Written by Jesse Scheckner on February 16, 2021
Miami-Dade’s hunt for a brand new transportation and public works director continues.
Whether or not it’s one of many practically two dozen candidates who’ve already utilized or another person the county’s nationwide search attracts, the best rent will prioritize resilience and multi-mobility whereas seeing by way of tasks already in growth, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava mentioned.
“We wish somebody who can hit the bottom working,” she advised Miami Right now. “We’ve made progress and wish to speed up it to create a really world-class transportation system, one that’s extra resilient and linked to communities.”
Twenty-three candidates thus far are vying to succeed Alice Bravo, who on the finish of the month will go away her function as head of the Miami-Dade Division of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) for a district management place with engineering and design agency WSP, a frequent advisor to the county.
To seek out the precise substitute, Ms. Levine Cava’s workplace has retained the providers of Gabe Klein of city planning agency CityFi.
“He’s serving to us to do an organization-wide evaluation throughout the division and is supporting the recruitment course of,” she mentioned.
Former Miami Seashore metropolis supervisor Jimmy Morales, whom Ms. Levine Cava employed in November to supervise eight main departments – DTPW, Aviation, Seaport, Water and Sewer, Regulatory and Economic Assets, Strong Waste Administration, Elections and Parks, Recreation and Open Areas – is the county’s level particular person within the effort.
Native data is a plus for candidates, she mentioned, however not prerequisite.
“We clearly want anyone who understands the challenges we face in bettering our transportation system,” she mentioned. “We’d like somebody who’s trying into the longer term for future alignment and guaranteeing we’re making investments that can final.”
After 5 years of research, planning, conferences and designs, Miami-Dade is lastly rounding the proverbial nook on the Good Plan, a multibillion-dollar initiative to improve six main commuting routes with premium transit whereas including 9 new fast bus corridors and native mobility options throughout the county.
Early this month, commissioners unanimously voted to start development of “gold commonplace” bus fast transit on the longest and best to construct of the six routes, the South Hall between Kendall and Florida Metropolis. Revenue service for the route is predicted to begin in January 2023.
Main milestones for the remaining routes coming this 12 months, Ms. Bravo mentioned final week, embody a closing growth settlement for the Seashore Hall that’s to run from downtown Miami to Miami Seashore; supply of proposals by spring for the North Hall from downtown Miami by way of Miami Gardens; federal funding functions by August for the East-West Hall from downtown Miami to Tamiami; agreements with Brightline for the event of the Northeast Hall from downtown Miami to Aventura; and choice of a domestically most popular transit mode for the Kendall Hall.
“Earlier than the Good Plan, we had completely different tasks [that] had been all form of jockeying for place. Having a [40-year funding plan], you don’t have that competitors between the tasks, to allow them to all transfer ahead in parallel,” Ms. Bravo advised commissioners throughout a Feb. 9 presentation.
The Good corridors and different transit upgrades are a possibility for the county to regain ridership, and the county wants somebody who acknowledges that, the mayor mentioned.
“We wish to have these techniques not solely to serve those that depend upon transit now,” she mentioned. “We’d like individuals to be alternative riders.”
Commissioners in Could anticipate to offer a closing OK to the Higher Bus Community, a county-wide redesign of Metrobus routes by advocacy group Transit Alliance Miami. The group delivered the plan final 12 months, however every route requires particular person approval.
Transit Alliance Director Azhar Chougle, who mentioned he was “phasing out” of his function efficient March 31, referred to as the redesign “a dream come true” for the group and the riders it serves.
“Two years in the past, after we began speaking about this, it was simply slides on a display” he mentioned by telephone Tuesday, referring to a five-minute presentation concerning the bus community he gave in September 2018 at Ms. Levine Cava’s invitation that helped kick-start the undertaking. “That is one thing that can change virtually each transit rider’s life this 12 months.”
The 2 points of the division – transportation and public works – are more likely to stay intertwined attributable to their interdependence and the emphasis her administration is placing on sustainability, Ms. Levine Cava mentioned.
“There’s much more than the transit system itself,” she mentioned. “We’re sea degree rise – our sea degree rise technique is popping out within the subsequent week or so – and at land use points, the place the hubs are, the city facilities, these issues. It’s an built-in method.”
Protecting each components below the identical roof can even ease work to make streets right here safer and extra hospitable to bicyclists and pedestrians – a private problem for the mayor, whose husband, Dr. Robert Cava, suffered a damaged arm in a hit-and-run.
That and different incidents, together with the roadway demise of triathlete Bharath Narahari close to Black Level Marina three years in the past, impressed Ms. Levine Cava, then a county commissioner, to create a committee aimed toward ending bicycle and pedestrian accidents and fatalities right here.
The following DTPW director, she mentioned, might want to construct on present packages like secure streets initiative Imaginative and prescient Zero, micro-mobility tasks just like the one underway in Miami and increase pedestrian safety at intersections whereas including lodging for non-motorized journey.
“These are all issues we’re working to extra combine with transit,” she mentioned. “It consists of pedestrian and bicycle security, in addition to shared mobility that places individuals, not vehicles, first.”