Construction has begun on the first segment of The Underline, a linear park under the Metrorail tracks that will eventually extend 10 miles from south of Miami River in Brickell to Dadeland South station.
The inspiration for The Underline came from The High Line, the wildly popular park on the west side of Manhattan built on an abandoned elevated rail line. It features walking paths to stroll among lush beds of native plants and quiet areas to sit and watch the world pass by.
The first phase of The Underline will run from the Miami River to Southwest 19th Street, offering Brickell a linear park with paths walking, biking and running, as well as basketball and soccer courts.
The space will also contain a dog park and butterfly garden and is expected to open in June of next year.
“When the project is completed there will be something for everyone,” says Meg Daly, who proposed the project and founded Friends of The Underline, “but the spine of the project will be the walking and biking trails that will be off-road and below the train in the shade.”
The project began in 2014 when Daly was taking a stroll under the Metrorail after breaking both of her arms in a bike accident and noticed how much unused space there was. Having walked The High Line in New York City, she knew there was potential for a similar park.
Designed by the same firm that designed The High Line, The Underline will cost more than $120 million, and run through three municipalities: Miami, Coral Gables and South Miami
Miami-Dade County and the state will contribute $23 million. The three cities in its path will also contribute to the project, but other phases of the project remain unfunded.
But Daly is optimistic.
“We really believe The Underline will catalyze other installations and implementations throughout Miami-Dade County,” she says, “and rethink the way people live and how they think of their industrial space now. They will look at it with a different lens of opportunity and not blight.”
Henry Tamayo is a student journalist in the South Florida Media Network’s New York City Bureau.