With the Everglades on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other our region’s network of north-south and east-west streets look like a ladder from the air. This allows us to build a north-south commuter rail system along the coast that connects our historic centers from Miami-Dade to Sebastian Inlet which is “fed” by an east-west system of premium transit utilizing light rail and bus rapid transit. By virtue of our linear development pattern we can thus build a transit system with fewer investments (fewer rail lines, fewer bus routes) than is necessary in regions that are more amorphous.
Our region also has very few gaps; very few natural features like mountains or valleys disrupt the network. We have barrier islands but they are connected by east-west bridges which form some of the most important (most well-travelled, compactly developed) rungs in the ladder. Our barrier islands were accounted for in our region’s initial grid planning with a great deal of design discipline. It is impossible to connect the cities of the American northeast or southwest for instance without a system of lines that must zig and zag around mountain ranges and bays, follow the coast as it moves in one direction and then to the next, and span long distances with no major destinations between them.
If we work together we can very efficiently connect the entire region north-south and east-west. In this respect we have an enormous advantage over other regions.