Currently viewing the tag: "greenways"

Developer Brad Knoefler of Miami-based NMA Investments, is keen on changing his Park West neighborhood. Already the proud developer and resident of 697 N. Miami — a real gem of an urban redevelopment project-Knoepfler  now has his sites on creating an urban greenway with a 10ft multi-use path along downtown Miami’s highly underutilized FEC rail corridor, from Biscayne Boulevard  to NW 19th Street in Overtown. The projects, say Knoefler, will truly help reconnect and improve two neighborhoods that need this type of small scale investment more than the sweeping changes proposed by the Miami World Center-a type of investment urbanist Jane Jacobs referred to as cataclysmic money.

Full of energy and excitement for this  neighborhood, the urban pioneer developer sees a bright future where others see parking lots, homeless people, and dilapidated buildings. So enthusiastic is Knoefler that he has alread  jumpstarted the project by re-landscaping  a half-block pilot phase behind the 697 N. Miami building, which abuts the FEC rail line.

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Tomorrow night, Monday March 30th at 5:00pm in the ground floor of 697 N. Miami, Knoefpler will present the project to the Park West/Overtown Community Redevelopment Agency in hopes of enticing the City of Miami to pay for the million dollar project. With clear benefits of cleaning of the tracks, utilizing the corridor, improving access between Overtown, Park West, and the Biscayne corridor, the project seems like a wise, and practical investment, which Knoepfler say will pay for itself in 5 years because of reduced fighting costs and the potential for more redevelopment.  To prove his point, Knoefler even went to the trouble of phasing the project for the CRA, in three distinct and manageable stages.

We’ll be tracking this one closely,  for it is not often you get a developer driven to such a worthwhile, and needed civic project. If you have the time, please show up to voice your support for this project, or let the Park West/Overtown CRA know you want to see this move forward.

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Artist Rendering of SR 84 Greenway

The Not-In-My-BackYard syndrome rages on in Broward County. If there is one facility that seems calm, sedate, and most likely to be desired in one’s backyard, it would be a shared use path for bicycles and pedestrians. No engine noise, no fumes, no rushing traffic. Just some neighbors going for a leisurely stroll or a quiet bike ride. It sounds pretty relaxing, right? Apparently residents in Plantation Acres don’t think so.

The Sun-Sentinel reported last week that some residents near a proposed multi-use path that is part of Broward County’s Greenways fear it will cause a rise in crime. One resident even offered a long list of things that were recently stolen from cars in his neighborhood. The article points out some data supporting that bicycle paths do not cause rises in crime, but fails to point out common sense.

First, if there’s crime now, that doesn’t mean a shared-use path will increase the level of crime. If crime went up after a path was put in, it would be a post hoc fallacy to assume that because of the path the crime went up. But the residents’ reasoning doesn’t even go that far! The residents are talking about a future project and doing nothing more than expressing their paranoia. They are seeing a rise in crime in their neighborhood now. Naturally, this is creating a little nervousness for them. They happen to see a project that might bring outsiders into their neighborhood, so their nervousness increases. Normally there might be something to it, but not so if you stop to think about it.

How are crimes committed? How do criminals get away with the loot? Generally, not by bicycle or on foot. If they want to steal electronics and weapons from cars or houses, they will need a vehicle to stash the goods. It ensures a quicker getaway without attracting attention. So where could anyone even get the idea in their head that a path for bicycles and pedestrians will make it easier for criminals to enter their neighborhood?

I honestly cannot figure out why the Sun-Sentinel even bothered to publish an article based on the opinion of a few paranoid people! To make it even more ironic, they point out that Plantation Acres is an equestrian community. Broward County’s Greenways page makes it clear that the paths are for equestrian use as well as bicycle use. These people will have a chance to ride their horses across the county on this and connecting trails, yet they still rise up against it.

It looks like FDOT will be installing fences to quell the fears of these residents. If the residents have any sense, they will take the time to install their own fences now to avoid the crime issues that are happening now. Their crime problems are happening now, and they have no reason to take out their frustration on one of FDOT’s better projects.

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Speaking of cycling, another major European city has made a huge commitment to improving its bicycle infrastructure. London Mayor Ken Livingstone, famous for implementing congestion pricing, announced yesterday a £500 million ($1 billion US) investment package that aims to make the city a global leader in cycling. The plan includes:
  • Velib-style bike-sharing program with 6,000 bikes for rent at stations approximately 300 meters apart
  • New cycle paths
  • Exclusive cycle zones
  • Much greater bike parking capacity

Streetsblog has an excellent breakdown of the London cycling program.

I wonder how much longer Miami will view these ambitious bike plans as “unproven” or “a waste of time and money”?

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