A new Brightline station will bring many good things to Aventura, but tourism is likely not one of them, said Mayor Enid Weisman.
The private train company partnered with Miami-Dade County to add an Aventura station to its Florida route in 2021. That station is just one of five of new expansions being added to the route. Other stops include Disney and Port Miami.
While the expansion will almost certainly cause an influx of Disney tourists, Weisman said the Aventura station is more of an environmental project.
The train will create an eco-friendly transit option, among other things, for Aventura.
A Brightline station “will be a wonderful way for us to reduce our carbon footprint and to be ecologically better citizens,” said Weisman.
The Aventura station will be located adjacent to Aventura Mall on West Dixie Highway and will include a pedestrian bridge over Biscayne Boulevard.
“Our mall is a tourist destination, but people come to Aventura because they have families or second homes,” said Weisman.
Aventura Mall is the largest mall in Florida and the fifth largest in the United States.
The goal is “not for [the station] to increase tourism, but instead increase current and part-time residents,” said Weisman.
Weisman said the train station could also help the traffic problem the city faces every day during rush hour.
It’s a form of “rapid transportation that will be able to cut down vehicular traffic,” said Weisman. “It will be easier with the traffic coming from trains rather than just vehicles.”
The Aventura station, originally scheduled to open by fall 2020, may not open until 2022.
“Brightline is expected to resume service near the end of the year, and we expect service to begin at Aventura shortly thereafter,” said Ben Porritt, Brightline’s senior vice president of corporate affairs.
While COVID-19 cases are decreasing, he said the company has taken steps to adapt its trains and stations into a contactless environment.
The Brightline stations are “advanced in creating a safe and healthy environment,” said Porritt.
The train company will use advanced touchless technology, while following basic COVID-19 guidelines to protect its riders when service reopens.
The train will have “touch-less hygiene, cashless stations and air filtration systems,” said Porritt. Six-foot distance guidelines will be enforced through “reserved seating with dividers between rows.”