Posts by: Felipe Azenha

Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking and distinguished professor of urban planning at UCLA, will give a talk on Monday, April 21 from 8 to 10 AM at AIA’s Miami Center for Architecture & Design, 100 NE 1 Ave, Miami, FL 33132.

Shoup is the godfather of the scientific study of parking, and has spoken widely about the benefits of eliminating required parking for mobility and urbanism.  Shoup writes: “This doesn’t mean, however, that developers won’t provide off-street parking. It simply means that urban planners won’t tell developers exactly how many parking spaces they must provide before they can get a building permit. Developers will provide the parking spaces they think buyers demand.”

Capacity is limited, RSVP at shoupmiami.eventbrite.com and send to all your contacts, followers, members, students, etc.  Continental breakfast will be served.  Supported by the Knight Foundation, AIA Miami, APA Gold Coast Section, and Townhouse Center.

Shoup Flyer

 

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Last night County Commissioners voted in favor of Vision Zero 305. Much like NYC’s Vision Zero NYC, Vision Zero 305 is a set of comprehensive policies developed in Sweden and aimed at a future in which no one is killed or seriously injured by traffic.

Miami is the 3rd most deadly metropolitan area in the nation for cyclists and pedestrians. Vision Zero 305 will be based on the refusal to accept that human death or lifelong suffering from injury is an acceptable result of road traffic. In order to achieve this vision, our traffic systems must be designed with the understanding that people make mistakes and that traffic crashes cannot be avoided completely. Roads should be designed so that when crashes do occur, they do not result in serious injury or death.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez had this to say:

“My fellow commissioners and I have finally come to recognize that Miami is about 2 decades behind other so-called “world class cities” when it comes to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. We have a public safety crisis unfolding on our streets and we need to make our streets safer for everyone; we need to design our streets for people, not cars. There clearly has been no leadership or vision from anyone on the County Commission when it comes to preventing traffic deaths, but that is about to change. We will no longer strive to become the deadliest metropolitan area in the nation for cyclists and pedestrians.  Instead we will strive to have the safest streets in the country.”

According to Commissioner Xavier Suarez, “the County will implement a complete streets policy and we will hold police accountable when it comes to doing their job; we actually expect them to enforce traffic laws.”

This is a big step in the right direction.  Let’s just hope this is just not the same old political posturing that we’re tired of hearing.

 

Dead End

 
Driver hit cyclists from behind.  Notice the windshield. How fast was the driver going?

Driver hit cyclists from behind. Notice the windshield. How fast was the driver going?

I’m really tired of writing this same old story. On Friday morning another cyclist was critically injured on Bear Cut Bridge, the very same bridge where Chistopher Lecanne was killed nearly 4 years ago when a driver hit him from behind.

Crashes like these are preventable if only our elected officials could get their act together and address the public safety crisis that is happening in front of their very own eyes.

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The Rickenbacker Causeway is a microcosm for the greater ills of the county. Case in point: In the past 7 years at least 3 cyclists have been killed and countless other have been critically injured, yet the existing conditions on the Rickenbacker Causeway are getting more dangerous (i.e. Bear Cut Bridge), not safer.  Virtually nothing has been done to make the Rickenbacker less dangerous.  How many people need to die before something is done?

Miami Dade County is the 3rd most dangerous metropolitan area in the country for pedestrian and cyclists, yet our elected officials are dragging their feet when it comes to making our streets safer.  All I hear is political grandstanding that changes are coming and in the meantime pedestrians and cyclists continue to be slaughtered on our streets. The entire situation is disgraceful and shameful and collectively Miami Dade County elected officials need to be held accountable.

Click here to send an email to all of our County Commissioners and Mayor Gimenez and let them know what an awful job they are doing when it comes to pedestrian and cyclist safety throughout the County.  This is not just a Rickenbacker Causeway issue, this is a county wide problem that has turned into a public safety crises.

The situation has reached a point that is beyond embarrassing.
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

 

MFN0018-SeminarsEblast-Rev4 - Approved

 

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ArtDevelopment2

Join the SE FL/Caribbean District Council of the Urban Land Institute as we explore synergies between art and real estate. The program will review opportunities to expand art in real estate development and its impact on community building and place-making.

This event will examine both the challenges and the business case for the inclusion of art and design at the very center of project thinking.

Agenda:

3:00 pm - Registration & Networking
3:30 pm - Keynote Presentation:  Creative Placemaking: Carol Coletta, VP/Community and National Initiatives, Knight Foundation
4:30 pm - Panel Discussion: Integrating Art into Real Estate Development
Dennis Scholl, Vice President / Arts, Knight Foundation
Philip E. Aarons, Principal and Founding Partner, Millennium Partners
Thomas Collins, Director, Perez Art Museum Miami
Arthur Weiner, Chairman, AWE Talisman

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm - Networking Reception

Docent – led tours of the PAMM available following the event (Registration required.)

 

Please join the Knight Foundation at the O Cinema in Wynwood on Tuesday March 25 for a free screening of the film “The Human Scale” by Jan Gehl (77 minutes, English, 2012) followed by panel discussion.

Fifty percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, this will increase to 80 percent. Life in a mega city is both enchanting and problematic. Today we face climate change, loneliness and severe health issues due to our way of life. But why? The Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl has studied human behavior in cities for 40 years. He has documented how modern cities repel human interaction and argues that we can build cities in a way that takes into account human needs for inclusion and intimacy.

Knight Foundation continues to lead efforts to build Miami’s art and cultural life, as well as its emerging community of entrepreneurs, startups and makers. Both thrive in urban environments that are well planned and built to a human-scale. The insights and lessons in this film will be enormously important and helpful in thinking about the path ahead for our rapidly evolving city.

6 pm - doors open
6:30 pm - screening followed by discussion
Learn more about the film at thehumanscale.dk/the-film/.

It’s free when you RSVP using this Eventbrite link.

 

 

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Nationally acclaimed The Wolfsonian-FIU museum inaugurates the “Power of Design 2014: Complaints,” a four-day think tank that uses art, design, music and discussions to highlight community challenges and initiate collective problem-solving. The event will represent a new age in Miami’s market. The festival will bring together world-renowned change-makers, thought leaders and visionaries from multiple fields for lively discussions, presentations, performances and exhibitions in an effort to sway locals from dissatisfaction to action through empowerment. This year’s topic of “Complaints” theme is not intended as a gripe fest but rather an ideas exchange on what comes nextaction, innovation, solutions. Several satellite events and initiatives will complement “Power of Design,” including a Complaints Choir, discussions on transportation, housing and much more.

Free and open to the public events:

THURSDAY MARCH 20, 6PM–9PM

Complaints! An Inalienable Right - Exhibition opening & reception, free & open to the public

  • ·         Because life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness may just depend on complaints. Acclaimed artists and graphic designers weigh in with original posters. The exhibition is curated by design historian, author, and critic Steven Heller.

BUMMER - Installation opening & reception, free & open to the public

  • ·         Because sometimes beauty is a really big bummer…The Wolfsonian’s astonishing collection of human documents includes items that are immediately exquisite while others at first seem rather ordinary. On occasion these artifacts, from gorgeous paintings to domestic pleasantries, are quite unsettling. Factory scenes with a dreariness that glows. An autopsy painting that pleases with its formal harmony. Frank Lloyd Wright prototype chairs that are elegant to the eye and simply torture to the sitter. And how easy to be put at easy by the coziness of totalitarian dinnerware! BUMMER, an installation drawn from The Wolfsonian’s collection and on view in the fifth floor galleries, is curated by renowned designer Todd Oldham.


Complaints Choir - 
Performances, free & open to the public, 7pm and 8pm

  • ·         It’s just what it sounds like: a bunch of people standing around, singing complaints. It’s also an international movement, with seventy complaints choirs in existence (Sweden has the most). This is a joint project of FIU’s School of Music and FIU’s Honors College, which spent months collecting complaints for our listening pleasure.

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 11AM- 4:30PM

Solutions! New Ideas and Art Made From Everyday Things You Might Otherwise Throw Away - Youth program for children six through twelve accompanied by an adult, free & open to the public, advance registration required, 11am

  • ·         There are potential treasures hanging out in your recycling bin. Those tin cans and peanut butter jars you complain about rinsing out may just be the raw materials for works of art. Renowned designer Todd Oldham leads a hands-on workshop on creating art from recycled materials.

Other notable participants include: novelist and public radio host Kurt Andersen, political humorist Andy Borowitz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Michael Chabon, virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, designer Todd Oldham, Wired magazine powerhouse Clive Thompson and editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure magazine, Nancy Novogrod, among other local influencers.

Full event details:

  • ·         When: March 20-23
  • ·         Where: Except where noted, all events will be held at The Wolfsonian–FIU located at 1001 Washington Ave.
  • ·         Ticketing: Exhibits, along with performances on Thursday evening, March 20, and Sunday, March 23, are free to the public. Tickets to the entire slate of events for the “Power of Design” weekend are $1,000 and include exclusive dinners with attendees and special guests.

 

Via DawnTown

AM poster

Recently, City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado declared March as Miami Bike Month. And why shouldn’t it?  Did you see the latest gathering this past Friday for Critical Mass?  Hundreds of people, including celebrity cyclists and NBA megastars Dwyane Wade and Lebron James, were in attendance for a 13 mile trek around Miami.  Cycling has become the latest “thing” in Miami.  However, it could be more than just a monthly ride.  Why not see cycling as a serious solution to the traffic congestion problems in and out of the city?  Cities like Amsterdam and Chicago seem to think of it as a real solution.  It doesn’t have to just be about bikes either, car sharing has become a major business as well and could also assist with making our streets safer.  What if there was a place in Miami, built infrastructure that helped promote these solutions?  Well there could be…..that’s where DawnTown needs your help.

 

We are officially launching our new architecture ideas competition for 2014, called Alternative Mobilities.  The competition is open to professionals and students of architecture and other design fields to come up with a new type of transportation hub. One that acts as a generator for new ways to move around downtown in a more sustainable fashion.

 

Included here is our competition brief:
Alternative Mobilities Competition Brief – FINAL

 

This time we around we are instituting a registration fee. Why you ask?  Many of you have alerted us that printing, mounting on foam core, and shipping your competition boards have cost you $100 to $150!  Instead, we’ve decided to reduce the amount of printed material by asking you only submit your projects digitally.  The fee allows us to do the printing for you.  It’s all explained in the brief above.
Currently, the registration fees are as follows:

 

EARLY BIRD………$25.00 US     (Register before March 27th)
REGULAR REGISTRATION……….$40.00 US  (After March 27th)

 

Act soon and take advantage of our early bird registration.  In order to do so visit our Eventbrite page:  https://dawntownmiami.eventbrite.com

 

GOOD LUCK!

 

 

Port-of-Miami-Lecture-Evite2

 

Click here to register

Topics of relevance include:
• Workplaces of the Future
• Thriving in a 21st Century City with Less Parking
• Successful Reuse
• Moving People and Making Places…TOD
• Future of Residential Development…Renaissance or Replay?
• Trends in Real Estate Financing
• Jumpstarting Important Community Projects through TAPs
• Managing Your Real Estate Career

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via the Knight Foundation

ipad, dis, doorgirl, basel, miami

Andrew Frey is executive director of Townhouse Center, a not-for-profit that promotes fine-grain urban neighborhoods. Below, he writes about a studio course in architecture at Florida International University, produced in collaboration with Townhouse Center, that is receiving $60,000 in new support from Knight Foundation. Photo credit: FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Make a list of your three favorite urban neighborhoods in the world, complete neighborhoods with residents, jobs and stores. Maybe Little Havana in Miami, the North End in Boston and the West Village in New York. Maybe the historic centers of Savannah, Ga., Cartagena, Colombia, and Penang, Malayasia. Now in your favorite neighborhoods, picture the buildings they are made of: most likely many small buildings, each low- or mid-rise, and mixed-use.

Compared to your three favorites, every urban neighborhood in Miami deserves to be just as remarkable in its own way. Focusing on key steps can dramatically increase the probability of greatness, for example, most vibrant urban neighborhoods are made of many small mixed-use buildings, not large towers. Unfortunately, few of these small buildings have been built in Miami in recent decades, and the development community is out of practice: developers, architects, contractors, etc.

To help Miami build great urban neighborhoods, one of the key steps is that the next generation of architects relearn how to design small mixed-use buildings. Knight Foundation support made such a course possible at the FIU Department of Architecturein the spring semester of 2013, and the results were encouraging, enough so that the foundation recently extended its support for an additional two years: the current semester and spring semester of 2015.

Directed by Department of Architecture Chair Jason Chandler in collaboration with Townhouse Center, the course leads each student through documenting an existing small mixed-use building in Miami, visiting Savannah for a long weekend to study and draw urban prototype buildings different from Miami, and, for the remainder of the semester, designing a new small mixed-use building. The best student work is curated into anexhibit and book (paperback or free e-book).

Knight Foundation’s new support will also give us more capacity. The course will expand from 75 students to 125, and add an additional day in Savannah. The Department of Architecture is also requiring the course for all first-year master’s degree students, demonstrating FIU’s commitment to building great urban neighborhoods in Miami. After three years, the course will have trained more than 300 young architects for the challenges and opportunities of small mixed-use buildings.

The course builds on other collaborations between the Knight Foundation and Townhouse Center to promote better urban neighborhoods in Miami, such as the South Florida’s Best Block photo competition and the Hi-Res Miami free building plans. Best Block, presented with the Miami Herald and WLRN, generated broad community debate about what makes a great urban block.  Hi-Res Miami is award-winning Interface Studio Architects’ design for the typical small site in Miami, which anyone can download and share.

Why is it important to promote fine-grain urban neighborhoods? Convenience and economic opportunity are part of it, but it also helps people develop deeper attachments to their cities. Charles Montgomery writes in “Happy City” that people feel happier and more engaged on crowded, messy blocks than they do near large buildings with blank facades. And Richard Sennett writes that “The Holy Grail” is to build “mixed-use environments in order that the inhabitants develop a more complex understanding of one another.” Any way you say it, it’s a formula for successful communities.

Frey is also a development manager at CC Residential, a developer of luxury rental apartment communities.  

 

This is a free event.  Please RSVP here.

Click here for the list of all the sexy real estate professionals that have already RSVP’d

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Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez sent us an email yesterday in response to our post last week where we questioned his commitment to safety on the Rickebacker Causeway because of several recent crashes on the Rickenbacker Causeway that involved cyclists being struck by cars. As the Mayor noted in his response, we would like to acknowledge that one of the crashes (crash #2 below) that we highlighted did not happen on December 31, 2013 as we had stated. The Mayor’s office correctly pointed out that this particular crash happened nearly a month earlier. Transit Miami, and I personally would like to apologize for this oversight; our source was incorrect and we failed to validate the claim provided to us, perhaps due to our disbelief regarding the circumstances of the original crash that occurred that morning.

As for the third crash, however, while there was no police report (as validated by Mayor Gimenez’s Office), it did occur. In fact, Mayor Gimenez received an email about the hit and run from a respected Miami attorney shortly after the crash occurred.  Transit Miami was forwarded this email and we believe that the source was credible and that the crash was valid (but not reported to Police).

Regardless, our position remains the same: there have been too many crashes on the Rickenbacker Causeway and an insufficient response on the part of our elected officials.  From our perspective, not enough is being done in the short-term to prevent crashes. In his email Mayor Gimenez stated that 1,447 citations have been issued in the past year. To put that in perspective, that is an average of 4 citations per day. As evidenced by this video, which shows at least a dozen cars speeding on the Rickenbacker Causeway within a 5-minute period, there is certainly room for improvement when it comes to enforcement. If we want to send a strong message about speeding, we should issue 20 citations per day, not 4.

We would like to acknowledge that there are some improvements in the pipeline, however most improvements are likely 5-10 years away. More can be done now, but the County fails to recognize that the major flaw of the Rickenbacker Causeway is its design. A facility like the Rickenbacker warrants a grade-separated bicycle lane adjacent to the roadway.  In it’s current design, the Rickenbacker is akin to a highway with a design speed of 50+mph. Unfortunately, until the County can come to terms with this very basic and simple concept, we can expect more deaths and serious injuries on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  From our perspective, the County has done a fantastic job of discouraging cyclists from riding the Rickenbacker Causeway. I no longer ride there and I know of many other cyclists that have quit riding the Rickenbacker Causeway because it is unsafe.

I think it is fair to say that the County has not been proactive when it comes to truly making the Rickenbacker safer.  The real crux seems to be that the Mayor and his administration do not understand the real problems with the Causeway. They fail to recognize that an unprotected bike lane adjacent to a highway with a design speed of 50+mph is not safe. Yes, there are improvements with the building of wider sidewalks on Bear Cut Bridge, but what about the Powell Bridge were many cyclists have been injured? The proposed improvements are welcome, but they fall short of actually addressing the real problem.  The County can narrow the lanes all they want, but the wide-open perception creates the illusion of a highway.  The Rickenbacker needs to be rethought.

Although I do not ride the Rickenbacker Causeway, I am willing to put my life at risk and would like to extend an invitation to Mayor Gimenez and his family to ride the Rickenbacker Causeway with me, but I sincerely doubt he’ll take me up on the offer. Any logical human being can see that the Rickenbacker Causeway is not a safe place to ride a bicycle - this shouldn’t be the case.

impact-of-speed2 (1)

 

Below is the email we received from Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez:

Thank you for your email.  The safety of all users of the Rickenbacker Causeway is a priority to Miami-Dade County (County).   I have reviewed all the emails received along with the proposed short and long term goals outlined in Mr. Azenha’s posts of January 5, 2014 onwww.transitmiami.com and, most recently, Ms. Fabiola Santiago’s Miami Herald column on January 10, 2014.  We have been working hard to keep the public informed of the improvements being made along the Causeway, but before outlining the County’s efforts, I would like to clarify information regarding the three (3) recent accidents involving cyclists on the Causeway, which have been misrepresented:

1.            The police report detailing the accident that occurred on the William Powell Bridge in the pre-dawn hours of December 31, 2013 indicated that the driver was operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and was therefore arrested.  There was no roadway or traffic engineering defect which contributed to this tragic accident.

2.            The second referenced accident occurred on Wednesday November 6, 2013,  not two (2) hours later on December 31, 2013 as reported in Mr. Azenha’s post.  That accident involved two (2) cyclists who were struck by a driver making a left turn into MAST Academy.  The police report indicated that the driver failed to yield the right-of-way to the cyclists, and was therefore cited for the accident.  Again, no engineering defect or roadway design created conditions which contributed to the accident.

3.            The third accident was referenced in Mr. Azenha’s second post and Ms. Santiago’s column regarding a BMW striking a cyclist on Monday January 6, 2014 while leaving Key Biscayne.  County staff has not been able to identify any records of an accident report filed by either the Village of Key Biscayne, City of Miami or Miami-Dade police departments for this date and alleged by Mr. Azenha or the other resident who wrote to the Herald.

Unfortunately, there is no amount of roadway design or safety improvements that can be implemented to mitigate a driver’s failure to follow basic road rules or to address reckless, irresponsible behavior on the part of a motorist.

Please be advised that over the last several years, the Public Works and Waste Management Department (PWWM) has taken proactive steps to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety on the Causeway, and other major roadways throughout the County. The County’s commitment to cyclist and pedestrian safety is clearly evidenced by the inclusion of new 14-foot wide bicycle/pedestrian paths at a cost of approximately $8.5 million as part of the ongoing repairs to the Bear Cut Bridge.  To implement these improvements the bridge is being widened by 20 feet.  Additionally, all new roadway improvement projects include dedicated or shared bicycle and pedestrian paths where possible in compliance with the Miami-Dade County Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP) and State and Federal guidelines.

Finally, with respect to the short and long-term goals outlined by Mr. Azenha, the County offers the following:

Short Term Goals for the Causeway

•             Enforcement of the 45 mph speed limit and regular DUI checkpoints – Over the last year the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) has conducted periodic traffic enforcement in conjunction with the City of Miami and Village of Key Biscayne Police Departments.  This has been done utilizing speed control signs and uniformed and motorcycle officers to conduct traffic enforcement and education.  During this period, MDPD has issued more than 1,447 citations and more than 500 verbal warnings.   MDPD will continue its efforts to ensure the safety of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike along the Causeway in partnership with the City of Miami and the Village of Key Biscayne.

•             Reduce speed limit to 35 mph – PWWM proactively reduced the speed limit on most of Crandon Boulevard inside Crandon Park from 45 mph to 40 mph many years ago. Also, based on a PWWM speed study conducted approximately 5 years ago, PWWM requested regular enforcement of posted speeds from the Police Departments referenced above and installed 14 speed feedback signs to assist motorists in self-policing their speed.  In addition, staff reviewed all of the speed limits along the causeway in preparation for the construction of the Bearcut and West Bridges and as a result adjusted the speed limits to 35 mph and 25 mph in the construction areas.

•             Close the right lane of traffic in both directions on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00am - This would not be feasible since the daily placement of cones each weekend would create new falling hazards for bicyclists and present significant maintenance challenges.  Furthermore, the causeway is mostly made up of two lanes going each direction and therefore shutting down a lane during the weekend would cause traffic delays and more safety issues.

•             Better signage – In 2007, PWWM milled and resurfaced the Causeway from the Crandon Marina west to the mainland.  The work included the installation of bicyclist height handrails on the north side of the three (3) bridges and the conversion of the roadway shoulders into bicycle lanes with appropriate bicycle related traffic signage and pavement markings, in compliance with State and Federal standards.    As new federal traffic sign and pavement marking standards are developed, PWWM reviews them to determine appropriate locations for implementation of the new standards.  For example, as a result of updated standards, PWWM modified the markings on Hobie Island alongside the eastbound bicycle lane.  In 2012, PWWM installed wide vibratory lines to alert drivers moving into the bicycle lane.   More recently, new signage has been implemented on the Bear Cut and West bridges and updated frequently based on construction conditions and feedback from the Causeway users including bicycle groups.

 

Click here to send Mayor Carlos Gimenez an email and let him know that the Rickenbacker Causeway needs to be made safer for everyone.

 

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