This past week, a meeting of a Miami Beach neighborhood association made its rounds across the internet. In an embarrassing show of opposition, many treated Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins, who’s district Baylink will be located, with extreme disrespect. To help dispel the misinformation being spread by opponents we are creating a multipart series on the facts behind Baylink and the Metromover expansion to Miami Beach. In part 1, we will examine where the jobs are on Miami Beach.
The latest US Census Bureau statistics show there are approx. 58,000 jobs on Miami Beach. Recently, a number of folks, including some elected officials, candidates for elected office, and neighborhood activists have suggested that bulk of jobs are located in Mid-Beach, primarily Mt. Sinai Hospital and the Fontainebleau Hotel. Rather than rely on anecdotal evidence, we researched the numbers. The facts tell a different story:
Nearly 2/3, or 38,000 jobs are located in Miami Beach’s South Beach. 15,000 are located in Mid Beach and almost 4,000 in North Beach.
Mt. Sinai is a car-centric Medical Center built on the periphery of Miami Beach. With direct highway access, almost everyone drives. The hospital is surrounded by a sea of surface parking lots and garages. A new garage was built a couple of years ago and recently a nearly 1,000 space parking garage, visible from the Julia Tuttle Causeway, has started construction.
Simply put, a direct transit connection to Mt. Sinai would not yield the purported benefits supporters tout. And even so, FDOT and Miami-Dade County have been working on a Bus Express Rapid Transit (BERT) project to provide regional connectivity with Mt Sinai, the Fontainebleau and beyond . This project (PDF) includes rebuilding the inside shoulders on the causeway to support bus operation. Construction is to begin in 2023.
Employment data supports not only building the Baylink to South Beach but also an extension up towards the Miami Beach Convention Center with intermediate stop(s) along the way.
It’s now or never. The Metromover to South Beach is now. The delay tactics being brought out are intended to stop the project. The loudest objectors are people that have not ridden public transit, don’t ride now, and will not in the future. They don’t have the right to stop this project.