After using it daily when she lived abroad, Communications Director, Ana Perez’s dependence on public transit was challenged when she moved back to Miami. Daniela Sánchez, another Miami native and urban planner, had a similar experience when she moved back around the same time.
Determined to bring that part of their former lifestyle to Miami, Ana bikes (and sometimes uses her golden Saturn) while Daniela relies on public transit to move around. With some close encounters and no-show buses, Daniela and Ana quickly realized that Miami transit still needs a lot of work. Soon enough they found out about the Miami Dade Quick Build Program, a Miami-Dade Transit and Green Mobility Network sponsored initiative that provides funding and technical assistance to anyone who wants to make short-term, low-cost transportation improvements to their neighborhood. They quickly began brainstorming ideas: bike lanes, bus stops, and everything in between came to the fore.
“We thought that a big problem for Miami is the culture around public transit: a lot of people shy away from using it because they consider it difficult, unreliable, and complicated,” says Daniela. “While we don’t discredit that Miami transit has a lot to improve on, it is really not that difficult to move around, and that’s what we wanted to show people.” They thought a simple and efficient way to improve mobility was to install signs that inform people about which bus to take to get to a certain destination. “These signs direct people to popular destinations and transit hubs, so people can move easily with public transportation.”
Another thing that they considered was Miami’s sense of place. While Miami’s culture is distinct, there’s a transient nature beneath its surface. “When I studied abroad, the first thing I learned about was the city’s history. Granted- I was studying cultural heritage, but it made me realize how much I didn’t know about my own hometown,” admitted Ana. She thought that Miami’s transient nature could have to do with Miami’s weak sense of history. “This project provided an opportunity to make people more aware of the city they are living in, while also making it easier for people to move through it.” That’s why they included historical facts about Little Havana and Miami, so that public transit users can be entertained and learn a bit about their city on their commute.
Together they applied to the Miami Dade Quick Build Program and became one of 18 selected projects. Thanks to Street Plans Collaborative, their wayfinding improvement project, “Mira Eso Tu,” is set to launch this weekend and will bridge Little Havana, greater Miami and its cultural treasures. They’ll be installing these signs this Saturday, December 9th and be co-hosting a bike ride with Dade Heritage Trust and Magic City Bike Collective.
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