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!

The Underline, which broke ground today, combines green public space with paths that connect to transit stations, fully separated from the adjacent street, where 100,000 cars drive by each day. (The plan was a finalist in the Fast Company 2017 World Changing Ideas Award.)

“Miami-Dade County is one of the most dangerous places to walk and bike in the country,” says Meg Daly, who started a nonprofit to champion the project after walking under the rail line–a dimly lit, dirty, unwelcoming area, surrounded by heavy traffic and hard-to-cross streets–and seeing its potential. “We’re not just moving in our cars because we’re car-centric, we’re in our cars because we feel safer.”

Check out this “3-minute read” here.

Miami Herald writer Andres Viglucci provides a comprehensive account of The Underline’s progress, people and plan leading up to the groundbreaking of Phase 1: Brickell Backyard on Thursday, November 1st. 

It took 20 years for Meg Daly’s late father, the prominent attorney Parker Thomson, to realize his ambition of a transformative performing arts center in Miami.

It may not take Daly and her ad-hoc team of volunteers, dreamers and entrepreneurs quite that long to pull off her own unlikely conceit: a 10-mile-long park and walking and cycling trail that aims to regenerate an overlooked swath of Miami in the same way the heralded High Line did along lower Manhattan.

But she’s having to tap into every bit of that reserve of Thomson family grit to get it done.
On Thursday, a contractor is scheduled to break ground on the first phase of the much-anticipated Underline, which will eventually extend from downtown Miami to Dadeland under the Metrorail’s elevated tracks. That initial segment, in the booming Brickell district, is just seven blocks and a half-mile long.

But moving from conception to construction in five years is a flash for a civic project in Miami. At least two more segments, one along Miami’s The Roads section and another in Coral Gables, will follow in short order. And no matter what it takes, Daly says, she is determined to see the Underline all the way through to completion in the same unflagging spirit her father instilled in her.

Thomson, who died suddenly last year at 85, not only helped usher the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts into existence, but also was Daly’s earliest champion when she was struck by the inspiration for the Underline, an idea she at first feared might be a non-starter.

“I had what I call this crazy idea. My Dad was the second person I told after my husband”, recalled Daly, a marketing executive who had never tackled anything of the kind. “He’s always been one of the greatest sounding boards. And he said, ‘I don’t think it’s crazy. I think it’s a great idea.’ ”

Read the rest of this comprehensive coverage here.

This thorough, thoughtful, well-researched piece by Patrick Sisson’s CURBED, illustrates how The 10-mile Underline, a $120 million transit corridor and public space project is poised to change how the city moves.

Daly’s story illustrates the philosophy behind, and potential of, one of Miami and the nation’s most intriguing park projects. The 10-mile linear park, a $120 million redevelopment of open space under a span of Metrorail tracks roughly parallel to the north end of the Miami River, will link the condos, coworking spaces, and tech offices of the booming Brickell neighborhood with South Miami, in a bid to be a catalyst for community, connection, and safer transit.

The groundbreaking on the project’s first half-mile phase next month, which will begin construction of the so-called Brickell Backyard portion of the Underline, comes after five years of promotion, proposals, and fundraising.

Daly, a full-time volunteer who has shepherded the project forward, hopes this represents both the beginning of a transformational infrastructure project, as well as a shift in the planning philosophy for Miami-Dade County, a “very big gesture to rethinking how we rebuild infrastructure and transit.”

Read the complete article here.

At the Underline Launch Party at SLS Lux Brickell on Thursday, October 18th, Friends of The Underline Board of Directors hosted a rocking celebration in advance of the project’s groundbreaking on November 1.  Philanthropists and luminaries gathered in the hotel’s Secret Garden, a lush, covered outdoor pool and garden on the 9th floor with breathtaking views of the Brickell skyline. The evening kicked off with a live, private concert by Friends of The Underline board member Emily Estefan, followed by project status comments by Founder Meg Daly. Brian Keeley of Baptist Health South Florida spoke at the hospital networks sponsorship of The Underline’s wellness programming. The evening culminated with the recognition of the James S. and John L. Knight Foundation’s investment in city-building initiatives like The Underline and closing remarks by Knight Foundation CEO Alberto Ibarguen.Catch CBS 4 Lisa Petrillo’ segment as she shares the excitement here.

Last Tuesday, October 2nd, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commission voted to approve the contractor for The Underline’s Phase 1, Brickell Backyard. Our team is excited about the vote, excited about groundbreaking and thankful for the positive coverage by the Miami Herald.

After years of fundraising, lobbying and hype, the planned Underline park under parts of Metrorail’s elevated tracks has a government construction contract, with Miami-Dade commissioners approving a $14 million agreement to build the first half-mile of the project off Southwest First Avenue in the Brickell area.

Using a mix of state, county and city of Miami funds, the two-year agreement approved Tuesday hires a partnership between a Hialeah-based specialist in walkways and a longtime Miami-Dade contractor.

The 18-month contract requires the partnership, Central Pedrail, to expand the current paved path under the Metrorail and add a mini basketball court, workout equipment, game tables, extensive landscaping and other improvements designed to create a “linear park” that would eventually stretch from the Miami River to the Dadeland South Metrorail station.

Building the entire 10-mile Underline park is expected to cost about $120 million, with another $3 million required to maintain it each year. The “Brickell Backyard” segment that was funded on Tuesday represents just 5 percent of the full Underline, but founder Meg Daly said she sees the launch of actual construction along the route as a larger milestone than the seven-block footprint between the river and Southwest Thirteenth Street suggests.

Read the complete article here.

Today’s Miami Herald featured the future Grove Central Metrorail station developed by Terra Group and led by Friends of The Underline Board of Directors member David Martin. This station of the future boasts a monster solar battery that powers the station and a direct connection to the future Underline. Mr. Martin “hopes the project could set a precedent in the city – a region with the most to lose to rising seas but little movement in the development world to build a more resilient community.” Read the full story here.

“One project cannot save the entire country. But if we have 10, 20, 30 projects that adopt this same methodology, we can develop a kind of pattern or criteria that is expected in our industry.” David Martin

Your Friends of The Underline have an active October in store and we are really excited to see you around town at one or all of our community events below. 

Sat., 10/13 10 AM. Free Underfit Yoga at Brickell City Centre powered by Baptist Health South Florida. This new and improved Yoga class has more space to move and more teachers to perfect your pose. With music, a kids/family corner and post-class guided meditation and dazzling acro-yoga performance, grab your mat and sign up here.

Sun., 10/14 9:30 AM. Family-friendly group bike ride through historic Shendandoah neighborhood. Last month’s group ride took riders through “neighborhoods we have never seen before!” This month, with the help of Dade Heritage Trust, you’ll experience the beauty and wonder of historic Shenandoah while pedalling your way to good health. Sign up for the free ride here.

Sat. 10/20, 10 AM Walk The Underline with Meg Daly.  After enjoying sponsor Hotel Atton’s hospitality and coffee, we’ll head out for a private tour of the future Brickell Backyard led by Underline Founder Meg Daly.  You’ll see the future outdoor gym and running track, places for pups, outdoor dining room, butterfly gardens and more. This tour is limited to 20 and fills up fast so sign up now!