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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Commodore Plaza; a very casual street

People seem to be getting angry over the changes on Commodore Plaza. I understand people are angry over the money spent, but this is more, it seems to be about the whole aesthetic.

People were concerned about some parking spaces in the middle of the block being removed, and I think four other parking spaces were removed at one end of the block and made into sidewalk space so that restaurants could add more tables; and the trees; so many could have been saved with one word from business owners, but more table space was more important than protecting the trees.

The biggest complaint we always hear about Coconut Grove is lack of parking or at least the perception of lack of parking. For some reason, people don't care to park in the many lots we have around the Center Grove, they prefer street parking. People really don't even complain much about the meters, they are willing to pay, but they want street parking. Taking street parking away for no logical reason makes me question the logic in this.

When I first saw the changes on Commodore Plaza, I didn't really think much because there is always talk about making the street a pedestrian plaza (it would actually be a plaza then), so parking would not exist then anyway.

As for the new extended areas of the sidewalks, Ron Nelson, Commissioner Sarnoff's Chief of Staff told me that they are intended to allow crossing in the middle of the block. And the gaps between the sidewalks are supposed to be covered and should have been by now for safety reasons and also Ron says to keep water from collecting there in heavy rains.

That street seems like a plaza already to me, what I mean is, I have crossed the street at all points, not necessarily at either end or in the center of the block. It sort of feels like a closed block for some reason. Traffic never seems to speed through there and it almost seems at times that cars are intruding on the life of the street. Does that make any sense? I mean if you walked into the middle of the street and stood there, I don't think cars would beep at you to move and many times, cars seem to casually double park. It's a very casual street.


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Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

I agree that Commodore Plaza would be an excellent pedestrian only venue, like a mini Lincoln Road. Traffic could be rerouted to flow behind the shops on the south side of the street. Vehicles could drive from McDonald Street, through the alley to Main Hwy. Two private properties are in the path, and the plan would require the sale of those two properties.

August 26, 2014 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Fran said...

It would be great if the trees along the coast were cut down and the northbound side of Bayshore from 27th Ave to McFarlane were made into a pedestrian mall with little kiosks and street vendors. Think of all the people that would flock to the Grove for the view! Sort of like Venice Beach in California.

August 26, 2014 8:47 AM  
Blogger Sledge said...

Agree with Tony, not so sure about Fran's kiosks or vendors. Plus you see, in DERM planet, you don't exactly "cut" trees; to be politically correct, you must say "open pretty windows" on trees or even the omnipresent mangroves. And then you go plant many more for each one that was trimmed or temporarily displaced, while the multiple upper layers of indispensable canopy grows back, in those few feet of rare and splendid Bay Shore wonders that were finally exposed to everyone from a distance.

August 26, 2014 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always enjoyed flea markets, which generally attract large numbers of people looking for objects of interest, plus providing a carnival like atmosphere that appeal all ages & gender. I've both bought & sold stuff & have profited over the years with extra income. I vote use the old convention center for both parking and booths, say a 6 month lease, no committee to say yes or no as to what is being sold, by lottery, and @ modest 10%, fee on gross to the Grove BID & if a certain amount isn't achieved that vendor is expelled to be filled by another. This would most definitely fill the Grove with "BOOTS" who would filter throughout the Grove & perhaps spend a few more dollars. I would most certainly want to be one of the 1st vendors. And if it didn't produce, everyone gets a pink slip. JOBIE STEPPE

August 26, 2014 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Fran said...

Sledge - I disagree. I think the waterfront needs some kind of activity to bring people. The view itself is underwhelming. There needs to be something to do around there.

August 26, 2014 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should have only given more sidewalk to Green Street and left everything else the way it was.

August 26, 2014 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who & why do U suggest should have given out this favor of added sidewalk to Green Street and not all other businesses on Commodore? Such an action probably would have went to the Grand Jury as serving special interest, in my opinion. JS

August 26, 2014 3:04 PM  
Blogger Steven Dloogoff said...

I'm a long term resident of Coconut Grove, and think the improvements on Comodor Plaza are GREAT! Thanks and my hat off to any and everyone that was involved in making this happen!

Three Cheers!
Steve Dloogoff

August 26, 2014 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed with Steve.

The shopper in me would of course like to have an open parking spot right in front of any business I want to visit. But the realist in me acknowledges that the Grove, for the most part, is about parking and staying for a while. Thus Garages/lots are much more preferred over street parking.

I also want to add that whenever I go to the post office I park in their lot. But when I leave I can barely see the oncoming traffic from the left due to the cars parked along the side blocking my view, all the way up to the very tip of the exit. I literally have to pull out into the street to see if any cars are coming. It's dangerous, poorly designed, and I hate it.


August 26, 2014 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And there you have it from DKF. A pedestrian on Commodore had no where safe to cross over to the other side without having to move between 2 vehicles, who may or may not be able to see inside, due to darkened windows to see if someone was about to move, pin them or run over them; now they do. Our leaders or those who designed these islands have probably saved a few lives and numerous injuries over future years, thanks JOBIE STEPPE

August 26, 2014 7:01 PM  
Blogger Sledge said...

" I think the waterfront needs some kind of activity to bring people. The view itself is underwhelming. There needs to be something to do around there."

Underwhelming? Sorry Fran, couldn't possibly disagree more: A natural, quiet, open view of real nice Sunsets and boats and birds and water and wind and peace and Cocoanut trees, breathing right around Amy Billig's Meditation Garden is what would be unique. Why do we always need "something to do"?

There's plenty of stuff to "do" or purchase a couple blocks away.. all the food, healthy or artificial beverages and frantic "entertainment" can be found on cellphones today, if a few quiet moments with Nature would seem "boring" or perhaps overwhelming.

August 26, 2014 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heard on Eyeonmiami, Sarnoff is supporting the Bayside Giant Nail Clipper to be built in downtown, 135 on the ballot means no to kissing up to developers by our elected officials.

August 26, 2014 8:09 PM  

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