By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI, FLORIDA – The morning of November 1st, officials broke ground on the first phase of The Underline – a linear park, urban trail and living-art destination that will change the way residents and visitors experience open spaces and access public transportation in Miami-Dade County.
The Underline is a 10-mile linear park and mobility corridor that will run below the Metrorail guideway. The proposed corridor will extend from the Miami River to the Dadeland South Metrorail station. It will enhance connectivity, increase mobility, and improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety as well as public health.
“I am excited to see this project move forward with the ever-growing support The Underline has from our community,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “I have no doubt this will be a world-class trail that will provide a safe, off-the-road space for people to walk, bike, and enjoy all that a linear park has to offer – especially easy access to public transportation.”
The Underline will be built in phases. Phase I – The Brickell Backyard – consists of a half-mile long segment below Metrorail that extends from the Brickell Metrorail station to the Miami River. It will have many amenities, including a workout area with gym equipment and a flexible basketball/soccer court. The gym area will also provide space for group classes and activities.
In addition, there will be a community stage, gaming tables, an outdoor dining room and dog parks. The Underline also features native vegetation, and the first phase of its development will include four butterfly gardens.
To improve street crossings, high-visibility crosswalks will be featured at Southwest Seventh, Eighth, and 13th streets.
Alice N. Bravo, director of the County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works, said this project can serve as a first mile/last mile solution to the County’s public transportation system. It also aligns with the County’s Parks and Open Space Master Plan, which will include more parks and public spaces along with natural and cultural areas, as well as greenways that will create the framework for a more sustainable community.
“The most effective way to battle congestion is to have transit-oriented development along our existing transportation infrastructure, like the Metrorail,” Bravo said. “The Underline creates a recreational facility along the Metrorail for our residents and visitors to enjoy urban living, while giving them easy access to a linear park and transit services. It’s infrastructure that serves a dual purpose – mobility and livability. It activates open spaces that serve as an anchor for smart development.”
The total construction and design budget for The Underline is $120 million, of which more than $90 million in public funds have already been committed toward the project.
“Friends of The Underline is honored to work alongside Miami-Dade County leadership and staff on this transformative project,” said Meg Daly, who is the founder, president and CEO of Friends of The Underline.
“The world is watching, our community is waiting, and we are mobilizing all our resources to deliver a world-class trail for a world-class city.”
Visit theunderline.org for more information about this project.