Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Traffic … by gimleteye

Miami ranks on the lists of the worst traffic in the nation. And with condos filling up downtown, traffic congestion is turning freakish.

Last Thursday night at 6:30PM, it took me an hour from Coral Gables into downtown Miami. Brickell / South Miami Avenue is a disaster zone. This week's rain didn't help. New construction will add thousands of cars and trucks to roadways that can't possibly meet existing demand.

In two weeks, visitors will arrive after a year's absence to Art Basel -- the kind LVMH and Craig Robins are counting on to boost the average visitor daily contribution to the local economy. Many won't even be able to get out of their cars to spend foreign dollars in the way that keeps the Miami economy afloat.

The traffic irritation factor is so high that last year I went to the venues as early in the morning as possible. And now, with closures on Alton Road and Collins, world travelers to Art Basel will return to their homes telling how traffic in Miami is like Bangkok.

If traffic turns out to cook Art Basel's golden goose, no one can say that blogs like Eye On Miami didn't see it happening.

While I'm on the traffic complaint cycle (a place we've returned again and again in the past seven years), I went to Cocowalk the other night for the first time in six months.

Cocowalk -- the mall in the Grove -- has been more or less on my route since it was first constructed twenty years ago. Then, it spelled the end of the Grove character that made the place famous. The neighborhood hung onto the Taurus watering hole until that, too, disappeared in waves of euphoria during the last building boom.

Despite new owners, new marketing spiels, Cocowalk remains the well-lit emblem of what is wrong with land use planning in South Florida: take a gem (the old Coconut Grove) and mash it with development that is out of scale and out of character to place and to people.

The best thing for Cocowalk, for Coconut Grove and for Miami would be demolition. Why is it that every scheme to build over what was badly planned in Miami in the first place, just puts something worse in its place? Here is the answer to that question: citizens with a civic interest in sensible planning and growth -- and no personal profit motive -- get a seat at the table, but their seat only has three legs.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The reason why Miami will NEVER be anything more then a third world country traffic wise is because they do not want or use public transportation. It's not because it doesn't exist. The current public transport system in Miami isn't up to par or even close to any minor municipality. Poor planning and waste in public transport $$ had lead to even worse planning in housing which is planned by developers, not the County! Until this County figures out the best way to run the people mover would be best served modeled after something like the Chicago Loop, we're stuck in the dark ages. People will still prefer to be stuck in the comfort of their cars then the alternative which is useless in it's current form. Additionally, the auto sales which fill the Miami Herald more then real estate does now, does not encourage a conversation among people who would like to see a modern day public transport system. It almost parallels the built it they will come(then implode) with buy it and more cars on the road (which will be repossessed when you can't pay for them)!

Anonymous said...

Hey gimleteye, that trend of new condos filling up downtown is what’s referred to as “new urbanism.” The fact that these new urban dwellers also own cars, and actually utilize them, especially in inclement weather, like last week’s monsoon, needs to be overlooked.

Anonymous said...

You can blame these folks for South Florida’s land use disaster. Notice the homogeneous nature of their work, Any Place, USA. http://www.doverkohl.com/

Anonymous said...

City of Miami politicians and the City's Planning Department deserve blame. They approved a 200,000+ sq ft Super Walmart on a small 4 acre site on N. Miami Avenue and NE 31st Street. Think the traffic is bad now in Wynwood and Edgewater? Ever get stuck in gridlock trying to reach Art Basel events? Imagine needing 60 minutes to traverse 6 blocks?

TerreG said...

I was 7 years old and riding in the car with my uncle and aunt in the area of The Capitol. My uncle was ranting and raving in rather colorful language about traffic and how government planners were brain dead, had been hatched in an incubator, etc., etc. I still remember it very vividly because he would have had a coronary in Miami today. The year: 1948; the city: Havana, Cuba.

Anonymous said...

Developers have a short period of liability for faulty construction in condominiums. Now you understand why condos are popular with developers. Show me the office space that was built to sustain walking commutes. People were sold a dream that didn't work.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever found a parking spot at Trader Joe's yet? How does one build a store like that where customers can't park?

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the Miami Herald ever print editorials like this?

Anonymous said...

See first post - Auto Ads won't let them just like the real estate ads were cost prohibitive to their reporting on Urban Sprawl and our infrastructure problems during the boom.

Anonymous said...

This condominium advertises with the Herald. Fun stuff. http://www.yelp.com/biz/opera-tower-miami-2?sort_by=date_desc

Anonymous said...

You can't have "sensible planning" and maximum profit. Miami is a libertarian's wet dream.

Anonymous said...

You mean, radical GOP extremists?

A liberal said...

Like everything else. I blame it on global warming and Bush.

Anonymous said...

It is all the result of Miami's indestructible culture of cronyism, chaos and clowning around.

Anonymous said...

Nobody has even mentioned the potential water-sewer polution that these condos & high rises will experience when the
antiquated infrastructure breakes.
The "stink" is upon us even now & the tax payers will pay.

The other day while driving on US#1 near the University while waiting at the traffic light I rolled down my window and asked the driver who had his window down. "Why do we continue to live in Miami-Dade County. His reply was "The weather," "I hate the traffic" He has a point.
Ever heard of Venus

Riley

Anonymous said...

No worries. The glitterati won't have to leave their condo buildings to see art- didn't you see today's front page Herald story?

Anonymous said...

Instead of having your closing attorney look at the buildings financials and delinquencies you can just have him look at the condominiums art collection. Maybe call a New York auction house and get an opinion from them instead of a getting a pre-purchase inspection.

rob walker said...

Just wait until those long cargo-laden trains soon start moving several times a day from the Port across Biscayne Blvd. past the arena, through downtown and beyond to inland freight facilities. Talk about gridlock.

Anonymous said...

Art has been a tool for money laundering and fraud

Anonymous said...

Now Beckham is interested in a soccer stadium at the Port of Miami. Hello? The cops do a disastrous job directing foot traffic and cars from the Arsht Center and American Airlines Arena after a concert or a game. It is pure gridlock. Now they want to add a soccer stadium to the mix. WTF?

Broward County and Hard Rock Seminole do an outstanding job with traffic. Miami is always so behind the times but wants to be the international toast of the town. What a joke. Walmart in Midtown - who the hell is approving this mess? Walmartians and artists don't belong in the same neighborhood.

Victor Dover FAICP said...

Dear Anonymous, if you have something specific you'd like to suggest on how to improve the work of town planning, we're listening. The vague attack by an "anonymous" commentator, pointing to our website for "blame," doesn't help improve the state of the art. So let's hear it. I dispute your contention that the work we do is generic "anyplace" design-- it's the opposite, and I can prove it. Can you? What do your designs look like? Show us how it's done.
I also dispute your contention that urban designers are to blame for your traffic headaches; we work hard every day to shape places that are less car dependent, and people love them. What do you personally do to help create more livable places?