MiamiCentral or Miami Central? Both!

On my way to the Government Center Metrorail station last night, I came across the rapidly emerging MiamiCentral station, the southern terminus of an express line that will eventually ferry travelers from Miami, to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and the site of the holy grail that is Disney World, Orlando.

The fledgling Brightline service bills itself as “an intercity express train service that connects Southeast Florida in about an hour.” Of course, this refers to Phase One of the project, which is slated to be active come summer 2017. Phase Two makes the journey to Orlando; specifically, the city’s international airport.

The first trains made their way through the Space Coast and Treasure Coast overnight on December 14th. TCPalm described “four bright-blue stainless-steel passenger cars, bookended with yellow locomotives” chugging along in the night, giving rail enthusiasts like Jerry Murphy a chance to videotape yet another beacon of public transit progress as it made its way to West Palm Beach.

I’m quite excited by the idea of having yet another public transit option made available to commuters, particularly when that option begins its journey in Miami’s Downtown – quite a small, rather desolate place if you think about it.

Sure, there’s a few blocks of fancy condominiums and fancy restaurants – especially the gorgeous Brickell City Centre – but the fact that decrepit buildings and vintage storefronts sit just a few blocks west gives the whole area an unattractive inconsistency.

Brickell_City_Centre_construction_November_2015.jpg
Construction of the Brickell City Centre in Nov. 2015. Credit: Phillip Pessar

Kind of like Wynwood, if you think about it. On one avenue, you’ve got good-looking 2o-some-year-old girls and boys stumbling into bars and having the time of their lives.

On the next avenue over, you’ve got the Miami Rescue Mission flanked by homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks. Then, just another hundred feet down, you’ve got a huge cement plant, out of all things.

It’s haphazardly hipster, I would say. But to get back on track, I think the construction and eventual opening of a service like Brightline can add some much-needed eye candy to the eyesore that is Downtown Miami minus all the fancy condominiums.

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Construction of the MiamiCentral station in Downtown Miami, 2015. Credit: Phillip Pessar

Practically speaking, it’s also going to be a great alternative to current commuters coming in from Broward and points north, the former of which currently rely on a fancy, but not so fancy express bus solutions provided by both Miami Dade Transit and Broward County Transit.

That’s especially true when you consider the advertised engineering philosophy used in the construction of the Brightline trains. “Modern American manufacturing,” the site boasts, with trains being custom-produced by Siemens USA with large windows, powerful complementary wi-fi and an emphasis on a quiet ride. Definitely sounds better than a bus.

I’ve got one question though: the Downtown Miami Brightline station is called MiamiCentral. But what about the Miami Central Station, a multimodal facility a few blocks from the Miami International Airport which is nearing completion.

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A shot of the Miami Central Station (the one by the int’l. airport). Credit: John Petito

Are the names interchangeable? Of course not. The Miami Central Station will service Amtrak, Tr-Rail, Metrorail, Metrobus and Greyhound Lines while the MiamiCentral station will exclusively service the Brightline trains.

No one could come up with a better name? This is ridiculous, and makes me laugh quite hysterically. What’s going to be the real center of Miami?

miami_metro_map_2017
A simplified view of the very near future of rail/bus rapid transit in Southeast Florida. Credit: FrickFrack

Not to mention that by 2017, Tri-Rail plans to extend into the MiamiCentral station as well. When conductors issue the station notices, they’ll say “Now pulling into Miami Central. Next stop, MiamiCentral.”

Good grief!

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