Elected Officials of the City of Miami:
The City of Miami is at a crossroads, poised with an opportunity to transpose the status quo from municipal mediocrity into a vibrant, livable community for generations to come. At a time when cities have reemerged at the forefront of urban innovation, Miami’s indolent city commission is struggling with the decision to approve a zoning code that will merely bring us in step with modern planning theory.
Miami 21 is a justified proposition – evidence of its future impact abounds. Our streets are congested and dangerous. Transit is ineffective. Development adheres to suburban zoning codes, promoting unsustainable lifestyles. Our tree canopy is nonexistent. Condominium towers loom high over single family neighborhoods, and our industrial lands are being transformed as jobs are shipped out of Miami. The bottom line is that Miami 21 is not a luxury; it has become a necessity.
Now is the time to act. As Miami recovers from the recent onslaught of development, we must take proactive measures to ensure that any future development in this city heed sound planning principles. The painful recession, caused in part by speculative overdevelopment, should be viewed as our opportunity to regulate market inefficiency through sensible planning for a healthy future.
The truth is Miami 21 isn’t perfect – no plan is. Every planning initiative will face its fair share of detractors; this is the essence of a democratic planning system. Planning is a conciliatory process between community, business, and municipal needs. Grove residents learned this firsthand in the protracted big box saga and are now living with the consequences of a failed zoning and redevelopment policy. To deride Miami 21 for its shortcomings is to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Miami 21 is about establishing urban conformity and regulating development to match community needs. Miami 21 establishes a level of predictability into our zoning code, ensuring that future growth heed constraints set forth by a sound citywide plan. Transect zoning establishes human-scale development, designing spaces around people, not vehicles. It stipulates that future development create safe, healthy, sustainable neighborhoods – oriented to residents – with an added emphasis on green public spaces, multi-modal solutions, and creating a sense of place. Miami 21 also ties together a number of congruent city initiatives namely the Master Plans for Parks and Open Spaces, Coconut Grove, Museum Park, and Virginia Key; the redevelopment of the Orange Bowl site; and transit solutions including the proposed trolleys and streetcar. Together, these initiatives will help reduce traffic, improve livability, and serve as economic engines for future municipal growth.
Contrary to the public misconceptions, proliferated by an ill-informed vocal minority, Miami 21 will change the rules by which developers will abide in our favor. Moreover, the primary source of professional opposition (namely the architects responsible for the most recent slue of dreary edifices dotting the skyline), kindly reminded us that Miami 21 would inhibit innovation and diversity. Not such an appalling proposition when you scrutinize the bland structures that rose when creativity wasn’t “inhibited.” Twenty story parking garages compound our congestion issues, do little to make our streets safer, and promote unsustainable, unhealthy lifestyles.
The City of Miami has spent $2.2 million of taxpayer money directly on Miami 21 and millions more on indirect costs. Millions of hard earned taxpayer dollars – spent in vain if this item is not voted upon by the city commission. There have been over 60 public hearings over the past four years, more than enough time for residents and commissioners to become intimately familiar with the new code. If ever a decision should be made it is today!
Time is of the essence. We cannot sit back and allow such a pivotal proposal wither away because of political differences. Miami residents and businesses will not sit for such costly inaction. The time for more input and clarification has long passed – it is now time to set aside self-interests and enact measures that will help our wonderful community flourish for generations to come. In trying times, successful leaders take action. Only the timid hedge their political futures on inaction.
Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal
Subscribe via Email
Find us on Facebook
- Dan on Miami at Manhattan Prices
- Marta Viciedo on Making Miami’s Mean Streets Safer
- Rudy on Imagining Townhouses in Little Havana
- Mr. E. on Lackluster Mayoral Candidates Promise More of the Same on Transportation
- hello miami on How Miami Greets Its Visitors (and Locals)
- Mike Moskos on How Miami Greets Its Visitors (and Locals)
CategoriesAccident Architecture bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Downtown Miami FDOT High Speed Rail Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Planning Real Estate Development Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Development Boundary Urban Growth Urban Planning Walkability
- Bloomberg Pursues One Last Ban December 9, 2013Did anyone think the final month of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's third, and final, term was going to wind down quietly? After taking on cigarettes, sodas, and trans fats, Bloomberg is going after plastic-foam food containers.
- A Model for a Smarter Suburban Streetscape December 9, 2013Half a century of auto-oriented suburban development presents a massive challenge to planners hoping to create more sustainable and livable communities. In South Miami's Hometown district, Kaid Benfield finds a model for how to begin this transition.
- East Coasters Aim to Force Midwesterners to Clean Up Their Air December 9, 2013Concerned that a controversial "good neighbor rule" doesn't go far enough in keeping dirty air from wafting over the East Coast, governors of eight states are petitioning the EPA to enforce stricter pollution standards on their Midwestern neighbors.
- To Become a "Great City", Miami Seeks to Boost Pedestrian-Friendliness December 9, 2013With the housing bust of the Great Recession fading in the rear-view mirror, a maturing Miami aspires to become one of the world's great cities. City leaders see the creation of a "Downtown Pedestrian Priority Zone" as the path to get them there.
- New Hampshire to Reconsider Increasing its Gas Tax in January December 9, 2013New Hampshire will consider a Republican bill in 2014 to tie the gas tax to inflation, increasing it by about 4 cents next year should it pass. The Senate killed a House bill in May to increase the gas tax by 12 cents over 3 years.
- What's Holding Up Redevelopment 2.0 in California? December 9, 2013When California shuttered its hundreds of local redevelopment agencies, many believed a new (if smaller) system for funding affordable housing and development in blighted areas would soon follow. Two years later, the state is still waiting.
- Train Noise Endangers Denver's Development December 9, 2013A 2005 Federal Railroad Administration rule change that requires engineers to blare their horns at at-grade rail crossings is threatening the quality of life and economic future of communities across the Denver area.
- Vast Freshwater Reserves Found in the Last Place You'd Look December 9, 2013Australian researchers are agog over the discovery of 120,000 cubic miles of freshwater beneath the ocean floor. The reserves may help quench the world's approaching freshwater crisis.
- Researchers Say Two Simple Rules Can Predict Urban Growth December 9, 2013Is it possible to predict when and how cities will grow? A group of researchers in France say the answer is yes. […]
- Shanghai Halts Construction, Orders Children Inside due to Severe Smog December 9, 2013Off-the-chart smog levels recorded on Friday in China’s second largest city put its 30 million residents at risk and has authorities urging people to stay indoors.
- Bloomberg Pursues One Last Ban December 9, 2013