Parking spaces around the globe to be temporarily reclaimed for people
Miami, FL September 16, 2011 — In cities around the globe today, artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called “PARK(ing) Day.”
Originally invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure. “In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution,” says Rebar’s Matthew Passmore. “The planning strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the urban landscape.”
Locally, a group of organizations such as OPRA, Transit Miami, the Street Plans Collaborative, and the Urban Environmental League have partnered with the City of Miami Parking Authority to transform ten metered parking spaces in one of Downtown Miami’s least green neighborhoods into a park. The event will take place at 700 N. Miami Avenue, directly in front of the old Miami Arena, demolished in 2008. The Old Arena site is also the future site of Grand Central Park (www.grandcentralpark.org), an OPRA project to convert five acres of rocks on the former arena site into a three year temporary park.
Since 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2010 included more than 800 “PARK” installations 180 cities around the world. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe.
PARK(ing) Day is an “open-source” user-generated invention created by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to champion creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their local urban conditions. More information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities can be found and a global map of all participating cities are available on the PARK(ing) Day website, at parkingday.org.
Yesterday morning the construction zone at the intersection of SE 13th Street and Brickell Avenue was a pedestrian’s nightmare. Pedestrians can’t see the crossing signal therefore they don’t know when they should cross. Once they do cross they are forced out of the crosswalk, around the construction zone and into traffic coming from three different directions. Really? This is the best we can do?
Please send an email to Commissioner Mark Sarnoff and the FDOT district 6 Secretary Gus Pego and ask them and their families to join Transit Miami for lunch on Brickell Avenue. We will be happy to walk them through the pedestrian experience of the area. Lunch is on us.
Remember the Virginia Key Masterplan? Work has progressed over the past year on implementing the plan, but much more needs to be done. The UEL will convene a morning discussion with Virginia Key Coalition stakeholders to discuss the ongoing implementation of the Masterplan and next steps. Speakers will discuss the recent completion of the North Point Bike Trails, planned improvements to the Rickenbacker Causeway, ongoing Marine Stadium preservation efforts, and the still unfulfilled mandate for a Virginia Key Oversight Board.
Saturday, September 24, from 10 am – 12 pm
@ the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
visit www.uel.org soon for more details
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the lack of initiative the CPWD showed during a recent resurfacing project on South Miami Avenue from SW 14th Street to SE 13th Street. After the CPWD finished resurfacing the intersection on SW14th Street they only replaced the one and only existing crosswalk instead of painting all 4 crosswalks at this intersection. County Public Works Department Director Esther Calas responded to Transit Miami:
The Miami-Dade Public Works Department (PWD) had an ongoing drainage, milling and resurfacing and striping and signage project on South Miami Avenue, which was interrupted at the request of the neighborhood merchants with the City’s concurrence due to the Florida Department of Transportation reconstructing Brickell Avenue North of SE 15 Road. Although both projects had non-overlapping maintenance of traffic vehicular routing, the merchants were concerned with the combined traffic impacts.
When we halted our drainage project, only one block was completed, between S 13 Street/Coral Way and S 14 Street. The project began on that block because it had the worst roadway drainage conditions. As a part of work stoppage, the contractor only replaced the single crosswalk at 14 Street that was originally present. The City has offered to continue the drainage work on Miami Avenue in coordination with their drainage project for the intersecting neighborhood streets.
We agree that additional crosswalks will improve Miami Avenue. Therefore, in the interim before drainage work is reinitiated on Miami Avenue, we will resume our effort to stripe crosswalks, stopbars, bicycle lanes and shared use “Sharrow” markings along this corridor between S 15 Road and S 6 Street without further delay.
We appreciate your bringing these concerns to our attention.
We are happy to report that the CPWD not only painted three additional crosswalks at the South Miami Avenue and SW14 Street intersection, but also in the process added bike lanes on South Miami Avenue from SW 13th Street up to SW 15th Street. The CPWD has also taken the extra step to add crosswalks at other intersections on South Miami Avenue. Needless to say we are extremely pleased, but there is still room for improvement. Please see the below photographs for our praise, critiques and suggestions for improvement.
Well done Ms. Calas and CPWD! Your department singly handedly just made the Brickell area safer for those of us that walk and bike in the area. Let’s make it even safer!
You can find the Bicycle/Pedestrian Mobility Plan For the Miami Downtown Development Authority Area here: http://bit.ly/rsVYEb. There are plenty of great ideas in this document. The Miami DDA has also developed a streetscape plan for South Miami Avenue. You can find the study here:http://www.miamidda.com/pdf/South%20Miami%20Avenue%20Master%20Plan%20FINAL%209-17-10.pdf
Please send Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email thanking her and her department for their effort thus far. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The FDOT continues to turn a blind eye to all the crashes that we have documented in the Upper Eastside on Biscayne Boulevard over the past year. The below scene must have occurred in the past 24 hours or so on Biscayne Boulevard and 48th Street. Another day and another light pole on Biscayne comes crashing down as the FDOT does nothing to make Biscayne Boulevard safer for those of use that walk, bike, shop, use transit or drive on this street. When will the FDOT actually acknowledge that there is a fundamental design problem with the way Biscayne Boulevard was constructed and actually do something about it? With at least 9 accidents in the past year the evidence is very clear. Are they waiting for some to die before they fix Biscayne? The design speed needs to be commensurate with the 35 mph speed limit. Currently the design speed is about 45 mph.
The FDOT needs to stop playing with people’s lives. I have lived in the MiMo neighborhood for about a year and I am aware of at least 8 crashes involving motor vehicles taking out light poles/bus shelters/store fronts. I have documented most of them here.
Adding insult to injury our local elected officials, City Commissioner Sarnoff and County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson along with the FDOT, have done nothing to address the design speed on Biscayne Boulevard. The design speed on this street throughout the Upper East Side is about 45 mph. Although the speed limit is 35 mph it has become glaringly obvious that we have a speeding problem along this COMMERCIAL and RESIDENTIAL neighborhood.
Aside from a 1 day enforcement crackdown about a month ago on Biscayne and 45th Street, our elected officials aren’t doing nearly enough to make Biscayne Boulevard safer for those of us that are walking, biking, or waiting for a bus. Enforcement is not the solution. We need to design our roadways in order to achieve the speed we desire people to drive. In the case of Biscayne Boulevard the design speed should not exceed 35 mph. The FDOT (and our elected officials) must stop practicing wishful thinking and begin designing roads that discourage speeding that don’t require enforcement. Properly designed streets enforce themselves. Biscayne Boulevard is essentially a highway that cuts through commercial and residential neighborhoods; there are also several schools in this area. I cannot think of a good reason for a 45 mph design speed. You can find recommendations to make Biscayne Boulevard more pedestrian and business friendly here.
Commissioner Sarnoff has offered to pay for a $70,000 fence surrounding Belle Meade from the Quality of Life funds which will do nothing to improve the quality of life for anyone on the Upper East Side. I’d rather see the $70,000 used to make Biscayne Boulevard safer for those of us that walk and do business on the Boulevard. Pedestrian and business friendliness go hand-in-hand.
This situation is out of control and no one is being held accountable. The 8 documented crashes could have very easily involved 8 lost lives.
Editor’s note: This is part one of a two part series.
I was in San Francisco recently and aside from riding every form of urban transit imaginable (cable car, light rail, subway, bicycle, and commuter rail) I took the opportunity to explore a few of the city’s up-and-coming neighborhoods particularly, South of Market (SOMA), Mission Bay, and South Beach. Of particular interest on this visit was the urban development sprouting up along the China Basin, home of AT&T Ballpark where the San Francisco Giants have played since 2000. AT&T Ballpark and the new Muni Metro transit line which accompanied the stadium have served as catalysts for new urban development.
Having visited a number of America’s Baseball stadiums, what really strikes me about AT&T Ballpark is its connectivity with the surroundings. From the boardwalk along the famed McCovey Cove to the King Street Walk of Fame, this ballpark was designed to be as much of destination during the off-season as it is when the Giants are in town (Note: when I visited the Giants were on the road). This is a true urban ballpark; warm and inviting with some restaurants and bars within the ballpark opening up to Willie Mays Plaza. The Plaza, of course not only pays homage to one of baseball’s greatest players, but creates a sense of space and grand entrance to the ballpark. It’s important to note that AT&T Ballpark was the first privately financed ballpark in Major League Baseball since 1962. Noticeably absent from the area surrounding the stadium is parking, a good segway into a brief discussion of the transit service that was built to connect the region.
The T third street line is a modern light-rail system completed in 2007 at a cost of $648 Million. The 5.1 mile transit line is the newest addition to the SFMTA in 50 years and connects the existing Muni Metro system and AT&T Ballpark with some long neglected neighborhoods including Potrero Hill, Bayview, Hunters Point, and Visitacion Valley. Today, new development dots the landscape around the T third street line including the Mission Bay Development, an emerging bioscience hub anchored by the UCSF Mission Bay campus as well as an abundance of dense, urban, development (see: Avalon, Edgewater, and Strata). It’s also important to note that the T third street line was funded largely through the city of San Francisco’s Proposition B, a ½% sales tax levied to support transit projects.
Visiting AT&T Ballpark (and the surrounding neighborhoods) allowed me to more fully comprehend the shortcomings of the Marlins new Ballpark currently rising in the heart of Little Havana. The new Marlins Stadium is beautiful feat of engineering; it is sleek, shiny, and futuristic, much like Miami itself. Once inside, watching the home team play will be a pleasure, no doubt, but its interaction with the surrounding host community is, like much of Miami’s development, designed with a certain air of indifference for neighboring land uses.
Constructed at a taxpayer cost of $360M, one would think that we’d be unveiling a trophy piece of civic infrastructure next season; one whose public investment would outweigh the costs by spurring new urban growth, tourism, and economic development in the heart of the Magic City. One would also think that the additional $100M of public investment in transportation infrastructure would be designed to alleviate an already stressed infrastructure rather than exacerbate the problem, right? Wrong. This is Miami, here we spend $100M building four massive, structurally deficient parking garages.
Having visited AT&T Ballpark and the surrounding neighborhoods it’s difficult not to think of what a $100M down payment for a new transit line akin to the T third street line could have looked like. It could have linked EXISTING parking in downtown or the civic center urban centers with the Ballpark. Think of the opportunity lost to spur new development and provide a reasonable modal alternative to the residents of a largely lower-middle class neighborhood. Think of the pedestrian-scale development that could have risen alongside the stadium instead of parking garages. Imagine paying a nominal $2 transit fare to access the ballpark rather than shelling out upwards of $30 for parking (there are, after all, only 5,700 spaces available).
It’s an interesting juxtaposition in my eyes:
- AT&T Ballpark was built without a single cent of public financing and is one of the most inclusive, consciously designed stadiums in all of major league baseball. Coupled with a sound investment in sustainable transit, the stadium has spurred ongoing economic development in the surrounding neighborhoods.
- On the other hand, the heavily subsidized Marlins Ballpark is beginning to look like a full-blown assault on Little Havana, replete with the loss of public open space, parking structures which isolate the stadium from the surrounding community, and a guarantee that at least 81 days of the year the congestion in this area will be a nightmarish hell with little, if any, net positive impact to local businesses.
This is part one of a two part series. Part two will be published over the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Come join the ULI Southeast Florida Young Leaders of Miami-Dade County to network, meet new people and build invaluable relationships.
Attendees to include professionals in the real estate development, brokerage, management, planning, architectural, engineering, construction, legal, and public sectors. Learn about the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leaders Group and upcoming ULI events.
Non-members are encouraged to attend.
FREE for All! Registration required – One free drink and light appetizers will be provided.
Date and Time August 23 5:30-7:30
840 1St Street
Miami Beach, FL
Register by phone:
- Call: 1-800-321-5011 between
9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday;
Online registration for this event is closed, but you may still be able to register. Please call 800-321-5011 for more information.
Register by mail or fax:
- Download a registration form
- Fax to: 800-248-4585 (credit card payments only); or
- Mail to: ULI, Department 304, Washington, D.C., 20055-0304 (for check or credit card payments).
About 6 months ago the County Public Works Department spent about a month digging up South Miami Avenue from SW 14th Street to SE 13th Street. When it came time to resurface and restripe the roadway the CPWD only repainted the one and only crosswalk that existed rather then painting four crosswalks at South Miami Avenue and SW 14th Street intersection.
I’m really struggling to understand the logic behind this one. The bucket of paint and the dirty paint brushes were already on site and they failed to paint 3 additional crosswalks? Lemme guess, just like the proposed cycletrack on Miami Avenue, we have to do some B.S. traffic study to see if crosswalks are appropriate and we have to wait until the school year begins to conduct this study right? We don’t have to reinvent the wheel and prove the obvious. There is always an excuse with the CPWD. Just do it and stop making excuses.
This is completely and utterly negligent on their behalf. What is so difficult about painting 3 additional crosswalks when you’re already on the job site? This was a perfect opportunity to make this intersection more pedestrian-friendly and the CPWD blew it!
Can someone please provide us with an explanation as to why the additional crosswalks were not stripped? If money is the problem perhaps Commissioner Sarnoff should use the $70,000 from the Quality of Life funds he plans to put towards that worthless Belle Meade fence and instead use our tax dollars to make the Brickell area more pedestrian-friendly.
Please send Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email asking her why three crosswalks were purposely left out of this project. (email@example.com).
The below article come from the spring issue of the Brickell Homeowners Association newsletter:
Residents and business owners who have heard of plans to close the left turn from Brickell Avenue to Southeast Sixth Street are not pleased with the notion. FDOT is steadfast in their intent to close the median, despite the objections raised by many who live and work in the area. Residents of 500 Brickell already have problems with motorists cutting through their valet area under their building to make a quick exit from Brickell and head west. For those at 600 Brickell, the proposed median closure at Southeast Sixth Street looks disastrous.
No one has been successful at influencing this FDOT decision — and no one has authority over FDOT locally —despite citizens’ objections and support from our local officials.
“Our position continues to be that FDOT has to listen to residents on closing Sixth Street,” Commissioner Marc Sarnoff said. FDOT representatives reported in June, however, that after studying potential alternatives and conferring with their Central office, the recommendation for the median remains unchanged. Those outside of FDOT had not seen the traffic studies leading to that decision; FDOT agreed to make the studies public.
Ever since the Brickell Avenue construction project began, Downtown Development Authority has been facilitating regular meetings with Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade County and City officials and other interested parties to discuss construction issues. The goal of the meetings is to bring the different government entities around the table regularly since the roads have overlapping authorities. Each agency has their own construction and rehab projects going on in the area, but there was no coordinating body.
Stakeholders asked FDOT about the potential impact to Fifth Street as a result of the median closure. FDOT said it was not in their jurisdiction or part of the project scope to consider or study that, however, they said they would “consider” the request. The only concession by FDOT was that their plan to lengthen the Brickell median cut in for left turns at Fifth Street was scrapped. The plan had created a public uproar as they were planning to remove a mahogany tree, considered a Brickell landmark.
For now, commencement of these Phase II changes is on hold, targeted for December 2012.“Clearly differences of opinion remain, such as the closure of the median onto Sixth Street, that may have to be resolved by other means,” said Javier Betancourt, deputy director of the DDA.“We did get FDOT to agree to provide their traffic studies to all interested parties, and to continue to work with our agency in resolving obstacles to the DDA-funded decorative crosswalks all along Brickell Avenue.” BHA will continue to follow the progress of these projects and report on the latest developments.
“Most Recently the Brickell Area Association joined the crusade to reduce the speed limit on Brickell Avenue. Partially as a result of its joint efforts with the DDA and Commissioner Sarnoff’s office, the FDOT agreed to permanently lower the speed limit from 40 to 35 mph along the southern end of Brickell Avenue.”
In addition the transportation department conceded to the addition of crosswalks at several intersections as well as sharrow markings to encourage road sharing with cyclists.
Lastly, the department agreed that all of Brickell Avenue will now get modern fixtures that compliment the architecture of the neighborhood.”
We submitted the below response to the Editor of Miami News Today, unfortunately our letter was not published. So here you have it…
In last week’s article “Brickell Area Assoication events to look behind the headlines”, Mr. Brickell Area Association President Randy Olen correctly mentioned “the BAA joined the crusade to reduce the speed limit on Brickell Avenue partially as a result of its joint venture with the DDA and Commissioner Sarnoff’s office.” Although the concessions which were made by FDOT could not have been made possible without the support of the DDA and Commissioner Sarnoff, we think it is important to note that the “crusade” to reduce the speed limit and calm traffic on Brickell Avenue was initiated by Transit Miami and not the DDA or Commissioner Sarnoff’s office.
When Transit Miami caught wind of the resurfacing project in late July 2010 we took the initiative to meet with representatives from the FDOT to discuss the project. After discovering that the FDOT did not have any plans to improve safety for pedestrians or cyclists, Transit Miami began a grassroots campaign to make Brickell safer for everyone that lives, works and plays on Brickell. Working with the South Florida Bike Coalition and the Green Mobility Network we organized a coalition of stakeholders that included the Brickell Homeowners Association, the Brickell Area Association, Mayor Regaldo, Commissioner Sarnoff, the Miami DDA, and State Representative Luis Garcia. Thanks to the Transit Miami-led coalition, a conversation about pedestrian safety on Brickell Avenue has finally begun – but more can and should be done.
The FDOT is not doing nearly enough to promote a safer – and more beautiful – Brickell Avenue. Reducing the speed limit alone will not have the desired effect of speed reduction unless the roadway is designed to discourage speeding. In addition, while we applaud FDOT for adding 7 additional crosswalks to the project, this effort falls far short of the nearly twenty crossings that Transit Miami identified as currently missing from the one and a half mile stretch of roadway. Absent from the plans are any pedestrian crossings between SW 26 Road and 17 Road, while the median along the entire avenue is devoid of pedestrian amenity despite heavy pedestrian volumes and one of the highest residential population densities in the county.
Brickell Avenue is one of our premier streets – isn’t it time that we designed it that way?
Writer, Transit Miami
Vice President South Florida Bike Coalition
Publisher, Transit Miami
Board of Directors, Green Mobility Network
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