Posts by: Matthew Toro

Some TransitMiami readers have expressed a desire to see ‘mixed’ use mapped out. Well, here it is:

'Mixed' Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

‘Mixed’ Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida — 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

Yes; the results are drastic. At this scale, one almost needs a magnifying glass to even locate the ‘mixed use’ sites.

Removing the street network helps a bit, but it only makes the disappointing results that much clearer.

'Mixed' Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida with Streets Removed -- 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

‘Mixed’ Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida with Streets Removed — 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

Mind you, I’ve kept the recent series of Miami-Dade County land-use maps at a relatively small cartographic scale to show the relatively large geographic scale area of the entire county.

You can find the related Miami-Dade land-use maps at the links below:

‘Mixed’ land-use was defined as those subsets of commercial use categories with the following descriptions:

  • “Office/Business/Hotel/Residential. Substantial components of each use present,    Treated as any combination of the mentioned uses with a hotel as part of development.”
  • “Office and/or Business and other services (ground level) / Residential (upper levels). Low-density < 15 dwellings per acre or 4 floors.”
  • “Residential predominantly (condominium/ rental apartments with lower floors Office and/or Retail.  High density > 15 dwelling units per ac, multi-story buildings  (Generally more than 5 stories).”

Now, one must consider the difference between ‘mixed’ land-use, and the general land-use mix of an area. The latter concept can also be referred to as the diversity of land-use in a given area.

So, while there is obviously very little ‘mixed’ use throughout Miami-Dade County, there are significant areas where there is a healthy land-use mix, or diversity of land-uses.

One must also consider the difference between use and zoning, or the difference between the current economic function of the land versus the future or intended purpose of the land.

We’ll get into these issues later . . .

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Today we’re looking at those spaces that breathe life into a city: parks.

Park Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

Park Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida — 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

I kept it simple: only beaches, municipal-operated, and county-operated parks were included. These criteria effectively excluded the following uses, which are part of Miami-Dade County’s default “Park” category:

  • Recreational Vehicle Parks/Camps
  • Private Recreational Facilities Associated with Private Residential Developments
  • Private Recreational Camps/Areas
  • Cemeteries
  • Golf courses
  • Other Nature Preserves and Protected Areas, which, for the most part, are completely inaccessible for public recreation/leisure
  • Marinas

And, significantly, this map doesn’t show Biscayne National Park, our local, primarily aquatic national park covering the bulk of central and southern Biscayne Bay.

What do you think? Where are more parks needed in our community?

Our Urban Development Boundary (UDB) constrains the encroachment of real estate development — typically in the form of single-family residential sprawl — into our precious agricultural and other environmentally-sensitive lands, such as the wetland and terrestrial ecosystems of Everglades National Park.

The agriculture sector contributes significantly to the local economy. As recently explained in WLRN’s excellent series “The Sunshine Economy”:

Agriculture generates a direct $700 million dollars a year in Miami-Dade County alone. The economic impact of the plowing, growing and picking of those crops is much larger.

Agricultural Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

Agricultural Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida — 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

Agricultural land-uses in Miami-Dade County are found primarily in the southwest, in what’s known as the Redland Agricultural Area (often referred to as the “Redlands”).

One can also find plenty of fruit stands selling tropical and sub-tropical delights, fruits and vegetables that are sometimes virtually impossible to grow in any US region outside of South Florida.

Significant horticultural industries can be found out there too, including processing and packaging facilities for orchids and other ornamental plants.

If you haven’t already, visit the agricultural periphery of Miami-Dade County. It’ll change your whole perspective of what “Miami” truly is . . .

Even in primarily financial- and service-sector cities like Miami, industrial use of land is a critical component of the urban economy.

Industrial Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

Industrial Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida — 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

Yes; Miami is a ‘post-industrial’ city, having carved its niche in the world economy after other metropolitan centers had carved their own on the foundation of manufacturing and production, but significant pockets of industrial land-use do exist in the county.

For some, the industrial space is closer than for others.

Just think about your own neighborhood: Is it near one of Miami’s industrial clusters, or far-removed where the illusion of a production-free world is more easily accepted?

This industrial land-use map includes spaces used for activities classified as:

  • [limestone/concrete] extraction, excavation, quarrying, and rock-mining,
  • heavy and light manufacturing,
  • industrial office parks,
  • industrial-commercial condominiums, and
  • junk yards.

If you’ve never been to one of the junk yards along the Miami River, or in Hialeah, it’s time you took a field trip. The industrial side of Miami’s economy will become much more apparent than you’ve ever imagined . . .

We posted a map of residential land-use in Miami-Dade last week. Here’s one illustrating commercial use throughout the county.

Commercial Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

Commercial Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida — 2013. Source: Matthew Toro

What patterns, if any, do you see here? Where would you like to see more commercial development take place?

A recent post that grabbed my attention in the Urbanophile was actually a re-post from another blog: Daniel Hertz’s Chicago-based City Notes.  The piece is called “Zoning: Its Just Insane”, and it presents some fascinating maps illustrating the domination of Chicago by land zoned for single-family homes, those most infamous perpetrators of sprawl.

Red is used to show single-family zoning in Daniel Hertz's Chicago Zoning Map. Source: http://danielhertz.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/zoning-its-just-insane/

Red is used to show single-family zoning in Daniel Hertz’s Chicago Zoning Map. Source: http://danielhertz.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/zoning-its-just-insane/

In fact, Hertz’s intention with the maps is to make the point that Chicago’s ‘insane’ zoning laws make it virtually impossible to develop anything but single-family homes in most of the Windy City’s neighborhoods.

The maps inspired me to put something together for our own community. However, instead of mapping zoning (the way land is regulated to be used for in the future), I thought it’d be best to first look at land-use (the present, on-the-ground societal use of space).

I used 2013 county land-use data. Other than explaining that single-family use is depicted in yellow and multi-family in orange,  I’ll let the image speak its own thousand or so odd words.

Residential Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- 2013. Source: Matthew Toro.

Residential Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida — 2013. Source: Matthew Toro.

Go ahead . . . let that sink in for a while.

We’ll take a closer look at land zoning — which, with all its nuances and myriad sub-classes, is admittedly trickier to map — later next week. Things always get a bit more complicated when we consider what our county and city planners have prescribed for the future of the land.

Happy Spring Miami!

Among the more notable and praiseworthy highlights of this past Saturday’s Transportation Summit Community Forum was the commentary made by Mr. Adam Old.

A councilperson for the small Miami-Dade County municipality of the Village of El Portal, and an active member of the recently formed Transit Action Committee (TrAC), Mr. Old was perhaps the only municipal representative at the forum.

He was also one of only a handful of people who sought to redirect the focus of the meeting away from the relatively minor gripes of the transit-riding population regarding issues like rude bus drivers and poorly maintained bus interiors toward the more systemic issues plaguing our poorly coordinated mobility networks.

Some highlights from Mr. Old’s comments:

“[What the public] is measuring [the Transportation Trust's] performance on is more mass transit lines. So, I applaud you on the airport link, but we have not seen nearly enough progress on rail. . . . Heavy rail, light rail. . . . Get it going. Get it going. Where are our commissioners? If there’s not money in the plan, pull it from the municipalities.”

[. . .]

“There should be a line to the beach 10 years ago. There should be a line to the beach 20 years ago.”

[. . .]

“Nobody’s saying ‘Hey! Transit in Miami sucks! And we need it to be better!’ That’s what we want. We want more money, and we want you guys [the Transportation Trust] to hold our commissioners’ feet to the fire for that [half-penny sales] tax. If you have to pull it from road widening projects, then pull it. That’s what we want.”

Well said, Mr. Old.

The South Florida Community Development Coalition will be hosting a discussion on

Complete Streets in Miami

Thursday, March 6

8:30am -10:30am

Complete Streets

The speaker line-up for the event should make for some good, substantive discussion. They’ve got:

  • Jose (“Pepe”) Diaz, Miami-Dade County Commissioner,
  • Cesar Garcia-Pons, Sr. Manager, Planning + Design at Miami Downtown Development Authority,
  • Tony Garcia, Principal at the Street Plans Collaborate and former TransitMiami.com Editor,
  • Joseph Kohl, Principal at Dover, Kohl & Partners, and
  • Marta Viciedo, Transportation Action Committee (TrAC) Chairperson

There is a fee ($20 in advance, $25 at the door) to attend, but the SFCDC will be using those proceeds for streetscape improvement projects, including tree planting and bike rack installation, on the 79th Street Corridor — a worthwhile investment of your Andrew Jackson.

Be sure to register for the event through the official registration page.

citt-transportation-summit-community-forum

February 22, 2014 @ 10:00am

Miami-Dade Main Library Auditorium

101 West Flagler Street

Miami, FL 33130

From the CITT website:

A Listening Session

The Transportation Summit Community Forum features the Report on Proceedings, which details the outcome of the 2013 Transportation Summit. The purpose of this gathering is to solicit comments from the public on the Report and the future of public transportation in Miami-Dade County.

Join Miami-Dade County and its citizens in continuing the momentum for a comprehensive and coordinated public transportation system.

>>See the Transportation Summit Community Forum agenda.

For additional information call 305-375-1357 or email citt@miamidade.gov.

Taking transit to the meeting? Visit www.miamidade.gov/transit or call 305-770-3131 for route information.

For additional information call 305-375-1357 or email citt@miamidade.gov.

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Miamians are taking to the streets on bicycles as they once did prior to the automobile era. Our street spaces and corresponding roadway culture aren’t changing as quickly as they should. This contradiction, marking the growing pains of an evolving transportation culture, will continue to result in unnecessary frustration, violence, and misery. . . . All the more reason to ride more: to make the change come faster.

TransitMiami would like to introduce you to our friend Emily. We wish it were under better circumstances though . . .

While riding her bicycle for her basic transportation needs, Emily Peters had a run-in with a car door. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

While riding her bicycle for her basic transportation needs, Emily Peters had a run-in with a car door. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

You see, Emily is one of those intrepid Miamians who — like an increasing number of Miamians across every neighborhood in the metro region — prefers the invigorating freedom of the bicycle to move around the city. Cycling is Emily’s transportation mode of choice.

That’s great news, of course; something to be celebrated.

Apart from her significantly reduced carbon footprint and her heightened physical and mental well-being, Emily’s choice to use her bicycle as her primary means of transport is also advancing a gradual transformation of our roadway culture.

As a practitioner of regular active transportation, Emily is helping to re-humanize an auto-centric Miami whose residents exploit the relative anonymity of their motorized metal boxes to manifest road rage and recklessness with virtual impunity. She’s contributing to the much-needed, yet ever-so-gradual, cultural transformation toward a shared, safer, more just roadway reality.

The more cyclists take to the streets for everyday transportation, the more motorists become accustomed to modifying their behaviors to honor cyclists’ incontrovertible and equal rights to the road. Likewise, the more cycling becomes a preferred mode of intra-urban transport, and a regular, everyday feature of social life, the more cyclists become conscious of and practice the behaviors expected of legitimate co-occupants of the road.

Indeed, it takes two to do the transportation tango.

And, of course, the more experience motorists and cyclists have occupying the same, or adjacent, public street space, the more they will learn how to operate their respective legal street vehicles in ways that minimize the incessant collisions, casualties, destruction, and death that have somehow morphed into ordinary conditions on our streets.

How exactly did this happen? Who knows, just another day in the auto-centric prison we've built for ourselves. Source: Martin County, FL Sheriff Office.

How exactly did this happen? Who knows, just another day in the auto-centric geography we’ve created for ourselves. Source: Martin County, FL Sheriff Office.

This cultural shift is one that will take place over several years. Just how many, though, is up to us.

It’s no secret: Miami has a long way to go before a truly multi-modal transportation ethos becomes the norm.

Any delay in the inevitable metamorphosis is due partially to the rate of change in Miami’s physical environment (i.e., its land-use configurations, street layouts, diversity of infrastructural forms, etc.) being slower than the speed with which Miamians themselves are demanding that change.

So what happens when some of the population starts to use its environment in more progressive ways than the environment (and others who occupy it) are currently conditioned for? Well, bad things can sometimes happen. The community as a whole suffers from growing pains.

Take our friend Emily, for example. . . .

Emily was a recent victim of a painful dooring accident. These sorts of accidents mark an immature multi-modal transportation landscape. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Emily was a recent victim of a painful dooring accident. These sorts of accidents mark an immature, underdeveloped multi-modal transportation landscape. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

On a beautiful Miami afternoon a week and a half ago, Emily was riding her bike through Little Haiti (near NW 2nd Ave and 54th Street), near Miami’s Upper Eastside. She was on her way from a business meeting to another appointment.

A regular cyclist-for-transportation, Emily knows the rules of the road. She was riding on the right side of the right-most lane. She is confident riding alongside motor vehicle traffic and understands the importance of also riding as traffic.

Emily’s knowledge still wasn’t enough for her to avoid what is among every urban cyclist’s worst fears: getting doored by a parked car.

Depending on the speed, intensity of impact, angle, and degree of propulsion, getting doored can be fatal. Image source: City of Milwalkee (http://city.milwaukee.gov/).

Depending on the speed, intensity of impact, angle, and degree of propulsion, getting doored can be fatal. Image source: City of Milwalkee (http://city.milwaukee.gov/).

Photography by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Photography by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

In Emily’s own words:

 I was riding at a leisurely pace and enjoying the beauties of the day and the neighborhood.

I suddenly notice the car door to my right begin to open, so I swerved and said, “Whoa!” to vocalize my presence in hopes that the person behind that door would stop opening their door.

For a split second I thought I was beyond danger of impact, but the door kept opening and it hit my bike pedal. I knew I was going down, and I had the strangest feeling of full acceptance of the moment. In the next split second I saw the white line of paint on the road up close in my left eye.

My cheek hit the pitted pavement with a disgusting, sliding scrape and my sternum impacted on my handlebars which had been torqued all the way backwards. My body rolled in front of my bike and my instincts brought me upright.

The time-warp of the crash stopped; my surroundings started to come into perspective and as I vocalized my trauma. The wind was knocked out of me, but I hadn’t yet figured out that my sternum had been impacted.

I was literally singing a strange song of keening for the sorrow my body felt from this violation and at the same time singing for the glory and gratitude of survival and consciousness.

In all fairness, one could argue that Emily committed one of Transportation Alternatives nine “rookie mistakes” by allowing herself to get doored. She should have kept a greater distance from the cars parked alongside the road, the argument goes. A truly experienced urban cyclist doesn’t make such careless and self-damaging mistakes.

Perhaps . . . but we cannot overlook the errors of the inadvertent door-assaulter either. . . . There was clearly a lack of attentiveness and proper protocol on the driver’s part too.

Who parks a car on a major arterial road just outside the urban core without first checking around for on-coming traffic prior to swinging open the door?

Motorists and bicyclists both have a responsibility for practicing proper roadway behaviors and etiquette.

Motorists and bicyclists both have a responsibility for practicing proper roadway behaviors and etiquette.

It’s hard to really to lay blame here. And my point is that it is pointless at this stage to even try.

The whole blaming-the-motorist-versus-the-cyclist discourse only exacerbates the animosity that is so easily agitated between the cycling and car-driving communities. The irony is that they’re really the same community. Cyclists are drivers too, and vice versa.

At this stage in Miami’s development trajectory, our efforts should be focused on pushing our leaders to ask one question: How can we change the transportation environment in ways that will minimize troubling encounters like this?

Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

We can start by creating physical street conditions that encourage more cyclists onto the streets, where they belong, operating as standard street vehicles.

Show me a city where the monopoly of the automobile has been dismantled and I’ll show you a city where everybody’s transportation consciousness is elevated.

Best wishes on your recovery, Emily.

We’ll see you out there in our city (slowly, and sometimes painfully) advancing a more just transportation culture by riding on our streets as you should, even if the streets themselves aren’t quite ready for us.

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To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will offer free exhibition tours featuring the theme of social justice at 11am and 2pm. The tours are led by trained museum guides and last 45 minutes.

The new Museum Park MetroMover station is awesome, and the new Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is truly a sight to behold. It'll remind of you how lucky we are to live in the best city on the planet.

The new Museum Park MetroMover station is awesome, and the new Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is truly a sight to behold. It’ll remind of you how lucky we are to live in the best city on the planet.

Visitors who arrive to PAMM by Metromover on January 20 will receive FREE museum admission. A PAMM visitors services staff member will be at Museum Park Station with museum passes, good for Monday, January 20, only.

We’re supposed to have a sunny and cool (72 degree F) day.

Go out, honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and contributions to civil rights and social justice, and visit our city’s spectacular new art museum on a gorgeous January day.

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Open Transit: Transit Design for Urban Living

By studying transit landmarks like Grand Central Terminal, visited by 750,000 commuters, diners, and shoppers daily, and Rockefeller Plaza, essentially a large subway transit concourse, guest speaker Peter Cavaluzzi shares his Key Principles of Open Transit.

  • Learn what’s essential to successful contemporary urban design and redevelopment.
  • What makes successful iconic urban spaces and discover how to apply these principles to any building development.
  • Leverage and position transit facilities and infrastructure to create iconic designs without dominating the view.

PeterCavaluzzi-Flyer_OpenTransit

 

ETERNITY IS OVERRATED, THE USES OF TIME IN ARCHITECTURE

Date:  Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Location:  Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL

why_we_build_rowan_moore

Architecture critic, writer, and curator, ROWAN MOORE addresses how buildings are not fixed objects but exist in time, connecting the thoughts and actions of the people who make them to those of the people who inhabit them. All architects, said Philip Johnson, want to be immortal. Look through standard architectural histories, and you’ll see pyramids, temples, tombs and churches -–buildings dedicated to eternity. Yet architecture is always in a state of change. It weathers, ages, decays, and is renewed. It is adapted and extended; how it is perceived is altered, such that the monstrosities of one generation become the cherished heritage of the next. Rowan Moore describes works that are smart in their use of time, from the High Line in New York to the work of the great Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. We talk of “buildings”, he says, because they are part of a continuous process – we don’t call them “builts”. Rowan Moore is architecture critic for the Observer (London), and author of Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture (2013). Free.

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Do you live on the high-water line? You know, those blocks in your neighborhood that’ll soon be underwater.

That’s right, don’t be shy. . . . You know its happening. . . . You’ve known its happening. We’ve all known its happening — forget your politics and denial (and forget your politics of denial).

If it hasn’t already, sea-level rise is coming to a South Florida neighborhood near you, and faster than most of us realize.

Our community is the most at-risk city for sea-level rise in the entire United States, and we’re going to have to start making some serious decisions about the fate of our beloved Miami. We’ll have to embark on some collective South Florida soul-searching as we all face down and come to terms with our coming Water World.

The first three questions that probably come to mind are:

  • How much water is rising?
  • Where is the water rising?
  • When is the water rising?

While the answers to some of these questions are less unclear than for others, uncertainty, confusion, and denial persist.

But just because the bulk of those among our citizenry elected to represent us in office remain for the most part muted on the subject, we, the people on the ground, need not follow their non-existent lead.

Rather, we can embrace head-on the fourth and most important question we’ve got to ask:

  • What are we going to do about it?

A good place to start is by coming out to make history at the unprecedented High Water Line (HWL) | Miami’s Bicycle Ride for Resiliency!

HWL Bike Ride Flyer Web

Put on the very bluest outfit you’ve got, saddle-up, and head-out

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17
DEPARTURE
Magic City Bike Collective
1100 N Miami Avenue
~4:30pm
ARRIVAL
BlackBird Ordinary
729 SW 1st Street
~6:00pm

Riders will be physically demarcating the high water lines of mainland Miami so that we can take a good look at ourselves and start asking the big question and all it carries with: How will we adapt to this fundamental shift in our relations at the human-water-land nexus as seas continue to rise?

Go out, ride your bike, and make a statement:

SEA LEVEL RISE IS HAPPENING. WE SEEK A RESILIENT MIAMI. WE ARE A RESILIENT MIAMI

 

The Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has another bicycle and pedestrian mobility survey for us.

Express your mobility needs and desires. Let your voice be heard.

DDA_Bike_Ped_Survey

Take the survey!

 
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