If you build it, they will build

Posted by Brian Schmidt
on Wednesday, April 10, 2019

If you want to see the progress that Brightline has brought to southeast Florida, look up. There are new buildings going up around the stations in West Palm Beach and Miami. In the coming days I’ll have more observations and thoughts on the Brightline experience, but this was the most striking observation of the days.

The large tower nearest the West Palm Beach station, just across the street in fact, has housing for lease and also parking for passengers. It soars above the station and many other buildings west of the Florida East Coast main line, as seen above. Just a block away is a Publix supermarket and a mix of commercial space — perfect for making a real neighborhood built around Brightline.

In Miami, new towers are springing up between the station and the waterfront. This seems a near miracle considering that a few years ago a rail transit official in southeast Florida told me that all the development did, and would continue to, go to Miami Beach. Spending time around Hialeah, where MetroRail and Tri-Rail passengers transfer modes, I was told to keep my head on a swivel. I commented that most other cities in North America with rail transit have seen significant development around rail transit and cities work to keep those areas safe and visitor friendly, thus eliciting the comparison to Miami Beach. Of course, that was before the world knew about Brightline.

Hopefully, this is just the start of good things to come.

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