It somehow always seems that when Transit/Development news flares up, so do events in our personal lives. In any case, here are some of the top news stories this week, some of which we’ll get around to commenting on:
- The next phase of the Metrorail extension hasn’t even broken ground and already the cost overruns have begun. This time Parson’s is looking for an additional $13 million in “Consultant fees.” I’m not specifically implicating that Parsons has something to do with this, but, I find it intriguing that nearly every project they’ve worked on locally (Miami Intermodal Center, MIA North Terminal, MIA South Terminal, PAC, Boston’s Big Dig, etc.) has come in way over budget. Is there something we don’t know, or is it really that easy to bilk the county out of money once you’re hired to do contracting/engineering/management work? I guess choosing the French construction giant Bouygues Travaux Publics, wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
- Top issues for Kendall this year? Forget Cityhood, how about congestion, lots of it. It’s only getting worse too as years pass and opportunities for real transit come and go (Tri-Rail Kendall link anyone?) If the Kendall community fears Tri-Rail trains traveling down an existing ROW behind their houses or an “unsightly” elevated rail down Kendall drive is going to lower their property values, just wait and see the nose dive congestion will cause. At least the recent efforts have paused (momentarily) foolish FDOT hopes of expanding Killian to 6 lanes west of 137th Avenue. Perhaps Kendall residents are beginning to realize that the car isn’t a viable solution…
- Like him or not, Manny Diaz has a Vision. We’ll dig into this much more in depth soon…
- FIU is attempting to lure MLS to campus, we’ll see what effect, if any, this has on the plans to build a new stadium at the OB site.
- I’m liking the looks of a final panel report on the UDB. Key part of this would require 3/4 of commissioners to move the line for projects and would bring in an outside firm to redraw the line.
- Live Nation is set to bring yet more events to Bayfront Park. Can’t a Park just be a Park? I’m not arguing against the Museums, those are neccessary, but why does Bayfront need so many attractions to make it successful? I think the park would induce more local use if there was less cement and far more shade trees, just a thought…
- The Federal DOT has given MDT a grant to purchase 16 hybrid express buses for the new HOT lane project on I-95. The buses will travel from downtown Miami to Ft. Lauderdale. Now can we please modernize the system and implement farecards (and new machines) that are transferable on all 3 local agencies?
- Don’t ride Transit, Buy a BMW…No seriously, Norman Braman wants you to buy a BMW and skip out on urban life…Oh, more on this soon…However, please follow this link for some laughable signs of hypocrisy…
- Gasp! This first paragraph says it all: “The [Palmetto Bay] Village Council approved a special permit allowing a new commercial development to put all of its parking spaces on the street at a zoning hearing Monday.” Note: A special permit. I know this is a young, incorporated bedroom community and all, but seriously, can we get some logical planning oversight around there? (In Case you missed it, we’re glad to see the use of on street parking in this and other bedroom communities…This shouldn’t be a special instance, but, rather the norm….)
- Watering rules in effect now till forever. Green lawns aren’t a necessity folks…
- Everything is bigger in Texas, especially carbon pollution…Take that Environment!
- Cape Cod wind farm moves one crucial step closer to disturbing a bunch of rich folks’ “pristine” views…
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- Bloomberg Pursues One Last Ban December 9, 2013Did anyone think the final month of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's third, and final, term was going to wind down quietly? After taking on cigarettes, sodas, and trans fats, Bloomberg is going after plastic-foam food containers.
- A Model for a Smarter Suburban Streetscape December 9, 2013Half a century of auto-oriented suburban development presents a massive challenge to planners hoping to create more sustainable and livable communities. In South Miami's Hometown district, Kaid Benfield finds a model for how to begin this transition.
- East Coasters Aim to Force Midwesterners to Clean Up Their Air December 9, 2013Concerned that a controversial "good neighbor rule" doesn't go far enough in keeping dirty air from wafting over the East Coast, governors of eight states are petitioning the EPA to enforce stricter pollution standards on their Midwestern neighbors.
- To Become a "Great City", Miami Seeks to Boost Pedestrian-Friendliness December 9, 2013With the housing bust of the Great Recession fading in the rear-view mirror, a maturing Miami aspires to become one of the world's great cities. City leaders see the creation of a "Downtown Pedestrian Priority Zone" as the path to get them there.
- New Hampshire to Reconsider Increasing its Gas Tax in January December 9, 2013New Hampshire will consider a Republican bill in 2014 to tie the gas tax to inflation, increasing it by about 4 cents next year should it pass. The Senate killed a House bill in May to increase the gas tax by 12 cents over 3 years.
- What's Holding Up Redevelopment 2.0 in California? December 9, 2013When California shuttered its hundreds of local redevelopment agencies, many believed a new (if smaller) system for funding affordable housing and development in blighted areas would soon follow. Two years later, the state is still waiting.
- Train Noise Endangers Denver's Development December 9, 2013A 2005 Federal Railroad Administration rule change that requires engineers to blare their horns at at-grade rail crossings is threatening the quality of life and economic future of communities across the Denver area.
- Vast Freshwater Reserves Found in the Last Place You'd Look December 9, 2013Australian researchers are agog over the discovery of 120,000 cubic miles of freshwater beneath the ocean floor. The reserves may help quench the world's approaching freshwater crisis.
- Researchers Say Two Simple Rules Can Predict Urban Growth December 9, 2013Is it possible to predict when and how cities will grow? A group of researchers in France say the answer is yes. […]
- Shanghai Halts Construction, Orders Children Inside due to Severe Smog December 9, 2013Off-the-chart smog levels recorded on Friday in China’s second largest city put its 30 million residents at risk and has authorities urging people to stay indoors.
- Bloomberg Pursues One Last Ban December 9, 2013