A Huge Opportunity in Miami: Rail-with-Trail Is the Ticket

Posted 05/05/15 by Ken Bryan in Building Trails

Route of the proposed Flagler Rail-with-Trail | Photo by RTC

There are big things happening in the Sunshine State!

All Aboard Florida (AAF) is a statewide, high-speed rail project that could transform Florida’s transportation system for the better…and a key element of its future potential is the inclusion of a pathway for walking and biking.

Pathways near active rail lines are great ways to help connect our communities. Trails alongside the All Aboard Florida rail project would not only be compatible with the planned route, but would provide for the multi-modal transportation needs of thousands of residents—making this project even more successful.

In Miami, All Aboard Florida has a huge opportunity, and it’s sitting right there in the corridor. Psst…it’s a rail-with-trail. Let’s take a look…

The Need

There is an immense need for a safe and convenient connection servicing this part of Miami-Dade County. It is a region greatly underserved by trails, and there are very few options along the corridor for safe, non-motorized travel. The current infrastructure all but ignores the true needs of the community.

So, how could this corridor be transformed?

The Vision

The Flagler Trail is a proposed segment of the All Aboard Florida rail-with-trail concept. One important six-mile segment, named the Little River Trail, will connect the Village of El Portal to downtown Miami. It will also include a western leg along the Florida East Coast Railway’s Little River Line that runs through Little Haiti.

What would this trail mean to the region? It would offer a non-motorized option for folks to safely travel between the communities around Miami and would connect to the city itself. Local developer Avra Jain understands the importance of those connections; that’s why she’s one of the biggest proponents of the Little River Trail. “Rail-with-trail will provide alternative, safe transportation options to a city in much need of improved transit,” she says, explaining that the Little River Trail will be a prime example of what is possible and the benefits that can be gained from rail-with-trail along the entire All Aboard Florida project.

If you think that there are more benefits, you’re right. We’re just getting started...

The Impact

The Little River Trail will enhance local neighborhoods by bringing more eyes to the corridor and providing economic opportunities and ways to connect with neighbors and fellow community members.

Over time, the rail-with-trail will attract additional investment and improvements, helping to transform the area. The trail system will also boost the economic wellbeing of nearby communities. We’ve seen time and again that trails positively impact the property values of adjacent properties, and there is little doubt that this would be the case in Miami as well.

Avra Jain is in support of rail-with-trail, and the overall vision to connect neighborhoods, communities and cities, and she’s not alone. Other developers who envision a healthy, vibrant Miami of tomorrow know that rail-with-trail is a vital element to that future.

The Little River Trail has the potential to create healthier neighborhoods by encouraging active transportation. The trail has the potential to enliven the corridor, making it a safer and more desirable place for residents and visitors. It has the potential to enhance the economic well-being of the community adjacent to the corridor. In a million different ways, a rail-with-trail along the All Aboard Florida project just makes sense.

Rail-with-trail is critical to Florida’s future, and the success of All Aboard Florida, especially in Miami, depends on it. It is a crucial tool, and All Aboard Florida has the chance to be on the right side of history.

One thing is clear: We don’t want to be looking back in 10 years, asking ourselves, “What if we had invested in a rail-with-trail? What could our community have looked like?” We want to be saying, “Wow. What an incredible investment that was. It’s really paying off.”

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