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Monday, May 14, 2018

Is better public transportation the answer?

Someone left a comment on the Call to Action post. It was anonymous, unfortunately, so I cannot give them credit, but I do like what they had to say.
Walking, biking, and ride-share 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and retail development and rejuvenation in the Grove, bemoaning the lack of and disappearing parking seems to be an outdated "older generation" view of how things should be in the Grove.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 ride-share 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 ride-share 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. 
It is true, that cities are seeing less car ownership and more bicycle riders and public transportation like Uber, trolleys, and trains/subways. I don't agree with turning parking spaces into curbside dining as we still do need parking even if a majority of people give up their cars.

We have the Freebee service, but it doesn't cover the whole Grove so it really is not servicing everyone and the free trolley service gets worse by the day. It started out so great, but it's slow and the wait times are horrendous. Perhaps if they improved the service it would help tremendously with the lack of parking because more people might take the trolley.

Maybe all that money collected over the years from the parking waiver program can go to more and better public transportation including adding another trolley, which would improve wait times. To me sometimes the trolley and the Freebee service seem like an afterthought and not really planned or thought out; sort of like throwing a bone to the public. But if the parking and traffic and booting and towing problems are all going to be solved, maybe it all begins with proper public transportation.

I find it interesting that when I interviewed Art Noriega, head of the Miami Parking Authority, in 2013, he said, "The property owners in the program are required to pay in for waivers because they cannot provide the parking as required for zoning purposes."  BUT HE IS THE ONE WHO SOLD OFF THE PARKING GARAGE TO A DEVELOPER, who looked me in the eye and told me he would keep his newly acquired parking garage open because he would use it for "cash flow," which of course was a lie.

Read that quote again: "They are required [to pay the waiver fees] because they cannot provide parking required for zoning purposes."  Talk about taxation without representation. Wasn't there a revolt over that 200 or so years ago? 

How are the businesses supposed to provide parking in today's hostile environment, isn't that the city's job? And zoning is all screwed up because it allows buildings to be built with little or no parking as part of their structure. So how can he say current zoning requires that businesses pay for non-existent parking? The garage was sold, a parking lot is now three huge structures at the bank lot, sidewalks have widened, taking valuable parking spaces away and valet services and loading zones have also eliminated many street parking spaces. In the meantime, structures are going up all over the village without any parking requirements attached to them.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 43 and I Uber to most places.owning a car in Miami is becoming like owning one in my second home New york.just not practical anymore.between tolls,and traffic and parking ride sharing is cheaper

May 14, 2018 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK Uber will save the world! Now where is all the parking waiver money?

May 14, 2018 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on. Rideshare prices are so low (can be even lower if you Uber pool) and convenient (the driver will pick you up anywhere within minutes) it is not necessary for you to drive your car for relatively short trips -- especially when you factor in the cost of parking and time it takes to find a spot. As a community, we should be focused on exploring and implementing a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. Protected bicycle lanes, added crosswalks, traffic calming devices and techniques (e.g. making Main Highway and Grand Avenue alternating one way streets) are easy and great starts. These changes will pay multiples of dividends by creating a more liveable Village Center. The future is now.

May 14, 2018 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Uber/Liyft and use it all the time when I go out with my husband but as we have small children it is very complicated to get a ride with small childrens. So as a family with small children (which is a big part of Coconut Grove) we end up taking the car , so I believe the parking spaces are still needed .
Agre the trolley is not well thought, we live in South Grove and to get to the village we have to do almost the full loop as there is not trolley going north on Grand Av and 37th.
Another factor we need to take into consideration when talking about the grove and Miami becoming more pedestrian is the weather. No one likes to get to their destination sweating as if they have been running 5 miles. A couple of blocks you can walk but when you are talking about 10 or more blocks it is a different story. Maybe that is why people in Miami still rely so much on cars in general.

May 14, 2018 9:11 AM  
Blogger Tom Grasse said...

Agree. We dont need more parking. There is a movement in places to reduce parking and it's encouraging more sensible ways to get from points A to Z.
Good article here: "Lots to lose: how cities around the world are eliminating car parks" https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/27/cities-eliminating-car-parks-parking?CMP=share_btn_link

May 14, 2018 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of comments from a Coconut Grove resident of 35 years”
1) One of the reasons why I wish to remain in Coconut Grove is it’s, unique to Miami, “village’” scale of residential to commercial proximities. The Bignon’s, Greenstreet and Lulu restaurants should be examples of how best to maintain this village atmosphere, where small business can remain the backbone of commerce in the Grove. I challenge anyone to try and own and manage a restaurant anywhere for 25 years before one casts stones.
2) I appreciate Sylvano’s concern for the parking access in Coconut Grove where the City of Miami’s intent is to increase densities both in the Commercial/Central Districts and residential districts, with the City’s new NCD Ordinances.
3) With increased densities come infrastructure costs that the City of Miami must provide, one of those being mass transportation, including affordable parking. Uber and Liyft may provide, eventually, some of the transportation needs but where will those drivers park waiting for the masses that the Grove will be anticipating. Where will the Valet tenders park their customers cars? Not to mention if the Playhouse with 1,000 seats is built? There should be compromise transportation solutions that include additional parking and revise parking waivers for future developments.
4) May I point out that the Coral Gables Planning Dept. foresaw this transportation problem in advance when they made Miracle Mile renovation designs. One finds affordable and safe parking garages within three blocks of Miracle Mile, why not adapt the same for the Grove?
5) As Sylvano stated, over the past 20 years the business owners have collectively funded the “Parking Funds”, with millions of dollars being held for three parking garages in the Commercial District. None have been built and the only one built was transformed into offices on Oak Street.
6) So I support Sylvano’s “call to action” to freeze future projects unless there is parking on site and to increase the price of waivers to $45,000 same as the Design District (they saw this coming).
7) I would add that the new parking garages, to be built by the MPA should also be “affordable”, using same rates or lower than at Metro facilities and not thought of as another means for MPA financial profits.
Coconut Grove resident of 25 years

May 14, 2018 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a life-long New Yorker who will become a permanent resident of the Grove in a few months, I have always depended on public transportation and I love it. The one aspect of Grove living that worries me is the paucity of public transport. Buses, trolleys, (and subways) are efficient and easy ways to get around. They're also great for people watching. While I clearly don't know the politics of the parking situation, I do know that increasing pedestrian areas and eliminating as many cars as possible enhances everyone's quality of life. It's good for business, too.

May 14, 2018 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A previous commissioner created the Coconut Grove BID and funded some of its activity by digging into the Parking Funds.

May 14, 2018 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Grove BID is funded in large part by the parking waiver fund -- the BID received more than $600,000 from the fund last year. Needless to say, none of that money was spent to alleviate the parking/transportation problem in the Grove. So what do they spend it on?

May 14, 2018 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the BID has been eating up the money. How do I get a piece of the contracts?

May 14, 2018 9:14 PM  

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