MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – A monorail from Downtown Miami to Miami Beach could not only come with an astronomical price tag, but it could also impact traffic circulation.
“It’s a permanent piece of landscape to our beautiful seaside city,” said Robert Landsburgh, a Miami Beach resident.
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The idea has long been talked about, but it’s not an overwhelmingly popular one. New renderings presented at a Fisher Island Terminal meeting show stops at Lenox and Washington stations in Miami Beach. Documents also show costs ballooning from the initial $587 million to over $1 billion.
The new renderings also give a look glimpse at how traffic would be affected by construction. It shows re-routing on Fisher Island Terminal, and there will be periodic lane closures on the MacArthur Causeway. The duration would run from 2024 through 2025.
“Do we really want to endure traffic problems that come with the construction or what is essentially going to be a monorail that just bounces back and forth on the causeway and is not really connected directly to a one stop ride to anywhere else?” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
Gelber would much prefer time and resources be directed to expanding the footprint of the Metromover all the way to the beach.
“I’m not sure this is really addressing all of our needs we have both tends of thousands people who are working in our city, tens of thousands that are commuting to other areas of Dade County and of course an even larger amount that are coming to visit,” he said.
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Miami Beach residents like Landsburgh have been campaigning to stop anything be it monorail or Metromover to be built.
“I feel it’s a mistake, I feel that the ridership isn’t there to support such an expensive fixed piece of infrastructure,” Lansburgh added.
But, an expansion of rapid transit into the Beach Corridor is part of Miami-Dade County’s Smart Plan. Mayor Daniella Levine Cava thinks costs could go down, and she calls it an important piece in the puzzle to improve alternatives for beach residents and visitors.
“The negotiations with the concessionaire are ongoing, so it’s too early make to any recommendations. We are analyzing the cost information from the most recent update and are working with the concessionaire to identify potential areas for cost reductions,” she wrote.
County commissioners are not in total agreement over the project. Commissioner Rene Garcia wants to see the latest plans. He is already concerned about any closures.
“If the construction is going to severe an artery into Miami Beach than I am going to have a serious problem with it, because that’s going to put more pressure on the Venetian, and on the 195,” he said.
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A finalized proposal could be presented to the Miami-Dade County Board in spring.