Miami’s Underline Park for Pedestrians Opens

Brickell Backyard is the first phase of the under the train tracks park to be completed.

Mar 18, 2021
Miami’s Underline Park for Pedestrians Opens | Brickell Backyard is the first phase of the under the train tracks park to be completed.

If you follow the path of Miami’s elevated Metrorail, you will find that what was once vacant and unused urban space is now a vibrant park with paths for bikes and pedestrians filled with abundant greenery. The first phase of the Underline Park near Brickell Avenue – called Brickell Backyard – has officially opened.

The Florida city’s Underline Park will become a 10-mile (16-kilometer) linear park with an urban trail and spots for public art according to Forbes. Each of the three sections that run from the Miami River to Dadeland Station will reflect the unique feel of the neighborhoods.

The first stage – that just opened – stretches for half a mile and includes river views, butterfly gardens, recreation areas with room for basketball courts, mini-pitch soccer, a running track, and dedicated paths for pedestrians and cyclists.

The sections contain spaces like the “The River Room” at the northern end of the park which will feature native grasses and pollinator plants, an art gallery, and a dog park. There will also be an urban gym, flex court, and a promenade area that includes a sound stage and plaza.

Along the entire park corridor, there will be restaurants and food trucks. The Underline will also have lodging as well as commercial and meeting spaces.

The Underline was inspired by New York City’s High Line and both parks share the same designer, James Corner Field Operations except that the Miami park is at ground level beneath the tracks. It is the brainchild of Meg Daly, president and CEO of Friends of The Underline

Eight years ago, after breaking both her arms in a bicycle accident, Daly, was walking on the overgrown and dirty paths under the metro and she realized that it could be turned into a safe and beautiful place for walking and cycling. “It’s re-imagining 10 miles, or 120 acres, of basically dead space below Metro rail,” Daly told Fast Company.

She realized that it would become a valuable part of the city so she worked with investors to raise $120 million for the new park according to Fast Company. The hope is that the Underline will have economic benefits for the neighborhoods that surround it as well as improving the quality of life for the residents.

There are environmental benefits too. In a traffic study conducted by Friends of the Underline, the organization found that by helping people walk to the Metro, it could help reduce traffic by 5 percent. By making walking and bicycle riding safer, more people will  choose to leave their cars at home.

Miami and New York are not the only US cities that are re-imagining urban space. Atlanta, Georgia’s redevelopment project called The Atlanta Beltline will connect 45 inner-city neighborhoods in a 22-mile (35.4 kilometer) loop of green spaces as well as  walking and biking trails.

The first part to open was built on what was abandoned rail lines that encircled the city. The partially completed Beltline has brought economic development to Atlanta with new apartment buildings and restaurants being built around it.

Making urban spaces greener and improving the quality of life for city residents is a win/win. Projects like the Beltline and the Underline Park will go a long way to a more sustainable future.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.