Weekly Newsletter: Trains driving development in Miami

Near bustling downtown Miami lay acres of underused parking lots. Like in so many American cities, the expanse of concrete is a daily reminder of transportation planning gone wrong.

But that will all change once 25,000 to 30,000 people begin to descend on the area every day. All Aboard Florida will soon begin running trains between Orlando and Miami and has chosen this spot for its new station.

The station will be so much more than a place to catch a train. The station itself will feature over 200,000 square feet of retail space, while new adjacent high-rises will accommodate hotel rooms, office spaces and 800 apartment units. Project executives expect “the drab downtown section–to become a bustling urban spot for entertainment, shopping, dining, living and working.”

This is another example of Miami leading the way to improve transit. The recently built MIC station adjacent to the airport strengthens the entire transportation system by connecting Amtrak, light rail and other transit to international and domestic flights.

Miami is taking common sense approaches that Chicago – or other Midwestern cities – could learn from. Attracting thousands of people every day to a central location is a development boon. Miami is responding by capturing this tremendous value with new real estate. Chicago could do the same by investing in a revitalized Union Station.

Similarly with the Airport, Miami recognized the power of connecting multiple modes of transportation under one roof. Like Miami, O’Hare Airport has nearby tracks that could handle Amtrak and commuter trains – and boasts a busier airport and larger regional population to boot. Yet, planners are letting this opportunity pass by not building a station to increase connectivity for an entire region.

If Miami can do it, so can we. That’s why at MHSRA we’re fighting for common sense solutions to Chicago’s transit challenges. Learn more at FixUnionStation.org and OHareDirect.org.

All the best,

Julius Parod
Manager of Communications
[email protected]

PS: Read more about the new Miami station.

Last Week at MHSRA:

It’s just been announced that the Hoosier State service has been extended until April 30th. Hopefully the FRA will reconsider its position. We’re working with allies and collecting letters of support to urge the FRA, INDOT and Governor Pence to work towards a solution. If you live in Indiana, and haven’t already, please tell your elected officials you care about the Hoosier.

Executive Director Richard Harnish traveled to Florida to give a presentation on the opportunity for high-speed rail in the Midwest at a Positive Train Control (PTC) Conference.

We’re gathering support for a Chicago-East St. Louis/Indianapolis high-speed rail line. Check out the promotional flyer we’re passing to key stakeholders.

On the Blog:

MEDIA RELEASE: Elected Officials, Transit Advocates to demonstrate support for Amtrak, Metra and CTA at Illinois Railroad Summit

Articles We Enjoyed:

Indiana’s Hoosier State service gets 30-day extension
More hope that the service won’t be canceled.

New food supply service for Amtrak under study
Amtrak is considering improvements in Upstate New York.

California Drivers Are About to Give High-Speed Rail a Big Funding Boost
Cap-and-trade revenues are larger than expected.

Travel time is the forgotten breakthrough of the past 200 years
“Railroads didn’t reduce travel times right away — they still required significant infrastructure investments, ranging from laying down tracks to building tunnels. That took decades.”

Riding the Union-Pearson Express
Check out a slideshow of Toronto’s new service – an inspiration for Chicago.

St. Louis, University City leaders kick off Loop Trolley project
“The $43 million, two-mile Loop Trolley is expected in late 2016”

New efforts to bring high-speed rail to America
A CBS video looks at projects in Texas and California.

Upcoming Events:

March 21st [SATURDAY] – Annual Spring Meeting in Chicago, IL. We have a great roster of speakers lined up. Join us this weekend to meet other supporters and learn more about train projects!

April 29th – Illinois Railroad Summit in Springfield, IL. We’re inviting allies across Illinois to show how important trains are to their communities. Join us in Springfield to demonstrate your support.
A donation of $15 or more today will go directly towards expanding transit in Chicago. Can you help us move forward in 2015?

Julius Parod
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

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