Phase Two of The Underline, led by GSLA Design, opens to the public in Miami

The concept of a linear park in an urban setting is nothing new: New York’s got the High Line, Atlanta’s got the BeltLine, and now, Miami has The Underline. Phase Two of the Florida project opened to the public last week. It added a 2.14-mile stretch between SW 13 Street and SW 19 Avenue to the still-in-the-works, 10-mile-long swath of land situated on the underside of Metrorail tracks.

Miami is a city known for traffic congestion. In Miami-Dade County 9.7 percent of households do not own a vehicle, so the need for a “multimodal corridor” alternative to getting behind the wheel is that much more apparent. With The Underline, the city of Miami, the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation of Public Works (DTPW), and Friends of The Underline have stitched together paths for biking and walking while connecting several transit stops, schools, hospitals, and businesses along the way.

The Underline
Phase Two of The Underline stretches 2.14 miles underneath Metrorail tracks on previously underutilized land. (Courtesy The Underline)

“The Underline is not just a cool amenity. It’s a way to connect communities to each other in all these special neighborhoods you can’t really appreciate from a car,” District 7 Commissioner Raquel Regalado shared in a statement.

bike lane and pedestrian path
Pedestrian lanes and bike lanes are separated (Courtesy The Underline)

Phase Two, led by Ken Gardner of Gardner + Semler Landscape Architecture Design (GSLA Design), follows up on Phase One designed by Field Operations. There, the landscape designers behind the High Line combined resiliency with recreation. The 0.5-mile stretch of greenspace was built on three “key drivers”: safety, nature, and community. A pathway that separates bikers and pedestrians promotes safety, while native vegetation addresses nature, and public art and space for cultural programming makes the park a hub for community-based activity.

Phase Two concentrated on the same goals. It added 100,000 native plants, 1,000 trees, and resilient bioswale landscaping. This increased tree shade canopy by 36 percent and has attracted wildlife to the area. Those opting to take on the route by bike will now find new bike racks, hydration stations, and even a bike repair shop. A new playground caters to the younger crowd with equipment built from wood and a soft ground terrain.

artwork on view on The Underline
Public art is situated along the path, including Leaning Arches by Athena Tacha (Courtesy The Underline)
runners on The Underline
Phase Two added 100,000 native plants and 1,000 trees. (Courtesy The Underline)

Wayfinding and The Underline’s brand identity are expertly intertwined. The signature shade of bright green used on the benches also appears on signage and the revamped crosswalk at roadway intersections. To mark miles along the route, a stamp-like font was painted on the structural columns. The letter treatment was also used to indicate the proximity of nearby transit stations and designate the names of specific programmed areas, for instance the Hammock Playground, along the winding pathway.

New playgrounds are among the programmed amenities. (Courtesy The Underline)

Work on the next seven or so miles of The Underline are still underway and anticipated for completion in 2026. In addition to native plantings and a continuation of the bike and walking paths, the park space will have a dog run, pickleball courts, skate park, microforests, and other play-driven and recreation-forward amenities.

walkway with green crosswalk
The Underline links up with train stops in Miami and vehicle thoroughfares. (Courtesy The Underline)

On May 8, The Architect’s Newspaper presents the 4th annual Outdoor Spaces conference, at the virtual event Field Operations will discuss its work on The Underline. Click here to view additional conference information and register.

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