New York has the High Line, a 1.45-mile section of abandoned elevated train tracks that was transformed into a busy park and led to the redevelopment of a long-neglected stretch of the city’s west side.
Now, Miami has the Underline, a 10-mile urban park stretching from downtown to South Miami and a shady respite below the Metrorail tracks.
Last week, the first section opened in the bustling Brickell neighborhood. Adorned with public art by Ximena Caminos of the Faena Hotel and a horticultural design from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, this first phase from Brickell Station to Vizcaya Station is expected to become another iconic Miami destination, along with the Wynwood Walls and Miami Beach art deco district.
After completion in 2025, the Underline will span an estimated 120 acres and will include butterfly gardens, dog parks, exercise equipment, basketball courts, a mini-soccer pitch, performance areas, bioswales, and temporary and permanent outdoor art installations.
To serve visitors of all ages, Friends of the Underline, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, plans to organize numerous health and wellness, cultural, educational and environmental programs along the stretch.
The opening for Phase 1, known as Brickell Backyard, marks a milestone for the fastest-moving project of its size in the country with more than $120 million of the total construction cost already secured, according to the group.
Brickell Backyard already sports a line of domino tables, a community dining table that can seat 50, outdoor ping-pong tables, a basketball court and a community stage for yoga classes, movies and live music.
When the remaining eight sections are completed, the Underline will stretch southwest from the Miami River in Brickell to the Dadeland South Station, connecting neighborhoods and hotspots including Vizcaya, Coconut Grove and the University of Miami along the way.
“I am inspired by our many supporters and believers who are committed to building a better community while improving connectivity and equitable access to parks and green spaces throughout Miami-Dade County,” said Friends Founder Meg Daly.
Daly was inspired to transform the space after a serious accident in 2013. She broke both of her arms while riding her bike, and since she could not drive herself to physical therapy, Daly decided to take the Metrorail near her home and then walk the rest of the way to her appointment underneath the train tracks. As she walked each week, she noticed how wide the corridor was, how cool she felt beneath the shade of the tracks — even in July — and that she was the only person using the space.
With the support of the community’s input and world-class design by James Corner Field Operations, a vision quickly developed to transform this unused, overgrown land into a public park and gathering space, Daly said.
For more information about the Underline, go to TheUnderline.org.