This post was submitted to us this morning by Patricia Peña.

Dadeland mall is probably one of the biggest landmarks that Miami has, right next to South Beach and the Triple A (well, at least in my opinion). When it first opened in the 80s, it was the beginning of Miami’s eternal love with suburban sprawl, which has resulted in Kendall, a place that most Miamians have a love/hate relationship with. You can’t wait to get out of Kendall, but you’ll rep it until the day you die, in true Miami style! Sunset Knights, wha what?! Sorry, that was a momentary lapse…

Back to Dadeland. In the last few years, they have tried to revitalize the area, rebrand it as Downtown Dadeland (it’s unincorporated Miami-Dade, let’s not kid ourselves) and try to make it into a small, bustling metropolis with multi-use buildings, restaurants and shops. And try as they might, it just isn’t happening. When my husband and I moved to the area about five years ago, we did so because my job at the time offered me a free monthly pass to the Metro-Rail, so we became a one car family and I was thrilled with the idea that I could walk to Target or Publix to get what we needed whenever he was away at work with the car. I got one of those little carts that you see old people walking around with. A lady at work offered to bedazzle it. It was fabulous, don’t judge me. So here I go, all excited to get my groceries. And then…. BAM!! I encountered Kendall Drive. Now, for those of you that are not familiar with this lovely thoroughfare, it’s a pedestrian’s worst nightmare. Think of George in the episode of Seinfeld when he gets the Frogger machine.

The Dadeland area has the potential of being a truly amazing area to live, work and play in. It’s flanked by two, count ‘em: two, Metro Rail stops. There are apartments galore, some that are still mostly empty, the mall is currently undergoing a massive renovation to add more restaurants. And yet, you can’t get anywhere walking without saying five Hail Mary’s, two Our Father’s and crossing yourself the entire time. I’ve seen old ladies, moms with strollers, dad’s dragging kids and tourists all trying to cross unscathed. As expected, this is a three-lane road, that feeds into the Palmetto (don’t even get me started on that disaster!) and speeding is not only rampant, it’s expected! Now, we all know that reducing the number of lanes will in turn reduce the speed, increase walkability, and increase traffic into stores, etcetera. But, I’m a simple woman, I don’t ask for much. I know that that probably won’t happen in my lifetime. So I’m asking for smaller things. You know what I would like? I would like a crossing light that lasts more than 10 seconds. I can’t even get halfway before the flashing hand stops! I would like the streetlights to be synchronized in a way that makes sense, so people can feel safe crossing from their hotel to the mall. I know if it makes sense, we don’t do it here in Miami-Dade County. But once, just once, can we try? South Miami did it, and look how great it’s working out for them. I would just like to be able to go the Target at the Dadeland station, without fearing for my life and getting honked at every five seconds (which is more to do with the fabulous drivers we have here, but that’s another topic for another time). Seriously, I’m not asking for much, just some good old fashioned common sense and to think of the people that are outside of the metal boxes, who are worth just as much as the ones inside. That and world peace. Oh, and some Louboutins!

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7 Responses to Downtown Dadeland: The Little Village That Could

  1. Alex Baquero-Lima says:

    An even better idea is using the Ludlam corridor for a light rail system that would connect the airport to Dadeland, go west down Kendall Drive and connect to the CSX tracks by the Don Shula expressway. That would surely calm traffic. Unfortunately, Miami will never find the sense in doing it because it is the Banana Republic. Maybe in 30-50 years it will happen but definitely not now.

       0 likes

  2. Jose says:

    Completely relate with this article, I lived in that area for over 5 years and I always felt that way about crossing those streets, very unsafe!

       1 likes

  3. B says:

    We won’t see any improvement until Kendall formally incorporates in to its own city. So much potential, but the State (FDOT) and County just don’t care about neighborhood walkability issues.

       3 likes

  4. John says:

    Narrow road lanes, add more crosswalks, lower speed limit, etc. Same could be said about many streets in the city.

       1 likes

  5. Wally says:

    I was just a kid when Dadeland Mall opened and it wasn’t in the 80′s. I think it opened in 1964. It was anchored with one department store Burdine’s and the mall was open air and it had A grocery store Food Fair where the food court is now.

       1 likes

  6. Phillip Pessar says:

    Dadeland opened in the 1960s. Google it.

       0 likes

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