Miami Travel Guide

Transportation

Airports

Miami International Airport serves as the primary international airport of the Greater Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world, Miami International Airport caters to over 35 million passengers a year. The airport is a major hub and the single largest international gateway for American Airlines. Miami International is the busiest airport in Florida, and is the United States' second-largest international port of entry for foreign air passengers behind New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, and is the seventh-largest such gateway in the world. The airport's extensive international route network includes non-stop flights to over seventy international cities in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Alternatively, nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport also serves commercial traffic in the Miami area. Opa-locka Airport in Opa-locka and Kendall-Tamiami Airport in an unincorporated area serve general aviation traffic in the Miami area.

Port of Miami

Miami is home to one of the largest ports in the United States, the Port of Miami. It is the largest cruise ship port in the world. The port is often called the "Cruise Capital of the World" and the "Cargo Gateway of the Americas". It has retained its status as the number one cruise/passenger port in the world for well over a decade accommodating the largest cruise ships and the major cruise lines. In 2007, the port served 3,787,410 passengers. Additionally, the port is one of the nation's busiest cargo ports, importing 7.8 million tons of cargo in 2007. Among North American ports, it ranks second only to the Port of South Louisiana in New Orleans in terms of cargo tonnage imported/exported from Latin America. The port is on and has 7 passenger terminals. China is the port's number one import country, and Honduras is the number one export country. Miami has the world's largest amount of cruise line headquarters, home to: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International.

On May 24, 2010, construction began on the $1 billion Miami port tunnel that will serve the Port of Miami.

Public transportation

Public transportation in Miami is operated by Miami-Dade Transit and SFRTA, and includes commuter rail (Tri-Rail), heavy-rail rapid transit (Metrorail), an elevated people mover (Metromover), and buses (Metrobus). Miami has Florida's highest transit ridership as about 17% of Miamians use transit on a daily basis.

Miami's heavy-rail rapid transit system, Metrorail, is an elevated system comprising two lines and 23 stations on a -long line. Metrorail connects the urban western suburbs of Hialeah, Medley, and inner-city Miami with suburban The Roads, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Miami and urban Kendall via the central business districts of Miami International Airport, the Civic Center, and Downtown. A free, elevated people mover, Metromover, operates 21 stations on three different lines in greater Downtown Miami, with a station at roughly every two blocks of Downtown and Brickell. Several expansion projects are being funded by a transit development sales tax surcharge throughout Miami-Dade County.

Tri-Rail, a commuter rail system operated by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), runs from Miami International Airport northward to West Palm Beach, making eighteen stops throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

Construction is currently underway on the Miami Intermodal Center and Miami Central Station, a massive transportation hub servicing Metrorail, Amtrak, Tri-Rail, Metrobus, Greyhound Lines, taxis, rental cars, MIA Mover, private automobiles, bicycles and pedestrians adjacent to Miami International Airport. Completion of the Miami Intermodal Center is expected to be completed by winter 2011, and will serve over 150,000 commuters and travelers in the Miami area. Phase I of Miami Central Station is scheduled to begin service in the spring of 2012, and Phase II in 2013.

Two new light rail systems, Baylink and the Miami Streetcar, have been proposed and are currently in the planning stage. BayLink would connect Downtown with South Beach, and the Miami Streetcar would connect Downtown with Midtown.

Rail

Miami is the southern terminus of Amtrak's Atlantic Coast services, running two lines, the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star, both terminating in New York City. The Miami Amtrak Station is located in the suburb of Hialeah near the Tri-Rail/Metrorail Station on NW 79 St and NW 38 Ave. Current construction of the Miami Central Station will move all Amtrak operations from its current out-of-the-way location to a centralized location with Metrorail, MIA Mover, Tri-Rail, Miami International Airport, and the Miami Intermodal Center all within the same station closer to Downtown. The station is expected to be completed by 2012.

Florida High Speed Rail was planned to connect Miami with Orlando and Tampa in a single line, but was canceled in 2011.

Road

Miami's road system is based along the numerical "Miami Grid" where Flagler Street forms the east-west baseline and Miami Avenue forms the north-south meridian. The corner of Flagler Street and Miami Avenue is in the middle of Downtown in front of the Downtown Macy's (formerly the Burdine's headquarters). The Miami grid is primarily numerical so that, for example, all street addresses north of Flagler Street and west of Miami Avenue have "NW" in their address. Because its point of origin is in Downtown, which is close to the coast, therefore, the "NW" and "SW" quadrants are much larger than the "SE" and "NE" quadrants. Many roads, especially major ones, are also named (e.g., Tamiami Trail/SW 8th St), although, with exceptions, the number is in more common usage among locals.

All streets and avenues in Miami-Dade County follow the Miami Grid, with a few exceptions, most notably Coral Gables, Hialeah, Coconut Grove and Miami Beach. One neighborhood, The Roads, is thusly named because its streets run off the Miami Grid in a 45-degree angle, and therefore are all named roads.

Miami-Dade County is served by four Interstate Highways (I-75, I-95, I-195, I-395) and several U.S. Highways including U.S. Route 1, U.S. Route 27, U.S. Route 41, and U.S. Route 441.

Some of the major Florida State Roads (and their common names) serving Miami are:

SR 112 (Airport Expressway): Interstate 95 to MIA
SR 821 (The HEFT or Homestead Extension of the Florida Turnpike): SR 91/Miami Gardens to U.S. Route 1/Florida City
SR 826 (Palmetto Expressway): Golden Glades Interchange to U.S. Route 1/Pinecrest
SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway): Downtown to SW 137th Ave via MIA
SR 874 (Don Shula Expressway): 826/Bird Road to Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike/Kendall
SR 878 (Snapper Creek Expressway): SR 874/Kendall to U.S. Route 1/Pinecrest & South Miami
SR 924 (Gratigny Parkway) Miami Lakes to Opa-locka

Miami has six major causeways that span over Biscayne Bay connecting the western mainland, with the eastern barrier islands along the Atlantic Ocean. The Rickenbacker Causeway is the southernmost causeway and connects Brickell to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne. The Venetian Causeway and MacArthur Causeway connect Downtown with South Beach. The Julia Tuttle Causeway connects Midtown and Miami Beach. The 79th Street Causeway connects the Upper East Side with North Beach. The northernmost causeway, the Broad Causeway, is the smallest of Miami's six causeways, and connects North Miami with Bal Harbour.

In 2007, Miami was identified as having the rudest drivers in the United States, the second year in a row to have been cited, in a poll commissioned by automobile club AutoVantage. Miami is also consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for pedestrians.

Bicycling

In recent years the city government, under Mayor Manny Diaz, has taken an ambitious stance in support of bicycling in Miami for both recreation and commuting. Every month, the city hosts "Bike Miami", where major streets in Downtown and Brickell are closed to automobiles, but left open for pedestrians and bicyclists. The event began in November 2008, and has doubled in popularity from 1,500 participants to about 3,000 in the October 2009 Bike Miami. This is the longest running such event in the US. In October 2009, the city also approved an extensive 20-year plan for bike routes and paths around the city. The city has begun construction of bike routes as of late 2009, and ordinances requiring bike parking in all future construction in the city became mandatory as of October 2009.

In 2010, Miami was ranked as the 44th most bike-friendly city in the US according to Bicycling Magazine.

Walkability

A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Miami the eighth most walkable of the fifty largest cities in the United States, but a 2013 survey by Travel + Leisure ranked Miami 34th for "public transportation and pedestrian friendliness."

source: Wikipedia

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