public transportation

A plan to build a streetcar route in downtown Fort Lauderdale inched forward last month when the city and county councils voted to approve the project.

Jenni Morejon, executive director of the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, says the Wave Streetcar will offer advantages over the area’s existing bus system.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Before Brightline comes rolling through Miami-Dade County, Mayor Carlos Gimenez has asked the Florida Department of Transportation to evaluate safety measures in place at the railway crossings along the private passenger line’s route.

Courtesy: All Aboard Florida

The delayed launch of Brightline rail service linking South Florida’s major cities really is just around the bend.

Service between downtown Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach on the privately funded commuter rail line will begin the week of Jan. 8, the company said Thursday afternoon.

The exact day has yet to be announced. Nor has the company announced the cost of riding. That information will be coming “soon,” said a spokesman.

Five central Florida cities are teaming up with the ridesharing company Uber to offer discounts on rides within the five-city area, as well as to various SunRail stations. The citys tout the partnership between a major technology company and government as a way to deliver "alternative transit options" that also help reduce the number of cars on the road.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

Uber's leadership already has a lot on its plate, starting with finding a new CEO after former chief Travis Kalanick resigned abruptly last month. But that's not all the tech giant has to do. For the business to survive, Uber also has to repair its relationship with drivers, which leaders at the company say is "broken."

Courtesy Greater Miami Tramlink Partners

Miami Beach commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to temporarily stop the fast-tracked light rail project that would lay down tracks on South Beach’s streets.

The light rail or “modern streetcar” line, a centerpiece issue in Mayor Philip Levine’s second term, is now on hold after commissioners agreed to wait for Miami-Dade County commissioners to make a binding commitment to building a connection across Biscayne Bay, including a funding plan. A final contract for the project would also have to be approved by voters.

Kate Stein / WLRN

I'm a car driver, but for Public Transit Day on Friday I made a commute via foot, bus and train.

I say, "a commute" because it wasn't the commute I make to work every morning. Instead, I "commuted" between WLRN's studios at the Miami Herald in Doral and our studios in downtown Miami.

 

In Miami-Dade County, there are more than two million registered vehicles. Motorists will cover roughly 30,000 miles in a day countywide. But those numbers are meaningless if you're stuck on I-95 or any of the connected thoroughfares throughout South Florida. Basically, there just seems to be more and more cars on the road every year.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

Do you take public transportation regularly? If not, what would make you want to use it? 

When Patricia Gentile was settling in as the new president of North Shore Community College in Massachusetts — about twenty miles north of Boston — she remembers looking out her window and seeing something strange.

"All of these cars rolling up, and tons of folks getting in and out," Gentile says, thinking about that January day a couple years ago.

"So I asked my assistant, 'What's going on down there?' "

Turns out that's where students were picked up and dropped off, but Gentile wondered why there were just so many cars.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

What happens when you get a group of WLRN listeners together to ride public transit and experience art? They arrive early to an 8 a.m. event.

We rode around the Omni Loop of the Metromover to experience Ivan Depeña's new art project "The Sounds," which uses the tram to whisk you through a growing sound composition that builds to a crescendo at Museum Park Station.

Read more about the project here.

the Miami Herald

 

A better bus system is coming to South Miami-Dade. But according to a group of South-Dade leaders, it’s too little too late. Homestead, Palmetto Bay and a few other cities have joined forces to revolt against the bus system in favor of a light-rail system.

They’ve drafted an agreement requiring county transportation officials to persuade the Metropolitan Planning Organization to fund a study on light-rail.

We recently spoke with the mayor of Palmetto Bay, Eugene Flinn, about what forced these leaders to ban together.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West has one of the nation's highest rates of commuting by bicycle. But it also regularly leads the state in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities for small cities.

Now the island has embarked on a new effort to make cycling and walking safer, as well as encourage the use of public transit. Those efforts were bolstered Friday with the award of Bike Florida's first-ever Share The Road Challenge Grant.

PATRICK FARRELL / Miami Herald

Criticism of Miami-Dade's public bus system can now be quantified -- in 27,000 complaints. 

According to a Miami Herald investigation that analyzed the high volume of complaints spanning the last 18 months, the most common question bus riders ask themselves is "Where's my bus?"

Other common infractions: Rude drivers, overcrowded routes and dirty busses. Really dirty -- roach-level dirty. 

Chabeli Herrera

How South Florida gets around, or doesn't, is increasingly a matter of public debate. Climbing commuting times, more tolls and long-promised but never delivered public transportation projects like BayLink are pushing our collective patience. It costs commuters money and costs the economy lost productivity.

As the region has grown across political boundaries, transportation planning has not kept pace.

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