If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it twice, we’ve said it about a hundred times: parking is cancerous to urban areas. The more of it you have and the cheaper it is, the more lethal it becomes to what could be a healthy, well-designed urban area as it induces driving demand and destroys urban continuity. Unfortunately for Miamians, people in power are still about as clueless about parking as George McFly was about women.
In this recent article in the Miami Today News, it is revealed that Bayview Market (yeah, one of the proposed uber-retail developments in the Omni area with about 50 million parking spaces) is now unfathomably receiving bonus incentives from the City to build more parking. The measure is designed to reward retail developers for adding extra parking in the Urban Central Business District, allowing an additional 10 ft. of building height for every additional 75 parking spaces provided.

Though the bonus only is allowable for up to 20 ft. of building height, it is still terrible, terrible policy to be incentivizing developers to build more parking in the CBD — a place that already has such an incredible oversupply of parking it is disgusting. If this isn’t bad enough, here’s the real nail-in-the-coffin of bad parking policy: the ordinance requires that the new spaces be free to the public during business hours, and offered at market rates during off-peak periods. This is absolutely as backward as it gets.

Too bad that the people’s opinions that matter don’t think so. City Manager (and apparently urban planner wannabe) Pete Hernandez calls this ridiculous new ordinance, “good, sound policy.”

Bayview Market’s developer, Garcia Du-Quesne, also seems to have missed the boat (though he can at least claim bias):

“We strongly feel that it (the ordinance) has a tremendous foresight and reflects good planning…(it) is made for every present or future retail developer.”

Yikes. But this is what we’ve come to expect in Miami/Miami-Dade. People who have no formal urban planning education are making critical errors in policy and project approvals based on hunches, pet theories, and overly simplistic economic policy that will forever damage our quality of life and urban potential.

I’m forwarding a copy of UCLA Urban Planner and world-renowned parking policy scholar Donald Shoup’s People, Parking, and Cities (or click here for the abbreviated version) to the City Manager and all of Miami and Miami-Dade’s commissioners. If you’re reading at home and really want to become an expert of parking policy, I highly recommend Shoup’s book, The High Cost of Free Parking.

Both of these pieces will change your opinion about parking forever.

Photo: Google Earth

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3 Responses to Miami Still Clueless About Parking

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow hearing Donald Shoup’s name twice in one day, that is a pretty interesting coincidence. I received an email from the New York City based Transportation Alternatives group. They are having a seminar that Donald Shoup is speaking at. When I read that I thought about the Transit Miami blog and wished we could get Mr. Shoup to come down here and teach our policy makers some sound policy.
    Also, on a different note the image you are showing of Downtown Miami’s Parking problem is out of date, all 3 of the parcels that are shown with an abundance of cars are now in construction with large scale buildings. However, these buildings like most will have large parking garages that will probably reduce the usability for pedestrians. I guess we’ll see how that goes. But check out Transportation Alternatives for some amazing things that they’ve done significantly changing the MPO of NYC.

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  2. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    Eh, I don’t think the picture being out of date is much of a problem considering (a) for the past 50 years or so these lots (plus other more coastal ones) have been used as surface parking (b) as you stated they are being replaced with structures imposed upon parking garages with 3 times the amount of parking which would be considered adequate for a true urban environment.

    We’d like to spread just some of the ideas of Transportation Alternatives here in Miami and we’re working on forging the relationships which would allow us to do so. Our strongest support will come from well versed readers like you…

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I was thinking about this post more today as I heard a commercial on wlrn for the Miami Parking Authority. The entity that controls and earns money and pays for employees and their salaries is dependent on parking. So something much larger than the Miami Parking Authority need to be setting policy.

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