Currently viewing the tag: "Miami City Commission"

Transit Miami Publisher Tony Garcia was featured this week in the Miami Herald (Via:  Open Media Miami) posing some questions to get a better understanding of how the City of Miami Commission Candidates view transportation through their own daily routines.

This is a joint letter Ryan and I submitted to the Miami Herald’s Op Ed section and to the city of Miami Commission regarding last Thursday’s vote on the Empire World Towers proposal:

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 Miami’s plans to increase the total number of parking spaces in the Empire World Towers development will have a detrimental effect on both the people and City of 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 Empire World Towers‘ 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.

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 Miami‘s Ills

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 Miami 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 Empire World Towers proposal.

City of Miami Commissioners will be voting today on ponying up their paltry $50 million share of a nearly Billion dollar plan to tunnel from Watson Island to the Port of Miami, providing direct highway access to the facility. We’ve discussed (See: Port Part 1, Part 2) how we prefer a rail option to be sought for the port first, however, given the strength of the trucking lobby it’s only natural that plans move ahead for a vehicular tunnel. The tunnel, rail or not, is a vital link to Miami’s second largest revenue generator and a necessary piece of infrastructure to help reform downtown Miami’s streets. The sidewalk cafe, pedestrianized urban environment will be completely impossible to achieve unless we remove the thousands of trucks and buses which currently traverse the downtown streets.
I received an email with a different opinion:

“The tunnel will take noise off the streets but add noise to the water, thus ruining the experience along the bay walk and Bicentennial Park. Imagine the noise of the trucks as they climb the incline as they leave Watson Island and move toward and past Bicentennial Park and the Carnival Center. This elevated noise will travel over water and neighborhoods ore then the street noise now.

At the least, sound walls would have to be studied and installed if the tunnel was to go forward or the bay walk and Bicentennial Park will be a flop as no one will want to experience the noise traveling over the open water.

I would be far better to create a tunnel cap over all of Watson Island instead of having a cover just over the portion of the new truck tunnel as it comes up out of the ground on the east end of Watson Island. That way Watson Island becomes quiet and an elevated park can be created on top of the tunnel way, linking the north and south sides of Watson Island.”

- Steve Hagen

A Sound wall on a bridge? This is the problem with suburban thinking in an urban setting. Steve clearly has never visited an urban park. I cite the serenity offered by Brooklyn Bridge park which is wedged between two high traffic bridges (Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge) leading to New York City:

Alesh Brings us the Port Tunnel Commercial…

Write to the commissioners and tell them you’d like a new, cleaner downtown free from port traffic:

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