6/25/07

Miami 21 Updates

A few days ago the most recent amendments to Miami 21 were published on the code's website, www.Miami21.org.


After looking it over, here are some noteworthy amendments:

  • The addition of an official definition of bike lanes and bicycle routes
  • The inclusion of cycling as a form of transportation to be promoted as a means of achieving sustainability
  • The requirement that developers post a "performance bond" at the time of permit application, which will force all new buildings over 50,000 square feet to be at least LEED Certified Silver. Failure to accomplish these standards within one year after the completion of the project would force developers to pay into the Miami 21 Public Benefits Trust Fund (would help fund affordable housing, among other things)
  • Article 3.7.1.d: Bicycle use of thoroughfares should be as follows: Bicycles and vehicles may share use of lanes on thoroughfares with design speeds of thirty 30 mph or less and should not share use of lanes on thoroughfares with design speeds of more than thirty (30) mph. Thoroughfares may include dedicated bicycle lanes. Greenways, waterfront walks and other Civic Spaces should include bicycle lanes.
  • Article 3, Section 3.7.1.e, Thoroughfares: Bicycle Lanes may be made part of thoroughfares that have sufficient paving width to accommodate bicyclists’ safety. A City-wide bicycle plan may designate an interconnected network serving bicyclists with a series of routes that include Bicycle Lanes as well as Bicycle Routes that give bicycles priority, such as those Thoroughfares which parallel major corridors and which can be reconfigured to limit conflicts between automobiles and bicycles.
  • Developers will receive incentives to reach Gold or Platinum LEED Certification
  • Down-zoning of T3-L from allowing 18 units/acre to only 9 units/acre
  • The requirement of at least one bicycle rack for every 20 vehicular parking spaces (it used to be 10 in some cases)
  • Within a half mile radius of a TOD and within a quarter mile of bus transit, the required parking may be decreased by 30%. In T6-48, parking for residential uses located within 600 feet of a Metrorail or Metromover station shall not be required.
  • Bulb-outs may be added where Thoroughfare widths are wide and design speed high, or where sidewalks are narrow in order to facilitate pedestrian safety.
So as you can see, there is some important new language that has either been added or altered within Miami 21. It's very encouraging to see all the new bicycling components, including language recognizing bike lanes and bicycle routes. However, I'm disappointed that they doubled the number of vehicular parking spaces necessary before even one bicycle rack is mandated. Perhaps most important of all, though, is the language encouraging the creation of a Bicycle Master Plan. This will be where cycling in Miami really takes off, not through a zoning code.

I'm not sure yet how I feel about the performance bond. It sounds like a good idea upfront, but I worry that wealthy developers will just say "the hell with LEED" and just plan from the get-go to pay into the special trust fund. Even though the trust fund is designed to help fund affordable housing, we just cannot sacrifice opportunities to have green buildings.

I was very disappointed to see the T3-L designation get down-zoned. Could this be a bone thrown to "suburb-in-the-city" types who fear density and true urban living?

As for the parking reduction language, it sounds pretty good on paper. However, I would much prefer to see it mandated instead of just an option, because developers in Miami do not have a good track record of reducing parking when possible under the current code.

10 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the future rules of Miami21 apply to existing buildings? Or do the rules only apply to new buildings?
I am very happy about the bike language and hopefully it will make Miami a safer and more pleasurable place to ride.

Anonymous said...

Miami developers rarely reduce parking because right now, today, it would be economically suicidal, and would ABSOLUTELY harm the building's resale value. It's not reasonable to expect developers to build parking-constrained buildings NOW in the hope that SOMEDAY Miami might have the transit resources to make reduced parking economically viable for anything besides the lowest of low-income buildings.

When/if the day comes that buyers cease to think parking is important, the developers themselves will be the first ones standing in City Hall asking to have the parking requirements reduced. It's called the free market... something that most Americans happen to cherish and value quite a bit.

Dave said...

Question, when they say "Bicycle Rack" so they mean bike parking stalls within a rack or the rack itself. For example if a building has 100 parking spaces does it mean it must have 5 full racks or just space for 5 bikes? Or for a more extreme example for a development like City Square with its 2000+ parking spaces will it need 100+ separate bike racks or just space for 100 bikes?

Ryan said...

The free market? That perfect system that has helped bring us rampant sprawl and a hyper consumer-based society that is entirely unsustainable?

In fact, the free market isn’t a fair market at all. Government policies have guided the free market down a suburban paradigm for decades. Now, planners have to move in the opposite direction to balance out bias. Regardless, it has been proven many times over that the free market is far from a perfect system and is not the solution to everything - especially when it comes to urban planning.

The free market is far too reactionary instead of proactive, which leads to bad planning. If we were to follow your system, we probably already would've paved over the entire Everglades, because that is the kind of land it would take to support an auto-centric growth model. Then what? It's too late to just turn around and change things, because the damage has already been done.

This is why planners are supposed to guide development and land use down a more sustainable paradigm. This is ESPECIALLY important given the urgent action that must be taken to fight global warming. The free market doesn’t see these types of externalities, nor what is morally or even scientifically right or wrong.

Thus, ANY policy that is going to induce private vehicular demand is usually going to be bad policy - we can no longer afford to continue down such a path.

Ryan said...

Dave,

I'll have to double check on the bicycle rack mandates for large buildings.

For smaller buildings, I'm certain it is one rack per 20 vehicular parking spaces, though I'm not exactly sure how many bike slots there would be per rack.

kingofrance said...

I think that bike racks are pretty low on the list of concerns for cyclists. Also, what happens when there is a "thoroughfare" with a design speed of 30+ mph and it doesn't have a bike lane?
Here's an example of a practical benefit for cyclists: they shortened the gates at the toll plaza on the Venetian so you can get through on your bike. It's the little things that make a big difference.

Ryan said...

Anon #1: Most of Miami 21 will apply to new buildings.

KOF: Good points. The important thing is that the language is there allowing these bicycle-oriented policies to be implemented.

Now it's up to the Bicycle Master Plan to take care of all the details. I'll post an update soon with information on when the City plans to break ground with planning a BMP.

Anonymous said...

If Miami 21 passes, which I doubt, tens of thousands of properties and homes will be non-conforming. Thousands of businesses will be non-conforming and possibly they will have to vacate. Scary stuff.

Miami 21, if it passes, will be a nightmare.

Another Miami Disaster? said...

Miami 21 did not pass. Far too many mistakes. Very poorly drafted. Out of touch staff. No sense of reality consultants. Really no concept with real life.

What a waste to $2 Mil to $3 Mil...Another Miami disaster?

Miami 21 affected existing buildings too said...

Miami 21 applies to new construction and existing buildings and existing uses.

Non-conforming structures and non-conforming uses were sveral of the most hated sections in Miami 21. Very scary to business people. For good reason.

Homeowners hated those sections as well. Hurricanes...?