** 3/30/09 UPDATE: The New World Symphony happily reports that the park will still be built, regardless of the parking issue. Transit Miami apologizes for misinterpreting the Miami Herald article, which clearly confused the issue by reporting contradictory statements in their own article. TM is planning to meet with the NWS to review the plans further and will share our findings after a review. **

Many Beach dwellers, myself not included, have long awaited the arrival of celebrity ‘star’chitect Frank Gehry’s addition to the New World Symphony, a public-private venture being hailed as a new ‘city center’ for Miami Beach. Clearly intended to raise the NWS’s profile and add to the civic core of Miami Beach, Gehry’s plans also contain a 520 space parking garage and a new 2-acre park.

While I personally question Gehry’s ability to create a dynamic public space, the park is certainly a needed amenity in this portion of Miami Beach. However, according to an article in the Herald yesterday, the rising cost of buliding the garage inspired Miami Beach City Commission to vote 5-2 in favor of changing the development agreement.

The new agreement uses the money devoted to the park to fund the cost over-run on the 520 car garage. What is more, the  designated park space will likely become an additional 175 parking spaces because the City Commission says the NWS is not meeting its parking requirement, which allows the City to pull $6 million dollars worth of public funding out from underneath the Symphony.

In what sane world do we exchange a public good like needed park space for parking? As Commissioner Diaz rightly noted, this is indeed “a travesty.”

Before moving forward with what promises to be an over-designed parking garage, maybe city officials should research where Symphony attendees are traveling from. Do they all require parking spaces? Don’t people tend to enjoy the symphony in groups, which allows for a higher occupancy per vehicle? Won’t a good number of visitors come from the beach as residents or tourists? Why another 700+ spaces? Wouldn’t 520 be enough?

There are a slew of other problems implied in the story, mostly that 700+ parking spaces will only contribute to auto-dependence, congestion, and pollution on Miami Beach. Feel free to vent your frustration in the comments section.

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12 Responses to Trading Park Space for Parking Space on Miami Beach

  1. Felipe A says:

    I’m voting for Gabrielle Redfern.


  2. John says:

    once again… a step backwards in Miami. I getting too used to this :(


  3. Debbie says:

    That is SO lame. You’d think in all his fancy designs, Frank could at least come up with a creative solution to the problem, like maybe a public park at the very top of the parking lot with a nice view of the whole city.


  4. Mike Lydon says:

    There’s a decent thought…however, I fear it is more an issue of the City leading the charge on this one. If they wanted to pay Mr. Gehry yet another few million dollars he could probably redesign the current 520 car garage to be just that.

    Regardless, the lack of foresight and creativity on the city leader end is very disappointing. This part of the city needs another parking garage/surface lot like it needs another crap night club.


  5. John Hopkins says:

    We should build public facilities in a way that encourages use of energy-thrifty public transportation. Here, the city is taking the tired old course by assuming a future of oil-dependent, low-occupancy personal autos. It’s so shortsighted, and so very sad.


  6. Kevin says:

    Ridiculous. Just when South Pointe Park opens up successfully and beautifully, Miami Beach decides to take a step backwards and put parking over parks. So sad…


  7. Craig says:

    Though I am a big fan of this blog and many of its entries, there is a serious, although innocent, mis-interpretation of Rebecca Dellagloria’s article in the Miami Herald taking place here. A 2+ acre public park will still be built on that site, in front of the New World Symphony’s new campus. Ms. Dellagloria’s article calls into question whether Frank Gehry will be the architect to design it.


  8. Mike Lydon says:

    We apologize for any misinterpretation, but I must admit that I might have re-read the story 8 times because it was so poorly worded/written. I will read again for your interpretation and make any needed corrections. Thanks Craig.


  9. […] Trading Park Space for Parking Space on Miami Beach, Transit Miami […]


  10. Olivia Diaz says:

    The new Symphony is being built on top of the old 508 space parking lot. That lot was always full and we definately need more parking spaces here.

    The original plans for the new garage were suppose to accomodate 600 cars. This would make up for the 508 spaces lost plus add 82 additional spaces to accomodate the extra crowds caused by an expanded Symphony center and park.

    Miami Beach needs MORE parking spots, not less. The Symphony is not honoring their agreement with the city.


  11. Tony Garcia says:

    Miami Beach doesn’t need more parking, it needs mass transit. It is the most pedestrian friendly place in Miami, and needs to be served by mass transit. Olivia, your passion about needing more parking spaces should be focused on getting transit to the beach, not perpetuating a parking problem that we cannot build our way out of.


  12. jewellery says:


    an interesting take on a interesting subject….


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