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Eulois Cleckley on shaping Miami-Dade's transportation landscape in 2024: An exclusive interview

Gaining insight into the vision and challenges of the transportation chief for Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County's transportation network stands at a critical juncture, with burgeoning challenges and ambitious transformations on the horizon. In an exclusive interview, Eulois Cleckley, the Director and CEO of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, offered profound insights into the intricacies of his role and the vision driving Miami-Dade's transportation evolution.

From navigating the complexities of managing a multifaceted transit system to fostering community engagement and advocating for inclusive infrastructure development, Cleckley's experiences and perspectives shed light on the path ahead for Miami's transit landscape.

Navigating a multifaceted role

Cleckley, at the wheel of a department comprising 4,000 staff members and overseeing transit systems such as Metrobus, MetroMover, and Metrorail, along with the management of public infrastructure, emphasized the monumental task of orchestrating an efficient transportation network for a population constantly on the rise. With a daily ridership of 245,000 individuals, Cleckley stressed the significance of his team's commitment to delivering services and projects of the highest standards.

Challenges and opportunities in Miami's transportation network

During the interview, we asked questions about the pressing challenges faced by Miami-Dade County, to which Cleckley responded that the strain posed by rapid population growth renders the region one of the top 10 most congested cities globally. Cleckley emphasized the need to accommodate this burgeoning demand by enhancing transportation options and revitalizing aging infrastructure. Notably, he highlighted the significance of projects such as the SMART Program, the Better Bus Network and Vision Zero, explaining the department's unwavering commitment to public safety and sustainable development.

As a professional with decades of experience under his belt, Cleckley understands that with change will come some reluctance from the public. He explained that his team fully expects some friction. However, the changes are meant to improve the system. In order to address public reluctance to change, the department is extensively engaging with the public as part of its outreach effort to help the people understand the changes and how they can benefit from them. Their team connects with people at different stops, at bus stops and public meetings, informing them of the changes and listening to their concerns.

Leveraging affiliations and Community Engagement for effective governance

As an active member of prestigious transportation organizations, including the National Association Of City Transportation Officials and Transportation Research Board, Cleckley talked about the value of staying informed about industry trends and best practices. He emphasizes the role these affiliations play in fostering a comprehensive understanding of city planning, policy influence, and infrastructure development, allowing Miami-Dade County to remain at the forefront of modern transportation solutions.

Moreover, Cleckley shared insights from his nonprofit initiatives, focusing on community engagement and business involvement in transportation projects. Notably, his work in the DC region showcased the significance of empowering underserved communities and small businesses, highlighting the pivotal role of grassroots engagement in fostering a more inclusive transportation system.

The project allowed him and his team to get underserved communities on board so they can have direct involvement in projects that impact them, all the while getting feedback for improvement. He reminisced, “That experience really shined a light on the challenges small businesses and communities face in transportation. It was good to be on that side of it to have a different approach.”

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A vision for the future: Long-term goals for the department in Miami

The department's main vision under Eulois Cleckley's leadership is to establish itself as a global exemplar in transportation options. This entails ensuring a premium transportation experience for Miami-Dade residents and workers, allowing them the freedom to choose their preferred mode of travel. Whether opting for public transit, walking, cycling, or other means, the aim is to create a seamlessly integrated, safe, and efficient transportation system that caters to the diverse needs of the community, regardless of age or physical condition. This holistic objective underlines the department's rigorous efforts and strategic initiatives aimed at achieving unparalleled excellence in Miami's transportation infrastructure.

Words of wisdom and legacy projects

In closing, Cleckley imparted valuable advice for aspiring professionals, emphasizing the importance of industry awareness, risk-taking, and results-driven performance. He also shared an endearing anecdote about the 'Four Four Four Program' initiated during his tenure in Denver, highlighting the program's positive impact on young students and the broader community, emphasizing the lasting legacy of community engagement and education.

Cleckley's commitment to enhancing Miami-Dade County's transportation landscape, along with Mayor Cava, Commissioners and partners, resonates with a profound dedication to innovation, inclusivity, and sustainable development, setting a remarkable precedent for the future of urban transportation in the region.

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