SMART Plan moves forward with its first transit hub
This week’s groundbreaking of the Dolphin Station Park & Ride Transit Terminal Facility marks the beginning of the implementation of the SMART (Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit) Plan.
The SMART Plan consists of six rapid transit corridors: Beach, East-West, Kendall, North, Northeast, and South, as well as Bus Express Rapid Transit (BERT) service along major corridors.
The Dolphin Station, located off NW 12 Street just west of Florida’s Turnpike, is the first hub that will service the East-West Corridor – one of six proposed Rapid Transit Corridors of the SMART Plan. In the near term, this site will serve as the launching point for an East-West express bus service to downtown Miami that will provide significantly reduced commute times along State Road (SR) 836.
Construction of the Dolphin Station is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017 and the expess bus service, the 836 Express, will be fully operational shortly thereafter. Once in service, 836 Express buses will run on the improved inside shoulder of the expressway in order to bypass traffic jams when SR 836 is congested.
“The construction of this transit station is an important first step in the implementation of our SMART Plan,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The express bus service that will operate from this facility will provide a much needed transit option for our residents in west Miami-Dade County that travel to downtown.”
The Dolphin Station and express bus service will help build ridership and infrastructure for a possible future rail line along this corridor. Two other stations also will service the East-West Corridor: The Panther Station, which will be located at Florida International University’s Modesto Maidique Campus; and the Tamiami Station, which will be located at the corner of SW 8 Street and 147 Avenue. Both are projected to be completed in 2020 and will launch other express bus routes along SR 836.
Also helping to advance the SMART Plan is a grant for $960,000 that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently awarded the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) to conduct a comprehensive planning effort of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) for the East-West Corridor. The FTA selected only a few organizations from around the country to receive a share of $14.7 million in grants to support comprehensive planning projects that improve access to public transportation.
The East-West Corridor requires deliberate planning for Transit-Oriented Development. TOD concentrates higher-density, mixed-use developments around corridor transit stations in order to take traffic off the roads since it will be convenient for people to get to these destinations by transit.
“The award of this grant demonstrates that our federal partners see the positive impact the SMART Plan can have towards improving mobility between our metropolitan areas. The development of TODs along our transit system gives our residents better access to jobs, education and vital services,” said Alice N. Bravo, P.E., Director of Miami-Dade's Department of Transportation and Public Works.
Bravo added that the construction of the Dolphin Station is a joint collaboration between Miami-Dade County, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) and the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
Of the total project cost of approximately $19 million, the County is providing $13 million, and FDOT is contributing another $6.1 million. MDX is managing and implementing the project. The project was prioritized by the MPO. Once construction of Dolphin Station is completed in late 2017, the facility will be operated and maintained by DTPW.
Bravo said that the multi-agency collaboration exemplified by the Dolphin Station project will be essential for Miami-Dade County's successful delivery of the SMART Plan corridors.
Download the free Miami-Dade Transit Tracker app by visiting www.miamidade.gov/transit/transit-tracker-app and start planning for your next trip today. Also available from DTPW is the EASY Pay app – turn your smartphone into a mobile ticket and just scan to ride. Visit www.miamidade.gov/transit-easy-pay for more information. Don’t forget, riders can now also pay for parking via their mobile devices with the PayByPhone cashless app.
We’re with you every stop of the way.