News

The project that’s transforming space underneath the Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail and living art space is awarded millions in grant money

MIAMI ( November 06, 2019 ) — The federal government announced this week it is awarding $22.3 million towards the design and construction of enhancements for The Underline, a 10-mile linear park underneath the Metrorail guideway.
The Underline first broke ground in November 2018 for the construction of its first phase, the Brickell Backyard. This world-class urban trail is one of Miami-Dade County’s most innovative and fastest-moving multimodal transportation projects. Upon its completion, the expected project cost will be approximately $98.8 million, funded in part by the State of Florida, local municipalities, and private developers making it a true public-private partnership.

The Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW), on behalf of Miami-Dade County and Friends of the Underline, submitted a BUILD Transportation Grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation requesting a contribution of $22,360,552 for the remaining unfunded transportation costs in order to complete this transformational mobility corridor.

“It’s great news that the Department of Transportation will be awarding Miami-Dade County a $22.36 Million BUILD grant toward the design and construction of The Underline 10-mile multimodal corridor,” said Senator Marco Rubio. “I was proud to work with Secretary Chao and the Dept. of Transportation, ensuring Florida continues to receive critical investment from the federal government in our state’s infrastructure.”

“As a former trustee, I am delighted that the federal government is investing in The Underline,” said Congresswoman Donna Shalala. “It will greatly improve our community’s safety, mobility and connectivity,”

“We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Transportation and to our congressional delegation, particularly Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart in Appropriations and Donna Shalala, whose district includes the Underline, for their advocacy to fund this transformative project,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The Underline will help develop better connected and more pedestrian-friendly communities for our residents.”

“The award of this federal grant will help ensure the funding needed to keep moving forward with this important multi-use, multi-modal corridor,” said DTPW Director Alice N. Bravo, P.E.

The Underline serves as a transportation solution, a safety strategy, and an economic catalyst. It will connect communities, improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and create over 120 acres of open space with restored natural habitats. Once built, it will also encourage a healthy lifestyle by providing an easily accessible place to exercise, and it will create a mobility corridor that integrates transit, car, biking and walking. Just as important, The Underline will attract development along US1, and generate a significant economic impact.

To learn more about The Underline and transit services, visit DTPW’s website. To plan your trip on transit, or track your incoming bus or train in real time, download the free MDT Tracker app.

The Underline to pioneer the future of tech in large-scale public spaces with new funding, hire Chief Information Officer and strengthen infrastructure.

To promote The Underline’s success as a world-class public space that connects and inspires the community, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a new $925,000 investment in the organization’s technology infrastructure, including the development of a technology master plan and expanded professional expertise.

The new funding builds on a series of previous Knight Foundation investments in The Underline, a proposed 120-acre linear park, urban trail and public art destination spanning 10 miles beneath the Miami-Dade County Metrorail. When the idea of The Underline was introduced in 2015, Knight powered the development of its master plan. Last year, as part of a major investment in Miami’s arts ecosystem, Knight contributed $500,000 to activate portions of the park with public art. Knight’s combined support for The Underline, including today’s new investment, totals nearly $2 million.

“Miami is a city on the rise, and The Underline is a game-changing development that further elevates our city as a place of global relevance,” said Raul Moas, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “As a world-class, resident-driven public space, The Underline has the power to stimulate civic life, create incentives for talented people to live and stay in Miami, and inspire creativity and connections that uplift our community.”

Today’s investment in Friends of The Underline — the nonprofit group leading the initiative to transform the underutilized land — will help the organization to grow its leadership staff by providing funds to hire both a Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO will guide a process to create a technology master plan informed by residents and experts alike. By integrating technology in the early stages of its development, The Underline will pioneer a vision and model for leveraging technology in large-scale public spaces around the world.

“Technology will be the connective tissue that connects the people, places and activities within The Underline’s 120 acres,” said Meg Daly, founder of Friends of the Underline. “We know technology offers infinite ways to improve this space and bring new ideas to life, but we have to build the foundation based on what’s available today and tomorrow. This investment helps equip The Underline to design a cutting-edge technology infrastructure that puts residents first and unleashes the potential of the space’s creators and users.”

The Underline’s two new leadership positions are expected to be hired by the end of this year. The first phase of The Underline, called Brickell Backyard, will open summer 2020. Phase 2 construction is projected to begin in Spring 2020. Learn more and get updates at theunderline.org.

About Friends of the Underline
Our mission is to deliver and activate a 120-acre, world-class linear park spanning 10-miles below Miami’s Metrorail that will transform regional mobility and celebrate diversity, culture and lifelong learning. Through innovative urban trails and creative programming, we are connecting people to their environment and each other to create a safe, healthy, equitable, and sustainable community.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

We are pleased to announce that Friends of The Underline is growing and is seeking dynamic leaders to take on vital roles in our non-profit organization to support our mission and vision.

We are looking for both a Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer to lead the organization administratively, financially, and technologically to support our best in class public space, trail, art and programming. Candidates will be self-starters and passionate about how the private sector can partner with the public sector to better advance community, public health, engagement, and city building.

You can find the COO job description here and the CTO job description here.  Please send resume/CV and qualifications to meg.daly@theunderline.org

Miami, I’d like to introduce you to The Underline Collective, a group of young professionals dedicated to the successful delivery and activation of The Underline. This landmark public project will transform 120 acres of underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a world-class, 10-mile linear park and urban trail. Such an ambitious effort requires the support of a diverse group of stakeholders, including the time and enthusiasm of Miami’s millennial workforce.

The Collective has sparked excitement and the imagination of the community through a series of programs exploring The Underline’s impact on local quality of life. In 2016 and 2017, our group converted the often overlooked Brickell Metrorail station into an outdoor festival, complete with live music, food, a dog park, mini-golf, face painting, outdoor yoga, and an eco-friendly fashion show. These activations helped Miami residents imagine the possibilities offered by a safe and healthy public space in their own backyard.

This past April, the Collective hosted our first “Program Your Park” event at WeWork in Brickell City Centre. Armed with markers and every color Post-It note imaginable, members of the public brainstormed events and programs they’d like to see on the future Underline. The result was a rich (and colorful) list of public programs related to health and wellness, education, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement generated by the community. Participants suggested farmers markets, a concert series, interactive art installations, and community gardens – just to name a few! These ideas were collected by Underline staff to be implemented once the park is up and running. We aim to host the Program Your Park event throughout different neighborhoods to reach more diverse audiences over the coming months.

For more information click here.

Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works has applied for a Federal BUILD grant for The Underline, Miami-Dade County’s Multimodal Mobility Corridor.  This is a competitive capital grant application through the U.S. Department of Transportation National Infrastructure Investments FY 2019 “BUILD Transportation Grants” Program.

The Underline is a 10-mile multimodal mobility corridor that repurposes 120 acres of underutilized land below Miami-Dade County’s above-ground heavy rail into an off-road biking and walking facility directly connected to transit and running alongside U.S.1, a major arterial.  When completed, it will serve as a first and last mile accessibility solution to 8 existing Metrorail stations with separated pedestrian and bicycle paths, improvements to 36 intersection crossings, of which 10 crossings are in the process of improvement and funding has been encumbered, a bridge over the Coral Gables Waterway, lighting and path-marking and wayfinding signage.  The Underline serves as a transportation solution, a safety strategy, and an economic catalyst.

Recognizing The Underline is Miami-Dade County’s most innovative and fastest-moving multimodal transportation project, the State of Florida, its municipalities and private developers have partnered with Miami-Dade County in committing an unprecedented over-77% ($76,475,388) for capital funding. This match funding has been raised over 4 years and demonstrates our community’s commitment to the Underline’s transformational potential. The grant ask amount represents 22.62% ($22,360,552) of the remaining unfunded costs in order to complete the project’s transportation component.

We would like to recognize the incredibly hard work and many hours invested in drafting the grant: Meg Daly, President/CEO Friends of The Underline, Daniel Balmori, Hogan Lovells and Irene Hegedus, Dept. of Transportation and Public Works.  And, a big thank you to those who wrote letters of support from the business and donor community as well as elected officials.

Find The Underline FY 2019 BUILD grant application here.

Find The Underline FY 2019 BUILD grant application Appendices here.

The Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) continues construction of the first phase of The Underline – the Brickell Backyard. The Brickell Backyard project consists of a half-mile long segment below Metrorail that extends from the Miami River to SW 13th Street (Coral Way).

Construction is progressing according to schedule. As a safety requirement, construction fencing has has been erected between SW 1st Court and SW 1st Avenue, from the Miami River to SW 10th Street providing for a 5’ sidewalk for access by pedestrians and transit riders. The sidewalk width follows the Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) construction guidelines. Here is a breakdown of work taking place now, and of work that will be taking place in the construction area in the weeks to come:

Now through July 1st
1. Pedestrians are being routed with Longitudinal Channeling Devices (LCDs) to the roadway of SW 1st Court, where the new edge of pavement will be, once construction is completed. This area will then be tapered back to the bus bay area. In addition, the bus bay was shortened, and bus stops were relocated a little further north.
2. Fencing on SW 1st Court will be extended to 11th Street, and pedestrians will be detoured to the sidewalk on the west side of SW 1st Court.
3. Fencing also will be extended on SW 1st Avenue, now from 10th to 11 Street. Bus riders will still have access to bus shelters on SW 1st Avenue near the Brickell Metrorail station.
4. The east-west sidewalk, between SW 1st Court and SW 1st Avenue and south of the Brickell Metrorail station, will be eliminated.
Week of July 1st:
5. Switch fencing to construct the outer portion of the block between SW 9th and 10th streets. Pedestrians will be routed to the new sidewalk on the west side of the block. This phase will last approximately one month (scheduled to be completed the week of August 5th).

Week of August 5th
At this time, the contractor is scheduled to build the area in front of the Brickell Metrorail station. To ensure access to the Metrorail station, the sidewalks and plaza will be rebuilt in two sections. This phase will last approximately one week (scheduled to be completed the week of August 12th).

All scheduled dates are approximate and are subject to change due to weather conditions and/or unforeseen circumstances.

The Underline will enhance communities and improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety by providing new dedicated pedestrian and bicycle trails, an improvement of three signalized intersections, reconfiguration of bus bays at the bus patron seating areas Brickell Metrorail station, and enhanced lighting and landscaping.

The Brickell Backyard project is scheduled to be complete in June 2020 and will have a number of amenities that include:
An outdoor gym area with a basketball court and gym equipment with space for group exercise classes
An outdoor stage for concerts, movies, yoga and other group activities
An outdoor dining area and gaming tables
A dog friendly area, butterfly gardens, public art and more

Your patience is appreciated as Miami-Dade County and Friends of The Underline work to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail system into a 10-mile linear park, world-class urban trail and living art destination that will also serve as an anchor for smart development.

For general information about The Underline, please visit: www.theunderline.org and/or https://www8.miamidade.gov/global/transportation/the-underline.page .

Should you have any questions about this upcoming work, or have any concerns you would like to share with us, please contact me, Karla Damian, DTPW Public Information Officer, at 786-469-5420, or via email at: karla.damian@miamidade.gov .

A new and exciting update from Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works, The Underline Brickell Backyard construction is on schedule! Safety fencing is being erected near the Brickell Metrorail Station, the site of The Underline Brickell Backyard’s Promenade. With opening scheduled for June 2020, we are eager to walk, bike, play with you surrounded by native vegetation, butterfly gardens, basketball court, mini pitch soccer and the best dog parks in town.

Please see the full report below:

The Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) has begun work on the first phase of The Underline – the Brickell Backyard. The Brickell Backyard project consists of a half-mile long segment below Metrorail that extends from the Miami River to SW l31h Street (Coral Way).

Construction is progressing according to schedule. As part of safety, a construction fence will be erected between SW 1st Court and SW 1st Avenue, from SW 91h Street to SW 101h Street providing for a 5′ sidewalk for access by pedestrians and transit riders. The sidewalk width follows the Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation (FOOT) construction guidelines. Please see attached photos. ·

During the remainder of construction, the existing concrete seat wall will not be accessible. This wall will be removed during construction_ To mitigate this inconvenience to transit riders, DTPW is working with the City of Miami to identify temporary bus benches that can be installed to allow for seating while still complying with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) path clearances. The bus stop signs will be relocated and attached to the fence.

This past month, the contractor began installing the construction fence on the north end of this area and will continue the installation during the next three to four weeks. The Department will make the proper notifications to transit riders in coordination with the City of Miami and the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) office.

Here is a breakdown of other work that will be taking place in the construction area in the weeks to come:

Week of April 8th:

o    Fencing will be extended on the west side ofSW First Avenue, between SW gth and h streets, to include 9 parking spots. This will allow for the installation of required deep injection wells_ Pedestrians will be routed to the east side of 151 Avenue, using crossings at SW gth Street and SW 9th Street. This phase will last approximately two months (scheduled to be completed the week of June 10th).

o    Fencing will be erected within the inner portion of the area between SW 9th and 10th streets, along both SW 1st Court and SW 1st Avenue to construct inner portion of the block. A 5′ sidewalk will be maintained for pedestrians along the perimeter. The west/east crosswalk in the middle of the block will be closed. Phase will last one month. (Scheduled to be completed the week of May 6th).

Week of May 6th:

o Pedestrians will be routed with Longitudinal Channeling Devices (LCDs) to the roadway of SW First Court, where the new edge of pavement will be, once construction is completed. This area will then be tapered back to the bus bay area. In addition, the bus bay will be shortened; therefore, two bus stops will need to be relocated. The Department will update information regarding bus relocations once that information is available. This phase will last approximately one-and-a-half to two months (scheduled to be completed the week of July 1st).

Week of July 1st:

o    Switch fencing to construct the outer portion of both SW First Avenue and SW First Court, between SW 9th and 10th streets. Pedestrians will be routed to the new sidewalk on the east side of SW First Court. A pathway also will be open for pedestrians on the west side of SW First Avenue. This phase will last approximately one month (scheduled to be completed the week of August 5th).

Week of August 5th:

o    At this time, the contractor is scheduled to build the area in front of the Brickell Metrorail station. To ensure access to the Metrorail station, the sidewalks and plaza will be rebuilt in two sections. This phase will last approximately one week (scheduled to be completed the week of August 12th).

All scheduled dates are approximate and are subject to change due to weather conditions and/or unforeseen circumstances.

The Underline will enhance communities and improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety by providing new dedicated pedestrian and bicycle trails, an improvement of three signalized intersections, reconfiguration ofbus bays at the bus patron seating areas Brickell Metrorail station, and enhanced lighting and landscaping.

The Brickell Backyard project also will bring a number of amenities that include:

  • An outdoor gym area with a basketball court and gym equipment with space for group exercise classes
  • An outdoor stage for concerts, movies, yoga and other group activities
  • An outdoor dining area and gaming tables
  • A dog friendly area, butterfly gardens, public art and more

The project is anticipated to be completed in June 2020.

Your patience is appreciated as Miami-Dade County and Friends of The Underline work to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail system into a 10-mile linear park, world-class urban trail and living art destination that will also serve as an anchor for smart development.

A recent article in Time Magazine discusses the many benefits of being in a park – even without exercise!

Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness. It’s been shown to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health. Some research even suggests that green space is associated with a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders — all findings that doctors are increasingly taking seriously and relaying to their patients.

Now, a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research adds to the evidence and shows just how little time it takes to get the benefits of being outside. Spending just 20 minutes in a park — even if you don’t exercise while you’re there — is enough to improve well-being, according to the research.

Read more here.

Javier Betancourt, Executive Director of the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) shares his story of biking to work as a way to get fit, support the environment and being car free.

“This past Friday, March 1, marked Bike305’s Bike to Work Day in Miami. On that day one year ago, I rode my bike to work for the first time alongside hundreds of other commuters, a practice I have managed to maintain for 365 days and counting.

What at first began as a simple effort to lead by example by practicing what I preach as an urban planner and advocate for alternative transportation quickly became a transformative lifestyle change. Much to my surprise, I began to enjoy, and actually prefer, riding my bike to work; so much so, that halfway into the year, I got rid of my car for good.

And the benefits have been enormous! I’m saving a ton of money – upward of $600 a month – on transportation expenses; I’m in the best shape of my adult life; my stress levels are down significantly, I feel more in tun with the world around me; and I can take price in knowing that I am doing my part for the environment.

Please read the rest of the op-ed in Miami Today online.   Thanks Javier for sharing your story of how one person can make a difference!

Walking in Florida? You could be risking your life! Today’s Miami Herald exposes the dangers of walking in Florida and in Miami. Why is it so dangerous to walk here? According to Dangerous by Design, “What is happening is that our streets, which we designed for the movement of vehicles, haven’t changed. In fact, we are continuing to design streets that are dangerous for all people.”
Please support projects like the 10-mile Underline that give safe, off-road walking and pedestrian access for people of all ages and abilities. Volunteer, support or advocate for The Underline by clicking here!