"It’s crazy," longtime Overtown activist Edduard Prince tells New Times. "They’re destroying the community."
Prince says Overtown residents weren't properly warned that a gigantic wall was going up that could cut many of them off from downtown. BRIGHTLINE RECEIVED MORE THAN $17 MILLION from the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency — the group tasked with funding "revitalization" projects in the neighborhood — according to Prince. The activist doesn't see how a gigantic wall splitting Overtown from Biscayne Boulevard helps anybody.
"Originally, they just told us it was going to be a 'ramp,'" Prince says. "But the wall starts and stops where Overtown stops. The wall is just at Overtown; then it turns into like, the same way the Metrorail is, with open space underneath."
Last month, the Miami Times, the newspaper serving the city's black community, officially called the project the "Great Wall of Overtown" and quoted multiple activists who said the wall upset them.
"The real deal is when the design was put together our CRA should have … looked at that and saw where it blocked us off from the other side of the community. Metrorail didn’t do that,” local activist Jackie Bell told the paper.
Longtime Overtown residents and Miami historians will both tell you that highway overpasses destroyed the neighborhood. The formerly segregated community, which used to be called "Colored Town," was full of renowned clubs, brightly colored homes, churches, and a thriving mix of Caribbean and African...
Monday’s announced cutbacks end an expansion of Metrorail services announced last October, when Mayor Carlos Gimenez was running for reelection on a pledge to improve transit options countywide.
Transit officials were not immediately available for on-the-record interviews. A draft press release prepared to announce the service reductions said late-night demand for Metrorail is very low, and that bus routes paralleling the Metrorail tracks run overnight. In a statement, transit chief Alice Bravo linked the Metrorail cuts to declining ridership and said “We are targeting the changes that impact the fewest number of transit patrons.”
The cutbacks on Metrorail follow an announced plan to eliminate stops on some bus routes and contract out others to save money. With gas prices low and the job market strong, public transit has been seeing declines nationwide. In Miami-Dade, Metrorail ridership is down about 6 percent this year, while bus boardings are down about 10 percent. Compounding the problem: a slump in sales taxes, including the half-percent tax that subsidizes the transit system. ... See MoreSee Less