Currently viewing the tag: "Bad Ideas"
Speaking of curb cuts, I was passing along NE 2nd Avenue and was completely disgusted to experience firsthand the atrocities permitted to occur on the backside of the buildings facing Biscayne Bay. The term Biscayne wall is quite fitting as the backsides of these towers were clearly designed to resemble the blank slate of a concrete wall, keeping pedestrians well away. The worst part of all, as we’ve discussed before, is the lack of adequate transit integration and pedestrian facilities along this route. The blank backsides will almost ensure that any use of metromover by building residents is inhibited by vehicular needs. The parking entrances of these buildings should have been relegated to the minor cross streets (NE 11, 10, 9, etc.) instead of the major thoroughfare with DIRECT rail transit access. Even worse is the street activity. Aside from an existing pawn shop, the only street activity these buildings will be seeing is parking garage access… From now own, we’re calling this the Biscayne Blunder

I figured Chopin’s Funeral March would fit this slide well because this street is good as dead Dead…

The Miami-Dade County Public Works Department and Florida Department of Transportation are at it again, busy coming up with harebrained ideas to “solve” the congestion problems of Miami-Dade. The recent proposed scheme is a system of reversible flow lanes scattered across the county adding a limited amount of capacity at certain points. The problem I have with system isn’t the lanes themselves, but rather how our local government continues to undermine itself and efforts to reduce congestion.

About a decade ago, the state Department of Transportation tried to improve Seventh Avenue by removing on-street parking, especially those with ample nearby surface lots and behind-stores parking.

Local merchants, commercial property owners and some nearby residents were outraged. The local politicians told the DOT to back off. Nothing changed.

DOT tried to improve Seventh Avenue by removing on street parking? This is the fundamental problem I have encountered with my profession and is the main reason why I plan to jump ship from engineering to urban planning. Engineering, particularly transportation engineers, tend to be concerned with one thing and one thing only: efficiency. FDOT has a nasty habit of overlooking other crucial details such as transit use, on street parking, streetscapes, bicycle facilities, and pedestrian interaction in the name of squeezing out a little extra capacity.

Other serious questions need to be addressed. This is a community with high transit usage, meaning more pedestrians than other parts of town. Will they be able to safely cross the avenue? Lighting will be paramount.

I predict if this disaster of a plan is put into effect, we will inevitably witness pedestrian deaths increase sharply. Under this plan Seventh Avenue will become a highway, inaccessible to anything and anyone not traveling in a car and further hampering efforts to create a livable community.

If the reversible lanes work, operationally and politically, on Seventh Avenue, more of them may follow. Several studies are under way: North Miami Avenue, between downtown and 79th or 82nd street; U.S. 1, from I-95 to Bird Road; portions of Flagler Street, and Bird Road, just west of the turnpike, between southwest 117th and 147th avenues.

US-1 from I-95 to Bird Road? Never mind the fact that this stretch of street runs parallel to the one logical transit solution in the county: Metrorail. Adding capacity along US-1 is the last thing we should do when we already have a solution with plenty of capacity zooming along overhead. Why waste PTP money to undermine our transit system? This plan will create miniature highways all across the county, jeopardizing any hopes of creating urban neighborhoods.

Upcoming Meetings 6-8 pm:

Tuesday: Church of the Open Doors UCC, 6001 NW Eighth Ave.
Wednesday: Culmer-Overtown Neighborhood Center, 1600 NW Third Ave.
Thursday: New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist Church, 777 NW 85th St.

As we promised earlier, let’s discuss the recently approved commission plans to build an above ground parking structure and Bay of Pigs Museum on the parcel of land behind the AA Arena otherwise known as Parcel B. As Alex of SOTP noted earlier today let’s disect some of the finer parts of Tuesday’s Miami-Dade Commission meeting:

”This is a very beautiful thing that will look good on the bay,” said Commissioner Natacha Seijas, who said it could compare to Sydney’s signature Opera House in Australia.

Let’s Compare:

Sydney:
Parcel B, Miami:

The Resemblance is uncanny…

Evidently Natacha has never visited, let alone seen what the Sydney Opera House looks like. The preliminary designs by Chisholm Architects more likely resembles a cheap imitation Mies van der Rohe house, on steroids. Even then, remotely comparing this thing to any Mies van der Rohe structure is glorifying it far too much; this thing is HIDEOUS folks. What’s more, it’s boxy shape apparently tries its best to pave over the full 4.5 acre park (like most Cuban-American homes in Hialeah…)

”Obviously, the area has changed dramatically from what it was in the past,” said Chairman Bruno Barreiro, fretting that nearby development was leaving the arena without sufficient parking. “I think we might hamper and will hamper the arena if we do not really consider an additional parking structure with amenities on that site.”

The parking conundrum abnormality has spread to the County commission as well, despite abundant parking structures nearby and- dare I say it- easy Metrorail access. Apparently those unfamiliar with intelligent planning principles still think that the solution to Downtown Miami’s woes will be to fill the streets with more cars, rather than pedestrianizing and conducting critical improvements which will make our downtown more accessible to people. Hamper the Arena? Who are you trying to kid? Who has ever heard of mixed use parking garage/museums on prime waterfront real estate?
Some said it could maintain a park-like atmosphere with the right landscaping. ”You could design these things nowadays with a lot of greenery around the edges and borders, a very friendly pedestrian use,” Barreiro said.

AKA: We’ll skimp out due to cost overruns and plant some Queen Palms

Now, let’s apply some of the principles learned by the studies conducted by William Whyte on successful urban spaces in the late 1970’s and portrayed in this Month’s BoM.

Blue Circle: First and foremost a successful Urban Park is no more than 3 ft above or below the surrounding pavement, thus making the two flights of stairs necessary to enter the only open space left in the 4.5 acre park and immediate physical and sociological drawback to the urban space. An excerpt:

“Circulation and sitting, in sum, are not antithetical but complimentary. It is to encourage both that the zoning stipulates the plaza not be more than three feet above or below the street level. The easier the flow between street and plaza, the more likely people are to move between the two- and to tarry and sit.”

Red Circle: Large concrete open spaces do not bode well in the Miami sunlight. See those little people walking around in the plaza? Their a figment of someone’s imagination because nobody, in their right mind will be attracted into an unshaded, concrete park, two flights of stairs above street level, and in an area whose eastern bay view is completely obstructed by a blank concrete wall…It’s just not happening. An Excerpt:

“In summer, [people] will generally sit in the sun as well as the shade; only in very hot weather- 90 degrees or more- will the sunny spots become vacant.”

Yellow Circle: Street interaction? Inexistent. There is some foliage provided as Barriero suggested, but its only in place to cover up the monstrous parking garage this building will sit atop. The site is foreboding to pedestrians and the on street parking depicted is highly unlikely, given that a garage is being constructed…

Green Circle: Look at the public access to the Bay. Also Inexistent. It appears that the Museum has taken advantage of the beautiful vistas and has wholly blocked off the easter views to the non-paying public. The covered breezeways on the east side of the building provide cover only to museum patrons.

Heck, we’d do anything to revert to the original plans which included an apartment building attached to an entertainment complex…Anything but an above ground parking structure on prime public waterfront land…Are these people even thinking?

In my post last week regarding the absurd comments on the parking situation in downtown, I somehow skimmed over the rest of the article (likely due to the nausea induced by the aforementioned quotes) and missed even more (I’m going to go ahead and make up my own word to really put this into context) Ridiculaiety… If bad planning and stupid ideas make you ill, you may want to stop reading now:

To expand downtown parking, authority officials are getting creative, exploring the idea of building a park-and-ride garage in Brickell as a joint venture on privately owned land, Mr. Noriega said.

Can’t say I didn’t warn you but let’s analyze, shall we? “…getting creative…” is an obvious disguise for being oblivious to standard urban planning principles, hence why the revolutionary idea has never been considered before; point blank its just plain stupid. Park-and-ride…In Brickell? To serve exactly who? The People who inched on US-1 alongside Metrorail? It certainly can’t serve Brickell residents, no; they have easy access to Metromover already. And forget the Roads and Grove Nimbys; their against everything. Are we building it for the folks who drive from Pinecrest, a town which by the way recently rejected their own Park-and-Ride service which would have more effectively served residents with service to the Busway and Metrorail. No. It’s a “joint venture,” or in laymen’s terms an opportunity for yet another developer to hoodwink the public and for another corrupt official to receive a gratuitous kickback. Nobody, in any right mind, would jump at the opportunity to build a parking lot/garage in Brickell which would serve primarily as a Park-and-Ride lot- Its just not happening…

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.