A Florida East Coast freight train runs through the middle of downtown West Palm Beach. South Florida's urban core developed around the FEC tracks. Now two projects hope to run passengers along the line for the first time in almost 50 years.
I-95 misery has bent Henry Flagler's railroad tracks full circle.
Long ago, passenger trains on lines Flagler built turned a community called Fort Dallas, pop. 300, into Miami. Then cars on I-95 turned Miami into the Miami metropolitan area, driving a stake into Flagler passenger trains along the way. Now, in a historic swing of the pendulum, that same highway system may be resurrecting Flagler passenger service.
The city of Miami's Metromover system shuttles riders around the downtown and Brickell areas. County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro is advocating for extending the Metromover over the MacArthur rather than building a new light-rail system.
More than four years ago, when Congress passed the Obama stimulus, nobody in Fort Lauderdale would have imagined that a ripple effect from the legislation might become a "Wave" for Broward County commuters and businesses.
"This is the beginning," said Diana Alarcon, director of the city's transportation and mobility department, smiling as she described the new Wave streetcar project for downtown Fort Lauderdale during a recent public workshop in Oakland Park.
For many years I both lived and worked in Coral Gables, and since my house was less than a mile from work, I decided to ditch my car and purchased a scooter. I conveniently biked, walked or scootered around town. I could get to the beach or the Grove by scooter, bike or public transportation.