7/16/07

Pedestrians and Public Spaces, Part 1: Biscayne Boulevard

Before I begin, I’d like to thank all of our loyal readers who sent us copies of this article in the herald. Although we too had seen it, we’ve been busy working on investigating the new plan for Biscayne Boulevard and gathering as much information as possible to bring you the most comprehensive coverage. On that note, I’d like to thank everyone for their patience with our delinquent postings lately. Ryan, James, and I have a lot on our plates currently and we’re working hard to keep you well informed. With that said, if you have any comments, suggestions, or would like to apply to become a contributor on Transit Miami, feel free to contact us at movemiami@gmail.com. We will be working on introducing our newest writer over the next few weeks…

A plan is in the works to beautify and significantly enhance Biscayne Boulevard to make it a lusciously landscaped paradise for pedestrians. The initial phase of the plan calls for the re-alignment of Biscayne Boulevard south of the current phases of the Biscayne re-alignment project which has transformed the thoroughfare north of 5th street. The plan would move the Boulevard west, eliminating the current surface median parking, thus narrowing the street and creating approximately five acres of new park space along the western fringes of Bayside and Bayfront Park. This part of the plan is estimated to cost the city around $1 million, considering that FDOT would already be covering the re-alignment costs of the Boulevard.

A plan is already underway to beautify and realign the Boulevard from NE 5th Street to NE 13th Street. The Miller-Legg redesign is intended to better integrate a realigned Boulevard with the upcoming Museum Park project, providing better pedestrian access from the condominiums rising along the Biscayne Wall north to the promenade of the Carnival Center. The redesigned medians and curbs seen below feature an intricate brick design, abundant (we hope) foliage, and bus bays (perhaps streetcars, one day) fronting the new condominium developments:

The new proposed project further south, would mimic the successful design elements incorporated up north. The removal of the surface parking would significantly alter the width of the boulevard, making the menacing 8-lane behemoth a bit more manageable for pedestrians. Eliminating the useless (eyesore too, we might add) median parking will also provide about five extra acres of public space, which, if landscaped with shade trees will prove to be a boon to Bayfront Park and the River Greenway.

''This is as close to a no-brainer as you'll ever find,'' [Commissioner Marc Sarnoff] said. ``It's just wise and prudent for us to pursue this as quickly as possible.''

Other plans apparently appearing on an upcoming study of downtown Miami, includes a promising option of a joint-venture with a European company to construct an underground parking facility. This massive undertaking would reap large benefits for the Bayfront parks and whole downtown area. Allowing a private firm to construct and operate the parking facilities will allow the city to concentrate on other downtown area rehabilitation efforts. We’ll reserve judgment on this part of the project until more details are made public.

Via Homee's Panoramio...

''Now, people go to cities because they have an interest in seeing what the life of the city is like,'' he said. The problem with downtown today, [Bernard Zyscovich] said, is it's ``not the kind of place you'd ever want to come back to, by and large.''

The incorporation of more public green space and pedestrian friendly design elements is only the beginning of a much needed downtown overhaul which should be well in the works. Over the next two weeks, we’ll address how these improvements will spread west throughout the city’s central core, riverfront, and into the design district, creating a city that is navigable for people and more importantly creating abundant public spaces…Stay tuned, Miami’s pedestrian transformation is only one piece of the puzzle, which when combined with streetcar, bike, streetscape, and shading improvements, will make Miami’s urban core one of the most accessible (and desirable) places to live and visit...

Update: Critical Miami presents an excellent Overlay of Museum Park Plans...

Update: Eye on Miami and Bob:Miami discuss plans for parcel B...

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13 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there any bike plan for the 'museum park' or added to this portion of biscayne? I didn't see anything about that.

Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal said...

None that I am aware of...we're working on finding that out...

I once read something about a bike pathway requirement along the Museum Park and Miami River Greenway, but I haven't heard much else since...

www.Miami-Forum.com said...

I wonder how the narrowing of the streets and the Museum will affect our chance of bringing the Grand Prix of Miami back to Downtown. I thought hosting a race of that caliber was a great plus for our city.

Steven said...

I think that hosting a major event such as the race was good at the time, but as Miami has and continues to grow up as a city, I think having temorary things becoming permanant additions (as the current race track remenants at Bicentenial Park are) it becomes detrimental overall to the city as a whole. I am not opposed to holding the race at the homestead motorsports park or possibly running through the wider streets elsewhere in the county though.

www.Miami-Forum.com said...

Steven,

I don't want to debate if race is good for the city or not, but it was something I enjoyed watching. And hosting the race downtown made it easy for me to arrive via public transportation and the scenery was spectacular!

But don't get me wrong, so far I really like the city's plans for downtown. And I don't think it will take many adjustments to keep the possibility of bringing the race back to downtown.

And as far as the homestead speedway ... no right turns, no care! :)

Anonymous said...

There is a history that you may not know about the race. Originally the guy who set up the race track at bicentennial park temporarily, he was supposed to fix it after the race ended and restore the park to how it was previously. He then filed for bankruptcy and did not fix it back to its original look. Hence, that's why it's still there.
Oh, the same guy who filed for bankruptcy then opened the homestead motor speedway. He still never met that commitment to fix the park. So let's not let this happen again.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Miami is letting a private company put parking in to replace what they are taking. This would have been a perfect opportunity for the city to take spots forever out of the CBD, forcing more people to take mass transit to the CBD and not driving to it and congesting the roadways. NYC's lack of parking is its best anti-car usage (and therefore pro pedestrian & bike) policy.

Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal said...

Well, given the fact that the city likely wouldn't be able to fund the parking lot (let along build it) in a timely manner, I think it's a plus that an outside firm can be brought in to solve the problem. Now, will it cause the city to miss out on the parking fees of such a useful facility? Yes, but cleaning up downtown should become the city's primary responsibility right now, not some "fantasy" parking structure...

The city should adopt a more pedestrian/transit/bike mentality in either case...

Anonymous said...

I think these ideas are great, and I'm glad the city is turning its eyes towards these subjects. The only thing, is for them to actually do it, and when.

www.Miami-Forum.com said...

Thanks for the info! I didn't know the Original owner of the Downtown race is the current owner of the Homestead Speedway.

But I did know the owner of the Homestead speedway tried to sue the Grand Prix of Miami the last two years it was run downtown. I thought that was a classless and selfish of the Homestead Speedway.

James Wilkins said...

Actually I think the tolls to enter NYC are a bigger deterrent to people driving into NYC. Finding parking on the street can be figured out in a few weeks of attempts.

I don't know, but do others think that a toll could affect the Miami dependance on the car??

Anonymous said...

Until we have a better transit network it would be terrible to put in tolls. Also Manhattan being an island makes tolls work, the city would have to close all roads in and out and put up toll booths to do the same thing done in Manhattan.
So let's build a better transit system.

Narrow Biscayne Blvd said...

The plan to narrow Biscayne Blvd and enlarge Bayfront Park was created by Bernard Zysovich and brought to the public by Commissioner Sarnoff. Sarnoff found the plan sitting on a shelf and saw merit. We hope FDOT starts the engineering soon.