Reason.tv video: 17 Miles in Just 78 Minutes! Light Rail vs. Reality in Los Angeles. Watt Smith plays the role of guinea pig going from LAX to Burbank to see what's true and what's not re LA's Light Rail system, and discover's that even riders would prefer faster buses, not expensive and slow trains. December 2011.
Don't act so smug in watching this, South Florida!
As I've detailed previously here and in emails, blog and newspaper comments elsewhere over the years, when the Miami-Dade Metrorail system was in the development stages, wonky transit nerds and Good Government public policy types were completely out-muscled and out-hustled by the local taxi cab industry -and their campaign contribution$- which is why a Metrorail route between Miami International Airport -aka M.I.A.- and the downtown Miami business/legal area then on Flagler Street, and beginning to rapidly move south to Brickell Avenue, was NOT the very first route completed, like it would be in almost any other normal community that didn't have natural obstacles between them.
But in Miami, it didn't happen.
In fact, you STILL can't get straight from MIA to downtown Miami or Brickell Avenue entirely via Metrorail in the year 2011, can you?
And in Broward County, despite the name, Tri-Rail's Airport station isn't really at Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, is it?
No, it's a few miles away in Dania, and you have to take a bus to actually get to the airport.
And there's currently no rail service to Port Everglades and all the thousands of tourists and employees there to... anywhere.
(And who can forget all my many -fascinating!- blog posts here in the past about the lack of a bus at the Tri-Rail station closest to Ft. Lauderdale Stadium & Lockhart Stadium -Coconut Creek- where the Orioles used to have spring training, and the complete lack of a city or county bus or shuttle that goes directly from the Tri-Rail station to the City of FTL-owned stadiums when events are taking place there, despite it being well over a mile away?)
Yes, South Florida has really been blessed the past forthy years with lots of real geniuses in charge of public transportation!
To better illustrate these points, especially for those of you reading this now who live far from the heat and humidity -and sunshine- of South Florida, here are two excerpt of email I've sent
the past four years.
The first was sent to Gabriel Lopez-Bernal, the founder of the very popular public policy and transit-oriented blog, Transit Miami, back on November 7th, 2007.
Gabriel listed this blog on the Transit Miami blogroll a few months after I started it and the South Beach Hoosier blog, the latter of which will be seriously tweaked and improved by the beginning of the new year. http://southbeachhoosier.blogspot.com/
Dear Gabriel:Per Larry Lebowitz's insightful article about the latest "only in Miami" controversy, around the North corridor of the extension of the Metrorail, something the Herald neglected to mention when discussing the issue of the U-M's move to Chez Huizenga, and your good take on the situation which I read just a few minutes ago, http://www.transitmiami.com/2007/11/could-north-corridor-be-threatened-by.html"MIA got luggage carts when?" is going to be my new generic response to how things can be the way they are in South Florida.For instance, the Herald suddenly discovering that there are no general interest bookstores within the City of Miami city limits.Luggage carts at MIA? That happened like, what, just 4-5 years ago???When I was still living the Beltway Life up in Arlington, I could get a luggage cart at the Reagan National Airport Metro exit just seconds after going thru the farecard taker.Don't quote me on this, but I think they had luggage carts at Le Bourget Airport in Paris when Lindbergh landed in 1927Come on, you know how long it takes for all the good ideas to finally make their way to Miami!
Want more proof of the lack of common sense on transit?
Here's an excerpt from a 2007 email of mine to Broward County Comm. Sue Gunzburger, the Commissioner for my part of Broward, telling her about a series of problems I had noticed even BEFORE the County initiated a new -and long overdue- express bus service along U.S.-1/
Federal Highway called The US-1 Breeze.
The route starts south of me in Aventura at the Aventura Mall, come north thru Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Dania, stops at FLL airport, and then continues to downtown Ft. Lauderdale, near the County and Federal Courthouse and Broward Schools HQ, ending at the Broward County Central Terminal on Broward Blvd., just around the corner from the Broward County Govt. Center.
Since this service started four years ago, if nobody I know wants to come along in my car, I take this when I need to go up to Broward County Commission meetings -or the Ethics Comm. meetings- so I can read the newspaper, listen to ESPN Radio and drink some Iced coffee and be there in less than 45 minutes for less than two bucks -and don't have to pay for parking:
1. Considering the amount of public back-slapping Broward County engaged in after they finally decided to create the #1 Breeze, an idea that should've been done 10-20 years ago, how is it that less than one week before the service actually began, there were still NOT any printed schedules for the Breeze service available on existing #1 buses, the natural constituency of a new line?Could you possibly sabotage your own efforts any worse?Actually you could, since there were no easily visible symbols of some sort on US-1 in advance, indicating where the small number of stops would be.That was the icing on the Breeze cake for me.As it happens, I spent quite some time investigating this, not only on the phone talking to customer service folks with Broward Transit, but also employing old-fashioned shoe leather, actually walking US-1. You know, the route involved.Trust me, Comm. Gunzburger, whatever you are told by Broward Transit on this matter needs to be completely disregarded, because it could hardly have been more self-evident they didn't know what they were doing.How botched was it?Well, customer service people I spoke to at Broward Transit, just days before the service began, couldn't tell me with any degree of certainty where the stop(s) in Hallandale Beach were to be located.Or, as it turned out, where the ONE stop in Hallandale Beach was.
The whole subject of the lack of a sufficient number of city-created bus shelters in SE Broward in HB and Hollywood, will be the subject of a future blog post here, though I've broached it here in the past.
I mention this because the north-bound stop in HB for The Breeze consists of two benches across the street from McDonald's -with no sheltered roof to keep you out of the rain or sun.
The one south-bound stop is roughly the same but in front of a gas station.
In the entire length of Hallandale Beach, along very busy U.S.-1, there is exactly one bus shelter on the north-bound side of the road, and it's just two blocks south of Pembroke Road, the cityline with Hollywood.
Welcome to Joy Cooper's Hallandale Beach!
seventhmetro'd video: Los Angeles Metro: The past, Present and Future of LA's Mass Transit
From today's Transit Miami blog, relative to FDOT:
StrongTowns video: Conversation with an Engineer, Street Project
Rail-Volution's 2007 Conference in Miami, Florida
Summary of Lake Worth Charette; Transit Oriented Development
Papers, Presentations and Highlights of other Rail-Volution annual conferences:
Creating a Positive Future for a Minority Community: Transportation and Urban Renewal Politics in Miami: By Milan Dluhy, Keith Revell and Sidney Wong