- Once and Future Metropolis. Our own Craig Chester takes cues from Miami’s past to discuss where success will lay in our future. It’s sad to know that Miami once boasted 11 trolley lines that crisscrossed the county from Miami Beach to the City of Miami and even out the then-suburb of Coral Gables. (Biscayne Times)
- $2.8 billion transportation upgrade rolling (Miami Today)
- Boca Raton politicians leading on transportation policy. The Sun Sentinel sits down with Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams and Boca Raton Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie to discuss their roles in reshaping local transportation infrastructure. (Sun Sentinel) Note: Commissioner Abrams was was elected Chair of the SFRTA at the July 27 meeting of the Governing Board. At the same meeting, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro was elected Vice Chair. (SFRTA)
- Two new Rubber-Tired Trolley announcements in one week! South Florida’s Trolley Fever is raging. First: Sweetwater to get new trolleys (Miami Herald) Then: Trolley cars may replace shuttle buses in Delray Beach (Orlando Sentinel)
- $45 million PortMiami tunnel dig payment threatens Miami’s finances. Come January, the city is facing a $45M payment on a short-term loan that helped fund the PortMiami tunnel dig. (Miami Herald)
- Parks Vie For Space In Miami’s Forest Of Condos. In Miami, neighborhood parks can be hard to find. The Trust for Public Land ranks Miami 94 on a list of 100 cities when it comes to park acreage per 1,000 residents — just 2.8 acres per 1,000 residents. (NPR)
- Get on the Bus. The tale of one correspondent’s journey aboard public transit in Aventura. Despite the density and height of the condos in Aventura; it remains a driving city. (Biscayne Times)
- Cities With The Worst Drivers 2012. No surprises here, Hialeah is ranked 4th while Miami is 9th. (Forbes) It’s no wonder that recent editorials call for enhanced driver education programs in South Florida. (Miami Herald)
- Affordable housing developer: South Miami’s inflexibility violates federal law. The City of South Miami is facing a Federal Lawsuit from a developer seeking to build affordable housing adjacent to the metrorail station. As we noted on our Facebook page, this is precisely what is wrong with many of the communities that border Metrorail and the South-Dade Busway. Adjacent to existing rapid transit infrastructure is exactly where we should be building denser and reducing parking minimums. Instead, insular city politics allow South Miami, Florida commissioners to deny construction permits for an affordable housing development due to insufficient parking (the city was requesting a 2:1 Space to Unit Ratio!). (Miami Herald)
- Back to School! Did you know that MDT offers discounts for students? The K-12 Discount Fare EASY Card and the College Pass are affordable options available to our local students.
Around the Sphere:
- Smackdown-County vs. City: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble Over Gated Communities! (Miami Urbanist)
- With Metrorail Open, Checking In On Miami Central Station. CurbedMiami drops in to check-up on the progress on the Miami Central Station. (CurbedMiami)
- Miami Trolley. Alesh gets critical on the Miami Trolley. He’s got a point, the SFRTA’s Strategic Regional Transit Plan don’t mention Trolleys. (Critical Miami)
- Miami Needs Less Planning, More Doing. (UEL Blog)
- OP-ED: Miami-Dade Commissioner’s Resolution is Bad of Bicycling. (BeachedMiami)
- Green Mobility Network has launched their new website - check it out! (Green Mobility Network)
- Use of awnings for your historic house. (Miamism)
- Cutting dependence on cars isn’t anti-car, it’s common sense. “As a matter of fact, not everyone can drive; and as a matter of principle, we want people to have other options.” Amen. (GreaterGreaterWashington)
- Dynamic Pricing Parking Meters Climb Above $5/Hour in SF (TransportationNation)
- Tennessee DOT Moves Past Road-Widening as a Congestion Reduction Strategy (Streetsblog DC)
- They Totally Went There: GOP Outlines Extremist Transpo Views in Platform (Streetsblog DC)
- Boston case shows declining car volume on major street. (Stop and Move)
- Are Our Transit Maps Tricking Us? (Atlantic Cities)
Recently, all Bike Miami assets were transferred back to the City of Miami for their management, including all social media components, like the Facebook page and the @BikeMiami Twitter account. For a while I managed the Twitter account as a volunteer, stepping down once I started university classes back in January (though always still helping out with relevant tweets here and there). Being part of the bicycling advocacy community is something I hold very dear, so I decided to continue the work I was doing with @BikeMiami with a new account.
To that end I launched @BikeMIA, an independent source of bicycling commentary, news and advocacy for Miami and South Florida in general. BikeMIA is a primarily-Twitter source; it has a blog attached to it at BikeMIA.org, but it’s there to serve as support to the Twitter feed, not to supplant it.
- Commissioner Sarnoff realizes that being green makes green:
“A recent report by the Earthday Network ranked Miami 71 out of 72 major American cities based on environmental policies, the benefits of taking part in a Container Deposit Program, both financially and environmentally are too great to ignore,” says Commissioner Sarnoff. “The City currently spends more than $4 million dollars per year to clean storm drains which are full of bottles and cans, this would dramatically reduce that cost.”
- Ricky Williams may be pondering retirement - I hope he stays in Miami. I’ve always liked Ricky, especially since a 2008 interview where he extolled the virtues of walkable urbanism:
Well when I was living in Toronto I was living downtown and I could walk pretty much anywhere. There was a nice homeopathic shop on the boulevard I used to walk to and that was nice. Right where I lived there was a lot good restaurants. There was a good Tai food place. Across the street was a little corner store where people were really nice. And our neighbors became really close friends. So kind of just miss the community feel and all the great people that I got to meet that lived around where I got to live.
- Gables Parking study shows oversupply: Commissioner Sarnoff (who has become known for his anti-urban demand for more parking) should read through this recently issued report that shows that downtown Coral Gables, known as one of the most vibrant and economically healthy places in town, has an oversupply of parking. Wonder why? Duh…everyone is walking around.
- Kudos to Commissioner Francis Suarez, who has been on the rise as an ally in advocating for transit, cycling and smart growth. He recently attended Bike Miami Days, and has been a proponent of the new bike lanes on SW 16th street, between 32nd and 37 Avenues (next to the ugly new wall), as reported at the March BPAC committee. He also recently held an event to distribute free transit passes to seniors (thanks to the PTP), and has been very active in engaging remaining issues related to Miami 21 implementation. Other Commissioners - who shall not be named - could take a lesson from Commissioner Suarez, and his green awakening.
- www.Recovery.gov is up and running. Nuff said.
- President Obama talks with the Washington Post, and discusses the upcoming transportation reauthorization bill, to be taken up by Congress later this year.
…I think there should be some way for us to — just think how can we rationalize the process to get the most bang for the buck, because the needs are massive and we can’t do everything, and if it’s estimated that just on infrastructure alone it would cost a couple trillion dollars to get our roads, bridges, sewer systems, et cetera, up to snuff, and we know we’re not going to have that money, then it would be nice if we said here are the 10 most important projects and let’s do those first, instead of maybe doing the 10 least important projects but the ones that have the most political pull.
- Great analysis on the high speed rail stimulus funds from Matthew Yglesias and Politico reports on the last minute inclusion of $9 Billion worth of high speed rail into the Stimulus Package and what that means for Obama’s legacy.
- In local news…The City Commission will take up the Marlins vote on Wednesday, March 4, but it may still be a no go with a 4/5 vote required to waive the no-bid contract.
- Save some Metrorail tokens as souvenirs because they won’t be here for much longer. MDT is prepping for the switch to automated fare collection - welcome to the 21st century, woo hoo!
- Both City of Miami and Miami-Dade county are refining their stimulus project wishlists. Interesting, more on these later…
(Image Source: Fate the Magnificent’s Flickr)
- Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower is calling to move forward with a plan to build a new convention center rather than the 50,000 SF addition proposed back in 2004. (Miami Today)
- After three years and $7 Million worth of renovations, Miami Beach’s historic City Hall (pictured above) is finally set to reopen. The refurbished building will house Miami Beach Police offices, the Miami design preservation league’s offices, and the MB Branch Court. (Miami Herald)
- Despite the huge economic downturn, MDM partners have secured a $250 million loan for the construction of MET 2 - a 750,000 SF office building rising in the heart of the CBD. (Globe Street)
- Contractual delays in the port of Miami tunnel could likely set back that project’s opening date to 2013. (Miami Today)
- NIMBYs try (and Fail) to keep a bus route from passing by their suburban Toronto home. Their arguments, typical of the NIMBY mindset, included: noise, pollution, added traffic, and a threat to children playing in the streets… (The Star)
- Surprise, surprise, apparently Sprawl may be the reason for a lack of civic involvement in Central New Jersey. (Princeton Packet)
- Voters in Minnesota will be deciding whether to spend $10 million to purchase a golf course in Eagan in order to prevent a developer from building more suburban homes. (Minesota Public Radio)
Three Great articles I highly recommend.
- A Fountain on Every Corner (New York Times)
An entire generation of Americans has grown up thinking public faucets equal filth, and the only water fit to drink comes in plastic, factory sealed. It’s time to change that perception with public fountains in the city’s busiest quadrants, pristine bubblers that celebrate the virtues of our public water supply, remind us of our connection to upstate watersheds and reinforce our commitment to clean water for all.
- After Bingeing on Oil, the Country Has a Hangover (Washington Post)
Oil fueled our ambitions and dreams. The more we drank, the happier we felt, the bolder we acted. We believed in the eternity of oil, the everlasting cheapness of it; we looked askance at anyone who questioned our faith.
In all of this, we had enablers, politicians who supported our habit, told us not to worry, that there was more cheap oil to be found somewhere — in another country, perhaps, if not our own. They said they would fix whatever needed fixing.
- Getting on board with Amtrak’s needs (Boston Globe)
It is one thing to meet with an Amtrak worker for a photo-op. It is another to get on board for the rail service America needs for a green economy, less urban congestion, and a more civilized future. Obama says, ‘‘Detroit won’t find a better partner than me in the White House.’’ In the past, that has also meant making a pariah out of Amtrak. Nothing would symbolize a break from this past more than a whistlestop tour in the presidential campaign, to promote trains themselves.
- A Judge has thrown out part of Norman Braman’s lawsuit against the inter-local agreement which among other things enabled the construction of the Marlins’ Ballpark, funded the Port of Miami Tunnel, and expanded the Omni/Overtown CRA district. Hopefully now the Sunpost will stop touting Braman as a local hero… It’s no surprise that a car salesman would be against a plan that would enable urban life and create viable public transportation.
- What goes up, must come down: The Miami Skylift has filed for bankruptcy. Really? Now can we please stop turning Bayfront Park into a cheap carnival? What’s wrong with some usable green space?
- Michael Lewis hits this one dead on:
But out past Northwest 22nd Avenue, the Miami River is far different — it’s a fast-paced economic engine that carries ships from 26 international terminals out to the Caribbean and back again, floating $4 billion worth of goods a year on its narrow, twisting back.
Much of that river, which handles as much shipping as the busy Port of Tampa and is Florida’s fourth largest seaport, lies within the district of Miami Commissioner Angel Gonzalez.
“That river is dead,” Mr. Gonzalez told the commission last week as he voted to remove marine industry protections along the river from the city’s land-use plan. He’d rather develop condos and mixed-use projects there to help the area’s economy.
What is it about $4 billion a year that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t understand?
Does he think developers will pump that much into condo towers and dump enough jobs into his district to replace all those that river shipping supports?
Does he think banks will scramble to finance towers while tens of thousands of condo units are still rising and planned projects near the river are handing their land over to lenders because they can’t repay their loans?
Does he think that removing the “Port of Miami River” designation from city plans won’t push marine terminals to sell out to future high-rises that might never get built, killing river shipping in the process?
Does he care? Do his fellow commissioners?
Anyone paying attention knows that the Miami River is a working river — even though the commission refused to allow that phrase in its plans.
- PAB supports the Marine Industry. So do we. The unofficial Port along the Miami River is critical economic engine for our community and should be working to unify into an official entity (Say: a Miami-Dade Port Authority?) in order to maximize the potential of all of our resources.
- The PTP is a mess and the CITT doesn’t have a real budget. I’ve got to commend Miles Moss for his work thus far as the Chairman of the Trust, too bad the County Commission stripped the trust of its teeth…
- This headline is precisely why I stopped reading the Sunpost (plus all the attention they give to Norman Braman): “County Eliminates 600 Bus Routes” Oh really? 600? So much for that “The Story Matters Slogan” because facts sure as heck don’t…
- Arthur Teele Park; has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? Never mind all the corruption and bribery allegations, let alone the most dramatic suicide in Miami’s History…
- Miami Beach Commissioners are looking to remove the Bike lanes from a reconstruction plan for Alton Road. Anyone else see a lawsuit coming?
FDOT is obligated by state statue to include bike accommodations where possible. They were recently sued by a Boca Raton bicycling group for refusing to put bike lanes on A1A. They lost - a decision which we hope will scare FDOT into taking bicyclists more seriously.
- This CGG headline is fitting: “There’s always something to complain about” That just about sums up their mission, doesn’t it?
A few of this weeks news:
- A bill to authorize a major deal between CSX Railways and the State of Florida to provide 61 miles of commuter rail around Orlando is trying to get through the State legislature today before the session ends. This would be a great move in the right direction for Central Florida. It also revives hope of a statewide rail system that could connect major urban centers and connect to local commuter rail. It is a boon for regional transit, and a great opportunity for rail lines throughout the state to really consider the benefits of public-private partnerships with municipalities as a way of providing mass transit. I for one want to see a line along the FEC corridor from downtown Miami to Ft. Lauderdale and points beyond. Then we’ll be cooking with gas.
- Surprise surprise, we are again in the top 5 cities with the worst traffic. It’s no wonder Miami is the cleanest city in the country, nothing gets dirty if everyone stays in their car…
- Not to beat a dead horse….I was trying to make this UDB fight a little less frustrating by being optimistic about the future of planning in Dade County when I read a couple of letters in the Herald today from Katy Sorenson and Natasha Seijas. Kudos to Commissioner Sorenson! You really get what this is about. Shame on you Commissioner Seijas! Your blatant disregard for the environment is clear from your leadership record on this issue. You claim that the UDB has been around since 1983, but according the Planning Department documents, the UDB was an implied line that was enforced by land use policies and maps since 1974. According to these same documents, based on an influx of 30,000 people a year, we have enough residential capacity until 2018, enough commercial until 2025, and industrial until 2029. I find it hard to understand why, given the best judgment of the county planning department, basic good planning principles, and negative recommendations from two different regulatory bodies, you wold move forward with this obviously backward decision. If, as you say, you are awaiting a report from the EPA, why not delay these decisions until then? Please save your platitudes for your constituents, and don’t patronize us by pointing out that the land use policy outside the UDB is just as bad as it is in. Thanks. If you really were really interested in solving these issues you would work on fixing these issues, and not touch the UDB. Here’s a suggestion, how about some creative thinking about our agricultural land and where we get our food. For example, if local agricultural interests worked to supply Dade County Public Schools with part of their dietary needs, you would find reduced shipping costs, and increased demand for local produce. I’m sure if you put your thinking cap on you could think of some win-win solutions (to quote Kordor). Incidentally, I made a little graphic that shows how commission votes were divided geographically across the county (green is against expansion and pink is pro), and what it shows is that the commissioners who voted no are predominantly in areas that are at risk of facing future UDB fights (Districts 8 and 9) or facing a backlash of overdevelopment (District 4). Commissioners Sorenson and Moss cover a great part of the developable land outside of the UDB. Interesting…
- Farecards are coming and we couldn’t be happier. MDT will spend $72 Million to finally upgrade the transit fare collection system, phasing out the cash only system for a new high-tech card. However, on the downside, MDT is also looking to increase fares to $2 among other things in order to improve the federal ratings of the proposed North and East/West expansions…
- Man who tried to commit suicide by rail this morning is alive and well, even after he was run over by 3 rail cars…
- Ana Mendez performs a mini experiment and finds that walking around downtown is easier than driving (duh!) I find it shocking how many Herald reporters don’t use transit regularly…
- The CITT has reversed its original decision to refuse the funding for new metrorail cars. We can likely kiss one (maybe two) of the original proposed extensions goodbye…
- Downtown Doral is rising…
- Rumor has it that the state is working on an incentive program to bring a new Hispanic owned airline to MIA as well as a reincarnation of Eastern Airlines…
- Here is another no-brainer: Rising Gas Prices Lead to Increase in Public Transportation…
- CITT will reconsider whether to vote for new Metrorail cars (Miami Today News)
- Central Grove to get street-level office space (Miami Today News)
- Plans for Metro Zoo theme park nearly complete (Miami Today News)
- Anti-Miami 21 Commissioner Regalado announces candidacy for Mayor (Miami Sunpost)
- More drama over the Miami mega-plan (Miami Sunpost)
- Metrorail controversy over “ghost posts” (Miami Herald)
- Cyclist win the right to sue FDOT for failing to implement bike lanes (Bike Blog)
- The obvious headline story today is Miami-Dade County’s decision to purchase 136 new rail cars for metrorail due to MDT’s prior negligence in maintaining the existing fleet (WTG Roosevelt! I’m so proud of that name clearing hearing the County held in your honor.) Larry Lebowitz wrote a phenomenal Herald watchdog report covering nearly every aspect of this story. Aside from the obvious maintenance issues, we’re disappointed to see that the PTP will be raided again to fix issues which should have been resolved with other funds. The County commissioners have repeatedly abused the intended purpose of the PTP and have all but rendered the CITT useless. At the current rate, the PTP will be milked to fix past screw ups, provide free transit use for veterans, and various other road (vehicular) projects which have passed under the radar. Doesn’t anyone care?
- Meanwhile, the metromover will be receiving its own new vehicles sometime over the next year at a cost of $26 Million PTP dollars. That’s another $26 Million less for new rail projects in case you are wondering. Bombardier will be building the 12 new cars and is slated to be asked to build an additional 17 cars for another $34 Million. Note: should the county back out of the additional 17 cars by July, taxpayers will pay Bombardier $1 million. Who negotiates these contracts? This must be like taking candy from a baby for the Bombardier Sales team.
- Turkey Point is one step closer to receiving another nuclear reactor.
- The “plan” to continue fragmenting the County into more bureaucratic layers of fat is progressing nicely with Palmetto Bay’s desire to annex the Falls neighborhood.
- We’re #1! Forbes magazine has named Miami America’s cleanest City. I highly doubt the achievement is a result of any of our own doing but rather the result of Florida’s flat geography. In any case, our air is clean, whatever that means.
- New Bike Lockers are appearing on Tri-Rail, making eco-commuting an easy alternative…
- Museum park gets a new, cheaper design and finally wins city commission approval…
- Miami-Forum covers the Downtown Foam fest caused by a Sony production commercial shoot…
- Free Miami Beach WiFi to Launch by Spring…sort of (Miami Sunpost)
- Miami DDA Director Nottingham Under Fire (Miami Today News)
- Miami Beach Planning Commission Makes Big Changes (Miami Sunpost)
- Bush Administration Sticks it to Transit (National Corridors Initiative)
- Downtown Parks Anchor Great Cities (Eugene Weekly)
Streetsblog: London street closings a resounding success
Huffington Post: Fighting fat and climate change
George Monbiot: The western appetite for biofuels is causing starvation in the poor world
Miami Herald: Push for Miami port tunnel funding begins
Miami Today News: Soccer may join Marlins on Orange Bowl land
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