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Old August 4th, 2006, 12:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul305
Sorry to go off topic, but is that guy flicking us off?
LOL...I think he is, actually.

Which is the same thing I'm ready to do with Metrorail if I'm reading things here correctly.

I was under the impression that the North Leg of Metrorail was already being constructed---or at least that every hurdle had been cleared (including prep work) to BEGIN construction.

Is that not happening...or am I just not reading correctly here?

What gives? The REAL version, not the Chamber of Commerce one if that's OK..
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Old August 4th, 2006, 04:43 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verticus
Miamicanes, I see you've been giving this a lot of thought. Must be all that time you have on your hands when driving to and from Orlando. Regarding your last statement, I would like to think that time will come sooner than later. Since I'm probably the oldest guy on these boards, I hope to see it within my lifetime (much shorter than yours, I'm sure). If my UF kids ever get around to having kids (hopefully getting married first), I'd like to be grandpa taking my grandkids on a train ride to Disney World....
Imagine if there was a decent rail line up past Orlando through Gainesville. UF would really benefit from this.
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Old August 4th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #23
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The ONLY way Gainesville is *ever* going to see direct rail service (vs maybe Waldo) is if enough of the old rail corridor into downtown Gainesville is left to someday permit at least a single line to get rebuilt. I think I read that it was abandoned by CSX in the 60s, the tracks were ripped up about a decade ago, and that FPL bought the corridor, but hasn't used it for anything yet. But even if the corridor were still viable, you'd have to take a HUGE detour northwest to Alachua, northeast to Starke, and THEN you'd be on tracks leading down to Lakeland or up to Jacksonville.

Just to get an idea, it costs about $1.5 million/mile to lay down a second track in an existing rail corridor where there's plenty of room and nothing to complicate things. It costs about $2.5-4 million/mile to lay a second track, upgrade the old track to CWR (continuous welded rail), and improve the crossings a bit. FDOT paid about $1.5 million/mile to buy SFRC from CSX, and about $2.5 million/mile to buy the line from Kissimmee to DeLand. Tri-Rail spent about $5 million per mile double-tracking SFRC and substantially rebuilding the old track (their official figure, $7.4 million, includes station improvements and rolling stock... things that have nothing to do with the raw cost of building track). However, those figures go out the window if you're building brand new track through rolling countryside... especially if you ever want the track to be usable for freight, which can only handle grades of about 1.5%. I'm guessing that if some generous 'Gator landowners living east of G'ville donated the ROW to FDOT, and all FDOT had to pay for was the cost of connecting the old ROW into downtown out by MLK highway and 39th avenue to the nearest mainline somewhere around US-301 and SR-26, it would probably end up costing about $100-125 million, including the replaced track heading into downtown and a new station by the campus. Taking debt service on the construction cost into account, it would end up costing about $100 per UF student per year to make the interest payments, and about $150 per UF student per year to actually pay off the bonds in 25-40 years.

So... I don't think it's going to happen. The cost is low enough that it's not inconceivable, but if it did, it would probably never generate enough revenue from ticket sales to cover 100% of its construction and maintenance costs, and the state itself would end up having to eat part of the cost.

Actually, there's a third problem... the mainline that runs through Starke and Waldo is the CSX "S-Line" (the line through Orlando is the "A-Line"). Part of CSX's deal with FDOT is to shift the bulk of their freight traffic from the A line to the S line. So the mainline to Gainesville and Ocala is going to be carrying about 2-3 times as much freight traffic as it does now... so CSX won't be thrilled about having passenger trains running there anyway. And if FDOT had to pay to double-track that line all the way down to Lakeland... well... then the economics would just go completely down the toilet, and rail service to Gainesville & Ocala would just be cost-prohibitive. The interest on the construction cost alone would exceed the annual revenue.

It's the same reason why future rail service from Tampa to Naples is going to be such a big problem. The area is growing, and it would have lots of riders, but the construction cost will be astronomical, because FDOT will literally have to build an entire rail line from scratch down the median of I-75. Even without paying a cent for land, it'll cost billions of dollars to do (especially since it'll be needing two mile-long bridges by Port Charlotte and Fort Myers). There's been investigation into the feasibility of resurrecting one of the old rail lines that used to run to Marco Island via Immokalee and Naples via Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, but either one would end up costing almost as much to resurrect as a brand new route down I-75 since the two old routes have been so thoroughly destroyed and fragmented, and the I-75 route would be overwhelmingly better-located relative to the area's new population patterns. Plus, what little track is still left in SW Florida would literally have to be completely replaced, because it's barely good enough for 25mph passenger trains in its current state.
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Old August 4th, 2006, 08:33 PM   #24
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Okay, Miamicanes, you're starting to freak me out with all you know about this subject. Very impressive.
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Old August 4th, 2006, 10:31 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spellbound
LOL...I think he is, actually.

I was under the impression that the North Leg of Metrorail was already being constructed---or at least that every hurdle had been cleared (including prep work) to BEGIN construction.

What gives? The REAL version, not the Chamber of Commerce one if that's OK..
You're reading is wrong. North Line is actually ahead of the E-W. Barring any disasters, this whole Orange line should get done. Anything beyond that, I have my doubts.

There are 3 legs of the new metrorail expansion.

1. MIC connector. MIC-Earlington Heights http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/lib...rNewsv0016.pdf

Funding in place. design completion 01/07, construction start 08/07, open to public end of 2009.

2. North Corridor. Along 27th ave corridor from MLKjr station to County Line.
http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/cor...dor/n_home.asp

Preliminary design has taken place.
Favorable rating from the Feds for 50% and promise from state for 25%.
Estimated opening 2012

3. E-W Corridor. From MIC to FIU campus.

Preliminary design/community meetings happening now.
Estimated opening 2014.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 02:33 AM   #26
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how is the line connecting the airport to the arlingtin heights station going to open before the MIC does or are they just being moronic and thinking the mic will b done by 2009?

then again, am i being moronic for thinking that the metro station will be open by then?
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Old August 5th, 2006, 11:27 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brickell
You're reading is wrong. North Line is actually ahead of the E-W. Barring any disasters, this whole Orange line should get done. Anything beyond that, I have my doubts.

There are 3 legs of the new metrorail expansion.

1. MIC connector. MIC-Earlington Heights http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/lib...rNewsv0016.pdf

Funding in place. design completion 01/07, construction start 08/07, open to public end of 2009.

2. North Corridor. Along 27th ave corridor from MLKjr station to County Line.
http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/cor...dor/n_home.asp

Preliminary design has taken place.
Favorable rating from the Feds for 50% and promise from state for 25%.
Estimated opening 2012

3. E-W Corridor. From MIC to FIU campus.

Preliminary design/community meetings happening now.
Estimated opening 2014.
OK thanks, brickell.

I was under the impression that the North Corridor was ALREADY being built, but the MIC stuff is more sensible. My bad.

Still, this stuff is SO damn slow. The MIC connection is less than 2-miles, right? and look how long it takes.

Fed money for the rest is iffy at best. Which is why I've been arguing for trolleys.

Yeah I WANT a subway to South Beach, but the actual odds of it happening before we celebrate our 90th birthday are ZERO.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 02:06 AM   #28
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Does anyone have any information as to when and or if...Biscayne Blvd. will have a makeover?
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Old August 6th, 2006, 02:11 AM   #29
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It's going through it right now.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 02:17 AM   #30
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is there a rendering or more info.?
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Old August 6th, 2006, 05:20 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChannelsideTitle
is there a rendering or more info.?
Look at page 4 of the thread, Downtown Miami from a Model Airplane. You can see great aerial pictures of the redesign in progress. In particular the straightning out of Biscayne Blvd from the AAA to the I395 bridge, which in turn will allow for wide sidewalks and cafes at the foot of all the towers that make up the "biscayne wall".
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Old August 6th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChannelsideTitle
is there a rendering or more info.?
Try Google Imaging "Biscayne Boulevard." The dead Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx's plan for the Boulevard has been partially completed on the southern end near Flagler St. I believe the widening that is currently going on now just south of I395 will continue to use that plan which includes wider sidewalks, and a curving pattern of brick pavers along the west side of the Boulevard. His work along the Copacabanna in Rio is famous. I hope that "master plan" is carried out for Biscayne Blvd. It's very life and people friendly.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #33
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Verticus,

The guys that were working on that bit of Biscayne just south of 395 said that it wasn't being widened, just straightened... Moved away from the new condo's. I don't really know the reason for this straightening, other than being better for the new condo's. I'd love to see a master plan for the whole of Biscayne. It's actually very nice now (After 2 years of hell) up in the 90's-120's.

-James.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 05:34 PM   #34
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it will benefit plenty of people besides the condo dwellers... widening the sidewalk on the west side and allowing for a more pedestrian friendly environment, which is definetly isnt now on that side of the boulevard
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Old August 6th, 2006, 07:59 PM   #35
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That's true, NimbyH. I bet it'll look pretty nice this time next year... I just wish we could see what they're working towards. We do have to put up with it everyday!

-James.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 08:00 PM   #36
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FEC Tracks for Commuter Rail

Found this in the Miami Herald today (8/7) regarding when we might get a commuter rail running on the FEC tracks from Miami to Palm Beach. That line will be like adding a heart by-pass to a sick patient. Once it kicks in, downtown Miami will begin a second sustained renaissance:

Back-channel talks have been under way between top state transportation officials and Florida East Coast Industries over the 82-mile corridor that runs through all of the redeveloping east-side downtowns from Miami to West Palm Beach.

''I think it's a huge opportunity to create a light-rail option,'' Stutler said last week. ``I think it would be really exciting. We've got to create more [transportation] options and we've got to be smarter how we retrofit our communities to deal with the future needs.''

Most transit experts believe the FEC corridor that Henry Flagler built is where Tri-Rail should have been from the get-go. But the 1980s-era FEC wasn't interested, so the state turned to CSX and bought the old Seaboard line along I-95.

Today, the FEC corridor is ripe for high-density, high-rise, mixed-use development. More than 1.1 million people live within a half-mile of the rail line in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Imagine what the area could become over the next three decades as population continues to rise, land becomes scarcer, traffic congestion worsens and cities retool vertically.

With a few exceptions, most of the FEC corridor from Miami to Jupiter is 100-feet wide -- plenty of room to lay two ribbons exclusively for FEC freight and two for future South Florida passenger service.

DIFFERENT COMPANY

And today's publicly traded FECI, headed by longtime Miami business fixture and power broker Adolfo Henriques, is a much different company than the one that wouldn't negotiate in the 1980s.

FECI is not only a major freight hauler, but one of the state's largest -- and most politically connected -- landowners, especially since it acquired the real-estate and development empire of Bush's old business partner and mentor, Armando Codina, earlier this year.

Henriques and Codina know FECI is sitting on a gold mine.

The state might agree to buy the corridor and provide the infrastructure to guarantee uninterrupted freight and passenger service. Imagine FECI agreeing to sell some of the right-of-way in return for tax credits that will help it build workforce housing near some stations and secure air rights over other key stations.

''As a resident of this community, I believe we need to work very aggressively to develop a viable public-transportation system,'' Henriques said. ``Passenger traffic [on the FEC corridor] needs to occur. We're prepared to discuss it. I'm willing to discuss anything.''

TIMING IS RIGHT

The timing is right. The corridor is needed. Traffic congestion already ranks among the top issues cited by voters in every poll. FDOT can't pave its way out of the problem. We'll worry about how Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties can pay for their respective shares another day.

Want to bet a deal gets done before Bush leaves office in January?

''I think you should stay tuned,'' Stutler said.

Got a commuting question or an idea for a future column? Contact Larry Lebowitz at [email protected] or call him at 305-376-3410.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 03:40 AM   #37
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FEC passenger rail service would be quite awesome, but 1.1 million people within 1/2 a mile doesn't quite measure up to the additional 4.5 million people that live elsewhere (most likely west). What planners should have done a long time ago is designate linear swaths of land for rail development in Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. In terms of connecting the east and the west with rail transit, Miami is the only county doing a good job. And even though the only talks in Broward of an east west rail would be along 595/Broward Blvd. between Sawgrass Mills and Downtown Fort Lauderdale, it won't satisfy the development and commuters anticipated and everpresent in the western parts of Broward. Something potentially affective for Broward would be rail service hugging the Sawgrass Expressway and I-75: beginning from existing (and/or proposed) rails in Western Miami-Dade and continuing straight north to serve the western communities such as Weston, Tamarac, and Coral Springs (and others). With the urban development approved and underway for Sunrise, the city has the potential to be a hub for commuters going in all directions throughout Broward County. Imagine a hub at the Mills that can take you East to Downtown Fort Lauderdale, North to Coral Springs and Parkland (or even perhaps West Boca), South through Pembroke Pines and into West Miami, and potentially far west accross the Everglades to Naples and Fort Myers!

I don't even know where to begin for Palm Beach County. So many people could argue that any east west rail links for the county would be foolish or unnecessary due to how skinny sprawl has become... but anyone living in North County and watching the development approvals for tens of thousands of homes in Wellington and The Acreage knows that additional traffic-congestion on already choked arteries will turn county roadways into parking lots. Unless Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach is turned into an East-west expressway (like I-595 is for Broward), Rail is the wisest solution.

It bugs me that regional planners some 30-40 years ago planned SoFlo to be a haven for the automobile. It was Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway that brought anyone down to South Florida more than 100 years ago; now the only trains you'll see on that track are freight. It bugs me that more federal money is invested in finding oil than there is money invested in sustainable systems and technologies and mass transit innovation. It bugs me that our government has gone from a policy of "doing what's in the best interest of the people" to a policy of "if there's nothing wrong with it, fix it until there is." There was never anything wrong with rail. There was never anything wrong with mixed-use, urban development. There was never anything wrong with sharing a ride with others to work. Where did we go wrong? When did we go wrong? How the F*ck did SoFlo's transportation system go wrong?
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Old August 9th, 2006, 04:31 AM   #38
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You can't really chalk the presence of inland rail lines in Dade County as "foresight". Really, it's just pure blind luck.

What's really sad is that one of Miami's most potentially valuable rail corridors for transit has basically been ripped up at some point over the past 5 years... ironically, after it was purchased by FDOT as part of the deal that bought Tri-Rail's tracks. I'm talking about the tracks that used to run from what's now SFRC ("Tri-Rail") southeast along North River Drive, then straight east to downtown between NW 22nd street and NW 23rd Street, meandering through a small railyard tucked alongside the northwest quadrant of the 836-I-95 interchange before crossing under I-95 alongside Metrorail, curving along the southern edge of Miami Arena, and heading straight for the port. Actually, I think Metrorail itself took the place of the track where it used to go under I-95 (about 2 blocks), but as far as I can tell, that seems to be the only encroachment into the original right of way (I'm not sufficiently crazy to go roaming around Liberty City at 11pm with a flashlight to go verify it in person )

Dear god, what a wasted opportunity. With a couple of DMUs, Dade County could have had the straight-to-the-port nonstop rail line it's fantasized about for years, for less than 50 million dollars worth of capital improvements and railcar purchases (before they ripped it all up, that is). Idiots.



incidentally, for anyone who's never seen it, here's the official GIS rail map of Dade County (Metrorail is included for some inane reason; I highlighted its tracks with green to make it obvious.)


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Old August 9th, 2006, 04:53 PM   #39
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Here's something about the MIC

Quote:
CAR-RENTAL HUB: Bids for a $216 million contract to build a car-rental hub at Miami International Airport along with a bridge and connector are due Aug. 30. The hub is the first phase of the $1.3 billion Miami Intermodel Center due to open in 2011. The project includes the $188.5 million car-rental hub, a $13.1 million connector station for a people-mover system to link the center with the airport and a $14.4 million bridge. The center is to connect millions of travelers to all available modes of ground transportation. Details: www.dot.state.fl.us/cc-admin/2006'lettings/2006'lettings.htm.
http://miamitodaynews.com/news/060810/fyi.shtml
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Old August 9th, 2006, 06:44 PM   #40
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Thanks for posting the maps! I am amazed by the information people have on this board. Also newly amazed by how limited metrorail is.
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