Greater Miami, at one time, had an absolutely outstanding street and electric railway system with three separately managed and run companies operating them, one each on Miami Beach, in Miami and in Coral Gables, with two of its lines operating into downtown Miami. The sordid tale of the destruction of those lines goes hand in hand with the completely and totally inept operation(s) of Miami’s MetroFAIL anything but rapid transit anything but a system and TriFAIL’s bumbling and inept commuter rail system.
As usual, dear readers, and as with anything I write, those are statements of fact, not, and completely unlike the Queen Bee and Miami’s walking fountain of misinformation, made up crap or hooey.
When MetroFAIL was first announced, in the early 1970s, I was elected chairman of the Miami Beach District of the Citizen’s Involvement committee, one of seven county-wide, spread throughout the entire county. Eventually, and mainly because only one county employee—chief engineer Rand Preston–had any experience at all or any knowledge of rail transit I became the official (but unpaid) spokesperson for then-Dade County’s planned rapid transit program.
The Director, brought in from Atlanta by then-County Manager Ray Goode, was a man by the name of John Dyer, who had less than zero experience in or with transit. Dyer was brought in by Goode as director only because he knew how to apply for federal grants, but he sure as hell knew less than nothing about rail transit. Eventually Dyer “learned the ropes” and learned how to “play the game in Miami” and became as indifferent to anything but his self-interest as almost any and every other Dade County or municipal government employee. Unfortunately and unhappily, because Dyer knew less than nothing about rail transit and Mr. Preston was a truly accomplished expert, having worked on and having helped several systems to “cut their eye teeth” and become successful, and because Mr. Preston knew that Dyer was, when it came to transit, nothing more than a buffoon, Dyer moved as quickly as he could to fire Preston which was ethically criminal and a true shame. (Both are, today, deceased).
Dyer, assigning me on numerous occasions to publicly debate attorney Richard Friedman, who headed a group called STOP (“Stop Transit Over People”) as well as to speak at innumerable public gatherings on behalf of the proposed rapid transit line, found it easier to fabricate facts and numbers than to speak and explain the truth. And lest any of you are concerned that those written words are libelous (they are absolutely not, as the facts would prove time after time, not to mention, which I am doing, that the U. S. Supreme Court has ruled, on at least three different occasions with unanimous verdicts, that the deceased cannot be defamed and Dyer is certainly not being defamed, but he is having the truth written about him)
My long time proposal, presented to the late, great Ralph Renick circa 1964, was to have a rapid transit line originating in Homestead then going through downtown with one line swinging west to the airport with one branch going north on NW 27th Avenue at least to the county line and one to Miami Beach, terminating at the east end of the Julia Tuttle Causeway with the main line continuing north on the FEC corridor at least as far as Hollywood if not Fort Lauderdale. I pushed that with Dyer, years later, also, to no avail, but now, of course, you, our dear readers can see that at the very least the line up the FEC corridor is being pushed.
Dyer brought in several well-meaning but, like him, completely devoid of any knowledge of transit marketing management or operations, seeking out sycophants who would do his bidding. And do his bidding they did including Sylvia Morris King and Alan Wulkan, he as incompetent in transit as Dyer was.
Dyer, meantime, because he had been directed to please certain ethnic groups, presented completely and totally falsified “charts” purporting to show that the largest number of person-trips on the proposed system would be from downtown Miami to Hialeah. That, of course, was a total and absolute falsehood.
Eventually, his bumbling caught up with him and he left for California to become the director of the then to-be-built Los Angeles rapid transit system. Unlike Dade County, which was and is so bereft of knowledgeable people in the field and so filled with clowns and buffoons, a part which he fitted into completely, “they” caught on to him in L.A. within six months and kicked his butt out of their completely unceremoniously.
Next issue, the debacle of TriFAIL and what could have been done to make both systems entirely successful.