Currently viewing the tag: "Mary Brickell Village"

Additional Traffic Calming Needed ahead of Park Opening

Over the past few weeks, Miami-Dade County Public Works has begun to upgrade the streetscape on South Miami Avenue through the heart of Brickell, specifically from Broadway to SW 8th St. As reported earlier on TransitMiami, these upgrades include ‘zebra’ crosswalks, additional signage and lane striping.

Recently, a bicycle lane and ‘sharrows’ were added to South Miami Avenue on this segment, as well as ‘sharrows’ on Brickell Plaza and through Mary Brickell Village.  Additionally, the chaotic and confusing intersection at SW 12th St. and S. Miami Avenue has been slightly reconfigured with bollards to prevent ‘soft left’ turns.

Re-configured intersection at SW 12th st. and S. Miami Ave. The bollards prevent the 'soft left' turn that was the scene of numerous crashes.

 

Newly striped bike lane headed south on S. Miami Ave. through Brickell

As the new Triangle Park nears it’s completion, a need for additional traffic calming in the area is painfully obvious to allow residents a safe way to access the park. Presently, with a green light at the intersection of SW 13th Street and S. Miami Avenue, it is possible for a motorist to continue unimpeded from the Broadway roundabout all the way to SW 10th street. Such a long stretch with no stop signs allows motorists to gain unsafe rates of speed through Brickell. There are no traffic calming mechanisms  (raised crosswalks, stop signs, sidewalk bulb-outs, etc.) to alert drivers that they are entering an area with dense pedestrian traffic and speeds of 45mph+ are dangerous and unacceptable.

Just a block down S. Miami Ave from the park, in Mary Brickell Village, no mid-block crosswalk exists to connect the two sides of the street. Understandably, pedestrians frequently weave through parked (and moving) cars to cross the street. The need for a safely marked midblock crossing is so obvious it’s almost comical that it does not exist.

I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Brickell’s new ‘Flatiron Park’ in October. During Commissioner Sarnoff’s speech, cars were flying down S.  Miami Avenue at ridiculous speeds, completely inappropriate for a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood. No motorists were yielding to pedestrians. Mothers with strollers, people walking their pets, individuals in wheelchairs were all having difficulty crossing the street. Watching SUV’s hurl themselves at the intersection outside Baru Urbano and aggressively brake just in time for the crosswalk was unnerving. Unfortunately, this is an everyday occurrence.

This hazardous situation could be mitigated with a stop sign at SW 11th street, pictured below. As reported earlier on TransitMiami, the manager of Rosinella has personally witnessed an average of 5 accidents a year at this intersection.

How will we get to the park? Need to slow the cars down here.

This only scratches the surface of the improvements to make the area truly ‘pedestrian-friendly’. A walk down SE 1st Avenue by the busy MetroRail and bus stations will show you that. (No pavement marking, no crosswalks, no stop signs - only speeding vehicles) Currently, there is a plan for a complete streetscape overhaul of South Miami Ave. that is scheduled for 2014.

How many more accidents and close calls will we see before then?

I went to Rosa Mexicano the other day at Mary Brickell Village for dinner and was extremely disappointed to witness the state of the complex (very satisfied by the food, however.) This place is a disaster! The pictures below really don’t do it justice. I was more than appalled to see what should have been one of our premier pedestrian areas in such a state of disrepair. Besides the obvious vacancy, missing condominium tower, and abandoned Publix space, most of the western half of the complex has been ripped apart to fix some piping. The whole complex’s air conditioning was out of order and supplanted by temporary portable units.

I started my trip as usual at the UM metrorail station. The station severely needs a pedestrian overpass to connect it with the already disjointed surroundings. Notice, any attempt to connect the station with its eastern surroundings will at best connect pedestrians with any of the many available parking lots of the strip shopping centers.

I arrived at the Brickell station in full view of some “urban design malpractice,” to quote Ryan’s previous post on the subject. The following pictures were taken either from the Metrorail platform or from the train just as we entered the station (I’m disappointed that Beethoven’s 5th No longer plays when the train arrives, what gives?) The first picture depicts the new Infinity at Brickell high-rise with its’ hideous massive blank wall left exposed facing the west. The next two pictures are of buildings adjacent to the metrorail platform. Notice the wide entrance to the parking garage in the first building (Brickell Station Villas designed by Alberto Otero) on the west side fronting the station. The third picture below depicts another new condo with an absurdly huge parking structure below making up more than half the size of the building. These designs are sad and pathetic considering their proximity to mass transit. A parking garage entrance shouldn’t front the station and their designs should be required to consider pedestrian activity. I don’t blame the architects or developers; this is clearly a regulatory issue and the result of a commission who approves nearly anything which comes before them…

The last time I passed by the Brickell metrorail station (nearly 8 months ago) the brickell metromover escalator was out of service. I was dismayed to see that this was obviously still the case. Great job Bradley!

I got off the mover by Mary Brickell Village, the disastrously planned retail center in the heart of Brickell which has been under construction for a few years now. I was dismayed however to see that this station’s escalator was too out of commission (that’s 0/2 for all of you keeping score.) Great job Bradley!

Pictured below is the site of the Brickell Financial Centre, which as I mentioned earlier was slated to officially break ground on Thursday. Despite the continued demolition of the mid-rise previously located on the site, an area with project plans and descriptions was set up on the former back parking lot.

When I arrived at the 5th street station, just beside the new Brickell on the River Condominium, I looked down to find two separate paths leading from the Station to the river-walk. One was apparently the “commoners” path while the one on the right side of the wrought iron fence was for the residents of the condo. Fenced in or gated condominiums severely detract from their urban surroundings and should not be allowed to rise in such central and prominent locations of our city. These tend to isolate residents from the surroundings, complicating building access for pedestrians and disconnecting them from the closely located transit and public river-walk…

Looking back inland, the beautiful rear end of 500 Brickell kept staring at me, asking why the developer had left such a plain wall facing the metromover station. A short walk around the building later demonstrated that the front end had been properly designed, with balconies and plenty of glass, it’s a shame the back side couldn’t have been granted the same architectural considerations.

Although the whole downtown has been morphed into a full scale construction zone, I was surprised to see adequate consideration taken for the area sidewalks. Although I appeared to be the only person walking around, the construction worker turned crossing guard was kind enough to halt passing street activity for me to cross.

From the Brickell Avenue Bridge looking west I saw further signs of a very disjointed river-walk taking shape. The newly completed Brickell on the River was sectioned off from the neighboring Riverview Complex which is apparently the docking point for some Miami PD boats (this is probably done as a local measure of (in)security…)

The CBD as we knew it has finally witnessed the removal of the last surface parking eyesores as the Metropolitan Miami Complex rises. In the foreground we see piles being driven for the most important tower rising in the CBD since the Bank of America Tower was completed in the 80’s, MET 2. MET 2 is our newest office skyscraper which will feature 600,000 square feet of office space in one tower and Miami’s first Marriot Marquis in an adjacent tower. Most importantly, MET 2 will dwarf the abysmally lackluster height and design of MET 1 (Center, under construction,) with a glass facade and parabolic glass shape similar to the Esprito Santo Bank tower on Brickell.

Pedestrian activity already disturbed along the river area due to the EPIC and MET construction is permanently obstructed by the pilings of the metromover.

One Miami can essentially be credited with being the project which started the latest vertical boom in Downtown Miami. Constructed by the Related Group of Florida and designed by local architect Arquitectonica (like most Related Group projects,) these twin 45 and 44 story towers were the first to test the downtown residential condo market in several decades. The real estate revival launched by this development since has been phenomenal. I was highly unimpressed by the entrance to the towers which obviously caters to vehicular movements while pedestrian access is relegated to a thin walkway alongside the tower entrance.

One Miami’s contribution to the public river-walk however, was highly impressive and one of the high points of my walk. The area was beautiful, providing ample seating along the tranquil north shore of the Miami River and overlooking Brickell Key. The One Miami river-walk contained various works of art, including a sculpture by Jose Bedia among others. Big Brother was noticeably present as was adequate lighting and access for One Miami residents. Hopefully Epic and the other buildings rising along the river will continue the precedent already established by One Miami.

Part one of my tour concludes with a view of the unfinished One Miami River-Walk leading into Bayfront Park. The dock on the right is the proposed station for any future ferry commuter boats traveling between the CBD and Aventura/South Dade. Part two of my walk will continue through Bayfront Park as I tackle the changes currently transforming what should be our most prominent urban park…

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