5/17/07

South Miami

For Part 1 of the South Miami Series, Click Here...

I was driving west on Sunset recently and was rather pleased to see the addition of a Bike lane to a meager 2 block stretch of Sunset Dr. East of 57th Ave. Although the Bike lane isn't considerably long, its a decent inroad to getting our local drivers and streets accustomed to sharing the right of way with alternative forms of transportation. The whole South Miami Business district should be repainted to include bike lanes. The inclusion of such alternatives would make the South Miami downtown a more pleasant place for people to navigate.Then I stumbled upon the largest eyesore the South Miami commission could have approved in the heart of its newly found business district: a parking garage. The commission foolishly bypassed the residential requirement for this mixed-use structure, meaning we'll see one of the oddest combinations in mixed-use structures: Ground-Level Retail with a multi-story parking deck above. When walking around South Miami or Sunset Place, one is always quick to notice the amount of traffic in the area and the little amount of nearby residences. The South Miami business district would be a much more vibrant part of the city and community if some proper dense housing was finally incorporated into one of these projects. Side note: from where I took this picture, I was surrounded by empty parking lots, plenty of on-street parking, and the new HSBC parking Garage, looming in the distance were the also massive Sunset Place Parking Structure and the few hundred spaces incorporated into the whole foods market. Think getting to South Miami is difficult now? Just wait till these two projects come online...
With that, I turned my attention to a plot of land 2 block south of Sunset on 57th ave, originally slated for some dense apartments with some ground level retail but now under construction for some town homes. I could barely contain my excitement! Such a waste for such an integral piece of abandoned land so close to the South Miami Business District, Metrorail, and some newly incorporated Bike Lanes...

14 Comments:

Paul said...

That parking garage is going to look sooooo ugly once it's painted.

Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal said...

Yeah did you see the color options they are considering? Click on the picture to enlarge it...Hideous!

tom said...

i live near this area and, having returned recently from a long absence, drove on the bike lane section of sunset earlier tonight. my first reaction was 'what a waste of money.' i bicycle around here all the time and there are plenty of streets that don't have adequate sidewalks or have sidewalks riddled with uneven sections and obstructions (like the recently built one in front of the red road townhomes site). sunset drive already has perfectly good sidewalks, on both sides in that section. the bike lane is completely redundant there.

Dave said...

Too bad the area falls under the juristiction of so many governments which prevent a cohesive meaningful development plan. Sunset east of 57th Ave? Thats in the City of Coral Gables. As the sunset crosses 57th Ave it becomes South Miami's responsibility (hence the very different development motifs on sunset east of 57th and west of it). The location of those townhomes? Thats Unincorporated MD (hence allowing the wasteful use of the site).

Anonymous said...

The bike lane is great, it's a great ride and since there are no sidewalks in the area, and bikes are pushed off the roads it was a long time coming. I wonder who fought for that, they deserve a round of applause. More bike lanes are very necessary.

Lissette said...

We actually had a project ind design class where we were to integrate all three forms of transportation on Sunset and US-1, and EVERYONE in the class agreed that some form of bridge or overpass would be needed in order to integrate more pedestrian traffic into South Miami because the current crossing of US-1 is just flat out scary! Not to mention the Metrorail station also has a massive parking garage that goes mostly unused. If people were to use that garage and then walk into South Miami, there wouldn't be a need for yet ANOTHER parking garage there, and by building all these massive structures they are essentially killing the "people scale" of the are and making it intimidating to walk through instead of the quaintness you feel walking through the smaller 2-3 story shops. AND I'm sure they're not going to integrate any overhangs or anything to shade pedestrians from the sun as they're walking around the CBD.

They're killing the original intention of the South Miami CBD.

Eddie Suarez said...

The two block long bike path is nice but worthless. Riding on Sunset is suicidal. You ride for 2 blocks on a bike lane. Then you are dumped back onto Sunset? Yes, it's a start but it needs so much more work.

I park in the metro-rail garage and cross US1 to visit Sunset Place and the nearby shops. That crossing is nerve wracking. I bridge or overpass would be welcomed.

Adding shade trees or overhangs would be nice to block the pedestrians from the sun.

Final note; You can't ride a bike on the sidewalk. There isn't enough space. It's dangerous. You have to dodge pedestrians, tables, waiters, restaurant patrons, trees, R2D2 (the mailbox), etc...

Dave said...

Getting back to my juristictions comment from before, bridging US-1 brings another entity into the mix. Going over US-1 would require FDOT to get involved as well (not to mention the metrorail land is County property and the other side of US-1 is South Miami property). Oh the nightmares that these tiny city boundaries and mulijuristictional nonsense create...

Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal said...

As I posted earlier, I asked the people from Simon Malls if they planned on being proactive by initiating discussions or plans on a walkway with MDTA, their reply was very disappointing:

"I have not been advised by Metrorail of any plans for a pedestrian overpass, but it does sound like a great idea."

Unless MDTA plans it, its not going to happen...

Dave said...

On the issue of even more parking in South Miami, a SM commissioner is trying to push through a law that will stop allowing SM businesses to use "shared parking" or "on street parking" as filling its pakring requirements. I guess he wants every new SM business to have its own parking lot IN ADDITION to all those garages...

Check out items #16 and #18
http://www.cityofsouthmiami.net/clientuploads/Archive/CSM_Comm_Agendas_2007/05.15.07.pdf

Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal said...

That is Absurd!

tom said...

in response to eddie suarez: i actually take the opposite view. i much prefer bicycling on a sidewalk to on a bike lane. sure there are occasional obstructions and we need our local governments to clear them as part of upkeep. riding on a bike lane, though, you have to contend with cars. can we really trust miami drivers to respect the little white line that separates them from the bicyclists. additionally, even if the cars stay out of the bike lane they can get pretty close to it. i feel infinitely safer on the sidewalk.

Dave said...

By the way, look how the commissioner reacted to not getting his new parking laws passed:

http://www.communitynewspapers.com/south/2007/052207/index.asp

Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal said...

What's the deal with getting up and walking out of a meeting when they don't get "their" way?