Carly Grimm | Lexology

Miami may soon join the ranks of other major U.S. metropolises boasting innovative urban trail projects that have transformed neighborhoods and ignited a firestorm of private investment. The Underline, a proposed development catalyzed by the nonprofit group Friends of the Underline in partnership with Miami-Dade County, will convert the underutilized land below the County’s Metrorail line into a landmark system of urban trails and linear parks integrated with County transit.

A look at other comparable projects around the country suggests the Underline may be a powerful economic driver for Miami. New York City’s much-lauded High Line, a roughly 1.5-mile elevated linear park built on an unused portion of the New York Central Railroad, draws nearly five million visitors each year and has spurred $2 billion in adjacent real estate development. In Atlanta, the transformation of a 22-mile historic rail corridor into linear parks and multi-use trails known as the Beltline has generated $2.4 billion in private development.

The project may also have less obvious economic effects, such as attracting and retaining young talent in Miami. Millennials place a high premium on connected, transit-oriented communities that offer a sense of place and alternatives to hours spent crawling in traffic. The Underline can help take Miami off the list of the nation’s deadliest cities for pedestrians and put it on the map as a livable, vibrant destination for young professionals. Read more