In what could only be judged as an effort to stymie opposition on the most contested land use issue in the region, the Miami-Dade Planning and Zoning department has scheduled a public hearing for November 3, regarding an application to amend the County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP). The hearing, of course, entails the expansion of the Urban Development Boundary for the development of a “new mixed-use community” on 961.15 acres, also known as the Parkland Development. The likely horizontally mixed-use development (sprawl) would incorporate residential (cookie cutter houses), commercial (strip shopping centers), institutional (schools deemed necessary by county code requirements), and civic uses (streets?).
Besides the obvious detrimental ecological concerns posed by opening up further land outside the urban development boundary, I am troubled by the timing of this public hearing – only one day before the most hotly contested presidential race to date. The timing is uncanny for such a hot buttoned issue within Miami-Dade’s local politics. Moreover, amid the deepest economic recession in recent history, the precipitous decline of the local housing industry, and the tumultuous wake of the sub-prime lending mortgage crisis i must wonder why anyone would push for a public hearing. Looks like its politics as usual in Miami-Dade…
Remember ShuttlePort? The FLL shuttle service that had problems with drivers crashing? This LA Times article points out that it was owned by the same company that employs Metrolink engineers. Yes, that’s the Metrolink that had the commuter rail crash earlier this month.
Streetsblog had a post last week with a link to a document outlining McCain’s and Obama’s respective positions on transportation. Well worth checking out.
Much closer to home, Broward County is cutting funding for the Tri-Rail feeder buses. As a shuttle stops at my workplace, and my employer just built a bus shelter for it, this is particularly upsetting. We may have more to say about this later.
Bike sharing is alive in the U.S.! At the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Freewheelin is running a bicycle sharing program. Humana (a health insurance company—can you guess why they support people riding bicycles?) and Bikes Belong have partnered to put these bike sharing programs together. They seem to be catering to the delegates attending the convention with bicycle stations placed near the convention hotels, but the program will go on after the conventions end. See an article at Forbes.com for more info on the program.
So far, it looks like they had good success in Denver. They surpassed their mileage goal of 25,000 miles by logging 26,493 miles with 5,552 rides. That puts them well on track to meet their combined ridership goal of 10,000 riders by the end of the Republican National Convention. It will be interesting to compare the ridership between the two conventions to see if one party is more willing to participate in a bike-sharing program.
The good news for residents of Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul is that Freewheelin is leaving the cities some of their bikes as a pilot bike sharing program after the conventions end. It will be in the cities’ hands now as to what they do with it, but we can only hope for the best.
Now we just need to host a political convention in Miami or Fort Lauderdale to kick start a bike sharing program down here. Dave Barry thinks the bikes would get stolen down here, but it looks to me like Freewheelin has a pretty well-planned sharing program. If we can’t get them to come down here, at least we can learn from their example.
Photo by Flickr user kitseeborg.
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