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| Columns |

County Revives Interest In Bay Link Project, Could Relieve South Beach Transportation Hell

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Living in South Beach is like getting gonorrhea: it's all fun and easy until suddenly everything comes to a painful stop.

Lately, SoBe residents have woken up to find a foot of foul-smelling water inside their cars. When they bail out their rides, they still face insane traffic jams to the North and South on Alton Road. The MacArthur Causeway is a construction cluster*ck. And good ol' Collins Avenue continues to be jammed with narcoleptic cabbies and moto-clad tourists with a death wish.

Thankfully, county officials have a plan to relieve this agonizingly slow drip of traffic. They are now reconsidering a proposal to build a light rail system stretching from Miami to Miami Beach. Penicillin could be on the way.

See also:

- MacArthur Ramp Closure: Getting to SoBe Will Be a Catastrophe for the Next Month

- South Beach Is Underwater Again This Morning (And For Once, So Is the Rest of Miami)

The Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization unanimously approved funding to study the light rail plan yesterday, the Miami Herald reports.

The funding -- $325,000 total, roughly half from the MPO -- couldn't come at a better time.

"If we don't do something about traffic in Miami Beach, it's going to kill the tourism industry," acknowledged county mayor Carlos Gimenez yesterday.

The idea for a light rail system isn't new. But the county hasn't officially considered it since shooting down the Bay Link proposal in 2004. Bay Link would have connected South Beach to downtown Miami via a train across the MacArthur.

The MPO is also considering a system of electric streetcars (without overhead lines), according to the Herald.

News of revived interest in the rail system comes a day after Miami Beach commissioners finally green-lighted a billion-dollar design for the island's convention center.

But with standing water swamping roads, stagnant traffic everywhere, and bikers hit by cars while crossing the bridge, it's about time someone rid South Beach of its transportation misery.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

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