The relatively new pocket park on Flagler Street has seen some recent improvements. The park is very much a 9-5, weekday park, a reflection of Downtown itself, but nonetheless has attracted a lunchtime following.

New improvements include tables and chairs which invite office workers to eat and relax in this urban greenspace. Although I am happy to see the new outdoor furniture, the selection and the placement of the furniture should have been considered more carefully. The furniture is too bulky for such a small urban space. It should be smaller and less intrusive, allowing for additional space to accommodate extra tables and chairs. Also, the furniture should have been placed closer to the trees in order to maximize the shade cover from the hot Miami sun, especially when the umbrellas have not been set up.

Some suggestions for improvement:

  • Art in public spaces. A mural on the east wall would look great.
  • Mesh shade canopy covering a large part of the urban space
  • Better bike racks. The bike racks which were installed are not the preferred bicycle rack design.

PA040145PA040139Flagler Park

A little public art on this wall would look great

A little public art on this wall would look great

The City of Miami should avoid using these racks. The inverted U racks can accomodate bicycles much better.

The City of Miami should avoid using these racks. The inverted U racks can accomodate bicycles much better.

Even though I was a bit skeptical of this park at first, it is being used more then expected. With a few small improvements, the park can get even more use. The Paul S. Walker Urbanscape proves that these urban parks can work; perhaps this idea could be extended to the Brickell area, where the daytime density already exists to support something similar.

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8 Responses to The Paul S. Walker Urbanscape on Flagler Street

  1. Camilo Payan says:

    I saw this on Sunday during Bike Miami, was pretty impressed. It’s a nice little setup, though it is squeezed in there. Didn’t check out the bike racks, though.

    I assume that there are scientists trying to find the perfect bicycle rack, but one thing is sure, those loopy waves aren’t it. And yet, they keep coming back!


  2. Tony says:

    Good observations about the chairs Felipe. One of the great urbanists of the twentieth century, William Whyte, was commissioned to redesign Bryant Park in NYC in the late eighties, and one of his great contributions was to suggest ample, lightweight, moveable seating. Critics predicted that the chairs and tables would be stolen, but after nearly twenty years those concerns have never materialized, and Bryant Park is one of NYC’s most beloved urban spaces. More recently, the pedestrianization of Times Square was accomplished using simple lawn chairs. The city should take note: for the cost of one of those ugly and bulky table/chair combinations they can go to walmart and get enough chairs and tables for this and other pocket parks (and they will be more successfull).


  3. Downtowner says:

    No good deed goes unpunished, the bottom line is this park is a sucess. These minor changes can be made over time and for reference, bike racks were also installed directly outside of the park on both sides of the street. Congrats to the DDA and the City for brnging back this park to the taxpayers of the City.


  4. Felipe Azenha says:

    there is a big difference between criticism and suggestions for improvement. Just trying to make a good idea better. I noticed that there were bike racks outside the park too. Perhaps there shouldn’t even be racks in the park. The point I was trying to make is that the racks that were installed, should no longer be purchased by the city. They are really crappy.


  5. Tony Garcia says:

    “No good deed”? The city is not doing us any favors in providing a public good they are responsible for! We just want them to follow best practices when it comes to urban planning. Most of the time it is less expensive and more functional. The goal with designing urban spaces is to plan for the type of space you want.
    In addition to having crappy bike racks and seating/tables, the park has an imposing (but very pretty) gate. One of the other great improvements Whyte proposed for Bryant Park was to remove the tall fence and gates around the Park. The gates were meant to keep drug dealers and the homeless out, but they also perpetuated an unsafe aura about the park, and kept people away. This large gate does the same thing. Sorry Downtowner, but giving praise for what should be done is BS. We give praise for things like Bike Miami: well thought out, well planned, and reflect best practices in contemporary city planning. Thanks to the DDA and City of Miami for finally doing your job. Now try to do it better.


  6. Richard R-P says:

    I really like what they’ve done here, especially the gates with the butterfly wings. They’re very whimsical and make it seem as though you’re entering an enchanted garden or something. The only thing I would change is to reduce the extent of the tile covering on the ground. Some type of ground cover would’ve been nice to make it look more natural. Overall, though, a welcome and tasteful addition to Flagler Street. This, along with several new cafes along the street, is a good sign for the immediate vicinity.


  7. VP says:

    Coincidentally, I tried to take my take-out lunch to a table in this park today around 1pm. The stench of urine coming from the planters drove me away.


  8. Randall says:

    This is not a new park. It dates back to at least the early ’80s. It only seems new because it received little maintenance. Who ever saw to it that it got cleaned up and made like new deserves our gratitude.


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