When Lynne Norris, a resident of the West Kendall community Winston Park, retired eight years ago, she was looking forward to kicking back and exploring the city from a bus or train and away from the often-hectic Miami traffic. But the tough part was enduring the wait.
“I would leave the house with my hair and makeup done, and by the time the bus arrived, I was a hot mess,” she recalls. “I didn’t think that waiting just a few minutes would be so tough, but being out in the direct heat really wears me out.”
Norris isn’t the only one getting worn out. Many Miami bus stops don’t provide adequate shade, and the hot sun can take its toll on transit riders. Through the Miami Foundation – Public Space Challenge, Neat Streets Miami launched the Growing Green Bus Stops initiative in the fall of 2017.
The goal is to create micro-public spaces at bus stops that provide riders with a more comfortable and inviting environment.
Creating Cool, Poetic Touches
Neat Streets Miami created cooler waiting areas for bus riders by planting two canopy trees at 10 unsheltered bus stops throughout the county. It also added another cool touch: poetry. Neat Streets partnered with O, Miami to create a poetry contest, collecting nearly 700 haikus along the way. The top haikus about trees were stenciled into sidewalks adjacent to the bus stops, adding an artistic flair to the practical shade trees.
This simple initiative shows that with relatively small aesthetic and environmental investments, a community’s transit experience can be markedly improved. Norris approves the new look. “What a creative way to make a wait at the bus stop more enjoyable,” she remarks. “I look forward to standing under a canopy and not the hot sun.”
A Bigger Picture You Can Be Part Of
Neat Streets Miami hopes Growing Green Bus Stops will help foster a sense of community engagement by involving the public in solving a shared problem — the need to achieve a 30 percent tree canopy in Miami-Dade County by 2020. It’s been proven that adding trees to cities reduces the heat island effect, curbs pollution and helps with storm water remediation, not to mention sequestering carbon dioxide.
Neat Streets Miami is a County board dedicated to the maintenance and beautification of transportation gateways, corridors and connections. Learn More about Neat Streets Miami and Million Trees Miami (Twitter handles @NeatStreetsMIA and @MillionTreesMIA, respectively) encourage residents to seek out these bus stops around Miami-Dade County and post selfies using the hashtags #GrowingGreenBusStops and #PublicSpaceChallenge.
Benefits For Commuters
- Canopy trees make your walk more beautiful and green, help with air pollution absorption, wind and sun protection, noise pollution reduction and storm water retention.
- Haikus were stenciled on sidewalks adjacent to bus stops to create a fun element that would help cultivate a love for trees among residents while highlighting local talent.
Above content provided by Parks-Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation