First Phase of Underline Opens in Miami

John Hill
3. March 2021
Photo: Robin Hill, courtesy of Friends of The Underline

The Underline is a multi-phase transformation of the space beneath Miami’s MetroRail into a park, trail, and art destination. The first phase, a half-mile section in downtown, opened to the public on Friday, February 26.

The landscape architect selected in 2015 to lead the planning for the 10-mile-long project was none other than James Corner Field Operations, a name familiar to most people for designing the enormously successful High Line in New York. Corner's firm is responsible for the framework plan for the entire length of the Underline and for the detailed design of two early elements: Brickell Backyard and the University Colonnade. 

The first phase comprises the Brickell Backyard section, named for MetroRail's Brickell station and stretching from the Miami River to SW 13th Street. From north to south, the Brickell Backyard consists of four named areas: River Room, Urban Gym, Promenade, and Oolite Room. With walking and biking paths, gaming tables, outdoor dining areas, exercise equipment, a running track, sports courts, and a dog park, the first phase is clearly geared toward supporting recreational activities. Still, plantings are in abundance, with a focus on native plantings and mitigating stormwater flooding.

Phase two, currently in pre-design, will extend for 2.4 miles in a southwesterly direction from SW 13th Street to SW 19th Avenue. Phase three, currently in procurement, will pick up at SW 19th Avenue and extend for seven miles, to Dadeland South Metrorail Station. The three-phase, ten-mile-long Underline is expected to be complete by 2025.

Photo: Robin Hill, courtesy of Friends of The Underline

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