Hold the Line

In 2004, Tropical Audubon Society launched the Hold The Line Campaign in collaboration with Friends of the Everglades and 140 other organizations. The intent was clear: Protect the rural lands and Everglades on the West and South sides of Miami-Dade County from the sprawling development encroaching from western metropolitan Miami. The goal was simple: Uphold the integrity of the Urban Development Boundary (UDB). Created in 1975, the UDB is an invisible line running along the south and western areas of the county hemmed by a buffer of agricultural lands. The agricultural corridor separates high-density zoning of urban Miami from the low-density zoning of the Everglades – the main source of water for 8 million Floridians.

The Hold The Line group has since expanded to become the Hold the Line – Ride the Line Coalition in response to the proposed expansion of the Dolphin Expressway (SR-836) beyond the UDB. The coalition believes that moving the boundary for highway expansion for any reason will attract development in the fragile Everglades and neighboring open space that is needed to recharge our aquifers and protect the region from sea level rise.

The expanded coalition’s goals now include: halt highway expansion; encourage public mass transit, keep the UDB intact; support smart growth in the urban core; and help push Climate Change adaptation and prevention. Hold the Line - Ride the Line members are ever ready to oppose unnecessary sprawl in the name of protecting environmentally sensitive lands, farmland and green space.

As recently as November 2014, Hold The Line successfully prevented mega-developer Turnberry Associates from building a mall and entertainment complex outside of the UDB along Northwest 41st Street west of the Florida Turnpike. The proposal underscored the mounting pressure by developers to move the UDB in order to build beyond the line.

The coalition has also turned its attention to traffic, a critical issue in Miami. Our county’s commuters are prisoners to an outdated and outgrown transit system. Yet the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority insists that highways are the solution to our transit problems. Hold the Line - Ride the Line believes building more roads will not solve problems, rather it will only perpetuate sprawl.

In an effort to promote Smart Growth in Miami-Dade County, Hold the Line - Ride the Line is asking that at least 60% of the tolls collected on SR 112 and SR 836 be plowed right back into public transit, rather than expansion and construction of more highways in Miami-Dade County.

In order to protect environmentally sensitive areas, we must move county planners away from a car-dependent mentality. Advocating for a comprehensive solution will connect existing roads, expand our public transportation systems, and make Miami sustainable into the future.

When comparing Miami’s mass transit system to those of other major metros, ours is deficient. Miami’s Metrorail system covers 24 miles with 23 stops in its two lines, and the Metromover has only 21 stops in its three loops. New York City’s subway system covers 660 miles with 468 stations. Despite our rail system deficiencies, we have nearly double the ridership per mile than that of the NYC subway system. If other major cities around the world, even many that are far less developed than Miami, can have a comprehensive public transportation system, why can’t we? There is a clear demand for mass transit. We cannot build our way out of congestion. It is simply not a sustainable solution. Rather we need to invest in public transportation now!

Let’s move away from a car-dependent community! Hold the Line - Ride the Line with us to arrive at a more connected Miami-Dade County. Demand a comprehensive, multi-modal public transportation system today and reclaim your life!

Join the Hold the Line - Ride The Line campaign, contact outreach@tropicalaudubon.org to sign-up, or call us at 305-667-7337.

More information: http://udbline.com/index.html