Architecture & Design

Brickell Backyard Gives Miami a Taste of the Underline

Today a pop-up preview of Brickell Backyard will be revealed to kick off the first stage of development in Miami’s anticipated project the Underline. The unveiling of the temporary outdoor gym and fitness area marks the first opening of the ten-mile linear park spanning the land below Miami’s Metrorail, akin to projects in major U.S. cities such as New York’s High Line and the Chicago 606. The pop-up gym has been designed and installed by Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation and will be a six-month preview of what to expect when the full plans for the Underline are realized.

“It’s a way for the community to get a taste and feel for what it’s like to have an urban park in their neighborhood,” says Victoria Galan, communications manager and spokesperson for Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation. “The gym can get residents in the habit of stepping outside of their condos and workplaces to get some fresh air and exercise.”

The pop-up gym sits just below the train line at the Brickell Metrorail station on First Avenue between Tenth and 11th Streets. The fitness area has been landscaped and includes equipment such as a leg press, chest press, and pull-down machines. The surrounding 1,500-square-foot concrete slab has been painted with the Underline’s standout green hue. If you see the giant “U,” you’re in the right place.

With this development signifying the Underline’s debut, Miami is on its way to keeping pace with other major U.S. cities that are creating a greener use for space left underutilized by big-city transit. Founder of Friends of the Underline, Meg Daly says the goal upon completion is to create a safer, healthier, and more connected, mobile, and engaged community through a linear park. Daly was inspired to make it happen after breaking not one, but both of her arms in a biking accident.

“I couldn’t drive at all, and I had to do physical therapy on U.S. 1, so I took the Metrorail and walked the rest of the way in the shade of the Metrorail’s train tracks,” Daly says. “In that moment, I realized how much land was there, and I was the only person using it. I thought, We need to turn this into Miami’s High Line!

The vision is an extensive one, resulting from a public/private partnership Miami-Dade Parks, Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works, and Friends of the Underline. Their goal is to not only beautify the area but also transform the ten miles of land beneath the elevated Metrorail using two straightened, widened trails, lighting and other amenities, and native vegetation. The Underline's master plan has been designed by the esteemed James Corner Field Operations, known for its innovative design of similar projects such as NYC's renowned High Line.

What’s next for The Underline? Look forward to The Underlounge, which is slated to open Oct. 15, turning the area in front of Metrorail Brickell Station into a playground for adults and kids from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Underlounge will be situated just north of the Brickell Metro Station for two blocks along First Ave. from SW Tenth St. to SW Eighth St.
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