Back when I cared, I made fun of the name "Village of Merrick Park" to describe the upscale mall across US 1 from my neighborhood. It was 1999 and an OPED I wrote (when I still had a relationship with the Miami Herald) included the following:
Traffic is the Achilles' heel of the Rouse mall, but city commissioners last year ignored the ramifications as the developer and Mayor Valdes-Fauli proceeded with approvals. Now points raised by opponents are acknowledged to be true: There is no hope for improving traffic because the scale of the development absolutely will worsen traffic in adjacent neighborhoods and U.S. 1 intersections.Oh well ... The applicants at the time for the proposed mall were "sensitive" to community complaints about a mall disturbing traffic patterns in their midst. Along with their marketing mavens and other sand-in-your-shoes types, they included "Village" to help connote sensitivity of design and planning. As in, "we are only a village."
Le Jeune Road, Ponce de Leon and Bird Road intersections already have level-of-service ratings of F. This is the designation awarded by the Florida Department of Transportation for roadways that are, essentially, hopeless. Common sense would dictate that state law should provide for no additional development approvals that would increase traffic. But that is not the case.
Since that time, the shopping center has struggled to find its footing among clients who prefer not to brave the worst traffic access anywhere along US 1. And that is saying a lot! It was all predictable, and at the time I cared enough to take a stopwatch and walk to the corner with LeJeune and measure precisely how few cars make it across the intersection at rush hour. Now I am waiting for FPL to lay high tension distribution lines across my forehead. Just kidding.
Since that time, millions of cars have flowed through the worst traffic intersection in Miami-Dade and the mall, predictably, has struggled. Eye On Miami has followed its progress, if that word can be applied.
Now the mall owners think a more direct approach is needed with consumers. Uh-huh.
The Herald reports, "Coral Gables commissioners touted the city’s recognition in an international United Nations-sanctioned contest that looks for the most livable cities in the world. But first the five-member group agreed that the Village of Merrick Park, the city’s large, open-air mall, could better brand itself with a new name. “Village,” the mall’s general manager Chris Molho said, can lead to confusion among non-locals. “Is it a town?” The new name will be Shops at Merrick Park. “With this name change, it will help us capture those who might not be familiar with Merrick Park. I know Bal Harbour Shops is a shopping center, or Dadeland Mall.” The mall’s studies revealed that only 38 percent of respondents could similarly identify that the Village of Merrick Park contained a shopping component. “Those coming from out of town, South America, Brazil, when they see ‘Shops’ they will know who we are. We don’t want to lose the equity of ‘Merrick Park,’” Molho said.
Whatever. I'll do my shopping at Amazon and imagine I'm floating through a jungle where there are no idiots swinging through the trees. Only monkeys.