Social Studies with Amy Rosenberg

Amy Talks Transit

Amy Rosenberg is an attorney and arts advocate who founded the Overtown Music Project and the Arsht Center’s young patrons group. She is the co-founder of the environmental non-profit Dream in Green. Amy is a member of Art Basel’s Junior Host Committee and sits on the Board of the Funding Arts Network. She also serves on the New World Symphony’s Friends Committee as well as The Wolfsonian-FIU’s Visionaries Committee.

A few weeks ago, I conducted an experiment to see how public transportation in Miami works. I ditched my car and boarded a bus in North Miami Beach with the intention of seeing a film at University of Miami’s Bill Cosford Cinema. I had the good fortune of sitting next to a very resourceful woman, clearly an environmentalist, with little use for water bottles, who licked her rain spattered trench coat the entire ride. I preferred her over the man in the back of the bus who was screaming biblical passages. Or the dirty guy. I won’t even tell you about him. Shudder. The ride took two and a half hours and, at its end, I was exhausted, anxious and determined to never board a Miami-Dade County bus ever again.

Lately, I’ve found myself sending ESP to Miami’s taxpayers, begging them to get behind a better transit system. I’ve also been actively fantasizing about a zip line strung between Wynwood and Miami Beach. (Truth be told, I got an estimate on how much this would cost. If anyone has a spare 50 million, please call. I will install it myself.)

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Adrienne Arsht Center to see Miami’s own Robert Battle and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The superb performance did melt my frustration at having to spend an hour and ten minutes in the car to get from North Miami Beach to the Center.

Getting to the vaunted South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s Farm to Table Brunch at the Palms Hotel took an hour and a half. Truth be told, I was pacified by Anita Lo’s delicate poached egg with chorizo and gigante beans and Alex Guarnaschelli’s carrot parnsip muffins. However, upon leaving, I did have an inclination to stow a few muffins in my handbag and fling them at drivers on Collins.

Red Velvet Valentine's Affair - Michele Henney, Wayne Stephens, Michelle Pitter and Wade Walker

On my way to Michele Henney’s Red Velvet Valentine’s Affair at Multitudes Gallery in the Design District, I had to refocus my negative driving energy on the theme of love to take my mind off multiple road closures. Grr…

Miami has so many fantastic cultural destinations. Problem is, how accessible are they to those of us who live here? Perhaps it’s time we lifted some ideas from other cities. In recent years, New York has imported smart parking meters from San Francisco, road pricing from London and buses from Curitiba, Brazil. The buses provide a fully dedicated express-lane and improve bus speeds by 35%.

Can we take a page from Copenhagen? Forty years ago, Copenhagen was as car clogged as we are. However, now 36% of the population arrives at work or university on a bike. 50% of the population owns a bicycle.

I want to live in a place where I can take public transportation to our downtown core to visit artist studios. I then want to be able to board a bus to my favorite breakfast dive on Biscayne – the S and S Diner – and follow that up with a jaunt through the Wynwood Walls. Will that ever be possible in Miami on public transit?

Until next time…

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