The Underline could kick-start nearby development, according to proponents of the public greenspace, who are hosting a series of public meetings this week unveiling plans to gauge community support.
Lisa Switkin, principal of New York-based James Corner Field Operations, the design firm for the Underline, said the corridor has the potential to make Miami a walkable city and discussed transit-oriented development.
“There’s great opportunity for the Underline to be a catalyst for development,” she said at a meeting held by Friends of the Underline on Thursday at the University of Miami.
Switkin also discussed challenges to building the proposed 10-mile long bikeway and park located south of downtown and underneath the Metrorail tracks, such as safety, lighting, maintenance and discontinuity at stations.
Two Metrorail stations in Coral Gables will be redesigned: Douglas Road and University. Coral Gables Commissioner Pat Keon said the city is in need of outdoor public spaces.
Up to 1,000 residential units will be built near the Douglas Road station, Keon said.
“Our downtown is starting to grow, from Alhambra [Circle] to Eighth Street…. We’re limited to open spaces in Coral Gables,” she said at the meeting. “We’re trying to create urban, residential communities.”
Additional public meetings include one geared toward the Brickell neighborhood on Friday and another focused on Coconut Grove on Saturday.
Switkin said the Underline could include retail, festivals, events, health and wellness, and restaurants. A master plan will be completed in September.
“Over the next six months, we’ll be working hard on our master plan. In addition to that, we’ll be developing details on the Brickell site and a second site to be determined,” Friends of the Underline founder Meg Daly told TRD in March. “We’re making a push to start building in 2016.”
James Corner Field Operations led the design team for the High Line in New York City. Three cities, along with the Knight Foundation, the Miami Foundation and others, will fund the $500,000 contract for the design.