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

Location: Clarke’s

840 1St Street

Miami Beach, FL

 

Register Online:

District Council

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).

 

 

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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.

Nice crosswalk. How about crosswalks connecting all 4 corners?

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.

Pathetic

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!

Redonkulous

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.

Shameful

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. (ecalas@miamidade.gov). 

 

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.

 

Two weeks ago, Miami Today News quoted Brickell Area Association President Mr. Randy Olen as saying:

“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…

Dear Editor,

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?

Felipe Azenha

Writer, Transit Miami

Vice President South Florida Bike Coalition

 

Tony Garcia

Publisher, Transit Miami

Board of Directors, Green Mobility Network

 

 

The FDOT is in the midst of making improvements to the sidewalk on the SW corner of Brickell and SE 13th Street. This intersection is dangerous enough for pedestrians when it’s not under construction, but today the FDOT tried their hardest to make it as difficult as possible for those that walk on Brickell to cross the street safely. Not only did they simply close the sidewalk to pedestrians, the actually had the audacity to put up a “sidewalk closed, cross here” sign where there isn’t a crosswalk!

Cross Here? But there is no crosswalk...

The closest crosswalk on the north-west side of this intersection is three blocks away on SE 10th Street. Pedestrians should not have to walk 6 blocks in the hot, blistering sun just to get to the other side of the street. This is an embarrassment. There was no thought given to the needs of pedestrians during the planning stages of the project. None whatsoever.

 

The University of Miami School of Architecture is proud to announce an upcoming exhibition Less Than Forty Years Old: Young Florida Architects which will showcase the best in Florida architecture and design. It will be on display from October 5 through 28 in the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center Irvin Korach Gallery. This competition is open to anyone who is practicing in the State of Florida, including architects, landscape architects, and designers. Students in post-professional architecture and landscape degrees are eligible as well. Opening night on October 5 will include a panel discussion in the Perez Center’s Glasgow Lecture Hall at 6:00 p.m., followed by the exhibition and a reception in the Korach Gallery. Submissions of portfolios School of Architecture Announces Major Exhibition from October 5 through 28 The University of Miami School of Architecture is proud to announce an upcoming exhibition Less Than Forty Years Old: Young Florida Architects which will showcase the best in Florida architecture and design. It will be on display from October 5 through 28 in the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center Irvin Korach Gallery. This competition is open to anyone who is practicing in the State of Florida, including architects, landscape architects, and designers. Students in post-professional architecture and landscape degrees are eligible as well. Opening night on October 5 will include a panel discussion in the Perez Center’s Glasgow Lecture Hall at 6:00 p.m., followed by the exhibition and a reception in the Korach Gallery. Submissions of portfolios are due by August 29 at 12 noon to Professor Jean-Francois Lejeune, Director of Graduate Studies (flejeune@miami.edu). Please click on the attachment which contains the complete Call for Submissions with all pertinent information. are due by August 29 at 12 noon to Professor Jean-Francois Lejeune, Director of Graduate Studies (flejeune@miami.edu). Please click on the attachment which contains the complete Call for Submissions with all pertinent information.

Lets start by saying kudos to newly elected Commissioner Xavier Suarez for discussing the need for adequate transit in the county. Nothing like new blood to reinvigorate the discussion. Because of his push for new service on the FEC line along Biscayne, Commissoin Chairman Joe Martinez brought up a pet project of his own that he has conitinually tried to push over the past decade. While I’m happy that rail transit has joined the discussion, lets take an initial critical look at the plans being proposed and weigh them against the transit needs of Miami-Dade County residents.

Both projects use existing freight rail infrastructure with different technologies aimed at different types of transit usage. Overall, we are happy that the conversation is taking place; however, the ill conceived nature of the projects and the lack of coordination and vision points to the need for a holistic transit strategy – something we have been saying for some time.

Commissioner Suarez is looking at the FEC line that runs parallel to Biscayne for some form of rubber-tire ‘dual mode electric vehicles’ for local service.

As you might imagine, we here at Transit Miami think this is a big joke. While we applaud the rookie/veteran commissioner, we really urge him to support the current efforts to install transit service on the FEC via the SFECC study. This Tri-County study, has laid out several alternatives for transit service, and is pretty far along in the process. Transit Miami supports the urban-local alternative, which combines regional service (ala Tri-Rail) along with local light rail or MetroRail service. The rubber tire ‘dual mode’ transit idea is as hair brained as they come. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, folks. The FEC goes through or adjacent to most of our urbanized areas. No need to be gimicky here – just provide run of the mill fixed-premium transit service and people will ride!

As for Commissioner Martinez’ plan to connect points south to the Tri-Rail Airport station (once it reopens) along a CSX ROW, this might be a good idea, but as with all plans, the devil is in the details. Do we really need to provide expensive transit service to some of the least dense and suburban locations in Miami-Dade County? I’m not sure. Extending Tri-Rail’s regional connectivity south is a good thing, but I’m not sure in this era of constrained municipal budgets that this project is more worthy than the FEC line, or other urban rail extensions like the Douglas Road MetroRail or Baylink. The pricetag to upgrade the line in 2006 dollars is $300 million, relative chump change compared to other transit project (or any road project), so that is not as much a concern to us as the cost to maintain the system. With yearly budget battles for scarce transit dollars, we need to be sure we build lines that we can afford to pay for – going to MetroZoo and points south may be a great idea in the long run, but as Commissioner Martinez said, “What is wrong with our mass transit system? It doesn’t loop and it doesn’t connect.” Will this line actually change that? Not really. (Not to mention that this ‘transit’ project is really about giving CSX an easier – and cheaper- freight connection out west on sensitive wetlands.)

CSX Freight Relocation Diagram

Lets continue to develop our urban rail network before making targeted investments in extensions to important points south and north and west. As with the MetroRail Orange Line along NW 27 Avenue, simply extending transit to the outer reaches of the county will not guarantee ridership – and will further induce suburban sprawl in areas to the far west and south. A better start would be to use the Ludlam trail from Dadeland Station to the Airport for light rail service (not bus). That would finally create a complete loop around Miami-Dade County, and set the stage for expansions to the suburban reaches of the county.

Ludlam Trail/FEC Transit Connection Study CTAC presentation, January 12, 2011

Washington, DC – August 1, 2011 - With more than $8,000 in prizes for the winning entries, the Alliance for Biking & Walking invites professional, amateur and advocate photographers to submit their best images of biking and walking to the 2011 People Powered Movement Photo Contest.

The contest aims to both celebrate the beauty and energy of active transportation and continue to build an online library of high-quality images that can be used by bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations across North America.

In 2009, more than 2,000 photographs were submitted in the first Alliance photo contest. Today marks the launch of the 2011 contest. Once again, categories include biking, walking, and advocates in action. New in 2011, the People Powered Movement Photo Contest invites photos in additional categories, including:

  • Women
  • Equity / Building an Inclusive Movement
  • Open Streets (Ciclovias)

From August 1st to September 30th, individuals can submit up to 20 photo entries via the contest website. From October 1st to 31st, public voting will determine the finalists in each category. A panel of expert and advocate  judges from across the continent will then determine the winners, to be announced in March 2012.

The overall grand prize is an all-expenses-paid, 10-day bike trip to Tuscany, Italy, from VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations. Additional prizes include:

All winning photos also will be featured in the March 2012 issue of Momentum magazine.

To learn more or enter, visit PeoplePoweredMovement.org/PhotoContest

About the Alliance for Biking & Walking:

The Alliance for Biking & Walking is the North American coalition of more than 180 state and local bicycle and pedestrian organizations working together to promote bicycling and walking. To learn more about the Alliance, visitPeoplePoweredMovement.org.

Miami Today News is reporting that the FDOT’s two-year $16 million renovation effort of Biscayne Boulevard is coming to an end. The FDOT resurfaced the road, installed new drainage, and built new sidewalks and improved lighting and signage from NE 16 Street to NE 36th Street.

Enrique Tomayo, Senior Project Engineer for Tomayo Engineering had this to say about the reduced lane widths, wider green space between sidewalk and bigger sidewalks:

“That makes the corridor more pedestrian-friendly.”

What a joke. Other then the sidewalks I could not think of a more pedestrian-unfriendly design then the current design that FDOT selected.

This afternoon I rode my bicycle from NE 22nd Street up to NE 36th Street. In this 14-block stretch of roadway there are only 5 crosswalks. If the FDOT really wanted to make this high-density, commercial corridor pedestrian-friendly, they would have added a crosswalk at every intersection. A pedestrian should not have to walk four blocks just to get across the street.  If the FDOT actually expects pedestrians to walk four blocks just to cross the street they are living in la la land.

This entire project is an embarrassment. If the FDOT were truly concerned about economic development, pedestrians and cyclists they would have added on street parallel parking as well.  Not only do businesses on Biscayne Boulevard need accessible parking for their customers, but parallel parking also helps to calm traffic. When you calm traffic, you make the roadway more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

It is clear that the FDOT has one mission- To move cars as quickly as possible without regard to the needs of businesses, pedestrians and bicyclists.

I think we should rename Biscayne Boulevard to Biscayne Highway. This road is looking less like a Boulevard and more like a Highway. Take a look for yourselves…

Biscayne Boulevard or Biscayne Highway? There is nothing pedestrian-friendly about this roadway.

When will the FDOT learn to properly build a roadway that is safe for everyone? This project hasn’t even been completed and we already have to fix it. The same shitty roadway design was produced in the MiMo District.  When the MiMo BID Executive Committee meet with the FDOT they were told they would have to wait another 20 years to re-stripe Biscayne Bouleveard because that is when the project is up for review again. How many people will be injured or die and how many businesses will suffer during that time due to poor roadway design? Absolutely pathetic. Everyone is at the mercy of the FDOT and there is nothing we can do.  Very sad.

 

Florida At Risk of Falling 20 Years Behind Other States

It is summer vacation season. Perhaps you just returned to South Florida from one of the world’s great cities. Chances are, you probably experienced bicycle facilities that are generally better than what we have here in South Florida. While recently there has been significant improvements to the bicycle infrastructure in Miami-Dade County, there is still a key design element that is missing from our streetscape.

Image Courtesy of New York City DoT

A cycle track, is a physically separate and protected bike lane and is considered by bicycle planners and experts as the safest and most enjoyable way to ride a bicycle through an urban environment. Widely seen as a catalyst to encourage riding because of the inherent safety of the protection from traffic – either by a curb, bollards, parked cars or pavement buffer – cycle tracks are revolutionizing the way people view cycling in an urban context.

 

Before you read any further, watch this short video via StreetFilms.org on the new cycle track in Queens, New York City. On a personal note, I was in New York last weekend when this facility opened. Having cycled in the same area prior to the building of this lane, I was awestruck. Seeing so many people enjoying an area of Queens that was previously a miserable traffic-choked hellhole, the experience was almost surreal.

There are numerous studies that show cycle tracks are proven to increase ridership tremendously versus unprotected, striped lanes. A new protected lane on Manhattan’s busy First Avenue saw cyclist counts rise by 152% throughout the year the facility was opened. As most people cite safety issues as their biggest barrier to cycling for transportation, cycletracks offer a solution that not only makes traveling safer for the cyclist, but for the motorist as well. Numerous studies have found that crashes between bicycles and traffic diminish when a protected cycle track is available.

While many cities throughout the USA and world have installed such facilities like the Queens example to great success, Miami-Dade County does not have a single on-road protected bicycle lane/cycle track. The feeling of unparalleled uplift I experienced upon riding the Queens lane quickly faded to frustration when I realized the challenges ahead for Miami.

So what is the problem? Simply put, the Florida Department of Transportation does not recognize cycle tracks as an approved bicycle facility. Therefore, some of the FDOT’s biggest roadway projects in Miami-Dade County like the proposed redesigns of Alton Road in Miami Beach, Flagler Street in Little Havana, Brickell Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard will not include cycle tracks. In fact, the feasibility of such facilities have not even been studied by the FDOT in these projects because the design standards of cycle tracks are not approved. Even worse, some of these projects have start dates in 2016 with completion dates approaching 2018, 2019 and 2020.

If the FDOT does not adopt the cycle track as an approved design standard as these major projects move forward, FODT will be 20 years behind other states and cities in implementing accepted bicycle facilities. The benefits are obvious. We’ve spent a lot of electronic ink here at TransitMiami in lambasting the FDOT’s outdated auto-centric designs and how they imposed them on the Florida landscape. This is not the time for that. Simply put, it’s time for the FDOT to join the ranks of the enlightened world of modern urban design and adopt cycle tracks that will create the conditions for safe and sustainable urban transportation. Give us the facilities that will lead to safer streets, healthier people, clean air and stress free commutes.

Here is an abbreviated list of American cities that have built segregated bicycle facilities. It’s time for Miami to join this list.

Chicago, IL
Madison, WI
Davis, CA
Long Beach, CA
Denver, CO
Boulder, CO
Portland, OR
San Francisco, CA
Minneapolis, MN
Cambridge, MA
Boston, MA
Washington, D.C.

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Imagine a world where you can breeze down US1 during rush hour without a care in the world. No gridlock. No traffic. You bypass intersections and the suckers stuck in the slow lane because you are on one of Miami-Dade’s numerous newly implemented ‘Managed Lanes.’ From the Palmetto, to LeJeune, to the entire length of US1, transportation officials have rolled out toll lanes across South Florida, and more are to come.

Unfortunately this future is not in some fantasy world – it is the transportation plan being pursued by our Miami-Dade MPO – led by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.

Image Courtesy the Miami-Dade MPO. The MPO Transit /Managed Lanes Expansion plan conflates two very different mobility strategies and sets the stage for an incremental phase out of premium transit service.

What are managed lanes? The FHA defines managed lanes as, “Highway facilities or a set of lanes where operational strategies are proactively implemented and managed in response to changing conditions.”  In most cases this involves variable tolling on the managed lane based on surrounding levels of congestion.  Simply put, the lanes are toll roads that run parallel to ‘free’ roads, allowing users to pay a premium to bypass traffic.

As you can see from the map above from the Miami-Dade MPO Near Term Plan, the planners at the MPO have some serious confusion about the relationship between managed lanes and transit. MPO planners are conflating their need for more revenue with their responsibility to provide better mobility throughout Miami-Dade. What follows is what MPO planners have in mind for your transportation future (Disclaimer: I didn’t make this up – it came directly from the MPO Near Term Plan):

Once the SR 836/826 interchange reconstruction is complete the managed lane system can be expanded. A combination of tolling, express lanes and transit services, similar to the operation on I‐95 Express managed lanes represents a greener, cost effective strategy to meet the demand on the transportation system. At a relative minimal cost of implementation this strategy provides a feasible approach that has proven to yield the desired results of mobility improvements that will help transit become more sustainable.

Greenwashing at its worst. To claim that adding capacity to the road will lead to any sustainable benefit is disingenuous at best – and to further claim that this will yield some transit benefit is an insult to the people of Dade county.

The optimal strategy for managed lanes is to convert existing lanes and shoulders , as was done with the I‐95 Express project. Managed lanes in the 2035 LRTP comprise 99 center line miles of improvements. Approximately 27% of those improvements are identified as “Cost Feasible” in the LRTP, 61% are funded only for planning design and right‐of‐way. The remainder of the facilities are unfunded.

FDOT is undertaking a PD&E study for the development of managed lanes on the Palmetto Expressway.
This north‐south corridor is an important link between the Kendall area and the MIC completing a grid of
future managed lanes carrying express transit services.

MDX has initiated a PD&E study for the integration of a managed lane project along the South Dade Busway along US1. If the PD&E study finds that managed lanes are feasible and if the improvements are made to the Busway, it would be operated as a managed lane and the available capacity would be “sold” to auto drivers. The fees paid by private autos would be based upon the demand, in order to preserve free flow conditions. Buses that currently use the exclusive right‐of‐way would operate in mixed flow. Revenues from the tolls would first go to repay the bonds then secondly would go to pay for the operation of the facility. The level of revenues dedicated to transit would still need to be determined and the FTA, who paid for a portion of the Busway, will need to approve the planned project. FTA has stated that the approval of the project would be based upon the level of benefit provided to transit.

Thank goodness for the FTA. We have written extensively on the conversion of the busway to an expressway,  but this is the clearest indication yet that MDX is up to no good. They acknowledge that toll revenue would go to other needs before even being considered for transit, and that the FTA is not yet on-board with their plans because there is no benefit to transit riders. The citizens of Miami-Dade County are being fleeced of their right to convenient and easy mass transit so that county leaders can build ‘lexus lanes’ from one end of Miami to the other.

Different from progressive congestion management policies, like London’s now famous congestion pricing plan, managed lanes are not intended for urban, transit served areas.They provide a fast alternative to both non-tolled streets AND transit, and are described by the FHA as a ‘highway facility.’ While congestion pricing is meant to control/reduce car demand in urban and transit served areas, managed lanes are simply extra capacity and another revenue source for cash strapped transportation agencies.

Regarding London’s congestion pricing plan, Next American City had this to say,

London’s congestion charge system charges private car users who enter the zone £10 ($16) per day between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. The scheme has been a huge success, resulting in a 20% drop in car use, £120 million ($197 million) annual net-revenues, and the fastest growth rate for the city’s bus system since the 1940s. …

As a result of the congestion charge, CO2 emissions fell by 16% within the charging zone, with nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions dropping too. Functional benefits also exist. Average traffic speeds have increased by 37%, with delays to private journeys decreasing by 30% and bus journeys by 50%. Speedier journeys have also reduced average taxi fares.

Congestion pricing is an important part of urban mobility management – but the managed lanes plan proposed by the Miami-Dade MPO is nothing more than a veiled ploy to undermine transit service, and expand highway capacity. There are plenty of ways to expand transit ridership, but managed lanes is not one of them. We need strong and vocal support of transit reform and expansion – NOT the slow dismantling of transit service to the benefit of Miami-Dade’s Mercedes driving population.

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On Tuesday night I attended a ULI Young Leaders steering committee meeting at the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar with about two-dozen local real estate professionals.  Transit Miami friend Andrew Frey has organized this group in an effort to bring together forward-looking professionals with diverse backgrounds.

Some of the industries present at the meeting were land use and real estate attorneys, urban planners, developers, architects, commercial real estate brokers, private bankers, and an FEC representative. As diverse as the backgrounds were, there was a common trait among these professionals:  They all want to see their city develop into a transit-friendly, mixed-use and walkable metropolis. They also want to see Miami grow-up to become a non-auto centric world-class city that attracts businesses and entrepreneurial professionals alike.

This group will continue to meet once every couple of months and in the very near future will organize panels (as well as a networking happy hours) to discuss topics such as:

  • Streetscapes; why they should be improved and their economic benefits
  • The effect of gambling and casinos on Miami
  • The link between jobs and transportation

Elected officials and developers should take note and tap into the resources that this highly energized, educated, and entrepreneurial group has. They are not living in the Miami of yesteryear and they want to help build a more competitive city that will encourage businesses to relocate to the Magic City.

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