planning job or a superb planning job. The truth is that a BRT line is an excellent choice if designed well. Communities in and outside the United States have been using these with great success, starting with the birthplace of BRT’s, Curitiba (Parana), Brazil.

South Dade can have an excellent BRT using the existing busway, with the obvious changes. Other corridors, such as Kendall Drive, must have elevated train or BRT. There is such a thing as an elevated BRT, like Malaysia’s Sunway BRT.

Trains, whether light rail or heavy rail, are great, but a good BRT can do a great job with a smaller investment plus have it running in less time.

Azarius
7 months ago

The biggest waist of money and resources smfh! We don’t need more buses we need rail transit asap! We’re already behind! Implementing decade old technology costing billions is a waste.

Anonymous
7 months ago

waste

Anonymous
7 months ago

“Billions?”

Anonymous
7 months ago

“Rapid Transit” lol and yes, there will be a study and a study of the study to ensure major project delays and soaring cost!

Anonymous
7 months ago

I didn’t see “air conditioned waiting areas” in the list of amenities, oversight I’m sure.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Its the same thing with shelters, just build the metrorail tracks at grade level to save money.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Look, just because we were elected, that doesn’t mean we have to do anything that makes sense.. okay?!

– MiamiDade Commission

Anonymous
7 months ago

If they won’t invest in rail, then at least raise the center, and have it run one way (city bound) in the mornings, and the other way (suburb bound) in the evenings. One central lane that acts as an express lane, with on/off ramps that feed into/out of it.

Anonymous
7 months ago

They managed to break ground on the least ground breaking thing they could possibly do: BUSES😳

POLO
7 months ago

That “SMART” plan is a STUPID plan! If you’re going to do something, do it right.

Anonymous
7 months ago

Complete waste of money.
There will be air taxis and air Uber’s five years from now. Put that money instead into the Metromover.