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Sunday, May 13, 2018

A call to action regarding our parking problems

Sylvano Bignon, sent out a Call to Action on Friday. What he says here is quite interesting and I think it finally had to be said by one of the business owners. Sylvano owns Greenstreet Cafe and Lulu.

I write from the residents' and visitors' perspectives all the time when it comes to parking issues. I see it from a person who needs to find parking. But what about the people who run businesses who depend on people finding parking so that they can visit their businesses?

I found it interesting that at a bike tour last week, one of the owners of the new hotel going up on McFarlane Road told guests of the bike tour, that Uber was the answer to their lack of parking spaces at the hotel. I think that is wishful thinking and I think that the hotel should have been required to have enough parking as part of their project.

Here is Sylvano's Call to Action:

Today, Friday May 11, 2018 at 1 pm, there was,

No parking spaces available at The Grove Playhouse Parking lot, it is full.
No parking spaces available in front of valet stations.
No parking spaces available parking lot next to Greenstreet.
No parking spaces available at the Knife/Florentine Plaza parking lot.
No monthly passes available for workers in the Center Grove!

and we have guests who had made reservations making U turns because they cannot find parking spaces.

We lost at least 600 parking spaces during the last 24 months:
Engle building parking: 60 spaces
Coconut Grove Bank parking lot: 160 spaces
Car wash storage on Grand avenue: 40 spaces
Mary street parking/Oak Street garage: 388 spaces.

We are going to lose much more in the very near future:
Most of the Knife parking lot.
The parking next lot to Greenstreet.

More development coming is on the way:

- The School [Arts and Minds] on Commodore Plaza is to become an office building.
- Don Quixote/Chicago restaurant space is under renovation to open a 6000 square ft restaurant.
- Mr. Moe's under renovation will be a new retail and restaurant.
- The new building behind Greenstreet will have a 6000 square feet restaurant, a 4000 square feet restaurant and a 5 story Office building with ONLY 24 parking spaces provided on site.
- The Addition to the Engle building will have a 125 room hotel with a roof top bar restaurant with almost no parking.
- An office building is being planned on the parking lot next to Greenstreet 
- Retail stores are planned to be built on the Knife/Florentine Plaza parking lot.
- Retail stores are being converted into restaurants, bringing more traffic.

- As we are losing parking spaces by the hundreds, we need new parking spaces by the hundreds!
- The real problem is that new buildings do not have to provide parking that cost $40,000.00 each and can buy parking waivers at $5000.00; at the same time developers are currently asking to reduce the cost of the waivers.

The BID and previously the BIC and the parking committee were created to resolve the parking issues and use the money collected by the Parking funds to built three parking garages on Mary Street, at the post office and the Playhouse.  After 20 years of collecting millions of dollars in funds, the only parking garage that was built was sold to be transformed into offices [the Oak Street Garage]

This is a call to action and a petition to address an urgent issue as there is easy solutions to reverse this unsustainable trend: 
* freeze future projects unless there is parking on site or
* raise the price of the waivers to  $45,000.00, same as the design district.

UNTIL 2 or 3 strategically located Parking Structures with a capacity of 1200 parking spaces are built.

Sylvano Bignon
Coconut Grove merchant since 1984

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't run a restaurant like Greenstreet if you're a dumb, stupid, ignorant lazy brain dead dipstick bum. My wife and I purchase whole foods about 4 times weekly and cook about 99% of our meals at home. Plus I generally catch fresh lobster, crabs and fish specifically in non polluted water. After reading this article created by Mr. Sylvano I respectfully suggest that he lose no sleep over "PARKING WARS". Every time I drive by Greenstreet the place is packed and on Saturdays & Sundays there's a line in waiting. And on several occasions I parked if a space was available and watched folks seated and waiting and most were constantly looking about to see if others noticed them - - - - Greenstreet probably has good food, plus it one of those places where people like to noticed, so the register overheats and has to be replaced every 30 days. Politian's & developers create overdevelopment & gentrification. There are no more narrow back streets in the Grove as they have all been turned into thoroughfares. I recommend that Mr. Sylvano Google parking problems throughout the world and keep that good food flowing and give those folks who like to see just who's looking at them a really nice friendly place to gather because this parking problem is being felt in Russia, London, Paris, Berlin, Canada, the U.S., and about 98% of the capitals of the world and isn't going away. No one is going to tear down even one building here in the Grove to build a garage. The future is upon us here in the Grove so learn how to deal with the stress. After all it's only a chemical reaction - Stress! Jobie Steppe

May 13, 2018 9:03 AM  
Anonymous al crespo said...

It seems that Mr. Sylvano has forgotten that it was his pal, Commissioner Sarnoff, and Sarnoff's pal Art Noriega of the Miami Parking Authority, who scratched each other's backs, while giving David Martin a reach around by awarding him the contract to take over the Oak Street Garage - a deal if you will recall, involved Martin making an unsolicited proposal for the property, and then Noriega getting the MPA Board to go along with it even though it turned out not to be the lowest bid - followed by the meeting at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club where people were allowed to bitch and then ignored. Here are links to the two portions of that meeting, which I knew even then would one day come back and bite people in the ass.

You're welcome,

al crespo

May 13, 2018 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys are really harsh and bitter. I don't know either of you personally, and I think that is a good thing.

May 13, 2018 11:59 AM  
Anonymous al crespo said...

Dear Anonymous,

I guess that the difference starts with the fact that Jobie and I are willing to identify ourselves, and you're not.

Obviously your tender sensibilities must be easily be offended by reality, which only speaking for me is okay, because when anonymous people offer opinions about who I am, it probably means that were I to ever encounter you in person I'd probably find myself trying to match wits with a hemorrhoid.

al crespo

May 13, 2018 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, 11:59 Reality is painful for a lot of people. Reality is reality and reality is not harsh and bitter, it's just reality. People who can't deal with reality always find it more comfortable to think oh my gosh I don't want to know the truth, the reality. Sorry to burst your bubble.

May 13, 2018 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walking, biking, and rideshare are the future of the Grove NOT additional parking spaces. Like protests against residential and retail development and rejuvenation in the Grove, bemoaning the lack of and disappearing parking seems to be an outdated "older generation" view of how things should be in the Grove. The truth is that with Uber and Lyft so cheap and convenient, there really is no need for anyone to drive a few miles to the Grove from wherever they are coming. In fact, taking a rideshare will in most cases be even cheaper than paying for parking. The younger generations realize that and are ditching driving their own cars into the Grove for these rideshare programs or even biking it. Increased residential density, particularly along Grand Avenue, will also help create a captive body of residents/consumers that help keep our Village Center thriving. I bet if you asked most people under the age of 40, they would prefer to see most parking spaces filled in and replaced with curbside dining and retail. Coral Gables got it and built the incredible Giralda Plaza. Why can't we do the same? Maybe we can even build a pedestrian plaza on Fuller Street? Arguing about maintaining and adding parking is a thing of the past. Let's embrace a more walkable less driver-centric Village Center.

“Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost.”

May 13, 2018 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parking funds collected by BID and MPA must be disclosed to the public who pays for it. If no disclosure is made it is because of misappropriations and skimming over the years. Answer can be simple why there is no new public parking but sale of public parking.

May 13, 2018 4:13 PM  
Blogger Virginia Grovite said...

I agree with many of you who want to see a more walkable and less car Grove... that would be awesome, but we're not going to get there overnight. Most Miamians are still tied to their cars.

Let's see what we can do to get the parking garage at the playhouse built. Somehow it has gotten caught up in the entire playhouse dispute.

How about we push to delink the two and ask the MPA to move forward with its construction.

May 13, 2018 5:03 PM  
Blogger Kika said...

I’m senior resident on S Bayshore Dr and the trolley goes by my house, my son’s place also in S Bayshore, I take the trolley & walk to go to the movies, the post office, the bank, the laundry, Fresh Market, Milams , CVS and Bouchon, Le Pain Quotidien , Jaguar, Harry’s, Farinelli, LOKAL, Stada, Dolce Vita Gelato.... I’m not using my car... Its parked at home. If it’s raining I call UBER or Lyft. We NEED to use more Public transportation

May 13, 2018 6:44 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Silvano, thank you for your thoughtful comments and Tom, thank you for posting them. The definition of a Village is: "a self-contained district or community within a town or city, regarded as having features characteristic of village life." One of the joys of Coconut Grove is that in the middle of a growing metropolis has been this charming hamlet. I certainly understand that time is not going to stand still and our Village is morphing into something larger than a Village but I totally agree that we must find a way to meet the growing demand for parking which is why I applaud Silvano's comments.Last week, when I wanted to make a large purchase at the new site of the Grove store on Main Highway, I had to circle the streets for 15 minutes until I found a parking spot. I was not willing to valet for my 20 minute shopping expedition. This was so crazy as it was only 11:30am in the morning. Only because I stubbornly refused not to quit, did I find a parking spot. As a Coconut Grove resident, I want to support the retail and the restaurants as do others. Adequate parking is not longer an option. It is the key to the Grove's future. Carole Smith

May 13, 2018 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter and I were stuck in this "parking nightmare" on Friday afternoon. As we exited the Playhouse Parking lot, we had decided to go home and take the "Freebie". Now I realize we should have used them from the beginning or Uber instead of trying to access the Grove at such an insane time. Graduations are going on and, even though good for the Grove, it was bad for us drivers. We did find a spot near the playhouse entrance, but next time it will be Uber. I've learned my lesson. Walking is difficult as we enter the hotter months and we don't want to arrive for lunch a sweaty mess.

May 14, 2018 4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are all the employees of these new offices and new restaurants going to park when they come to work in the Grove??

On a less frustrating note. We have taken the Freebee into the Grove a few times and it has been great. I wish they could add some hours and be available everyday and later on weekends.

May 14, 2018 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jobie Steppe and Al Crespo from original posts....I'm the anonymous poster you likened to hemorroids because I said you SOUND harsh and bitter. I was not disagreeing with what you said. I was commenting on HOW you say things, your manner of disagreeing, and I suppose you proved my point with your later post. Maybe you'd get more done with a little diplomacy.

Thanks for being so pleasant, I'll just remain anonymous because you guys are acting like bullies.

May 14, 2018 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 6:56, both Al & Jobie only quoted facts and realities, not wishful foolish childish thinking. So, if a fact, reality and life translates into bullying for you then I suggest U get off at the next planet as parking in the Grove is not/ain't coming back. Those who lionize walking, bicycling, Uber and ride sharing are all living in reality.

May 15, 2018 2:44 PM  

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