Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Miami Day 2...

For those of you that have been waiting anxiously since I did day 1, here is my experience on Day 2 in Miami.

I actually slept in late (8:30am Eastern Time which of course is 6:30am Mountain Time which is still late for me) but was ready for the day. My goal today was to ride the entire MetroRail line and the South Dade Busway.

First I walked over and up to the Metromover Station. I first rode to the final station on the Omni loop which is School District. What a difference two blocks from my stop. This area is filled with vacant lots and abandoned buildings. One interesting note is that this station has a car washer for the Metromover which seems like a strange location.

I then took Metromover to First Street and walked down to Flanger in order to get my visitor pass for the transit system (Metromover is free). However, when I got to the address I wrote down from the Metro Dade website I couldn't find were to go so I walked west trying to find it. Just a few blocks away was the Government Center so I figured I would check there on where I could buy my Visitors Pass. The brochure for the visitor's pass I saw online does not show this Metro-Dade location selling the visitors pass but when I got to the window they said they could sell them. I thought they would ask for ID to prove I was from out of state like Metro does in Seattle but they just took my money and gave me the pass.

Next I took MetroRail to the northeast end of the line at Palmetto. This station was added a few years after the original system opened and is the last new station to open until the extensions they have planned open in a few years. It appears that they plan never to extend the line beyond the station since way this station was designed which is short sighted but typical transit system mentality.

I briefly got off the train to take this picture:

Next I rode the train all the way to the other end of the line at South Dade. This is the connecting point for the South Dade Busway. Here is a picture of a couple of trains at South Dade. You can see some graffiti in both of these pictures. Despite security personnel being at every station, the system is covered with graffiti. It may not be the New York subway in the 70's but it's pretty close.

As you can see from this picture there is TOD being built at this station which is the only sign of it I saw anywhere on the system.

Here is a couple of picture I took of the area were you catch a bus including the ones using the busway. Buses that are arriving at the station arrived on the opposite side to the right of the photos. There are signs with route maps but they only include frequency of the buses not actually times.

I originally planned to ride the entire busway but was getting kind of hungry. Two 34 expresses left with Standing Room only before a busway local 31 came in and I took it. Wouldn't you know that the bus I grabbed was wrapped on the left side !! Just my luck. While I was really craving Chinese Food especially a buffet, after a few stations I saw a Taco Bell and decided just to stop and eat before it got any later. Here is my bus letting me off. I would end up with the same bus coming back.
I walked across US Highway 1 to the Taco Bell and ate. After words I came back caught that same 31 and then transferred to the MetroRail. I rode it back to the Government Center were I decided to ride MetroMover over to the Brickell Area. Here you can see another MetroMover car coming off the Brickell Loop.
Here is a photo from the front of our MetroMover car. As you can see that ride has some characteristics of a roller coaster.
At the end of the line at Brickell I decided to get off, walk to the water then walk back toward downtown. Here is a Metromover train passing over the Miami River on the section of track I had just been on.
Just like Charlotte when I lived there a brief shower came in and dumped for about ten minutes and a half hour later it was clear again.
Miami Dade has a bunch of the new Opus Optima buses like UTA however, they have the "BRT" front end that is supposed to make them look more sleek and magically make riders think it's light rail.
I looked for a convenience store but the only thing I found was a Walgreens. I purchased a couple of things, and then continued walking. Since by this time I was soaking wet from sweat due to the humidity and heat I decided to walk over to the MetroMover's Bayfront Park Station and head back to the hotel thus ending day 2 in Miami.

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