Want to Show People the Benefits of Transit? Build a Pretend Train Station

A two-day pop-up train station lands in Miami.

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The Purple Line/Facebook

Good luck navigating Miami without a car. Despite the construction of one heavy rail line (with an airport fork) and a downtown monorail, mass transit in the city remains, in the words of the Miami Herald, "a haphazard, disappointing mess." And there's no singing allowed.

But if the state of Florida were to develop service on underused tracks running north from downtown up the coast, what might it look like? A group of Florida Atlantic students is helping Miami residents imagine: today, they launch the Purple Line, a phantom train station.

Beginning at noon, visitors to the Wynwood area can stop by the intersection of NE 36th Street and NE 2nd Avenue, between the FEC tracks and the highway, and check out the kind of street life that a train station might produce.

The "pop-up transit station" will include sounds and lights simulating train arrivals, as well as a farmer's market, pop-up galleries, musicians, cafes, a comic book stand, a "Transit Confession Booth," and elements of urban life associated with high-activity hubs. For a couple of days, they'll turn Wynwood into Waterloo.

"We're trying to show artistically what can happen when you have an improved transit system. Miami can't grow to its full potential without a better transportation system, especially for the urban areas," Marta Viciedo, one of the organizer's, told the Miami New Times.

The organizers, veterans of the "Better Block" campaign, started the project months ago on Kickstarter. There are currently several proposals for how to best re-purpose the FEC tracks for passengers service.

All images courtesy of the Purple Line.

HT: Cap'n Transit.

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.