Very Cool. Thanks to Sam Van Leer, Executive Director of the Urban Paradise Guild for this cool photo of a Sandhill Crane on Virginia Key. He had this to say about the re-appearance of the bird (a first in an area heavily damaged by decades of environmental abuse):
The bird was in an area that has been undergoing habitat restoration for years by members of the Historic Virginia Key Beach Trust’s Nature and Environment Committee. Urban Paradise joined that effort at the beginning of this year, performing hundreds of hours of Intensive Stewardship to remove and control Invasive Exotic Plants.
To me, the bird’s existence there is a statement of how, with some human TLC, nature can recover some of the ground it lost. It is a harbinger of Virginia Key’s future, and how the people (and economy) of Miami can benefit by recovering such lost treasures.
I agree Sam. Lets hope that the approved Virginia Key Masterplan recognizes the opportunity to restore a native habitat in an area so close to our urban core.
“There is no such thing as a natural level of car use. The number of cars used in the city is a political decision. Traffic problems don’t come from more cars, they come from more roads…”
-Former Mayor of Bogota Enrique Penalosa
We are not anti-car zealots, we strongly believe that the key to creating a sustainable community is a multi-modal transportation policy rather than the uni-modalism that currently overwhelms Miami-Dade. It appears that in the eyes of some, Transit Miami has lost its focus, becoming too obsessed with creating a city that is designed and navigable to humans, rather than the voluminous heaps of metal we all wander around in.
A Message from the Publisher
I started Transit Miami for one reason: because I care about my community. The way I see it,
While we appreciate Critical Miami’s kudos and acknowledge their own fine work over the last few years, we definitely feel that it is their site that is out of touch with reality in this case. Perhaps Critical Miami is baffled because they are not likely educated on best practices in contemporary urban planning. Frankly, we find it contradictory that a site that calls for “holding the line” so adamantly would be so misunderstanding when it comes to better land-use policy.
To be clear, Transit Miami never stated that worsening driving conditions was the best way to improve transit. In fact, we stated the opposite, “Additional parking will increase congestion…” The developer, not Transit Miami, originally proposed the position of hampering a vehicle’s ability to access the EWT development. We supported his decision and original plans to reduce parking capacity at EWT due to the direct links his structure would have with the adjacent Metromover structure (just as we supported reductions in parking at the Coconut Grove Metrorail Transit-Oriented Development) and never once suggested making driving more difficult, only parking.
The interesting part is, we aren’t even advocating for anything drastic. For example, we promote the Miami Streetcar project, which calls for constructing a streetcar line through one of the densest and fastest-growing urban corridors in the state. This is not very drastic at all, especially in a city with a woefully underdeveloped mass transit system and sizable low-income population. We promote decreases in minimum parking standards. This is not so radical either since it reduces the overall development cost, making housing more affordable. There is a sizable body of scholarly literature available that correlates the underlying message of our letter: increasing parking capacity increases driving demand like dangling a carrot for cars.
This means two things: in order to be more sustainable from a transportation perspective we must improve and expand our transit capacity and we must improve our accessibility. The transit component is straight forward enough. However, continuing the auto-centric status quo gives the illusion that we do not have to change our transportation habits and there will always be some fix or policy to make things better for driving. This could not be further from the truth and is flat out irresponsible. This is why we are against excessive minimum parking requirements, because it is like mandating more beer for an alcoholic.
Regarding the second component, accessibility, this means changing our zoning to allow mixed land uses and creating higher densities. This will enable people to travel shorter distances for their employment, retail, commercial, recreational, and residential purposes (if they so chose.)
Note: the goal of changing our land use policy is to enable people to have a choice when it comes to personal mobility, where walking or driving can be considered equal alternatives. This is a fundamental component of transportation equity.
This increases the viability of walking and cycling, which incidentally is the cheapest way to get around. However, if you continue down the auto-centric policy paradigm, you are not facilitating the type of conditions that make walking, cycling, transit, and higher density a formidable option.
Regarding the division between the City of
Ryan never said or even implied that Miami was going to have a transit system like Montreal’s – he simply implied that Montreal had a quality transit system and that Miami should strive to improve theirs in order to achieve a higher transit standard and all the external benefits that go along with it. That is tough to misconstrue. In addition, he never mentioned or even remotely implied that
Bicycle as a means of Transportation, not just a Vacation
We don’t recall any sort of official “challenge,” however Critical Miami is unequivocally wrong about their assertion that such a program cannot work anywhere in Miami. Just because Critical Miami is a bike enthusiast doesn’t mean you understand how bicycling systems operate or can function in an urban setting.
Regarding Critical Miami’s comments about it taking generations to enact the type of changes we advocate, this has been proven otherwise. Enrique Penalosa, the former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, created a thriving bicycle network in his city and within just five years captured 5% of the daily transportation needs. It just so happens that Mr. Penalosa was recently in
The fact of the matter is that changes occur when the funding (and mentality) is there in support. Sure, cities evolve and mature and most changes do not occur overnight, but the mentality Critical Miami presents falls in line with the mentality that has accomplished nothing in
-This article represents the views of the entire Transit Miami Staff…
Commission’s View of Parking is Misguided
By: Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal & Ryan Sharp
As transportation engineers and urban planners, we feel that City of
’s plans to increase the total number of parking spaces in the Miami development will have a detrimental effect on both the people and City of Empire World Towers . Miami
An Increase in Parking Supply Increases Driving Demand
An increase of net parking spaces – to one per unit, as the city commission proposed – will only worsen the traffic conditions along Biscayne Boulevard and the surrounding streets. The aim of the city administration and all downtown development should be to reduce automobile dependency, not enhance it, especially in one of the few areas well served by public rail transit. Any increases in available parking will only serve as a means with which our residents will continue to neglect and undermine the intended purpose of public transportation.
More Parking = More Traffic Congestion Downtown
It is in our opinion, that the city commission should fully embrace reductions in parking space requirements for all downtown buildings within a 3-block radius of any fixed rail transit station. To do this, the city should unequivocally support
‘ proposed station link to Metromover, not an increase in parking spaces. Supporting both would be contradictory – essentially taking one-step forward and one-step backward. An Empire World Towers station linkage to Metromover will facilitate transit use resulting in a net reduction of vehicular trips, while more parking will do just the opposite. Empire World Towers
Miamians possess no innate preference for car use; land use policy in this region has never presented residents with a clear alternative option. Increasing the number of parking spaces in this development will only exacerbate this problem, while doing nothing to make our transportation infrastructure more sustainable.
Car-Related Infrastructure has contributed significantly to Downtown
‘s Ills Miami
Every time we allow a policy that favors cars over transit, such as increasing parking mandates, our entire region becomes less sustainable and we all lose. Drivers who are supposed to benefit from more parking actually suffer because traffic congestion worsens. Those who do not or cannot drive suffer because they feel all the externalities of car-dominated spaces, including noisy, polluted, and unsafe streets. Anyone who sets foot downtown suffers because they are forced to walk by so many unpleasant spaces, such as surface parking lots and the blank walls and curb cuts of parking garages. Businesses suffer because fewer people will pass by on foot, while employees will have worse commutes. This vicious cycle has been the status quo downtown for too long, which has left the streets unpleasant and thus a vacuum to be filled by the undesirable elements that people complain about.
Do the Right Thing and Support a Livable, Sustainable Future for Miamians
The inefficiency of the parking system proposed by Maclee is proposed to force EWT residents and visitors to seek alternative means of transit when accessing the development (a direct point made by Enrique Peñalosa to the city, was that in order for public transportation to be successful it would have to be at least equally attractive as the alternatives.) Mobility in
will only continue to be governed by the automobile if we continue utilizing land use policies that favor vehicles over people. Transit Miami asks the city commission, with all due respect, to reduce the parking requirements this Thursday for the Miami proposal. Empire World Towers
The Summit bought together parks departments from all around Dade County, as well as Mayor Alvarez and members of the County Commission. Conspicuously absent were high level members of the City of Miami, South Miami, and Coral Gables to name a few. Considering all the land the County Parks Masterplan encompasses, it’s important for all municipalities to support each other and work toward the same goals. Specifially, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz should have been present, considering his stated commitment toward making Miami a ‘green’ city and improving the tree canopy.
Overall, the plan aims to take one of the largest parks systems in the country into the 21st century by rethinking what open space is and how we use it. Not only are parks considered places of passive or active use, but as common civic space that should be available to all. The highlight of the Summit was the keynote speech by former Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa who gave a great presentation about how we should choose to plan and use our open spaces (parks AND sidewalks) as places of social equality and where the daily drama of life really takes place. His advocacy of public spaces in Bogotá, from extensive bike paths, to a former country club turned public park is inspiring. He closed his presentation with the thought that “Public good must prevail over private interest.” How’s that for progressive?
LISTEN TO THE LATEST TALKING HEADWAYS PODCAST
Find us on Facebook
Subscribe via Email
TagsBicycle Bicycle Infrastructure bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days Bikes bikeway biking Brickell bus Calendar Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Congestion Cycling Downtown Miami Downtown Miami FDOT MDT Metromover Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Miami Dade Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrian Activity Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Public Transit Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Planning