I saw this today on sale at Publix. Can someone tell me when Dolphin Stadium was moved out of
The other day I happened to be on the Government Center Metrorail Station platform when I noticed I was almost completely surrounded by parking. Good thing I had my camera with me – check out all the parking and keep in mind this is the supposed to be one of the densest parts of city as well as one of its’ most prominent public spaces. This is definitely not something you want to have anywhere in the city, especially abutting the downtown transit hub. This ruinous land use has the following effects:
• Fractures urban continuity in densest part of city; alienates the station from the rest of the city’s urban framework
• Takes the place of valuable real estate
• Induces demand for more driving in Miami’s downtown core; gives the impression that transit is an afterthought in this community, thus stigmatizing transit as the not-so-sexy stepchild to private automobile travel, even in the densest part of the city’s urban core
• Serves as a morbid public space in an otherwise strategic location
This puts into perspective the lunacy of adding more parking adjacent to Government Center Station. Doing so would effectively surround Miami’s primary downtown station on at least three sides by parking, as well as displacing the downtown bus terminal (which needs a public space makeover itself – not displacement.)
In my next post, I’ll illustrate and describe a good example of what Miami transit stations should aspire for regarding integration of quality public spaces – especially at Government Center Station.
Here is a letter I received from Miami businessman Frank Rollason to the Miami Herald regarding his recent experience snowed in at Denver‘s Airport. Looks like Tancredo shouldn’t throw stones…
Letter to the Miami Herald Editor:
After just spending three miserable days and two nights in the Denver International Airport, I would suggest that Congressman Tom Tancredo spend a little time at home visiting his own “reservation” to see what “Third World” is really like. First, we have an airline domiciled in Denver (United/TED) which flew us into the Denver Airport from Miami knowing full well that the airport was being shut down because of the blizzard; they should have alerted those in Miami whose final destination was not Denver so that other arrangements could be made. In our case, the stop in Denver was for a connecting flight to Honolulu for a 10-day holiday cruise which we did not make. We spent two nights in the airport with virtually no assistance from the airline and absolutely no assistance from the Airport Administration. The outside temperature was well below freezing and the air conditioning on the inside was kept very cold pouring out very cold air starting about 4:00am each day. They also kept all the bright ceiling lights on and the TV blasting all through the night – sort of like being in jail, I would imagine. An extra goodie was the every half hour announcement on the PA system that the airport was closed because of the blizzard. I guess this was for the benefit of the Denver residents who are too stupid not to move out of this frozen tundra state to say like a tropical oasis like Miami. On the first day, we were able to get a very light blanket from the plane as well as a little pillow and those were our provisions for the first night. The food court did stay open and that was great. Many of their employees were stranded, too, and they had to flop on the floor the same as the travelers which tells me their management does not care too much about their employees. In addition, as hundreds of people were sleeping on the floor at the gates and several thousand more in the main terminal, we were pretty much on our own to figure out what to do. No one came to visit during the evening hours from the airline or the airport. On the second night, the airport provided some folding cots for those who were elderly or handicapped – a good thing. These cots take a lot of storage room. What they should consider is stocking up on the slim foam workout mats which could be stacked by the hundreds in relatively small spaces for such an occurrence; I would think if the Airport Administrator spent one night on the concrete or commercial carpet over concrete floor, he or she would recognize the problem. I know, in Miami, we have made provisions for people stranded in both the airport and the sea port, so I would say that Miami is not Third World in this respect and I would not consider Denver Third World, either. Instead, Denver is Bush League which is not even up to the level of Third World! So, Congressman Tancredo, I suggest you remove your head from your posterior and see what you can get done in your own state when problems arise; after all, who would ever expect a blizzard in Denver or people being stranded at the airport? It’s like Miami not being prepared for a Hurricane – we are and Denver is not and that just about sums it up. By the way, please don’t anyone invite me to Denver – the weather sucks and the people in charge of things are not too bright!
While the commissioners bicker like a group of school girls over an impending public vote to boost the power of the mayor, the ineptitude of their previous decisions is shining brighter than ever this holiday season.
After severely fumbling with cost over-runs and years of delays at the Carnival Center, the County is still rushing to put together a plan to create parking for the new center (you know, before the land becomes expensive…whoops…) Even I, the biggest advocate of public transit, believe that the center should have contained a small percentage of parking spaces, preferably underground, similar to the American Airlines Arena (or Lincoln Center, or the Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A., or any other city with logical people in charge.) Now, it seems like we’re looking to add enough parking for every visitor in array of equally hideous parking garages surrounding the venue. I am befuddled that an unsightly parking garage is favored alongside the
“If the northside deal goes through, Mr. Carlton said, the bus terminal would be moved to the MetroMover’s western station.”
Out of sight, out of mind…
Oh, and I forgot to mention, the county is so inept that one of the “solutions” for the cost over-runs over on the airport’s north terminal involves canceling the project. I can see the signs: “Welcome to MIA, please pardon our dust as we never complete anything we begin.” I hate to ask, but, then how much longer will we be paying for that train we’re “exercising” in
Perhaps we would be able to afford some of these cost over-runs if we weren’t paying 50% of the tuition costs of an untold number of County employees annually ($2.6 Million Last Year.) Apparently, we’re funding the educations of Acupuncturists, Doctors, Lawyers, etc., even students abroad! Anyone majoring in Urban Planning or Economics? No, that would be too practical…
As if renaming the legendary downtown department store to “Macy’s” wasn’t bad enough, now Federated Department Stores is also considering closing the downtown store which opened originally in 1912.
The move, from an economic standpoint, is the nuttiest idea I’ve heard come out
I was idling in traffic earlier today, heading south on US-1 when I noticed something had gone amiss. The first thing that tipped me off was that a crowd had gathered at the
It turns out my gut instinct was indeed correct. A metrorail train carrying about 50 passengers derailed as it departed the dadeland south station heading northbound. No serious damages or injuries were reported. This is the first time a metrorail train has derailed.
Rick of SOTP fame led me to this informative page on the concept of “slugging.” Slugging is basically carpooling, enjoying the benefits of using the HOV lanes, with one minor exception: your passengers are complete strangers. The site claims that slugging began over 30 years ago, during the oil embargo of the 1970’s. It’s amazing how quickly we turn to easy alternatives once economics come into play. In any case, slugging puts HOV lanes into good use, requiring that vehicles traveling in the lanes have a minimum of 3 occupants, the DC area laws were written and enforced to move the greatest amount of people. Slug-Lines provides a wealth of information on slugging, including; pick-up/drop-off locations, etiquette (amazing list of rules can be found here), slug groups, and a message board. Once again, it is evident that
I must say, I am so tired of listening to people in
Miami-Dade talk about density as if it is the devil reincarnated. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people are concerned that density in or around their neighborhood will somehow lower their quality of life, perhaps by increasing traffic, “overcrowding”, or blocked views. Or, many others fear density because they are afraid of the lifestyle changes that are associated with density (i.e. a less car-dependent lifestyle, less suburban lifestyle, etc.). Perhaps more unfortunately, I think many of the “keep density downtown” advocates are either xenophobic, delusional, or both, sincerely wishing they didn’t live in a major, diverse city like County . Never fear – with this post I’ll be briefly pointing out why as citizens of Miami , we should embrace quality density as a friend, not an enemy. Miami
First of all, density is necessary to combat our affordable housing crisis. How is this the case, you ask? Well, density allows developers to allocate a share of units in new buildings/townhouses to people and families lying within middle class and working class income brackets. A form of this policy is already being used by the County, which provides a density bonus to developers who allocate a portion of their units for affordable housing. Regrettably, the potential of such policy thus far has not yielded the intended results, and it appears that a mandate allocating a given percent of EVERY new multi-unit residential building to affordable housing would be the best way to attack the affordable housing crisis and create more socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods (an opportunity squandered recently by the County.) It is up to us citizens to put the pressure on planners and officials to enforce the density bonuses and develop better affordable housing policy instead of continuing to allow most new developments to be of the luxury nature. Believe me; this policy has been very successful in cities throughout
, North America , and Europe . Australia
Additionally, by creating more compact communities, density is the precursor to upgrading mass transit. Possibly the most popular scapegoat for local anti-transit advocates around is that “
is too spread out for transit to ever work well here” (also another myth.) Regardless, more compact communities will increase the feasibility of transit in many areas, which would eventually lead to enhanced mobility and even increased property values. Miami
Density is also one of the answers to global warming and our oil crises.
car-dependent culture is definitely not sustainable in the long term. NASA scientist, and perhaps the most renowned researcher on global warming in the world, James Hansen, has proclaimed that “man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches a tipping point and becomes unstoppable….” Here’s a stat; with only 5% of the world’s population, the Miami’s consumes 26% of global energy. When you consider that of the 20 million barrels of oil used per day in U.S. , 40% is used by passenger vehicles, we have a problem. Frankly, we are way behind when it comes to instituting the necessary land use changes and sound urban planning practices that result in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Much of America and Europe are light years ahead when it comes to building sustainable cities, which definitely puts us at a competitive disadvantage. Moreover, oil production has peaked, meaning from now on production will begin to decline while prices will steadily rise. When it comes to economic competitiveness, this reality puts auto-centric cities, states, and countries at a marked disadvantage. The reality is, if we don’t begin to acclimate ourselves to lifestyles that don’t revolve around cars, we’ll be faced with very abrupt, painful changes in the next few decades. Also, when we begin to consider where much of the remaining oil reserves are located (Middle East, Venezuela, etc.), we need to ask ourselves, do we really want to be held economically hostage to unstable countries that don’t particularly care for us? Japan
Another very important issue I want to bring up is the link between compact inner city development and urban fringe development. Growth estimates in
(currently eighth most populous county in Miami-Dade County ) project an increase of approximately 600,000 people by 2025, totaling over 3,000,000 residents. The reality is there is no slowing down the population growth in the Greater Miami area, which leaves us with two choices: embrace density and compact communities within the urban growth boundary to help accommodate population growth, or continue sprawling development along the urban fringe, further threatening the Everglades, agricultural land, and the entire metropolitan region’s water supply. America
Density even makes our neighborhoods safer. Compact, mixed-use communities put more eyes on our streets. Consequently, this will generally make our streets safer as criminals need be much bolder to commit crimes in a public space where people are watching. It’s a lot scarier walking down poorly lit, deserted streets flanked by parking and building setbacks than it is walking down well-traveled sidewalks on well designed streets.
Density even has a positive impact on public health. Compact communities, as a compliment of density, promote more physical activity within the community, which has the effect of combating obesity and lessening stress. Dense, mixed-use communities in which amenities are typically within walking or biking distance could lead to a dramatic decrease in necessary car trips per person, which could save you a lot of money, too. On a related note, according to renowned community activist Robert Putnam in his seminal book on social capital, Bowling Alone, “every 10 minutes of commute time equates to 10% less participation in the local community”, thus exhibiting the deleterious effect low-density, car-dependent development has on social capital.
In leaving, I should mention that it is important that we advocate for quality density, which is often overlooked because of absolutist fights between developers and NIMBYs. Good urban design is the key to a communities and cities realizing the full potential of density. Subsequent posts will focus on some simple areas of urban design to look for when examining the effect a building will have on its surroundings.
Did you ever wonder why so many looney politicians are named Joe?
Joe Stalin, Joe McCarthy, Joe Gersten, Joe Carollo and now Joe Martinez?
His proposed CSX commuter train will run at ground level and cross 25 of the 27 East-West traffic arteries from Miami International Airport to the Metrozoo, all at speeds of 60 miles per hour. These leviathans will run every eight minutes during rush hour, every 15 minutes during other times and are planned to attract only a handful of riders. All vehicle traffic will be brought to a halt over and over at the very worst times.
Joe Martinez’s idea that the way to speed up commuter traffic is to stop it every eight minutes to let an empty train go by is not thinking outside the box. It is thinking inside the looney bin!
A decade ago Pinecrest incorporated as a municipality. As a result the Village was required, by the State of Florida to develop a Comprehensive Plan, and subsequent Land Development Regulations. The Comprehensive Plan sets forth the Goals, Objectives, and Policies that the Village lives by. The Land Development Regulations and Zoning Code are the legal implementation of the plan. One of the most important results of our incorporation was that control over zoning and land use was vested in the Village. In the coming months and years we will need to reach out to our neighbors to maintain that control, and implement positive change in our area of the County.
Since 1996, we have come to live in one of the fastest growing, most desirable regions, and cities in the nation. Some estimate more than 30,000 people each year move in to South Dade County. Today we share the US-1 Corridor with over ½ million people living in South Miami, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Homestead, Florida City, and Miami Dade County. All of which impact Pinecrest. The issues we face are diverse and stretch well beyond our boundaries. They are regional in nature. Skyrocketing property values have limited the ability of young middle class families to move in, and the ability of senior citizens to downsize, so that our community may continue its normal, healthy growth cycles. Hurricanes and their results have further burdened tax payers. The tremendous regional growth coupled with separated residential and commercial land use patterns have created highly congested roadways. We often lack critical supporting infrastructure. The environment, relative to water quality and quantity may be degrading, and we have limited land on which to expand. Additionally our economy has shifted and has become largely dependant on this growth.
As a result of these issues, it is being suggested through a coming study that an entity other that Pinecrest control the land uses and densities in Pinecrest. As such, we face serious challenges over the next several years. To protect our rights, we must not only be concerned with our local government and how it functions internally, but we should coordinate with our surrounding municipal neighbors and stakeholders groups in order to understand and address the economic, transportation, land use and environmental consequences that come as a product of living in an extremely desirable location. By displaying the leadership and vision to study, understand, and react to these issues in a holistic and coordinated manner, we have the opportunity of protecting our interests, limiting the unintended consequences of poor planning decisions, and maintaining the right to control our land use and zoning. As part of a symbiotic, sub-regional group of cities in South Dade, our best opportunity for success is to work together to examine and address these issues in a rational manner, so that we can manage our growth consistent to our comprehensive plans and visions. By working to together to develop coordinated responses that not only are reflective of what is in the best interests of Pinecrest, but our neighbors and region as a whole, will assure that we protect our assets and maintain our high quality of life well into the future.
Pinecrest Village Council
Well, I’m off again for my annual winter break trip up to NYC. I won’t be leaving you all empty handed though, seeing as I should have some ample time to write some new articles, but, just in case I have a couple of guest articles prepared to share with you as well. I attended today’s first Coastal Communities workshop on
If there is a single thing I’d like MDTA to learn from MTA in NYC, it’s the Metrocard pictured above. The MTA metrocard is quite possibly the best tool MDTA could adapt to facilitate the use of public transit, more streamlined, and somewhat technologically advanced. The Metrocard allows riders to purchase fares using either paper currency or credit cards and provides an array of purchasing options including: single fares, full day, weekend, 7-day, and month long passes. It’s such an easy concept but yet we’re still fumbling around with machines which serve no better purpose than to iron our dollars bills…
Alas, with the demise of the
The Shops at Sunset Place was designed as a mall in transition. The sprawling suburban mall concept was just beginning to fade away from the American landscape while the “lifestyle center” concept had yet to fully take off. Having witnessed the failure of the Bakery Center, Simon Malls was careful to not retrace the same steps, but by the same token, was reluctant to fully pioneer a new urban and real “lifestyle center.” Unlike its predecessor, Sunset Place was designed to be an open-aired Mediterranean community, incorporating former mall aspects like big boxed anchor tenants with street-level restaurants, faux cityscapes, and even a few residential units. The center was originally envisioned to be an entertainment center, but the quick failure of some of the theme restaurants and IMAX Theater, quickly changed intended target use. Since its inception, the mall has struggled to maintain a strong and lasting business base. This can perhaps be attributed to its awkward design, as I said earlier, as a mall in transition: too few apartments, too big of a parking garage for an urban center, but too small for a mall, near isolation from the surrounding urban area, and a terrible incorporation into the South Miami neighborhood and nearby public transit.
The Shops at
Wasted Space Sunset Place has served as a catalyst for
Now, rising in the heart of the area are two developments which will continue the neighborhood’s transformation from urban center to urban disaster. The map above shows the existing public parking garage structures in the area (Red circles.) The first catastrophic development, highlighted by the yellow circle is the upcoming Plaza San Remo (Where’s the Plaza?) with over 100,000+ square feet of office space and a 65,000 square foot Whole Foods Market. The complex, which is being advertised as: “A first-class Medical & Professional Condominium where
Highlighted by the blue circle on the map and about one tenth of a mile away from the transit station is the upcoming catastrophic restaurant/public parking garage facility. The 435 parking spot garage will sit above 36,000 square feet of restaurants including a Carrabas, Outback Steakhouse, and a “sport themed” restaurant according to city documents (Note the public concerns: “He felt that key points about safety in the garage were addressed such as proper turning radiuses for cars…”) Give me a break! What about the fact that the area can’t handle another 435
patrons cars or that a parking garage isn’t exactly part of the urban design South Miami should be looking for for the city center, all the public cares about is whether they will be able to drive their Hummer or Navigator through without getting a scratch…It looks like the only wait for a table for two will be on the two lanes of
The Green lines on the map indicate streets which contain on-street parallel parking spaces. The orange circles highlight the local existing surface parking lot facilities. Aside from parking and food themed retail, the urban center is lacking any sort of residential identity. The city and County have completely neglected the fact that transit was originally intended to be incorporated into the urban center, a fact which will soon be realized as the
What could possibly be considered the most important architectural contribution to
I’m back in town and am very glad to be here especially with all the activity going on over the next few days. I plan on stopping by some Art Basel activities this weekend among other things. I will also be attending some community workshops, particularly the Coastal Community workshops; I’ll fill you all in with the times/locations so that you too can attend.
For some reason the local news has decided to work together to write the worst articles on the urban situation in
- This article, upon reading it left me with only one reaction: Duh!
is trying to attract the 2% of the population with 50% of the wealth. Give me a break, developers are catering to a successful market, you can’t blame them for wanting to profit. It’s our fault that our city code doesn’t account for a type of development that would actually be beneficial to our area, not the developers. Now, given our dearth for land we should continue condo growth in an intelligent manor which will add density to key parts of our city… Miami
- Um, you’ve got to be kidding me: Study warns that
must curb growth or be overwhelmed by sprawl, gridlock. First off it took a “study” to realize this? Second, of course we need to monitor our growth, but, better yet maybe need to build properly across the state. Even smaller cities in this state are using 200% more land that what is necessary for the population growths they are experiencing. With an incoming governor who has already stated: “Floridians Love their cars” what kind of growth can we expect over the next upcoming years? It’s not going to suddenly change, that’s for sure. The state MPO’s don’t have a goal for our cities, the FDOT has no clue what its doing, there’s no plan to link the state with some sort of reliable rail system, our leadership has no clue of how to solve the problem, we have major funding issues, etc… Florida
“We are trying to get some development now because we are in dire need of homes and jobs,” Sasser said. “We absolutely need growth out here just to survive.”
We don’t need to stop growth; we just need to stop sprawling out in every direction with homes on half acre lots surrounded by gold courses and strip shopping centers…
Earlier today, Adam wrote:
I’d really like to see some aerial views with the proposed buildings in relation to the existing hospital and neighborhood. My feeling from riding my bike through that neighborhood is that it is pretty institutional-feeling already. It’s hard for me to see the bid difference between 15-20-and-35 story buildings. Anything over 5 or 6 stories is on a whole separate scale. Other than traffic/transit concerns, the skyrises might not be too out of place next the giant hospital.
Using Google Earth, I obtained an aerial view of the so-called peninsula where the buildings would rise. The article does a poor job differentiating that the entire
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