Monday, February 12, 2018

Results can happen! Look to LA. Investigating the facts on transit and seeing work combining with political will to address congestion. Part I - OVERVIEW

Sometimes you have to get out and see things first hand to separate fact from fiction.  Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell, Manager Rafael G. Casals joined Manager Ed Silva and me in Los Angeles.  And, right off, I will advise you that I was warned that I would be upset at what I saw. I was.  LA has made significant impact on its traffic congestion issues - moving forward on building many, many miles of regular bus, BRT, lite Rail and heavy rail - all in the same time that Miami-Dade has only talked, studied and avoided.

The bill is coming due - and Mayor Bell and I are here to contribute our "Two Cents" on this issue (as do residents of LA county, but more on that later).  See the Miami Herald article of Feb. 8, 2018, Miami-Dade warns of massive bus route cuts if state bill passes - by David Smiley and Douglas Hanks.

It appears that the tale of two cities is striking - in contrasts - LA has won the confidence by delivering on commitments, wise spending and addressing issues for its tax payers who have approved 4 of 5 referendums. Miami-Dade, in stark contrast, has avoided delivery and waffles, and denies through continued delays - paralysis through endless analysis. 
Our initial meeting - held Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 with LA Transit Officials
Here is what LA County accomplished in the 1990s:

The Metro Blue Line opened in 1990. This is light rail line consisting of 22 miles.  The construction cost was $877 million.
The Metro Red/Purples lines opened during 1993, 1996, 1999 and 2000. These are actual heavy rail subway lines consisting of 17.4 miles served by 16 stations, including 6 shared. The cost was $4.5 billion to construct.
The Metro Green Line opened in 1995.  20 miles of light rail served by 14 stations, 1 shared.  The cost for this line was $718 million.

We toured all the systems:
Above left - bike share and local DASH routes. Above right - local on street service.  
Bus exclusive lanes in part of the city (reserved for buses during rush hours only)
Above left - local service bus. Branded, but standard - most important - cleaned daily.
Above right - a transit hub where you can transfer between bus and subway
Nothing unique - above - subway stations - what we will never see in Miami-Dade County.
but (above right) the rail cars are the same as our MetroRail Cars used by Miami-Dade Transit.
Immediately above, left and right - LA County, Miami-Dade County &
Palmetto Bay all have strong Art In Public Places Programs - and can
be seen both in LA and Miami-Dade County Stations. (photos of LA Stations)
 LA officials are proud of what they have accomplished since 1990
and they should be proud.
This post is the preview for the joint report that will be issued by Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay on our findings.  There will be coverage of our observations and communications with experts in LA - where many go to learn about the 'gold standard' of BRT.  

BRT, or 'Bus "rapid transit"'- is where "The rubber meets the road" and will be covered in a separate part as I want to provide detailed comment on how Miami-Dade's Transitway stacks up - my comments and observations may surprise.  Look for updates on the LA Transit, Fact-Finding investigation.

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