Miami is Transforming its Metrorail into The Underline Urban Park

Ever-shrinking green space in many major cities often leaves residents without a place to escape to the outdoors, even when they are outdoors. But, by repurposing and rethinking about existing underused land, some cities are devising clever ways to solve this problem. Inspired by New York City’s wildly popular High Line, Miami has started developing its own (cutely named) The Underline urban park.

Much of the land beneath Miami’s overground Metrorail is covered in asphalt, dirt, and dead grass — the definition of a “concrete jungle.” It’s underused, largely abandoned, and, by all accounts, an eyesore. However, the innovative new The Underline project will transform a 10-mile strip of its total 24-mile length into a beautiful urban park, which will connect South Miami to downtown Miami via Coral Gables. Metrorail riders will have direct access to the park at six  stations throughout the city.

Throughout the world, linear or “trail-based” parks have proven hugely popular. Seoul is home to the Seoullo 7017 Skygarden and plans are in the works for Camden Town in London. But the proponent’s of The Underline say the park is more than just a park.

The proposed 100-acre expanse will provide better ways to integrate the surrounding communities. It will offer relaxed public spaces focused on nature and wildlife habitat restoration, as well as general education opportunities. Local artists will be commissioned to decorate much of the existing concrete structures, and a variety of other installations and nature exhibits will dot the trail. Active city dwellers can explore the park via two parallel paths — an eight-foot-wide pedestrian footpath and a 10-foot-wide bike path — and several playgrounds and outdoor fitness areas will likely reside in the park.

Late last year, the City of Miami cemented $50 million to construct The Underline. The city is currently fundraising the remaining $70 million of the total expected cost. The park’s construction is already underway and should be completed by 2020. In the meantime, Underline Cycling Club organizes group bike rides to explore the park and the sites of its future exhibits.