October 5, 2007The City of Miami held its first of three scheduled “Museum Park” public meetings last night at the Orange Bowl Athletic Club. Two additional public comment sessions are proposed for the end of October and the end of November.
Local 10 News covered the event:
View Story Here
One major image of the proposed “Museum Park” was posted at the meeting. Of particular note were the changes made to the rendering from its previous form, and those that were not made, all of which was addressed at the outset of the meeting. The city and the architect have elected to change the prior holistic approach to the development of Museum Park (which was to include the FEC Slip and Parcel B), and rather have opted to break the design process into two distinct phases. “Phase I” includes all of the land north of the FEC Slip – and was presented for public comment last night in the identical form presented earlier this year.
The Architectural rendering displayed at last nights meeting included both the FEC Slip and Parcel B (“Phase II”) – but left them virtually blank. All of the elements previously shown in the FEC slip (the cantilevered platforms, the man-made “island” and boat docks as well as the elevated/operable bridge are now gone – and they left “Parcel B” blank – no “Bay Of Pigs Museum,” no soccer field, nothing…blank canvas for both the FEC slip and Parcel B.
Perhaps our words from a few days earlier were heard – though left for future designers to solve?:
“As for the existing Museum Park rendering, note that the bridge over the mouth of the FEC slip is NOT proposed to serve as the solution to Bay Walk, as the grade/elevation required to transit the bridge would preclude barrier-free use, a requirement for public facilities. This bridge is proposed to be operable, though the costs and maintenance and method of operation seem not to have been articulated. What is the actual cost of the proposed improvements to the FEC slip? What would all of the proposed cantilevered decks do in the event of a hurricane-driven tidal surge?
If the City is truly interested in public input, let’s all make it a point to read the results of the Parcel B Study in the context of the broader vision for Bay Walk, and try to arrive at solutions that will draw the most people to actually use the waterfront, serving as a tourist attraction and most importantly, PAYING ITS OWN WAY, in perpetuity.” LINK TO FULL STORY HERE
Last nights “Phase I” vision of “Bay Walk” actually requires that people circumnavigate the entire (8 acre) FEC slip by walking (for example) from the waters edge at Parcel B all the way back in to Biscayne Blvd. – then proceed north to the main park, then walk all the way back out to the Bay before proceeding north on your “Bay Walk” journey.
A quick calculation reveals that the planners of Museum Park propose that your “Bay Walk” include a 2,850′ (HALF-MILE) detour over to the hustle and bustle of Biscayne Blvd. before proceeding on your morning stroll along Biscayne Bay. That my friends, is not a “Bay Walk.” Until a true at-grade (barrier-free) solution is identified to transit the 300′ mouth of the FEC slip, there is no “Bay Walk.”
The proverbial “elephant in the room” is obviously the FEC slip. Aside from the problematic and as-yet unresolved stretch of the proposed “Bay Walk” that will lead users along the water frontage of Bayside Marketplace (and around Miamarina), the FEC slip is the number one impediment to the design and development of Bay Walk. Is it really wise to design and develop half a park, leaving the rest for others to resolve?
The FEC Slip is so huge that it is clearly visible from space (check it out on Google Earth). It’s 1,200′ long and 300′ wide representing 8 acres of “Museum Park.” The improvements being made by Shoreline Foundation, Inc. have saved the slip’s walls from crumbling into the water, and have beautified an otherwise decaying relic of Miami’s early shipping heritage – but as yet, no “highest and best” use of the slip has been identified.
Visitors to the slip along Biscayne Blvd. will note that, sadly, the slip is a serious debris trap, catching not only the surface “flotsam” that collects naturally there by virtue of its location directly at the end of Government Cut – but also serves as a catch-all for every piece of paper, Styrofoam cup and other construction-related debris that blows its way on a windy day.
While it has been suggested that the slip should remain open and available to visiting ships like the US Coast Guard Cutter “Eagle” there are some key issues to address. Upon their recent visit, they were actually required to truck-in massive concrete blocks positioned in the park along the dock in order to tie-off the vessel. Here’s why:
Despite the fact that the seawalls have been saved from collapse (courtesy of 40′ long sheet-steel driven into the sea bed, topped with concrete), the walls themselves are not sufficiently reinforced (as in this example) to handle the stress of securing large vessels in inclement weather – which explains why there are no “cleats” to tie-off vessels along the north wall of the FEC Slip.
The entire “Museum Park” design concept requires a singular holistic approach, as the ultimate disposition of the FEC Slip will effect the design of both the southern end of the “Phase I” portion of the main body of the park and the northern end of “Parcel B” – all of which together will become a destination known as “Museum Park” – tied together by the broader concept known as “Bay Walk” – which by its very name implies “a walk along Biscayne Bay.”
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