The new Big Box shopping center which opened up on South Beach seems to be very popular amongst bicyclists. I have ridden and driven by on a number of occasions and I am astonished to see the number of bicycles parked outside the entrance to new Publix on 6th Street between Lenox Avenue and Alton Road. It seems like the developers of this shopping center did not account for the fact that shoppers would come to this shopping destination by bicycle.

Today I counted 23 bicycles parked outside the entrance to Publix.  With only two bicycle racks available on 6th Street, we can all agree that this shopping center is underserved by bicycle parking. In addition to being underserved, the bicycle parking should have been placed in a safe, secure and covered location, much like the parking which is available for cars. To be fair, there are additional bicycle racks on Lenox Avenue, but they are about a block away and not utilized due to their distance from the entrance. The parked bicycles on 6th street are locked up to anything that is anchored to the ground, including trees, garbage cans, and sign posts.

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This is poor foresight by the developer of this project.  It should be of no surprise to anyone, except for the developer, that so many customers would not arrive by car. Although I did not check out the parking garage, I’m willing to bet that a large percentage of the available parking is empty.

If the developers had really understood their target market, they should have known many of the trips undertaken to the shopping center would be done by bicycle, public transportation and foot. Crosswalks in the area have seen very little improvement, and with so many elderly people living in the area, need to be enhanced to ensure their safety. Developers should share the responsibility of providing safe and secure access, not only for cars, but for actual people too.

It’s really in the developer’s best interest to have fewer people arrive by car.  Instead of allocating precious square feet to unused parking, the developers would receive a higher ROI if they could lease out commercial real estate space instead of parking. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone.

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16 Responses to South Beach’s New Big Box Shopping Center

  1. The parking at the mall is a private/public join effort to provide more parking space in SoBe, thus the number of spaces.

    That said, heck yes we need more bike racks. I went the other day and locked my bike to the garbage can for lack of space. This was brought up at the last MB Bikeways Committee meeting I attended and trust me I will bring it up again on the next one in 2 weeks.

    Interior parking would be awesome, and I know the city has an ordinance to be submitted to require of all private projects both on-street and secure/protected bike parking, so this could be a good candidate to start with.

  2. Robert Rosenberg says:

    Wow, I just this weekend rode my bike to Publix as I live only four blocks away, and was astounded at the BAD planning that provided so little bike parking! Blame the City of Miami Beach, as they could have required it. Of course, in one of the few walkable urban neighbors in South Florida, where many people do not even own cars, biking to the mall would be a popular way to get there. And City planers know this, even if the developer does not. In general, as the City has removed that old favorite of cyclists, the parking meter, there are less and less good places to lock up your bike. The City needs to do more to provide secure parking for cyclists, thought-out with bikes in mind! BTW, that parking garage is hellish, as I used it once as well - an accident waiting to happen - so it seems as if all traffic and parking planning was sub-par here.

  3. Rog in Miami Gardens says:

    Short-sighted, indeed. It seems that developers think that because they drive around in over-priced, death boxes-on-wheels that everyone else wants to or does the same, too. *sigh*

  4. kingofrance says:

    I talked to one of the store managers about this. He said that they were limited to the amount of bike racks they could put on the sidewalk but they’re aware of the problem.

  5. Anon says:

    Check your facts: the city paid the developer to build a bigger garage than already bloated city parking requirements, bigger by HUNDREDS of spaces. And the developer didn’t even come up with the idea, the city initiated and imposed the larger garage on the developer. All those empty spaces are due to city “public servants” having their priorities all wrong.

  6. Felipe Azenha says:

    Thanks for clarifying that this was a public/private partnership and that the developer is not solely at fault. Regardless, the point I am trying to make is that bicycle parking was not considered when this shopping center was constructed. My apologies to the developers for blaming them for the overconstrction of parking. The responsibility needs to be shared with the City of Miami Beach.

  7. kevin says:

    Bike parking is a major problem all over South Beach. For an area with so many bicyclists, you’d think South Beach would have a plethora of bike parking, but it doesn’t. The city needs to really get serious about building bike lanes and bike parking throughout Miami Beach.

  8. Prem says:

    the whole county needs to get serious, Kevin.
    I’m amazed at the strange places I do find bike lanes.

    On 15th avenue next to Walmart on 163rd st from Miami Gardens Drive to somewhere south of Wal Mart, but on NO perpendicular streets?
    On 16th St. next to Lincoln Rd. but on NO perpendicular streets?

    these are so RANDOM and pointless because they don’t get you to anywhere or from anywhere. They’re just these interludes, passing notes to bicyclists.

    Pathetic.

  9. Adam says:

    frankly if bike parking is the problem, I think we’re making headway. How about a safe way to get there from downtown?

  10. Felipe Azenha says:

    Adam,
    Connectivity between Miami and Miami Beach is definitely an issue. The bike lane on the Venetian Causeway is in terrible condition. This may come as a surprise to you, but the MacArthur Causeway is a designated bike route. FDOT is putting the final touches on a major MacArthur Causeway resurfacing project and from what I have seen so far they really didn’t consider bicyclists. Anything less then a protected bike way on the MacArthur is unacceptable, especially for such a wide, high speed, high capacity thoroughfare. Let’s be fair and allow FDOT to complete this project before evaluating it.

  11. Prem says:

    I’ll say this about the MacArthur Causewae: it has a LARGE shoulder, and I love that

  12. DaveZ says:

    I ran across this post while looking for info on the 5th Ave Bike shop monthly ride.

    It’s funny — b/c I visited the new Publix for this first time this week and had the EXACT same thought. It’s a great thing to see all of those bikes tied up on the street. I’ll give the developers credit and say they never anticipated that many locals would leave their cars at home and bring their bikes.

    But here’s a little marketing advice to the owners: while you are trying to generate positive word of mouth for this new shopping center and change the habits of the locals who go to the Meridian Market and Whole Foods, etc., don’t curse the bikers as nuisance complainers. Embrace the opp to be bike friendly and add more places for cyclists to tie up.

    The bike community has a pretty good word of mouth network. Whatever you will spend on adding extra bike racks is a FRACTION of what you will spend on advertising in the Miami Herald, local radio, etc. Plus, it pays back over and over — not like an ad runs once and its gone.

    Sure too many bikes on the street is a problem. But smart marketers know how to turn probs into opportunities. And as a bonus, you get to do a small part for that whole be green save the planet, too. But the “market share/niche market to loyal customers” is a more tangible thing when you pitch the idea to the suits in the front office! :>)

  13. I brought this up again at the Nov meeting of the MB Bikeways Committee. City Staff said they were in talks with the developer to increase the number of bike racks, but that, as amenable to the idea as they were, the developer was being “unresponsive” to City Hall’s calls and emails.

    Perhaps it is time the bike riders who go to the mall start telling the developer what they want as well.

  14. [...] seeing any new ones before I moved, but I may have just missed them). Once again the issue of bike racks at the new mall at 5th and Alton Rd was brought up. I’ve visited the new Publix there repeatedly and only once have I been able to [...]

  15. Felipe Azenha says:

    Thanks Daniel. Keep the pressure on. Perhaps we could meet with the developer?

  16. [...] It’s really in the interest of developers having fewer people arrive by car. ? Instead of posting precious square feet for unused parking, developers receive a higher ROI if they can rent commercial real estate space for parking. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone. This article is revised from South Beach’s New Big Box Shopping Center. [...]

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