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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

Anonymous
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

Anonymous
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

Anonymous
1 month 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
1 month 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.

Anonymous
1 month ago

What a massive waste of money.

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

Anonymous
1 month ago

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

– MiamiDade Transit Authority

Anonymous
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

Bryan Riley
1 month ago

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

Shawn Kouri
1 month 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.

Anonymous
1 month ago

If you look closely you can see some clowns holding shovels

Anonymous
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

Good for them! Progress.

Anonymous
1 month ago

LOL, BRT sounds like the Metromover.

Anonymous
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

Anonymous
1 month 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.

Anonymous
1 month ago

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

Anonymous
1 month ago

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

– MiamiDade Commission

Anonymous
1 month ago

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

Anonymous
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

Bryan Riley
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

Literally nobody wanted BRT. lol.

Anonymous
1 month ago

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

Manny
1 month ago

Are buses diesel or electric? No overhead electric lines?

Bryan Riley
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

They commute to get drugs to feed their addictions

Anonymous
1 month ago

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

Azarius
1 month 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
1 month ago

waste

Anonymous
1 month ago

“Billions?”

POLO
1 month ago

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

Anonymous
1 month 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.