Underline Unites the Best of Miami’s Past and Future

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Commissioner Raquel Regalado

When I was a kid, the best thing about growing up Miami-Dade was the adventure waiting around every corner. 

I remember riding my bike through the sleepy streets of Brickell down into Coconut Grove, the swampy smell of sunbaked mangroves following me the whole way. Back then, Dadeland was the edge of the known universe. 

Today? You’d be crazy to let a kid do that. So many of our neighborhoods have become pass-thrus for frustrated drivers desperate to get off U.S. 1 (or Useless One, as I like to call it during rush hour). 

In recent decades, we have boomed into a rapidly urbanizing metropolis. Mostly, the growth has been good for people. We have more diversity, more jobs, more culture and more opportunities than we did in my childhood. 

But somewhere along the way, we lost a little of what made Miami truly magic – that feeling when you can go out your front door and smell the trees, see the birds, play games…get lost in all the special neighborhoods you can’t really appreciate from a car. 

I’m not the only one who feels this way. Ten years ago, Meg Daly and other Miami natives came up with a plan to put the Miami back into our bustling urban core. The idea seemed crazy to a lot of people back then – to transform the dead concrete under the Metrorail into a living, breathing linear park of some 10 miles, from Brickell to Dadeland. 

The Dade County kid in me couldn’t wait to help her do this thing they call the Underline. How do you make a 10-mile park that is also a great way to get to work? And a place to play pickleball, ride your bike, or walk your dog? A place with micro forests and butterflies and bioswales and shady places to just sit? 

You do it by bringing people together and reconnecting communities cut off from each other by ribbons of asphalt and concrete. By bringing the people of Miami to this park, we can have Coconut Grove meet the Roads. Golden Pines meet the West Grove. South Miami meet Coral Gables. Pinecrest meet Kendall. The millions of visitors who pour into our county every year meet us

As a County Commissioner, my work is making it easier for transformative projects like the Underline to get funded, to grow, thrive and help us make the place we’ve all dreamed of. 

I’m so proud of the work we’ve done together as the Underline grows. We just finished Phase II and I’ve never seen more people out enjoying this area. I’m smiling ear to ear watching my Grovites walk over the pedestrian bridge to Vizcaya Metrorail station and into this incredible hidden wonderland. 

Phase III of this project, currently underway, will bring a host of amenities and curated experiences to the neighborhoods of District 7 all the way to Dadeland over the next two years. Pardon our dust. I promise you it will be worth it. Check out www.theunderline.org/phases/ for all the exciting details. 

Finally, one of the best things about the Underline is that it has inspired people all over Miami-Dade to reimagine what they can do to reclaim their public spaces. In Coconut Grove, I’m proud to partner with the Friends of the Commodore Trail to bring a similar vision to their neighborhood streets. In other areas, advocates of the Ludlam Trail are making use of old train tracks, while in Overtown, the City of Miami is

working on the Underdeck, a plan to reconnect a historic neighborhood devastated by the invasion of two major highways. 

This is the Miami we want. For ourselves, for our children. I can’t wait to do more!

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