Currently viewing the tag: "CBD"
  • Tri-Rail Ridership is up 15% for the first six months of 2007. Making it the third fastest growing transit system in the Nation.
  • MPO suggests running a commuter train from Dadeland North to Metrozoo along the unused CSX tracks (finally!) The plan also calls for two express bus lines to travel down Kendall to 167th avenue and the other along 137th avenue from Kendall to FIU.
  • The FDOT is working hard to salvage the Port of Miami Tunnel plan after the city of Miami commissioners sabotaged it recently by not contributing their measly $50 Million share.
  • A new 45 story tower could soon be rising in the CBD…

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Building height isn’t everything. A recent comment reiterated the importance of that statement in my mind today. Sometimes skyline and skyscraper enthusiasts (developers too, but their motivations are fueled by ego and profit) become so fixated on heights of buildings that they seem to forget about some of the finer qualities of the buildings we should want to have rising in our city. Forget thousand footers, we need quality designs, street level interaction (sidewalks, public spaces, foliage, shops, transit connectivity, etc.,) and most importantly no parking pedestals (which interestingly enough is contingent on the previous two…)For example, the Alhambra Towers, pictured above, is the latest recipient of the “City Beautiful Award.” I can guarantee that it wasn’t the Alhambra Towers’ status as the tallest building in Coral Gables which garnered the praise, but rather its ingenious, unique design. The Alhambra Tower is dominant, purposeful, and iconic, all without becoming too imposing on the neighboring structures or the pedestrians below. It compliments the surroundings and creates a sense of semblance at the awkward five-point intersection created by Alhambra Circle, Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Alhambra Plaza. The structure falls in line with George Merrick’s original intentions for the Coral Gables business district, tastefully resembling his first major structure, the Biltmore Hotel, which was itself inspired by the Sevilla Tower. Alhambra Tower was built by the Allen Morris Company and designed by ACI Architects of Winter Park, Fl. The front tower was built to resemble the Giralda Tower in Sevilla, Spain, pictured below. To read more, click here

  • The Related Group of Florida is planning the Loft 4 Affordable Housing Condo for downtown Miami. The 404 units in the 35 story tower would be priced starting at $130,000! The best part yet? The building would feature no parking. Truly Urban Living is coming to the heart of the CBD for a change…
    • “If not for this type of concept, you wouldn’t be able to build because you can’t build parking” cost effectively, said Oscar Rodriguez, who heads Related’s affordable division. “That lends itself to more competitive pricing.”
  • Say goodbye to the HOV lanes on I-95. FDOT is working to bring “express” toll lanes to I-95 by 2008. Instead of the one HOV lane, the already gargantuan highway will be repainted to feature narrower 11 foot lanes, two of which will be designated for “express” toll use only. This plan allows users to buy themselves out of the hassles of finding people to carpool with. It’s a total cop out for FDOT and a massive waste of money. Never mind the fact that we wasted $17 Million to install a ramp metering system that was never used, let alone properly analyzed before it was installed. On the plus side, express buses will now run smoother along the corridor, question is, will anyone use them?
  • A US Senate committee rejected Homestead as a possible site for the US Southern Command HQ, currently stationed in Doral. SoCom will remain in Doral in an expanded facility for the next 50 years, at least…
  • Paddy Wagons and Cyclists, you know there is a critical mass happening when you see them together. Despite their best efforts, Miami’s second critical mass, wasn’t exactly too massive: 15 cyclists. Even with the low turnout, Miami Police decided to harass the cyclists, following their every move along the streets of downtown and keeping their beams on them until the group dispersed…
  • Inaccessible Parks. Enough Said. Most local parks are rendered useless to most of us anyway because of their poor designs, maintenance, and integration with their surroundings, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me to see that they aren’t even ADA accessible…
  • Check out what some properly designed bus benches, news stands, and restrooms do for the public spaces of NYC. Designed by Grimshaw Architects, the same firm hired to design Miami’s new Science Museum, the new citywide structures are built out of 95% recycled material…
  • Congratulations to Alesh for winning the Miami New Times’ best website of 2007 and Rick/Alex for winning Broward/Palm Beaches Best Blog Awards…
  • HSR…Where is the US? Touting an Acela Express that averages less than 60 mph…Pathetic…

Leave it to the County Commission to screw things up but then again, why should this surprise me, they’ve always had the knack for such dreadful decision making skills. Major League Baseball has been working closely with all parties to create a new home for the Marlins in downtown, in the heart of the city- where it belongs. Like I’ve stated before, Baseball is an urban sport. With the grueling 82 home game schedule, baseball stadiums have to be placed within the densest populations of any city in order for them to succeed. Downtown is the obvious choice for MLB to seek for a new home for the Marlins because it follows the model used in nearly every other circumstance across the country. Marlins games are so poorly attended now because of the stadium location (on the way home for Broward residents who work in Miami-Dade and too far out of everyone else’s way to make the daily trip, regardless of how good or bad the team is playing and once the novelty of the idea wore off after 1993.) Baseball would thirve in the CBD, not out in Pompano, Hialeah, or out by the Orange Bowl. The public transportation already exists; coupled with the downtown daytime population, makes the Government Center site ideal for the needs of Marlins, MLB, and all of us Miami residents.

Just as we thought the pieces were starting to come together, our urban planning geniuses over at the county commission step in to screw things up. Their three reasons to oppose the downtown location include: loss of parking, new site for the children’s courthouse, and the closing of a couple of minor streets. I think they are against losing their cushy surface parking lot spaces just outside the 500 ft Stephen P. Clark Center. Instead they propose reverting to last year’s failed plan of placing a stadium next to the Miami Orange Bowl. No current or future plans to link this area with public transit exist. The immediate area lacks parking and necessary entertainment infrastructure. No easy highway link. What exactly is it that the commission sees in this alternative location for the stadium? Is it that Mayor Alvarez spoke in favor of the downtown location and they are still pouting about his recent power surge and are just choosing to go against his every thought?

Seriously, this is why we have issues in this County. This is why projects are never completed on time. Everything is a disaster when the fab 13 on the county commission step in to make a decision. Placing the public funding issue aside, why not place the stadium in a location which has been proven to work for Major League Baseball since the early 1900’s- in downtown, urban parks. Any venue outside the CBD and without convenient access to highways and existing public transportation will be destined to be a failure and will serve as the next “white elephant” to further remind us of the injustices caused by the members of the County Commission

Update: Benji and BOB share their thoughts…

And then there were none. Major local TV news stations located in the heart of our city, that is. ABC, the sole survivor of the mass exodus of media business from Miami (Proper) announced last week that they too were headed to suburbia. Not just any suburbia, Browardlandia to be precise, making it one less news station that I can actually watch (hey, you turn your back on me; I’ll return the favor.) In the quest for more studio space and more parking (for Dwight or Laurie?), WPLG has given up on their urban location just south of the Media and Arts district design district in Miami. ABC is following the relatively recent moves of NBC/Telemundo into expansive and utterly hideous suburban television studios in western Broward (surrounded by gorgeous, treeless parking lots in every direction) and of CBS in 1985 to the Doral area. NBC however, went so far as to leave us with a faux studio in the American Airlines Arena, to quell our sentiments that the station had completely turned its back on Miami and the concept of urban growth.

The impact of the misguided moves of these news stations abound. It continues to personify the decentralization which has been plaguing Miami since the early 80s and the very reason why we need to seriously rethink the way we are building our transit system and our city. The move of the news stations from the main business center is alarming as much as it is disappointing. For the time being, I’ll keep getting my news from the centrally located Miami Herald, that is, unless they too plan a move to suburbia if/when their land rezoning ever occurs…

Legitimate Reasoning:

“It also gives the station the opportunity to build studios that are equipped with both high definition technology and the latest in hurricane-proofing, Boylan said.”

Illegitimate Reasoning:

“The move will give the ABC affiliate badly needed parking space and a more central location to cover both Miami-Dade and Broward counties.”

“We also wanted to be more central for news coverage.”

And farther from the location of many of the business, sports, and criminal/justice news stories that we will be covering nightly…Now, we’ll have to drive (using the cars in that new huge parking lot) south daily to cover the stories that people actually care about…

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