A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How living in Miami Beach used to make me smile…
“The mayor is also concerned about how this construction will effect traffic. The City has done its best to work with FDOT to make the project as painless to the residents as possible. Please continue to share your thoughts with the mayor. Your feelings are very important to her.”
I felt emboldened and encouraged that the mayor cared about my feelings. But what was their plan for pedestrian safety?
The current nighttime work is to restripe West Avenue from 17 Street to 6 Street in order to prepare for the next phase of work on Alton Road. The contractor is completing this work at night because the striping operation requires lane closures and potential detours. We understand the ongoing work has been difficult, and the team will continue to do its best to mitigate the inconveniences.
I live at 13th and West Avenue. I am a Senior Records Clerk for a local Police Department and my wife is employed a a local Hospital as a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit. We have two daughters under the age of 2. We have lived at the same address for over 10 years. West Avenue is not the same roadway as when we first began living here. There have been so many occasions where my family have sat at the crosswalk on West Ave and 14th Street as car after car passes us by, not so much as giving us a glance. Recently, I entered the crosswalk and an oncoming vehicle southbound did not slow down. I had to throw my daughter behind me and scream at the top of my lungs for a car to stop in the far left lane. When he did, he actually gave me the finger and told me to get out of the way. My wife and I no longer cross West Avenue at all. It is not the same for my family, let alone the other many families who live in the area, or the many elderly citizens who frequent this intersection. I watch from my balcony as cars fly by, not yielding whatsoever to pedestrians who have the right of way. Now that southbound West Avenue has been increased to two lanes it is more dangerous than ever. Without a stoplight, or a speed bump of some kind, it is without question that it is a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed at that intersection.
I feel as excited about this basic safety improvement as I would for the fanciest Birthday gift! Finally, our concerns were heard and the powers that be show that they actually care…or do they?
Still nothing has happened on 13th Street or 14th Streets. Ms Leslie has informed me that “The final design plans for the temporary signal at 14 Street have been completed and the materials are currently being procured. The light will be installed once the materials arrive. As discussed, these pedestrian features require engineering plans, as well as the coordination with the various agencies.“) . I emailed FDOT a link to some traffic calming devices on Amazon, for $1600 and asked why they couldn’t just buy one of those but I guess they were not amused by that suggestion.
Minimum parking requirements are killing good urban development in Miami. Luckily, there has been a push to eliminate parking requirements for small urban buildings (<10,000 sq ft) in recent months. This is a good first step in the right direction if Miami really aspires to become a walkable and less autocentric city.
Minimum parking requirements perpetuate more automobile use and it also makes housing less affordable since the cost of building and maintaining required parking is passed on to renters and buyers. Two weeks ago Zillow released ahousing report that cited Miami as the 2nd most expensive city for renters. The average Miami resident spends 43.2% of their income on rent.\
Combine expensive housing with lack of public transit and minimum parking requirements that only serve to perpetuate the use of the automobile; its no wonder why Miami is one of the most expensive car dominated cities in the US.
Eliminating parking requirements would do the following things:
1) Allows small developers to choose how many parking spaces are needed based on what fits and what buyers or tenants want.
2) Replaces parking with denser development that generates more property and sales tax for the county and city.
3) Allows small property owners to keep their property and develop themselves.
4) Levels the playing field for small Miami property owners.
5) Allows for the creation of more walkable and denser urban neighborhoods.
Below are the details for the reduced parking requirements that are being sought for small urban buildings. This is currently being advocated for at the commission level, so stay tuned for the resolution.
The proposed text for T4, T5, and T6 is underlined below. The non-underlined text already exists in Miami 21, a TOD/transit corridor parking reduction that does not apply within 500 ft of single-family/duplex areas (T3). The proposed text does not change that, it does not apply within 500 feet of T3. Below is a map of where the proposed text would apply: orange areas around rail stations, purple areas along transit corridors, but not yellow areas within 500 ft of T3.
“Parking ratio may be reduced within 1/2 mile radius of TOD or within 1/4 mile radius of a Transit Corridor by thirty percent (30%) by process of Waiver, or by one hundred percent (100%) for any Structure that has a Floor Area of ten thousand (10,000) square feet or less, except when site is within 500 feet of T3.”.
Let’s hope City of Miami Commissioners can come to their senses and eliminate parking requirements entirely, not just for small urban buildings.
Some of you may have heard that the Venetian Causeway will be shut down for an extended period of time. Head on over to the Belle Isle Blog for more background information.
The upshot is that due to lack of maintenance (before you place blame fully at the people at Public Works and Waste Management, consider that the political leadership in Miami continues to push for lower taxes and this is pretty much what you end up getting), the westernmost part of the bridge must be demolished and replaced. The problems surfaced when a Miami Dade County bus crossed the Venetian Causeway and got stuck and a hole opened up. After a brief closure, new weight limits mean that County buses are unable to cross the Causeway, leading to a increases in travel times for those working on the islands.
The bridge won’t be closed for another four to six months and will then be shut down to all traffic for about six to nine months. This report was confirmed at a recent meeting with Public Works and Waste Management department staff. And given the track record of recent projects, things must be going well. Residents, visitors and workers (some of whom may not have another means of transport) use the Venetian Causeway as the only viable – as in not completely unsafe – option to access South Beach. The other two options – the MacArthur Causeway and the Julia Tuttle Causeway managed by the Florida Department of Transportation – are not recommended routes, despite FDOT having put bike lanes on them (we have asked FDOT District 6 head Gus Pego to bike those routes with us to show that he considers them safe, so far he hasn’t taken us up on the offer). Add the current construction project on the MacArthur and the convoluted access to the sidewalk that leads to the bike lane on the mainland side as well as our usual crazy Miami drivers and making the trip by bike increases your chances of serious injury or fatality to an unacceptable degree (as if the current situation wasn’t already bad enough).
We suggest that the County do the following:
- provide options for those unable to get to Miami Beach by increasing bus service to Miami Beach and the islands by way of Miami Beach;
- consider adding trailers to buses so that those needing to go to Miami Beach do not have expose themselves to the dangers of either the Tuttle or the MacArthur Causeway (for examples, look here, here and here - and yes, being able to lock bikes would be good, this is Miami after all); and
- keep the public informed on the progress of the construction and the available transportation options.
We would like to find out what other – serious – ideas you have that the County could take up. Please feel free to add comments or send us an email.
Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking and distinguished professor of urban planning at UCLA, will give a talk on Monday, April 21 from 8 to 10 AM at AIA’s Miami Center for Architecture & Design, 100 NE 1 Ave, Miami, FL 33132.
Shoup is the godfather of the scientific study of parking, and has spoken widely about the benefits of eliminating required parking for mobility and urbanism. Shoup writes: “This doesn’t mean, however, that developers won’t provide off-street parking. It simply means that urban planners won’t tell developers exactly how many parking spaces they must provide before they can get a building permit. Developers will provide the parking spaces they think buyers demand.”
Capacity is limited, RSVP at shoupmiami.eventbrite.com and send to all your contacts, followers, members, students, etc. Continental breakfast will be served. Supported by the Knight Foundation, AIA Miami, APA Gold Coast Section, and Townhouse Center.
Some TransitMiami readers have expressed a desire to see ‘mixed’ use mapped out. Well, here it is:
Yes; the results are drastic. At this scale, one almost needs a magnifying glass to even locate the ‘mixed use’ sites.
Removing the street network helps a bit, but it only makes the disappointing results that much clearer.
Mind you, I’ve kept the recent series of Miami-Dade County land-use maps at a relatively small cartographic scale to show the relatively large geographic scale area of the entire county.
You can find the related Miami-Dade land-use maps at the links below:
- Residential Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- Commercial Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- Industrial Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- Agricultural Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- Park Land-Use in Miami-Dade
‘Mixed’ land-use was defined as those subsets of commercial use categories with the following descriptions:
- “Office/Business/Hotel/Residential. Substantial components of each use present, Treated as any combination of the mentioned uses with a hotel as part of development.”
- “Office and/or Business and other services (ground level) / Residential (upper levels). Low-density < 15 dwellings per acre or 4 floors.”
- “Residential predominantly (condominium/ rental apartments with lower floors Office and/or Retail. High density > 15 dwelling units per ac, multi-story buildings (Generally more than 5 stories).”
Now, one must consider the difference between ‘mixed’ land-use, and the general land-use mix of an area. The latter concept can also be referred to as the diversity of land-use in a given area.
So, while there is obviously very little ‘mixed’ use throughout Miami-Dade County, there are significant areas where there is a healthy land-use mix, or diversity of land-uses.
One must also consider the difference between use and zoning, or the difference between the current economic function of the land versus the future or intended purpose of the land.
We’ll get into these issues later . . .
Last night County Commissioners voted in favor of Vision Zero 305. Much like NYC’s Vision Zero NYC, Vision Zero 305 is a set of comprehensive policies developed in Sweden and aimed at a future in which no one is killed or seriously injured by traffic.
Miami is the 3rd most deadly metropolitan area in the nation for cyclists and pedestrians. Vision Zero 305 will be based on the refusal to accept that human death or lifelong suffering from injury is an acceptable result of road traffic. In order to achieve this vision, our traffic systems must be designed with the understanding that people make mistakes and that traffic crashes cannot be avoided completely. Roads should be designed so that when crashes do occur, they do not result in serious injury or death.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez had this to say:
“My fellow commissioners and I have finally come to recognize that Miami is about 2 decades behind other so-called “world class cities” when it comes to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. We have a public safety crisis unfolding on our streets and we need to make our streets safer for everyone; we need to design our streets for people, not cars. There clearly has been no leadership or vision from anyone on the County Commission when it comes to preventing traffic deaths, but that is about to change. We will no longer strive to become the deadliest metropolitan area in the nation for cyclists and pedestrians. Instead we will strive to have the safest streets in the country.”
According to Commissioner Xavier Suarez, “the County will implement a complete streets policy and we will hold police accountable when it comes to doing their job; we actually expect them to enforce traffic laws.”
This is a big step in the right direction. Let’s just hope this is just not the same old political posturing that we’re tired of hearing.
I’m really tired of writing this same old story. On Friday morning another cyclist was critically injured on Bear Cut Bridge, the very same bridge where Chistopher Lecanne was killed nearly 4 years ago when a driver hit him from behind.
Crashes like these are preventable if only our elected officials could get their act together and address the public safety crisis that is happening in front of their very own eyes.
The Rickenbacker Causeway is a microcosm for the greater ills of the county. Case in point: In the past 7 years at least 3 cyclists have been killed and countless other have been critically injured, yet the existing conditions on the Rickenbacker Causeway are getting more dangerous (i.e. Bear Cut Bridge), not safer. Virtually nothing has been done to make the Rickenbacker less dangerous. How many people need to die before something is done?
Miami Dade County is the 3rd most dangerous metropolitan area in the country for pedestrian and cyclists, yet our elected officials are dragging their feet when it comes to making our streets safer. All I hear is political grandstanding that changes are coming and in the meantime pedestrians and cyclists continue to be slaughtered on our streets. The entire situation is disgraceful and shameful and collectively Miami Dade County elected officials need to be held accountable.
Click here to send an email to all of our County Commissioners and Mayor Gimenez and let them know what an awful job they are doing when it comes to pedestrian and cyclist safety throughout the County. This is not just a Rickenbacker Causeway issue, this is a county wide problem that has turned into a public safety crises.
The situation has reached a point that is beyond embarrassing.
Today we’re looking at those spaces that breathe life into a city: parks.
I kept it simple: only beaches, municipal-operated, and county-operated parks were included. These criteria effectively excluded the following uses, which are part of Miami-Dade County’s default “Park” category:
- Recreational Vehicle Parks/Camps
- Private Recreational Facilities Associated with Private Residential Developments
- Private Recreational Camps/Areas
- Golf courses
- Other Nature Preserves and Protected Areas, which, for the most part, are completely inaccessible for public recreation/leisure
And, significantly, this map doesn’t show Biscayne National Park, our local, primarily aquatic national park covering the bulk of central and southern Biscayne Bay.
What do you think? Where are more parks needed in our community?
The Aaron Cohen Bill is currently making its way through the Florida legislature. It has taken all hurdles in the Florida Senate with a unanimous vote on the floor of the Senate today. What remains is getting it through one House committee and then the full House. What can you do? Please take a moment to let the chair of the Economic Affairs Committee, Rep. Patronis (firstname.lastname@example.org), know that you are in favor of moving the bill forward.
Below is a sample email:
Dear Chair Patronis:
I am writing on behalf of the Aaron Cohen Law Initiative (AaronCohenLaw.org), a grass-roots non-profit effort that was formed in South Florida in response to an unjust sentence that was handed down to a man who drove his car into two cyclists while they were riding their bikes in the bike lane on Key Biscayne and he never stopped to help them.
One of those cyclists, Aaron Cohen, was killed.
The driver served less than a year in county jail. Had he stayed on the scene to render aid, law enforcement would have very likely retrieved blood evidence of DUI, which would have resulted in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four years. Instead, he was sentenced to 364 days in jail and was released 100 days early.
CS/HB183 effectively eliminates the inadvertent penalty gap that exists between DUI manslaughter and Leaving the Scene involving Death (a.k.a. “Hit-and-Run”).
We are pleased that the bill has UNANIMOUSLY passed its first three House committee stops, all four of its Senate committee stops (SB102) and on 3/26/2014 it unanimously passed the Senate floor. We know that your committee is next in line to hear the bill. We kindly ask that you please agenda the bill for the committee’s next meeting, Friday April 4th, 2014.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
(your name here)
Our Urban Development Boundary (UDB) constrains the encroachment of real estate development — typically in the form of single-family residential sprawl — into our precious agricultural and other environmentally-sensitive lands, such as the wetland and terrestrial ecosystems of Everglades National Park.
The agriculture sector contributes significantly to the local economy. As recently explained in WLRN’s excellent series “The Sunshine Economy”:
Agriculture generates a direct $700 million dollars a year in Miami-Dade County alone. The economic impact of the plowing, growing and picking of those crops is much larger.
Agricultural land-uses in Miami-Dade County are found primarily in the southwest, in what’s known as the Redland Agricultural Area (often referred to as the “Redlands”).
One can also find plenty of fruit stands selling tropical and sub-tropical delights, fruits and vegetables that are sometimes virtually impossible to grow in any US region outside of South Florida.
Significant horticultural industries can be found out there too, including processing and packaging facilities for orchids and other ornamental plants.
If you haven’t already, visit the agricultural periphery of Miami-Dade County. It’ll change your whole perspective of what “Miami” truly is . . .
Even in primarily financial- and service-sector cities like Miami, industrial use of land is a critical component of the urban economy.
Yes; Miami is a ‘post-industrial’ city, having carved its niche in the world economy after other metropolitan centers had carved their own on the foundation of manufacturing and production, but significant pockets of industrial land-use do exist in the county.
For some, the industrial space is closer than for others.
Just think about your own neighborhood: Is it near one of Miami’s industrial clusters, or far-removed where the illusion of a production-free world is more easily accepted?
This industrial land-use map includes spaces used for activities classified as:
- [limestone/concrete] extraction, excavation, quarrying, and rock-mining,
- heavy and light manufacturing,
- industrial office parks,
- industrial-commercial condominiums, and
- junk yards.
If you’ve never been to one of the junk yards along the Miami River, or in Hialeah, it’s time you took a field trip. The industrial side of Miami’s economy will become much more apparent than you’ve ever imagined . . .
We posted a map of residential land-use in Miami-Dade last week. Here’s one illustrating commercial use throughout the county.
What patterns, if any, do you see here? Where would you like to see more commercial development take place?
Join the SE FL/Caribbean District Council of the Urban Land Institute as we explore synergies between art and real estate. The program will review opportunities to expand art in real estate development and its impact on community building and place-making.
This event will examine both the challenges and the business case for the inclusion of art and design at the very center of project thinking.
3:00 pm - Registration & Networking
3:30 pm - Keynote Presentation: Creative Placemaking: Carol Coletta, VP/Community and National Initiatives, Knight Foundation
4:30 pm - Panel Discussion: Integrating Art into Real Estate Development
Dennis Scholl, Vice President / Arts, Knight Foundation
Philip E. Aarons, Principal and Founding Partner, Millennium Partners
Thomas Collins, Director, Perez Art Museum Miami
Arthur Weiner, Chairman, AWE Talisman
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm - Networking Reception
Docent – led tours of the PAMM available following the event (Registration required.)
LISTEN TO THE LATEST TALKING HEADWAYS PODCAST
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