The video below documents the struggles of a suburban Phoenix, AZ family as they try to cope with the high cost of transportation and a lack of alternatives to driving in their autocentric neighborhood. It’s amazing (and sad) to watch this family struggle to get by with just one operable vehicle and no public transit in sight. I have a feeling that a lot of households in the Miami area are experiencing similar difficulties as the Brosso family because they too live in communities that lack the presence of other quality transportation options beside motor vehicles.
Question - What’s 11 stories tall, 129,000 SF, located within 0.3 miles of a transit station in a dense transit-oriented quadrant of the city (see map above), and dedicates 54% of its available volume to parking? If you guessed Miami’s newest rising LEED Silver office structure just south of the Health District, then you guessed right.
The space is designed to LEED Silver standards and will cater to the needs of healthcare professionals, according to Gutierrez Group…The 11-story building, located at 1001 Sunnybrook Road, will include four stories of office space and six floors of parking, says Jeb Bush Jr., commercial sales and leasing agent for Coral Gables-based Fairchild Partners, which will handle leasing for Highland Park.
Welcome to Miami. Only Miamians can figure out how to rig the LEED certification standards so that this lousy excuse of a building can become Silver Certified. Honestly, this building should be imploded upon completion. The building, pictured below, is reminiscent of a few other less than notable properties we’ve discussed before (See: Miami Green, Bay of Pigs Museum, Marina Blue, etc.) and littered with the same atrocious parking standards Miami has become renown for. Some might even say we have “world-class” parking standards. I traveled the great cities of the United States and part of the world and have never seen another city that takes such pride in its autocentric designs. Without a formal analysis, I’d go so far as to suggest that we have more parking structures in our high transit centers than any other city I’ve seen yet. Its projects like these that will really tarnish the USGBC’s LEED certification system.
Commission’s View of Parking is Misguided
By: Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal & Ryan Sharp
As transportation engineers and urban planners, we feel that City of
’s plans to increase the total number of parking spaces in the Miami development will have a detrimental effect on both the people and City of Empire World Towers . Miami
An Increase in Parking Supply Increases Driving Demand
An increase of net parking spaces – to one per unit, as the city commission proposed – will only worsen the traffic conditions along Biscayne Boulevard and the surrounding streets. The aim of the city administration and all downtown development should be to reduce automobile dependency, not enhance it, especially in one of the few areas well served by public rail transit. Any increases in available parking will only serve as a means with which our residents will continue to neglect and undermine the intended purpose of public transportation.
More Parking = More Traffic Congestion Downtown
It is in our opinion, that the city commission should fully embrace reductions in parking space requirements for all downtown buildings within a 3-block radius of any fixed rail transit station. To do this, the city should unequivocally support
‘ proposed station link to Metromover, not an increase in parking spaces. Supporting both would be contradictory – essentially taking one-step forward and one-step backward. An Empire World Towers station linkage to Metromover will facilitate transit use resulting in a net reduction of vehicular trips, while more parking will do just the opposite. Empire World Towers
Miamians possess no innate preference for car use; land use policy in this region has never presented residents with a clear alternative option. Increasing the number of parking spaces in this development will only exacerbate this problem, while doing nothing to make our transportation infrastructure more sustainable.
Car-Related Infrastructure has contributed significantly to Downtown
‘s Ills Miami
Every time we allow a policy that favors cars over transit, such as increasing parking mandates, our entire region becomes less sustainable and we all lose. Drivers who are supposed to benefit from more parking actually suffer because traffic congestion worsens. Those who do not or cannot drive suffer because they feel all the externalities of car-dominated spaces, including noisy, polluted, and unsafe streets. Anyone who sets foot downtown suffers because they are forced to walk by so many unpleasant spaces, such as surface parking lots and the blank walls and curb cuts of parking garages. Businesses suffer because fewer people will pass by on foot, while employees will have worse commutes. This vicious cycle has been the status quo downtown for too long, which has left the streets unpleasant and thus a vacuum to be filled by the undesirable elements that people complain about.
Do the Right Thing and Support a Livable, Sustainable Future for Miamians
The inefficiency of the parking system proposed by Maclee is proposed to force EWT residents and visitors to seek alternative means of transit when accessing the development (a direct point made by Enrique Peñalosa to the city, was that in order for public transportation to be successful it would have to be at least equally attractive as the alternatives.) Mobility in
will only continue to be governed by the automobile if we continue utilizing land use policies that favor vehicles over people. Transit Miami asks the city commission, with all due respect, to reduce the parking requirements this Thursday for the Miami proposal. Empire World Towers
Off-street parking requirements [imposed by a city for new developments] and cars…present a symbiotic relationship: the requirements lead to free parking, the free parking leads to more cars and more cars then lead to even higher parking requirements. When 3 spaces per 1,000 square feet [of new building] no longer satisfy the peak demand for free parking, a stronger dose of 4 spaces per 1,000 square feet can alleviate the problem, but not for long because cars increase in numbers to fill the new parking spaces. Every jab of the parking needle relieves the local symptoms, but ultimately worsens the real disease — too much land and capital devoted to parking and cars. Parking requirements are good for motorists in the short run but bad for cities in the long run.
- Donald Shoup, The High Cost of Free Parking
Engineering, calculates that the trolley saves the city 712 parking spaces a day and reduces the amount of vehicle traffic along the route by 1.2 million miles a year.
Gasp! Obviously we’re floored that this can still be considered newsworthy and is typically not common knowledge. Coral Gables commissioners are considering affixing a charge to ride the system which is currently free. Not all city commissioners appear to be happy with the success:
[Commissioner Ralph] Cabrera also reiterated past complaints that the trolley system had evolved from its original purpose as a downtown circulator into more of a connector between county mass transit systems.
Who cares as long as the system effectively reduces congestion in the Coral Gables Downtown Core? Since the city is unwilling to reduce the parking requirements for buildings to begin with, we might as well reduce the need for all the parking being built anyway. Although I agree MDT should do more to help the city transit service, axing the project would cause too many problems. At least someone sees the benefits brought forth by the system:
[Vice Mayor William] Kerdyk said that the independent study, which he points out that he didn’t even commission, should erase any doubts to the effectiveness and importance of the system although he wasn’t sure that questions regarding budgeting for the trolley system would go away as a result of the study.
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