The other day I happened to be on the Government Center Metrorail Station platform when I noticed I was almost completely surrounded by parking. Good thing I had my camera with me – check out all the parking and keep in mind this is the supposed to be one of the densest parts of city as well as one of its’ most prominent public spaces. This is definitely not something you want to have anywhere in the city, especially abutting the downtown transit hub. This ruinous land use has the following effects:
• Fractures urban continuity in densest part of city; alienates the station from the rest of the city’s urban framework
• Takes the place of valuable real estate
• Induces demand for more driving in Miami’s downtown core; gives the impression that transit is an afterthought in this community, thus stigmatizing transit as the not-so-sexy stepchild to private automobile travel, even in the densest part of the city’s urban core
• Serves as a morbid public space in an otherwise strategic location
This puts into perspective the lunacy of adding more parking adjacent to Government Center Station. Doing so would effectively surround Miami’s primary downtown station on at least three sides by parking, as well as displacing the downtown bus terminal (which needs a public space makeover itself – not displacement.)
In my next post, I’ll illustrate and describe a good example of what Miami transit stations should aspire for regarding integration of quality public spaces – especially at Government Center Station.
I was idling in traffic earlier today, heading south on US-1 when I noticed something had gone amiss. The first thing that tipped me off was that a crowd had gathered at the
It turns out my gut instinct was indeed correct. A metrorail train carrying about 50 passengers derailed as it departed the dadeland south station heading northbound. No serious damages or injuries were reported. This is the first time a metrorail train has derailed.
Alas, with the demise of the
The Shops at Sunset Place was designed as a mall in transition. The sprawling suburban mall concept was just beginning to fade away from the American landscape while the “lifestyle center” concept had yet to fully take off. Having witnessed the failure of the Bakery Center, Simon Malls was careful to not retrace the same steps, but by the same token, was reluctant to fully pioneer a new urban and real “lifestyle center.” Unlike its predecessor, Sunset Place was designed to be an open-aired Mediterranean community, incorporating former mall aspects like big boxed anchor tenants with street-level restaurants, faux cityscapes, and even a few residential units. The center was originally envisioned to be an entertainment center, but the quick failure of some of the theme restaurants and IMAX Theater, quickly changed intended target use. Since its inception, the mall has struggled to maintain a strong and lasting business base. This can perhaps be attributed to its awkward design, as I said earlier, as a mall in transition: too few apartments, too big of a parking garage for an urban center, but too small for a mall, near isolation from the surrounding urban area, and a terrible incorporation into the South Miami neighborhood and nearby public transit.
The Shops at
Wasted Space Sunset Place has served as a catalyst for
Now, rising in the heart of the area are two developments which will continue the neighborhood’s transformation from urban center to urban disaster. The map above shows the existing public parking garage structures in the area (Red circles.) The first catastrophic development, highlighted by the yellow circle is the upcoming Plaza San Remo (Where’s the Plaza?) with over 100,000+ square feet of office space and a 65,000 square foot Whole Foods Market. The complex, which is being advertised as: “A first-class Medical & Professional Condominium where
Highlighted by the blue circle on the map and about one tenth of a mile away from the transit station is the upcoming catastrophic restaurant/public parking garage facility. The 435 parking spot garage will sit above 36,000 square feet of restaurants including a Carrabas, Outback Steakhouse, and a “sport themed” restaurant according to city documents (Note the public concerns: “He felt that key points about safety in the garage were addressed such as proper turning radiuses for cars…”) Give me a break! What about the fact that the area can’t handle another 435
patrons cars or that a parking garage isn’t exactly part of the urban design South Miami should be looking for for the city center, all the public cares about is whether they will be able to drive their Hummer or Navigator through without getting a scratch…It looks like the only wait for a table for two will be on the two lanes of
The Green lines on the map indicate streets which contain on-street parallel parking spaces. The orange circles highlight the local existing surface parking lot facilities. Aside from parking and food themed retail, the urban center is lacking any sort of residential identity. The city and County have completely neglected the fact that transit was originally intended to be incorporated into the urban center, a fact which will soon be realized as the
The reoccurring theme lately has become centralized on the opinion of the public with regards to community projects. Community
involvement opposition recently has driven many projects in directions that most city planners/urban developers would not necessarily agree with and Sweetwater is no exception. The architecture department at Florida International University has created a master plan to help transform Sweetwater from just another suburban residential enclave to a self sustainable college town that together with the university can continue to grow mutually to serve all area residents needs. Needless to say, the city opposes any change, especially change that could involve bringing the metrorail into their area.
Given the ridiculous opposition, one would assume that the FIU architecture department proposed to integrate mammoth sized buildings in the single family home neighborhood. However, the FIU plan would begin to slowly transform Sweetwater to better suit it and the college, by providing a sort of center where denser housing, government jobs, public services, and parks would be located. The growth would help to sustain the city tax base and would be a boon to the local residents by drastically improving the connection between the school and the city. It would also help minimize the impact of metrorail on the surroundings by creating a more densely urbanized area where the train would arrive.
The fact of the matter is that Miami residents seem very opposed to change. Understandably, most people do not trust the local government entities to make sound decisions on growth and development in the area given the track record of abuse by developers and city/county officials. I’m certain, however, that with the aide of the University’s school of Architecture, the city residents could work together with planners to lay a better foundation and identity for their city…
I’ve shared my discontent on the people’s transportation plan (PTP) on more than one occasion on this site. I’ve also spoken of the nimby-like behavior of the grove residents who oppose any project which crosses their path but at the same time complain about a dearth of parking in their area. Today, I’ve decided to combine the two issues somewhat and present a set of alternative plans that I believe would benefit our community and would satisfy the delicate aesthetic needs of coconut grove residents. Below are three quick renderings I created (please pardon the terrible quality) of the region with possible public transit routes superimposed.
- This plan is the simplest, least intrusive, and cheapest alternative. The plan calls for the dismantling of the Omni loop of the people mover system in downtown once the Miami Streetcar becomes operational. I’m figuring that the omni loop will be rendered useless once the streetcar is completed seeing that they essentially cover the same part of the city. The salvageable tracks, vehicles, and station components can then be used to create a new Coconut Grove Loop People Mover system. The CG loop would be approximately 1.65 miles long, just slightly longer than the current 1.45 mile Omni Loop. The loop would be able to transport people quickly and effectively from the Coconut Grove Metrorail station along US-1 to the more pedestrian friendly areas of the grove, office buildings along
South Bayshore Dr., City Hall, and the vast network of bay front parks. This option would be good for bringing people into the Grove from other parts of the county, but would not prove as useful for the majority of Grove residents. The plan also concentrates the public transit on the densest part of the grove and along the bustling 27th Ave.corridor.
Key Stops: Coconut Grove Metrorail Station, City Hall at Dinner Key, Shops at
- This plan focuses more on a public transit system which would service the Coconut Grove community as the southern terminus for a
North-South 27th Ave.Streetcar or LRT. The proposed system would be far more useful than the 9 mile northern extension which is currently planned and underway for Metrorail because it invites better urban growth to occur at the street level along the avenue. The Northern terminus for this transit line would be at Joe Robbie Stadium (Dolphin Stadium) and would travel through Opa Locka, West Little River, , Little Havana, and Coconut Grove neighborhoods. It would provide two links to the Metrorail (CG and Brownsville .) This plan would allow for greater development to occur along the Brownsville 27th Avenuecorridor bringing some much needed density to the area. The much debated and contested Carlos Rua project at the Coconut Grove Metrorail station would be one such example of the type of development we would want to encourage (with less parking.) Transit Oriented Developments such as the Rua project are essential to make our transportation networks succeed. Situated along the primary N-S route in the city (US-1), a major avenue ( 27th Ave.), and our only form of public transportation, this project is hardly out of context with its surroundings and what we can expect of the region in years to come (Perhaps the height is excessive, but the density is of critical importance.)
Key Stops: Coconut Grove Metrorail Station, Dinner Key, Dolphin Stadium, MDC Inter-American Campus, Opa Locka,
- The last plan focuses on implementing a streetcar or LRT which would travel through Coconut Grove from the Brickell Metrorail station. This plan focuses its attention on the needs of the Coconut Grove area, bringing pedestrian traffic and growth to the areas which can support it best. It would also best serve the needs of the area residents in getting to their local town center which is already facing major parking issues. Traveling through
South Bayshore Drive, the streetcar would service areas we designate as pedestrian friendly. It services the dense housing units in the area, waterfront offices, shopping areas, Hospital, and parks. A project like this would greatly benefit from further dense (not necessarily tall) growth to occur along the corridor (perhaps the Related Group’s Mercy project wouldn’t seem like such a far fetched idea.) The streetcar would service both east and west grove and create a center for the community (at Mayfair) which is easily accessible to most via the public transportation. Heading westward, the line could travel through the Village of Merrick Park before terminating at the Douglas Road Metrorail station.
Key Stops: Mercy Hospital, Dinner Key, Shops at Mayfair, West Grove, Brickell Metrorail Station, Southern Brickell, Village at Merrick Park, Douglas Road Metrorail Station
I created this above analysis to show that there are a multitude of public transportation concepts which could be implemented in the Coconut Grove area which would not only serve the needs of the area residents but would benefit the entire community. Grove residents should open their minds to development which will enhance their community (I’m not saying to fully accept the Related Group, Home Depot, or Carlos Rua projects) but they need to take a different approach when considering the type of development that will occur in their area. Bringing density to their town center and major thoroughfares like
I love how everyone suddenly becomes an expert on the subject, knowing what’s best for the area and its’ future. I thought we hired city planners and engineering professionals for a reason. I mean after all they are professionals who have studied the subject for at least four or five years and have had to pass various certification exams. How is it that Joe Blow Flagami resident, can whine for a little while and have the whole future of Miami Public Transportation in the area changed just because he doesn’t like the idea? What happened to being progressive and doing what is best for our community’s future? Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe the people should have a say in the projects in their backyard, but when is it the right time to trump their ideas and do whatever is best for the future of the community. I believe it is up to planners to a certain extent to guide and steer growth appropriately through intelligent systems. Baylink is great example of a project that should have occurred, with or without the local community support, because of the long-term benefit it would have provided to all citizens.
There’s nothing too revolutionary about the building’s design. Similar buildings are rising in other parts of the world which will not only feature cutting edge technology, but will also be visually stimulating. Considering the hundred of millions of dollars that will be poured into this structure, I honestly expected something a little bit more grandiose. But hey, this is
FIU officials, (with their all knowing superpowers) think a commuter train just wouldn’t make sense for a school that’s ranked as one of the top 10 commuter schools in the nation (Education should not be accessible to all apparently.) For a school looking to grow in prestige, accessibility, and educational ranks, they are doing a great job at keeping students away.
Someone at the MDTA has got to step to the plate on this issue. We need to look down the road for once and see that traffic is not going to improve any time soon. Let use other cities outside of Miami to see how things are done elsewhere, public education and public transit go hand-in-hand.
Here is a list of major Universities linked by Public Transit rail lines (off the top of my head): Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Boston College, NYU, Tufts, Rice, San Diego State, UMASS, University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, Drexel, Loyola, Tulane, Columbia, UM, Stanford, etc…
Schools that FIU would rather not be associated with apparently…
On Wednesday June 14th I arrived at the Civic Center Station of the Metrorail a little after 5.30, there was a train sitting there with its doors closed and passengers sitting in it, I waited to see if the doors would reopen since it was just sitting there, neither did the doors open nor did the train move. Finally after about five minutes the train started crawling out of the station only to pull out of the station and stop again just a few yards out on the tracks. Later I was told by people on that train that they were asked to get off the train at Government Center Station and get into shuttle buses.
Back at the Civic Center station I stood there for about 30 minutes with no trains in sight or any information on what was going on, the security guards on duty did not have a clue nor did anyone else, let me take that back, somebody did because the public address system would periodically come to life with a female voice making some kind of announcement this is what everyone heard “Your attention please, your attention please, we are experiencing………….Okeechobee and Vizcaya ………………. ” Meanwhile people were coming into the station as shifts at the various clinics and hospitals ended. Both north bound and southbound platforms were crowded to capacity by this time. Finally, a security guard came up to the platform and started telling people that the Metrorail is shut down and shuttle busses will be arriving soon.
Memories from an incident not to long ago came back to me when Metro Rail and US 1 were both shut down by the Coral Gables police because of an ongoing situation in one of the apartments near the metrorail tracks. They had shut down the metrorail at peak hour between Douglas road station and University stations, so we had to get off the train at Douglas get on a shuttle bus that was packed like a tin of sardines and made our way at snails pace to University station. After riding for about 45 minutes we were finally on Ponce De Leon slowly inching towards university, anyway Ponce De Leon runs parallel to the metrorail and we could see that the services had resumed and trains were flying by us, 15 minutes and 3 trains later we were finally at University! With this experience flooding back, I refused to get on the shuttle bus, the smart thing was to wait it out, so I went back down to see close to 100 people waiting for the shuttle and one bus lumbering down towards them. To save time found a Chinese place to eat an early dinner and when I got back to the Civic center Station there was a train waiting and the doors were open!
-Priyanshu A Adathakkar
100,000 square feet of office space (HQ for Transport Workers Union)
20,000 Square feet of Retail space
300 Housing units
90 on street parking spaces (Could it be true? No hideous parking garage?)
Oh, here is the picture Ryan tried to post as a comment earlier of a TOD in Philly…Sweet building, very modern…
Now, that I have digressed enough from my initial statement and have proven that I truly have nothing against Grove residents, I can continue with the reason why some local NIMBY arguments are weak. Reference this Article in today’s Miami Sunpost.
The plan for the Miami-Dade Transit agency is to build Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) along nearly every stop of the Metrorail (Ex: Datran Towers in Dadeland, Transit Village in Overtown, Allapatah Apartments in Allapatah, etc.) Next stop, Coconut Grove, well maybe not, if Grove NIMBY’s have their way.
The project calls for a 1+ million square foot mixed-use development with retail, office, hotel, and condominium space all leased on County owned land adjacent to the metrorail (like Datran only slightly smaller.) A great idea to boost system ridership and charge rent on the use of the land for decades to come.
Grove NIMBY’s (like the Pincrest one’s down south) argue that the development will have an adverse effect on the current traffic issues in the area. Ok, point taken. But what development won’t have an adverse effect and how do we begin to solve the problem if such TODs aren’t built to get people (like the Grove, Pinecrest, Coral Gables, South Miami and Kendall residents) onto Public Transportation to begin with? It’s a vicious cycle that has cast Miami traffic into a downward spiral.
The real question here, which all residents should ask when a TOD or any high density building such as this is rising, is: What is being done to force residents, visitors, and tenants alike to use public transportation to access this new building? Will there still be enough parking for all employees or is it being designed properly to incorporate metrorail and bus use? (Note, even the Datran complex was poorly designed with each building resting on a parking garage “pedestal” with surely enough parking for office employees, hotel guests, and visitors.)
We can’t change our way of life overnight, but we must begin to implement progressive changes quickly, especially on projects situated on major corridors (Like US-1 and 27th Ave, where this project is slated to rise.) By asking the right questions first, all residents will benefit from the changes that can be forced to occur in the design of local developments without reducing density or profitability. The transit agency has taken a step in the right direction to create the TOD, residents and politicians alike now need to guide developers into creating projects which improve and promote the ever growing public transit infrastructure in our community…
We’ll bring you more updates as the story unfolds…
Now, I knew the J bus would take me to my destination, however, the trip planner recommended route 42. So, with that knowledge at hand, I proceeded to the route 42 bus stop. The station had a bit of activity but did not appear to be more or less than usual. Route 37 seems to be the popular route. I waited for 20 minutes, watching a couple of J routes come and go as well as a route 42 heading towards Coconut Grove, empty.
The arrival of the 42 could not have come at better time, as the sun was just beginning to peak over the trees and buildings which were shielding it from me and the heat was just starting to intensify. It appears many people are unaware of today’s free rides as the bus driver himself quizzically glanced at the ticket I just handed him and riders continued to pay or show their golden passports. The bus embarked immediately.
The ride was uneventful and much more serene than my new daily commute down the same thoroughfare in my car. Once on the bus, we flowed seamlessly until I disembarked at my location at 7:50, nearly 50 minutes after my public transit endeavor began. Next time, I’ll spring for the route J, and a shorter commute which could in fact rival driving which often takes me up to 20 minutes… I’ll be back later with the conclusion to my daily errands and a wrap-up on what I think could be improved.
CategoriesAccident Airport bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Congestion Density Downtown FDOT High Speed Rail MDT Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News NIMBY Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Public Transit Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Planning
South Florida Transportation
- Emerge Miami
- Florida Bicycle Association
- Florida Department of Transportation
- Florida Greenbook Roadway Design Manual
- Green Mobility Network
- Miami Bike Report
- Miami-Dade BPAC
- Miami-Dade Expressway Authority
- Miami-Dade Transit
- Slow Bike Miami
- Spokes 'n' Folks
- State of Florida Bike/Ped Laws
- TACOLCY Bicycle Club
- The M-Path to Enlightenment
- The Miami Bike Scene
- Transit to MIA
- Tri-Rail (South Florida Regional Transportation Authority)
Transit Blogs and Resources
- Off the Kuff
- Human Transit
- CoolTown Studios
- JACKSONVILLE TRANSIT
- public transit
- CTA Tattler
- The Overhead Wire
- Transit In Utah
- Portland Transport
- City Transit Advocates
- Metro Library and Archive Transportation Headlines
- Spacing Wire • understanding the urban landscape
- Buildings and Food
- The Transport Politic
- Welcome to the FastLane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary
- Midwest High Speed Rail
- Greater Greater Washington
- Design New Haven
- Trains For America
Planning and Design Resources
- Home > Metrorail
- Anonymous on Public Forum Scheduled to Discuss Road Safety
- Rena on Cyclist Survives MacArthur Causeway Crash; Remains in Extremely Serious Condition
- B on Marlins Ballpark Transportation Meeting a Farce; Officials Play Up Non-existent Transit Options
- Tony Garcia on Marlins Ballpark Transportation Meeting a Farce; Officials Play Up Non-existent Transit Options
- Tim on Marlins Ballpark Transportation Meeting a Farce; Officials Play Up Non-existent Transit Options
- B on County, BPAC Propose Immediate Improvements for Rickenbacker Causeway
- A Paean For Rural America and Its Working Landscape March 5, 2012Lee Epstein and Kaid Benfield pen a post on the importance of working rural landscapes to the sustainability agenda, which seems to be increasingly overlooked by smart growth advocates. read more […]
- Chicago Moves to Clean Its Waterways March 5, 2012Despite decades of "steady improvement", Chicago is still home to some of the dirtiest waterways in the country. Now after years of obfuscation, the city's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is finally moving forward with cleanup plans. read more […]
- Learn To Love The Bus March 5, 2012It may not be sexy and it may not be fast, but the time has come to acknowledge the key role that the much maligned form of public transit will have in solving cities’ mobility woes, writes Will Doig. read more […]
- Where It Pays To Be A Woman March 5, 2012To mark the upcoming anniversary of International Women's Day, Sarah Morrison investigates the best and worst places around the world to be a woman. read more […]
- Arrival of Big Boxes Serves As Point of Pride in Detroit March 5, 2012Tanveer Ali sees Detroit, where the impending arrival of retail behemoths has been greeted with enthusiasm by a city in desperate need of jobs and retail outlets, as an interesting test case for theories about the economic value of big-box stores read more […]
- Will St. Louis Become the Next City to Demolish Its Elevated Urban Highway? March 5, 2012Alex Ihnen writes about the fast moving proposal to convert 1-mile of the elevated I-70 highway separating downtown St. Louis from its historic riverfront. read more […]
- Investment in Smarter Cities Begins to Pay Dividends March 5, 2012Pete Swabey tells the tale of the development of smart city technology by IBM and Cisco, which has now reached a point of maturation in which significant lessons, economic opportunities, and future applications can be discerned. read more […]
- Tactical Urbanism Comes of Age March 5, 2012Nate Berg reports on the recent release of the "official" guide to tactical urbanism, Tactical Urbanism 2: Short-Term Action, Long Term Change, authored by Mike Lydon. read more […]
- Appreciating The Legacy Of Planning Pioneer Charles Haar March 5, 2012Comprehensive planning is customary in a great many American cities these days, but it wasn't long ago that the concept was foreign to most planners. Attorney and scholar Charles M. Haar was one of the figures who revolutionized the field. read more […]
- What is Manhattan's Carrying Capacity? March 5, 2012NYT reporter Amy O'Leary observes Manhattan's ubiquitous construction while suffering through overcrowded sidewalks, stores, and subway trains, and wonders just how many more people the crowded borough can absorb. read more […]
- A Paean For Rural America and Its Working Landscape March 5, 2012
- Greenway Bike Festival February 22, 2012This fully-supported ride promotes the Biscayne-Everglades Greenway, which will loop through the historic city of Homestead. There'll be routes of 62 miles, 42 miles, and 25 miles -- with darned good food at the finish. You can register at Active.com. You'll certainly want to be at Losner Park for the demonstration parachute jump by the Army's […]
- Many call for safer streets February 19, 2012Board member Suzanne Kores captured the scene at yesterday's rally on the Rickenbacker Causeway for greater street safety. Tom Evental made available this stirring video. The voice you hear at the beginning is our co-founder Hank Sanchez-Resnik, who played a big role with allied groups in organizing the event. We appreciate the chance to share this wit […]
- Climb the bridge for safer streets February 17, 2012All road users are invited to the tall bridge on the Rickenbacker Causeway this Saturday at 9 a.m. to call for safer streets and recognize cyclist Aaron Cohen, who died Thursday of a hit-and-run driver's injuries. The bicycling community put this event together, working in parallel efforts from varying points of view. We have one message, though: Everyo […]
- Greenway Bike Festival February 22, 2012