Welcome to Miami – a city where civic advocacy and forward thinking can land you in jail if you’re not careful. Friday’s TransitMiami Park(ing) Day 2011 was a huge success; hundreds of visitors came out throughout the day to enjoy downtown Miami’s newest temporary pop-up park. Working in collaboration with the Miami Parking Authority, we transformed 10 on-street parking spaces into a tree-lined, shaded park, complete with moveable chairs, and a solar-powered mobile wifi hot- spot where folks were hard at work.

Railroad ties refashioned as bollards, and native trees in moveable planters formed the street edge, causing a noticeable shift in driving patterns along the 3 lane, southbound street. “North Miami Avenue usually feels like a highway,” said local resident Rosa Gutierrez, “people routinely go 60 mph here - you never see traffic this calm.” Local food truck vendors, artists and musicians were also there to celebrate the grassroots effort to reimagine the streetscape with something other than on-street parking, and numerous neighborhood and political figures stopped by throughout the day.

Local Artists

Park(ing) Day Miami 2011 a success

Transit Miami was the main co-sponsor of the event along with Brad Knoefler, local activist and entrepreneur. In anticipation of Park(ing) Day, Brad developed a new strategy – called weed bombing - to add to the Tactical Urbansim toolbox. Confronted by deadbeat landlords around his neighborhood who don’t maintain their properties, Knoefler decided to address the problem head on by spray painting the overgrown vegetation with bright colors. The result is a charming transformation of blight inducing weeds into something more. We had an excellent time on Park(ing) Day, and look forward to doing it again next year. Unfortunately, the City of Miami might have something to say about it.

As you might have read, the Police Department has faced a number of challenges this year, including a fiasco with the Chief of Police that has made Miami a laughingstock of the country, and a string of high-profile shooting deaths, perpetuating the notion that Miami is a backwater, banana republic. As if they didn’t already have enough on their plate, enter Officer Rodriguez who decided that the Park(ing) Day cleanup (the following day) was not going fast enough and decided to arrest co-sponsor Brad Knoefler for failing to obey a lawful command (read: police harassment). “Officer Rodriguez called me several times on my cell demanding that I come down and finish cleaning immediately,” said Knoefler, “I told him that not cleaning up 100% after an event is not an arrestable offense, at worst it’s a code violation or solid waste ticket.” The City of Miami police, and all citizens of Miami, should be embarrassed that this happened. How can we expect to attract and keep the creative middle-class that contributes to a healthy economy, if the police harass and intimidate citizens as they trying to enrich their communities? Shame on you Officer Rodriguez for embarrassing your police force and your city; of the 850 Park(ing) Day events around the world, Miami was the only one to see someone arrested as a result of laying sod on a parking space for a day. Only in Miami.

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15 Responses to Miami Park(ing) Day A Success, Co-Sponsor Arrested

  1. eric says:

    I’d like to see the “after” picture so I can see what the mess looked like. How tough is it to do a 100% clean up for something like this? You should leave it in the same condition you found it.

    I do like the idea of “weed bombing”,, very innovative.

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  2. Brad K. says:

    We did a pretty good job cleaniing but after 14 hours of volunteer labor were exhausted and decided to finish removing the sod in the morning because no one ever parks in those spaces except when Grand Central is open after 11PM. Like every special event in the City, if you don’t fully clean up then Solid Waste will do it and bill you for it so in the worst case we should have gotten a bill, not a night in the slammer!

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  3. Mari Chael says:

    Brad and Transit Miami,

    Many thanks for your civic activism in making Park(ing) Day happen. It is my sincere hope that the City appreciates your efforts in making Miami liveable, and should treat you with courtesy (which it should do anyway)and appreciation. Miami, police department, shame on you!

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  4. Tony Garcia says:

    Thanks Mari.

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  5. JennyLee says:

    Sometimes I feel as though Miami PD work against community activism instead of participating in it and supporting it. It didn’t need to get this far.

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  6. Peter Ehrlich says:

    I am extremely disappointed a rogue police officer arrested the well known Park West pioneer Brad Knoefler.

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  7. Brad K. says:

    What is symbolic is that he was pissed because we took the spaces for the AA Arena Marc Anthony concert. This is what we have been saying for years, MPD works for the parking interests of the AA Arena and against small businesses and members of the community who are trying to improve their dismal quality of life!

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  8. Mark Lesniak says:

    I was told that if we did not “respect his uniform, which is not a Halloween costume btw” that he would make sure we were shut down. Excuse me? Does that include complain about you? As the public defender’s office how often these guys lie and abuse their power. I don’t know where Ofcr Rodriquez lives, but he’s not from our neighborhood. He’s only around on weekends to sweep homeless people away from the Arena and onto our front door. These guys think they have all the answers and take offense to anyone disagreeing with them. I have never been so intimidated by a police officer and I’ve lived in Dorchester (Boston), Spanish Harlem (NYC), and Mt Vernon Sq (DC). I don’t know who’s giving the Miami PD awards but they should think about taking them back.

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  9. Ellen says:

    Yes, Miami Police Dept is rally big on “respecting their authorituh”. I had a cop tell me that as I was given a citation on my bicycle last year. I think I was real close to getting arrested myself. Only jerks demand respect, hiding behind a gun and a badge.

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  10. Jedi Nemesis says:

    Yo, FUCK THE POLICE!! i REEEEEAAAALLY DON’T LIKE CITY OF MIAMI COPS YO

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  11. Mike Moskos says:

    While I think it is fair to say that this particular law is totally legitimate, it brings up a larger issue: many (most?) of our isolated use/sanitary environment laws are a major impediment to taxpayers who want to do something new.

    Every time I go through Liberty City or venture into Overtown, I wonder, “Why are there so many idle people here?” The reason is: everything they want to do to better their situation (esp. that which requires little capital) is illegal. The permits/licenses required make it virtually impossible for them to try to start their own business, to do even something as basic as selling the fruit that grows in their yard. These laws need to be wiped off the books if we expect a vibrant city.

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  12. Lou says:

    Haha. Apparently it is an arrestable offense.

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  13. John says:

    Miami foundation is based on Cuban criminals that were released from Cuba in the 1980s and now call Miami home. expect anything else?

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  14. John says:

    Miamis foundation is based on Cuban criminals that were released from Cuba in the 1980s and now call Miami home. expect anything else?

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  15. Jonny says:

    Dude, you got to pick up after yourself. I saw it the next day and you can’t just leave a mess like that.

    I commend the cause and would love to participate in Park(ing) Day and help pick up next year.

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