Currently viewing the tag: "Mayor Diaz"

Last year Mayor Diaz publicly declared that March would become Miami’s official Bicycle Month.  Diaz’s decision was wise, as it provides cooler weather and a way to distinguish Miami from the state’s existing bike month, which happens in May. Think of it as twice the fun.

Tomorrow at 9am, at City Hall, Mayor Diaz will discuss Miami’s accomplishment’s to date and outline the plan for what will be the city’s second Bicycle Month. The event is open to the public, and I would encourage anyone interested in showing support to come out.

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This morning the Miami City Commission unanimously passed the Miami Bicycle Action Plan! This is a momentous day for Miami, one that should mark a new approach to bicycling in a city that was recently ranked as one of America’s three worst cities in which to ride.

Comprehensive in its scope, the Action Plan calls for the continued expansion of Miami’s on-street facilities, as well as classroom education and public awareness campaigns. The Action Plan is the product of a tremendous effort by several like-minded organizations and advocates, as well as multiple City and County departments. Those who read this blog know the usual suspects.

Above all, we at Transit Miami have to thank Mayor Diaz and his staff for their strong and continued support. From day one they were behind this effort and they continue to commit the City to becoming more livable. Bike Miami anyone?!

Check out a few photos from this morning’s rally below. Commissioner Sanchez, Sarnoff and Diaz were on hand, as well as dozens of other city employees and bicycle advocates. In the coming weeks Transit Miami will delve into the plan with more detail, and show you the City’s Bicycle Action plan as it relates to implementing new infrastructure all across the City.

City officials, commissioners, Police officers and citizens prepare to ride to City Hall in support of the Miami Bicycle Action Plan.

Mayor Diaz takes a practice spin on his new three wheel throne!

Heading down Bayshore Drive to the entrance of City Hall’s Pan American Drive, Mayor Diaz, Commissioner Sarnoff and Comissioner Sanchez lead the pack.

A host of media reporters and photographers were on hand to document the sunny approach to City Hall.

Photo-op in progress.

From left: Robert Ruano, Director of Sustainable Initiatives, Commissioner Sarnoff, Mayor Diaz, Commissioner Sanchez and in the back right, Police Chief John Timoney. Looks like they are having fun, huh?

From the city of Miami, 2 great events going on this week - We hope to see you tomorrow night…

  • The Mayors Institute on City Design will be hosting a special panel discussion on Metropolitan Smart Growth and Urban Sustainability at the Moore Building tomorrow night. The event is open to the public, though you are encouraged to RSVP via email (events@micd.org) or by phone at 202-463-1393 if you would like to attend.
  • Participants are expected to include Jaquelin “Jaque” Robertson founder of the New York City Urban Design Group, former Dean of the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, and former advisor to former New York Mayor John Lindsay; National Endowment for the Arts’ Director of Design former Mayor of Charlottesville Maurice Cox; and former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Richard Swett, author of “Leadership by Design”.  Swett was the only architect to serve in the United States Congress during in the 20th century where he represented New Hampshire’s 2nd district.  Mayor Manny Diaz, a member of MICD’s National Advisory Council since 2005, is one of only a handful of mayors nationwide to have been invited to serve on the Institute’s Advisory Board in it’s 22-year history.
  • City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and Rilea Group CEO Alan Ojeda  will join City Commissioners and area neighbors to celebrate the inauguration of the Broadway Fountain on Thursday, October 9, 2008, at 11:00 a.m., at the SW corner of South Miami Avenue and SE 15 Road (by Simpson Park).
  • The Broadway Fountain is the centerpiece of the South Miami Ave and SE 15th Road roundabout that is part of the overall South Miami Avenue Improvements Project. The Rilea Group, long recognized as one of Miami’s premier developers of residential and commercial real estate, is dedicating the $300,000 fountain to the City as part of its ongoing efforts to add value to Miami’s Brickell neighborhood through beautification. Since 1981, The Rilea Group has been involved in numerous developments in and around Miami’s urban core and financial district, including One Broadway, the Mellon Financial Center, and 1450 Brickell Avenue, which is currently under construction.  The inauguration will mark the completion of the South Miami Avenue Improvements Project which encompasses pavement milling and resurfacing, curb and gutter replacement, sidewalk repair, ADA ramps, landscape upgrades, 5 feet bicycle lanes, construction of the roundabout and decorative lighting among other enhancements. The Project, which has garnered widespread support among area residents, runs along South Miami Avenue between SE 15 Road and SE 25 Road.

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I was fortunate enough to have been invited to attend part of the Mayor’s Hemispheric Forum by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.  The hemispheric forum occurred prior to the US conference of Mayors, also here in Miami, which officially began yesterday.  Mayor Diaz is being inducted as the President of the Mayors Conference.  I’ll cover this critical event in some more detail next week.

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Miami 21 is in the Herald today with news that is not very uplifting. Commissioner Regalado, a longtime critic of the plan, has decided that the residents of his district do not yet fully understand the code and that he will not let the plan move forward until they do. Judging from turnout at meetings in his district, it’s no wonder that people still don’t understand the plan, but whose fault is that? (Maybe they should show up, or at least read through the code once). Are we going to continue to stall this plan and delay its implementation because of his own political agenda against Mayor Diaz and Commish Joe Sanchez. All too often lately, it seems that his decisions are based on where ideas came from rather than what is best for his constituents or the city. Think about the Ballpark deal: if that had come solely from Mayor Diaz’s office he would surely have tried to kill it.

Lets not even mention the fact that he expects DPZ to do any work from this point on for FREE!! What boggles my mind is that he originally suggested the quadrant system, only to change his mind later to city-wide implementation. In my business that’s called a change order, and there is no reason that DPZ should not be compensated for it. It all boils down to a cheap political trick: rather than force a vote against the plan (which he would be responsible for) he is going to try to force them to stop working on the plan (by not paying them), and later blaming the administration and DPZ for not following through.

The fact is that this plan works, and it works a lot better than what we have now. Period. Any other arguments he or any other commissioner makes is small potatoes. It serves the public good, will create a walkable city, and provides for the transitions from high density areas to low density areas that are non-existent in the current code.

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The Mayor delivered an historic, encouraging speech today at the State of the City Address yesterday. Among the major items mentioned by the Mayor, there was a heavy emphasis on becoming a greener, more sustainable city. In support, he mentioned that Miami 21, the Streetcar, higher densities, green buildings, and an improved parks system are crucial to accomplishing these goals. The Mayor even went so far as to challenge everyone in the City to change their traditional light bulbs to compact fluorescent ones, which save loads of energy and subsequently cut down significantly on CO2 emissions. As you can see from these statements, as well as quotes below, the Mayor was very critical of sprawl and clearly understands the dynamics of sustainability:

  • “We will move away from government policies that invest in sprawl”.
  • “Cities (incl. Miami) have been planned around cars and not people - well, not anymore. We need to move away from government policies that invest in sprawl”.
  • “Make no mistake, the low density suburban sprawl the characterizes growth in South Florida is the true enemy to sustainability…the cure for sprawl is a return to the core, bringing people together so they can live, work, shop and play close to where they live”.
  • “The message will be clear, you either build green (in Miami), or don’t built at all”.
  • “We need to invest in a streetcar system today, like the one we used to have. And, we must do it while we can still afford it. Rather than wait years and Miamians (wonder) why we failed to act, a streetcar system is an inevitable solution - Miami can either pay for it now, or pay for it later - leaving future generations to pay a much, much higher bill to ensure sustainability”.
When he made the last statement above about the streetcar, I shook my head. Both publicly and privately, I’ve been using almost that identical line for at least a year now to help explain the value of going through with the streetcar project. Miamians should be excited that they finally have a Mayor that gets it. People need to start looking at what has/likely will be accomplished under his terms:

Considering that Miami was a nearly bankrupt, sprawling, quasi-urban mess with a junk bond rating just 10 years ago, it puts into perspective the historic legacy of Mayor Diaz and you’ve really got to give props to what he has done for the City, at least from an urban planning and livability perspective.

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