Trolleys aren't exactly cutting edge, but apparently they're the future of public transport in two Miami-Dade cities. Both Miami and Miami Beach have discussed the idea of expanding their free trolley systems this month. The Miami Beach plan would be more dramatic by expanding what was meant as a temporary trolley system designed to alleviate traffic due to construction on Alton Road into a permanent transportation option that serves more of the Beach. Meanwhile, Miami is mulling over adding even more lines to its already popular trolley system, including routes that service Little Havana.
The Miami Beach Trolley debuted in February 2014 and was only meant as a temporary fix as Alton Road was under reconstruction. It runs a simple loop around Alton and West Avenue, but has proven popular and attracts about 1,000 riders a day. Its temporary permit is set to expire in June, but according to the Miami Herald, commissioners wants that extended by a month as they hammer out a permanent and expanded free service.
The system would cost an estimated $10 million, and routes would run through the whole city and compliment the existing 25-cent SoBe Local bus routes. The existing route would be extended down to the South of Fifth neighborhood and extend east toward Collins Avenue, creating a loop at 11th and 17th streets. A Mid-Beach loop would go around the Collins Park neighborhood then head north on Collins before going west on 41st Street and turning back. A third loop would run from 41st Street up to 69th. However, not all of the proposed routes may come to fruition. All services would remain free. Miami Beach commissioners are still considering the plan.
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No doubt, Miami Beach may very well be inspired by the success of the free City of Miami trolley system. Miami Commissioners are quite proud of it, too. Commissioner Frank Carollo moved to add a route that would extend the service from Brickell through Little Havana and all the way to Beacom Boulevard (or about where Miami Dade College's InterAmerican Campus is located).
However, commissioners are wary of how long the service can remain completely free, and agreed to delay an immediate vote to study possible sources of funding and perhaps better alternative routes. (Maybe we could even get one extended into Wynwood *cough* *cough*).
Both cities cited reducing gridlock as a benefit of free trolley systems. Now if only they could work together on some sort of free or low-cost trolley system that actually connected Miami to Miami Beach. Then we might start to take a bigger bite out of Miami's reliance on cars.