would be a healthful and economic asset for the community. I knew that other places around the country were
doing similar things.”
Daly, who had managed a friend’s real estate company for
several years, learned that the property — 120 acres under
the raised Metrorail tracks —was owned by Miami-Dade
County. That was a huge relief, she said, because the cost to
acquire the land would have been as much as $90 million.
She also learned that the county’s master plan for parks
called for developing the corridor, once a commercial
railroad line that was abandoned became the Metrorail.
“I was lucky,” she said. “I ended up meeting Maria Nardi,
who heads planning for the parks department. I told her
of my ‘crazy’ idea and she said it wasn’t crazy at all because
it was something they had hoped to do.
“But she said they didn’t have the ‘bandwidth’ to champion a project of this scope, so I said, ‘I’ll do it.”
Daly began discussing the idea with anyone who would
listen, including the many neighborhoods — both rich
and poor — through which the Metrorail runs.
“Before we ever put any pen to paper for the design, we held
lots of public meetings and hundreds of people turned
out,” she said. “We are now formalized partners with the
county Parks and Recreation Department and Miami-Dade Transit and have agreements with the municipalities
that run along the corridor.
“We’ve also gone on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,
hosted bike rides, other public events, met with Rotary
clubs and talked to school groups. We were everywhere.”
She said the first section of the Underline will go through
a “dense, growing area called Brickell, which is just on the
other side of the bridge over the Miami River to downtown. It’s been our financial hub, but has now turned
into a hip community with lots of condos, apartments
and great restaurants. But it’s not very green or walkable.”
Friends of the Miami Underline incorporated in 2014
and hopes to start building in the fall of 2017. Daly said
the Brickell section of the Underline also will greatly benefit the “other side of the tracks,” which includes Little
Havana, heavily Spanish speaking and has many mid- to
low-income residents. She said the Underline will cost
around $10 million a mile, compared to what she said
will be $14 million a mile for Atlanta’s BeltLine.
Friends of the Miami Underline
held lots of public meetings and
hundreds of people turned out.
The Miami Underline's future “River Room” features oolite seating steps,
orienting visitors toward views of the river and downtown Miami. Paths that
connect to nearby pedestrian and bike routes reinforce connections to
the Miami River Greenway, across the river and into downtown.
Photo by Sam Kim
Character zones that draw from the surrounding neighborhoods
differentiate and organize The Underline along its 10-mile length.