One year ago, I moved away from Miami to Washington, DC. Just last week, I took my first trip back to the Magic Ciy – and here’s what I saw.

When I arrived at MIA around 5pm on Monday, an Orange line train was already waiting to depart the new Metrorail Station. After an unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker, the train pulled away from the station with my car completely empty aside from me. A quick glance around confirmed that no 50 State Security guards were on board, so I managed to snap this picture without getting Carlos Miller’d and taken off the train. (Reminder: photography is legal on the Metrorail despite what some security guards think)

From Government Center, I hopped into a nearby Car2Go and was sitting at one of my favorite bars, The Corner, within minutes. The total travel time from the airport to downtown barstool was less than 30 minutes. Pretty terrific considering those options didn’t exist only a few months ago, but where is Decobike for the city of Miami already?

Here’s a makeshift bus station bench downtown I passed. Not sure this qualifies as a tactical urbanist street seat intervention.

The rest of my trip consisted of a smattering of pan con bistec, cortadito, bicycling and walking around. Of course, there were the demeaning reminders of Florida’s auto supremacy. Like at this new mid-block crossing on NW 36th Street dividing Midtown and the Design District, where FDOT reminds us to Thank the Driver.

Thank the driver? For what, exactly? Not running me over? Following the law? Perhaps they should include direction #5: Call 911.

Oh hear ye royal motorists of Miami! Allow me to offer my sincere gratitude for permitting me to cross your streets!

After a few minutes of watching pedestrians try and use this crosswalk, I’ll concede it’s definitely an improvement over nothing. Some drivers actually did stop for the flashing beacon. But it was mid-afternoon and traffic was relatively light. I can imagine it’s a different story during a weekday rush hour where a bonafide traffic signal would work better.

Most people go to the beach on their vacation to Miami. I watched people trying to cross a street. Sad, I know.

Most people go to the beach on their vacation to Miami. I watched people trying to cross a street. Sad, I know.

Friday evening, I rode the monthly Miami Critical Mass ride though Little Havana, Downtown and Coral Gables with about 2,500 other bicyclists, tricyclists, skaters and wheeled riders of all sorts. The rain kept the numbers down a bit but the pace was slow and the group stayed together. It was one of the better rides I’ve been a part of.


The next day, the eastbound car traffic on the Venetian Causeway was so heavy, I must have passed over 200 idling cars on my way to the beach. The bicycle traffic on the other hand, was not an issue.

Whizzing by so many people entombed inside giant climate-controlled SUV’s while it’s a perfect 78 degrees outside with gentle on-shore breeze always makes me feel a bit sad and a bit smug at the same time. The only real downside is having to breathe in the fumes from all of these clumsy machines on what is otherwise a pleasant, scenic and relatively safe route to the beach.

Below is a picture of arguably Miami Beach’s most famous building.

I’ve expressed my disdain for Miami Beach’s ‘starchitect’ parking garage addiction on here before, which serve as narcotics for cars that only encourage more driving and more traffic, degrading the experience on Miami Beach for everyone. Former TM writer and author Mike Lydon adds it’s “another lauded building destined to be reviled.” At least DecoBike is a viable way to simply opt-out of the motordom.

Newsflash: We’ve been trying to build our way out of traffic congestion for almost 100 years now. Guess what? It’s never worked – and it’s time for a different approach.

A visitor from New York that I follow on Twitter, the Newyorkist, also noticed that Miami Beach has their priorities all out of whack when it comes to making space for people over cars.

He even spoke to a few local residents on the street about the issue…

Newyorkist also noticed that we don’t have many parks and suggested some underused parcels be transformed.

It’s a valid observation, considering Miami is losing more parks than it’s gaining. Miami is already ranked #94 out of the top 100 US cities for acres of parkland per resident – and that number is set to fall. A number of city parks have been closed due to toxic contamination and the temporary lease for downtown’s Grand Central Park expired this week as well.

Speaking of Grand Central Park, I rode by this tragic scene on Saturday morning…

Like the band that played on the deck of the Titanic until the ship went down, the skaters stayed until the last remaining pavement was ripped up from under their wheels.

Ah Miami. For all of it’s problems and weirdness, a sublime breakfast at Casablanca along the Miami River is the perfect place to forget about it all and just enjoy the moment.

Until you pull up the news on your iPhone and find out this happened the night before…

I was soon off to the airport, where I deftly avoided taking one of Miami’s infamous taxi cabs in favor of another Car2Go trip.

Soon I was 10,000 feet in the air snapping this picture – thanks to the new American Airlines policy allowing electronic devices at takeoff.

¡Hasta Luego, Miami! Until next time…when hopefully there will be some new bike lanes.


Click here to register.

YL Toro Toro Notice 12.12


This video is great. Please forward this video to Mayor Regalado and County Mayor Gimenez. There is no reason why we can’t do this in the 305, all we need is a little leadership and vision.  I’ll pay for the paint.



Manhattanization is a term we’ve become accustomed to in Miami. It‘s existed since at least the 1960s to describe cities from San Francisco to Santiago, but it became a prominent buzzword in the 2000s to describe the rapid transformation of downtown Miami and Brickell. Now that the building boom is back in full swing, so is the term. And along with it comes the debate about whether what we’re seeing unfold in Miami is actually a step towards a Manhattan-esque urban environment.

Whether downtown Miami is beginning to resemble Manhattan is debatable. Certainly, our skyline is growing. It may not be as tall, as dense, or as diverse as the Manhattan skyline, but it is taking shape as an expanse of skyscrapers that stretches for miles. Our love affair with the skyscraper has built a skyline that is far larger than those of cities twice our size and it has become a point of pride for us. We’re also seeing more amenities typical of other great urban metropolises: more restaurants and cafes, parks and shops, museums and galleries, etc. Granted, the differences between a Brickell streetscape and just about anywhere in Manhattan are still pretty stark, but the increased options and vibrancy are important steps towards a more urban Miami.

But there’s one area where Miami has unequivocally achieved Manhattanization: cost of living. It now costs as much to live in many parts of downtown Miami as it does to live in Manhattan. I’m not referring to Miami’s luxury condo market. In fact, that is one segment where we’re not yet like Manhattan – Miami condo prices can reach $10 million or more; it’s high, but it doesn’t begin to nip at the heels of New York’s $100 million market. Rather, downtown Miami is becoming as expensive as Manhattan is for the everyday citizen. Manhattan still has far higher housing costs than downtown Miami and Brickell, but that gap is closed when factoring in Miami’s much higher transportation costs.

This point is now more clearly made thanks to the new Location Affordability Index (LAI). The LAI, unveiled earlier this month, is the work of a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation. It’s a tool that allows the public to calculate what it costs to live where they live, and how they could possibly save money by moving or by changing their transportation habits. The LAI is based on the philosophy known as “Housing + Transportation” or “H+T.” H+T asserts that knowing just the cost of housing isn’t enough to get a full picture of cost of living. You also need to know how much it costs to get from your home to other places, like your workplace and your family and friends. In other words, you need to know the cost of transportation.

Cost of transportation is harder to calculate and harder to keep track of in our heads when we think about how much we spend. For most people, housing expenditures occur in one monthly payment, either a rent check or a mortgage payment. Those amounts may include a variety of costs, like loan principle, interest, taxes, insurance, etc., but it’s still just one payment, one amount. Transportation is different, particularly if you drive a car. There’s the purchase price of a car, which may occur in monthly payments or if you paid up front, would need to be prorated over the life of the car. Insurance is paid separately, either monthly, annually, or biannually. Gas and parking costs are paid sporadically. The result is that most people never think about the full cost of transportation, and when they do, they usually underestimate.

AAA estimated that the average cost of car ownership in the United States in 2012 was roughly $9,000 for all cars and as much as $11,000-$12,000 for larger cars and SUVs. But that’s the average for the entire country. Costs can be far greater in places like Miami where insurance rates and parking costs are higher. The difference between a couple owning two cars and a couple that commutes by train or bicycle can be over $20,000 per year. That’s an additional $1,500-$2,000 per month that can go towards rent or a mortgage. And that’s the reason why living in downtown Miami and Brickell can be as costly as living in Manhattan.

To demonstrate the point, I put some addresses into the LAI:

  • A typical household living in West Brickell owns 1.2 cars      (average), drives 11,000 miles, and takes 350 transit trips each year.      They spend just shy of $23,000 annually on housing and transportation.      That’s 47 percent of their total income. Housing costs account for $17,000      approximately; transportation costs amount to $7,000.
  • Meanwhile, a typical household on the Upper West Side in      Manhattan owns 0.3 cars, drives 2,000 miles, and takes 2,000 transit trips      each year. They spend just over $27,000 annually on housing and      transportation. That’s 43 percent of their total income (the LAI factors      in average wage differences between metro areas. On average, wages in NYC      are 30 percent higher than in Miami). Housing costs account for $23,000      approximately; transportation costs amount to less than $4,000.

One more:

  • A typical household in the heart of downtown Miami owns      1.1 cars, drives 11,000 miles, and takes 250 transit trips each year. They      spend $19,000 annually on housing and transportation. That’s 38 percent of      their total income. Housing costs account for $12,000 approximately;      transportation costs amount to $7,000.
  • Meanwhile, a typical household in the East Village in      Manhattan owns 0.5 cars, drives 3,500 miles, and takes 1,500 transit trips      each year. They spend just shy of $20,000 annually on housing and      transportation. That’s 31 percent of their income. Housing costs account      for $16,000 approximately; transportation costs amount to $4,000.

New York City is the embodiment for unaffordable living, but that’s largely based on an incomplete picture. The extra amounts that New Yorkers spend on housing are made up for by cost savings from cheaper transportation options. Miami, on the other hand, has relatively cheaper housing, but getting from place to place means additional costs stemming from car ownership.

There are a lot of implications here. Most obvious is that we can decrease cost of living and improve quality of life for Miamians by investing in better transportation options. One cause for optimism is that housing costs and transportation costs are only indirectly linked. Decreasing transportation costs by building more transit and better bike lanes will not directly increase housing costs (although, countless studies show that such infrastructure increases property values because it makes neighborhoods more desirable), so we can make real reductions in the cost of living.

There are also implications here for the brain drain and the future of our economy. When Miami competes with Manhattan for talent, it cannot make the argument that downtown Miami has a lower cost of living than New York. Lower cost of living has traditionally been the truest arrow in the quiver of cities seeking to steal talent from New York, but when we consider H+T, we see that for many cities, including Miami, that’s actually not the case. There isn’t much money to be saved, if any at all, by choosing downtown Miami over Manhattan. And for those who decide to look outside of New York because Manhattan is just too expensive, they’ll likely find that downtown Miami and Brickell are too expensive as well. Rather, they may end up in cities that offer a true lower cost of living with similar urban amenities, like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. That talent is now revitalizing those cities the way it revitalized Manhattan in the 1990s when lower cost of living – from cheaper housing AND cheaper transportation – allowed thousands of educated young professionals to flood the city.

But all of this changes if we take the automobile out of the equation. If you can manage a car-free life, suddenly Miami becomes really affordable. The difference is that Manhattan is expensive because it has to be (although zoning changes under Bloomberg may help mitigate these high costs by generating more supply). But Miami is expensive because we’ve made it that way. The takeaway should be this: We can fix it and we know how to fix it. The average Miamian need not cough up half of her income on housing and transportation. As housing costs continue to rise, we must make extra efforts to reduce transportation costs by offering better options. We must give Miamians the same options that New Yorkers have: to own a car if we want one, but to live comfortably and with dignity without one.

For more reading, check out this article from last year on Streetsblog, which reviewed data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology and determined Miami to be the least affordable metropolitan area for moderate-income renters and homeowners. The most affordable? Washington, DC.




I arrived at 5 pm on a Sunday at MIA and decided to take the train home in Coconut Grove. This should be a simple proposition. The system is new, so one expects it to be clean. No bonus points for that. Connecting the airport with the rest of the area is a no-brainer and should have been a long time ago.

I tried tracking the train over MDT’s app, but got nowhere (it’s generally good). No exact times to be found. I proceeded to the station at any rate. Once there it would have been good to have a central information point that listed the different departure times for buses and trains. No information to be found.

I decided to check the train platform and paid to do so without knowing when a train would depart. No information to be found

I tried the station personnel of which there were plenty and they had nothing to do. No information to be found and no willingness to seek it.

At some point a train came. No one knew when it would leave.

I like public transit. I grew up with it. But public transit needs to make it easy for users and here is where MDT fails. You could give people information about the available options so that they can choose.  But MDT doesn’t. Transportation systems in “world class cities” (which so many Miami politicians like to compare themselves to) do.

If this is how Miami greets it’s visitors then Miami fails epicly.

PS: To top it all off, while waiting on the train the public announcements were nonsensical and the most unprofessional I have ever witnessed anywhere in the world. It was as if the person on the microphone had a conversation with another person. Visitors on the train rolled their eyes. Locals just assume that this is how we roll in Miami.


Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 9.00.22 PM

Via Andrew Frey from the Townhouse Center:

You are invited to a presentation of free plans for a Miami building prototype on Tue, Nov 19 from 6 to 8 PM at Mansini’s Pizza House in Little Havana.  The goal is to help small property owners and builders imagine how they can profit from a small site, and save money on design costs.  The plans are by award-winning architecture firm ISA (in collaboration with Townhouse Center and supported by the Knight Foundation) and will be presented by ISA founder Brian Phillips.  The brief presentation will be followed by a panel — featuring Fernando Arencibia of RE/MAX, Jeanette Blanch of Continental Bank, Hernando Carrillo of HacArchitects, and Gavin McKenzie of McKenzie Construction – and audience Q&A to discuss the plans and opportunities and challenges of small projects.  The plans can be downloaded at

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 8.57.52 PM


The free event is open to the public, especially non-developers, but please register in advance by email to 

Tagged with:


Date:  Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Location:  Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL


Architecture critic, writer, and curator, ROWAN MOORE addresses how buildings are not fixed objects but exist in time, connecting the thoughts and actions of the people who make them to those of the people who inhabit them. All architects, said Philip Johnson, want to be immortal. Look through standard architectural histories, and you’ll see pyramids, temples, tombs and churches -–buildings dedicated to eternity. Yet architecture is always in a state of change. It weathers, ages, decays, and is renewed. It is adapted and extended; how it is perceived is altered, such that the monstrosities of one generation become the cherished heritage of the next. Rowan Moore describes works that are smart in their use of time, from the High Line in New York to the work of the great Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. We talk of “buildings”, he says, because they are part of a continuous process – we don’t call them “builts”. Rowan Moore is architecture critic for the Observer (London), and author of Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture (2013). Free.

Tagged with:


Sunday, November 10th
11am- 3pm 
Please arrive no later than 10:45am
Tickets are $25 each
Click HERE for tickets

BFI #BuildingsForInfill
100 Northeast 11th Street
Miami, FL 33132

BFI invites you to its periodical WEIRD MIAMI bus tour, on Sunday, November 10th from 11 AM to 2 PM.  This WEIRD MIAMI installment will visit exemplary (but often overlooked) Miami urban neighborhoods, led by urbanists Jason Chandler and Andrew Frey.

BFI invites you to its periodical WEIRD MIAMI bus tour, on Sunday, November 10th from 11 AM to 2 PM.  This WEIRD MIAMI installment will visit exemplary (but often overlooked) Miami urban neighborhoods, led by urbanists Jason Chandler and Andrew Frey.

The tour complements URBAN_VARIANTS, an exhibit at BFI of new designs for Miami urban buildings, which runs from November 1st to November 24th. The exhibit includes new prototype sketches, drawings, renderings, and models, as well as studies of existing prototypes in Miami and Savannah.  The exhibit is the result of a studio course at FIU Architecture led by professor Jason Chandler in collaboration with Townhouse Center, a not-for profit that promotes urban neighborhood development, and sponsored by the Knight Foundation.

This past semester, students visited and documented existing small buildings in downtown Miami and Savannah, Georgia. During the visits, students experienced how small-scale infill buildings create resilient urban environments. The Savannah visit took students far out of the studio, to places and buildings most had never seen before. Then each student designed a new, small, adaptable prototype for Miami, resulting in over 100 designs, which have been curated for the BFI exhibit

The course, exhibit, and bus tour are all part of a larger collaboration to raise awareness of the fact that Miami has built to the sky and horizon — towers and subdivisions — but lacks neighborhoods of a middle scale. In other cities such urban neighborhoods are often the most vibrant, like Boston’s North End or New York’s West Village. To help Miami start developing these neighborhoods, FIU Architecture offered a studio course about the urban neighborhood fundamental building block: small, adaptable buildings.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 9.36.24 AM


Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 9.36.34 AM




Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 8.43.52 AM


November 1st – November 24th
Opening reception:
Friday, November 1st, 2013
6pm - 9pm
BFI is located at:
100 NE 11th Street
Miami, FL 33132

For more information click here 

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 8.38.16 AM


Do you live on the high-water line? You know, those blocks in your neighborhood that’ll soon be underwater.

That’s right, don’t be shy. . . . You know its happening. . . . You’ve known its happening. We’ve all known its happening — forget your politics and denial (and forget your politics of denial).

If it hasn’t already, sea-level rise is coming to a South Florida neighborhood near you, and faster than most of us realize.

Our community is the most at-risk city for sea-level rise in the entire United States, and we’re going to have to start making some serious decisions about the fate of our beloved Miami. We’ll have to embark on some collective South Florida soul-searching as we all face down and come to terms with our coming Water World.

The first three questions that probably come to mind are:

  • How much water is rising?
  • Where is the water rising?
  • When is the water rising?

While the answers to some of these questions are less unclear than for others, uncertainty, confusion, and denial persist.

But just because the bulk of those among our citizenry elected to represent us in office remain for the most part muted on the subject, we, the people on the ground, need not follow their non-existent lead.

Rather, we can embrace head-on the fourth and most important question we’ve got to ask:

  • What are we going to do about it?

A good place to start is by coming out to make history at the unprecedented High Water Line (HWL) | Miami’s Bicycle Ride for Resiliency!

HWL Bike Ride Flyer Web

Put on the very bluest outfit you’ve got, saddle-up, and head-out

Magic City Bike Collective
1100 N Miami Avenue
BlackBird Ordinary
729 SW 1st Street

Riders will be physically demarcating the high water lines of mainland Miami so that we can take a good look at ourselves and start asking the big question and all it carries with: How will we adapt to this fundamental shift in our relations at the human-water-land nexus as seas continue to rise?

Go out, ride your bike, and make a statement:



A round of applause and some Miami pride is in order.

UBM's Future CitiesThe launch of Future Cities 100, a list of the top city innovators and changemakers worldwide, features two local civic heroes: Carol Coletta and Manny Diaz.

Carol Coletta, Vice President for Community and National Initiatives for the Knight Foundation, came to Miami from CEOs for Cities in Chicago, where she was accustomed to the freedom of car-free living. Since her arrival in Miami, she has been a vocal supporter of civic engagement initiatives around transit, including our friends at TrAC. If you have never heard her speak, she is truly inspiring and extraordinarily candid. She is doing great things. A TransitMiami Shout Out to the Knight Foundation in thanks.

Former City of Miami Mayor and President of the US Conference of Mayors, Manny Diaz, is championed for leading Miami’s ongoing transformation from a sprawled suburbia to a sustainable, functioning city where people want to live. His Miami 21 plan is cited as being “well on its way to setting a standard for other cities.”

Watch the UBM video on Manny Diaz here:

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 6.00.34 PM 


FIU & MIT are convening a new think tank representing academic, industry, government and environmental groups to discuss the economic, social, technological, and environmental challenges and strategies that will advance the achievement of sustainability in transportation infrastructure in Florida. 

Funded by a block of concrete and asphalt companies, the official purpose suggests they do want to hear from people, too.

It’s absolutely free to take part in this.

Transportation Infrastructure Sustainability Summit
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Kovens Conference Center
FIU Biscayne Bay Campus
3000 N.E. 151 Street, Miami, Fl. 33181-3000

Lead by Franz Ulm of MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub and Irtishad Ahmad of FIU OHL School of Construction, this is great opportunity to engage the people and interests that are literally paving our region’s future. That said, this the photo they use to promote the summit:

THIS is their image of transportation sustainability?

If you need any additional information, you can contact: Bernadette Chung at or at (305) 348-3537.

Concrete Sponsors of Sustainability


Miami-Dade Public Transit “solves” homeless “problem” by removing the seats on the Metromover. 

As with every opportunity to engage on local transit issues, TrAC Miami is urging the public to come to the CTAC meeting on Wednesday, October 23 at 5:30pm to let them know what you think. (Government Center, 18th floor)

Is MDT is cutting off their nose to spite their face? One 2-person seat remains on each car for ADA compliance, but what if there are three people who actually need to be able to sit down? Like your mom, your grandpa or a pregnant woman and her children.  An employee attempted to explain the new policy as follows: MDT  has “struggled” to reduce use of the free public MetroMover by people who take up excessive space with their personal belongings. A number of users have complained about the mess and odor that some, likely homeless, people bring to our public transit. So what if said problem person takes the whole seat? What does MDT consider “struggling” to resolve this and improve the quality of our transit. Are the not concerned this could reduce ridership?

So…why not enforce a restriction of seats to one per person? There’s already funded security in the MetroMover cars. 

No More Seats for You!

One alternative that has been considered and rejected includes charging something minimal to ride the MetroMover – something that would be financially impossible. Time will tell if no seating becomes politically impossible.


streetcarAre locally organized PAC’s the key to providing more transit options and safer streets in Miami?

PAC is a dirty word for most, particularly when attached to the prefix “Super.” PAC stands for ‘political action committee’ and they are a fixture on the political landscape at the local, state, and national levels. They’re also easy targets for both sides of the aisle. The Conservative Political Action Committee Conference (CPAC) is known as the annual coming out party for the right-wing’s craziest ideas. Organizing for Action (OFA) is known as the sock drawer where the President stashes his campaign’s unrivaled war chest and is a legacy of his broken promise to run a campaign on public funds and to reject donations from corporate interests.

But PACs are not inherently evil, and of course, they’ve no doubt proven useful. At the most basic level, a PAC is a mechanism for promoting chosen interests. It does this by pooling resources to finance candidates, proposed legislation, or ballot initiatives. They’re also complex legal entities, though, which means that typically only the most mature interests make use of them. This can often make for an unfair fight. For this reason, it’s particularly encouraging to see PACs sprouting up around the U.S. that are dedicated to advancing interests like livable cities, complete streets, and smart growth. It’s a sign that support for improved pedestrian, biking, and transit infrastructure has grown up and ripened to a point where it can potentially influence elections and legislative sessions in its favor. That’s not something we’re used to seeing in the livable cities supporters camp.

In Miami, this is one livable cities trend where we’re out in front. Last month, Transit Miami posted the press release announcing the launch of TrAC, the city’s first transit-oriented PAC. Miami is among the earliest adopters of the livable cities PAC approach. But we’re not the first, and the experiences of those that have gone before are worth looking at. They can be a guide for TrAC and an illustration of what it could mean for Miami.

The oldest and most significant livable cities PAC at the national level is the Committee for a Livable Future, or LivPAC. LivPAC was established in 1996 by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who can lay claim to being Capitol Hill’s foremost supporter of transit, biking, and pedestrian issues. Based in Portland, LivPAC enjoys support from heavy-hitter advocates in DC and in major cities throughout the country, including Smart Growth America, the American Planning Association, and the Congress for New Urbanism. In its nearly twenty-year history, it has been active in close to 250 congressional races and made $1.2 million in campaign contributions. In 2012, LivPAC endorsed and funded 19 candidates, including two in Florida.

At the local level, Alexandrians for a Livable City, from Alexandria, Virginia, has demonstrated great success in electing candidates and shown how quickly PACs can tilt the plane in favor of the livable cities agenda. Founded only several months before Alexandria’s City Council Primaries, ALC endorsed Allison Silberberg, who went on to win a seat on the Alexandria City Council and now serves as Vice Mayor.

Most attention to the livable cities PAC trend, however, goes to StreetsPAC, New York City’s transit and pedestrian PAC. StreetsPAC was formed to continue pushing a livable cities agenda in NYC and to prevent new leaders from reversing the progress made under Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. This progress saw the city make great strides toward more egalitarian treatment of pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders with approaches that prompted much visible public debate but which were supported by the vast majority of New Yorkers. StreetsPAC polled candidates to determine which had the strongest commitments to complete streets values. They then solicited these candidates for endorsement interviews, an opportunity to question candidates about their stances on livability issues and get them to commit on the record to policies and positions before contributing to their campaigns. In total, StreetsPAC endorsed 18 candidates in New York’s City Council races; thirteen of them won.

The benefit of livable cities PACs has been not only to elect candidates sympathetic to the cause but also to elevate livable cities to a subject worthy of discussion on the campaign trail. StreetsPAC’s endorsement of mayoral primary winner Bill de Blasio came alongside de Blasio’s promise to aim for zero pedestrian deaths in the city. Even with several million fewer pedestrians in Miami than NYC, that’s a promise that most politicians here wouldn’t go anywhere near. At least not yet. But the promise of TrAC could change that.

Like the livable cities movement at the national level, the desire in Miami for equal access to safe, effective, dignified transportation has been growing with increased momentum. That momentum has brought us to a milestone moment where the movement evolves into a sophisticated machine capable of laying the groundwork that will inch forward the cause. The United States, Miami included, is moving towards a more livable future. That much appears now to be certain. What we’re witnessing here is that the mechanisms of policymaking are now beginning to catch up to the public. In a decade or two, when we look backwards to examine how we arrived at a more livable society, we could very well identify the developments taking place now as the moment that the political machinery ceased working against us and became an instrument for effecting the change that the public has been asking for. PAC doesn’t need to be a dirty word. It needs to be a tool in the toolbox of the livable cities agenda; it needs to be a symbol for how far the movement has come and of our potential for how far we still can go.

Disclaimer: I am not formally involved with TrAC. However, I do support their efforts and encourage you to check them out at

Tagged with:
This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.