Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More on bad transit and the bankrupt model of suburban sprawl and condos on the coastline … by gimleteye

In Politico, critic Jim Kunstler tees off on New Jersey and Mayor Chris Christie: his real target is suburban sprawl and automobile-centric development schemes. In other words, Miami.

Gov. Chris Christie’s problems with the phony “traffic study” on the George Washington Bridge, apparently intended to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for failure to offer an election endorsement, ought to be seen as a symptom of a much greater societal illness: the over-investment in a living arrangement with no future. That is the essence of the suburban matrix. It has no future because it was designed to run on cheap oil. Despite the hype broadcast during these past few years of extraordinary wishful thinking, America is not destined to become “energy independent,” “the next Saudi Arabia” or “the world’s leading oil exporter.” This is all pernicious bullshit. The raptures of shale oil arise out of the inhalations of Ponzi smoke and mirrors. America will soon learn the painful truth: Shale oil is a bubble among many financial bubbles. It will not fulfill America’s master wish: to be able to keep driving to WalMart forever.

We certainly do understand the "suburban matrix" at EOM. We call it the Growth Machine and its operators, the Great Destroyers. We also often highlight the fraud manifest in traffic studies all over the county that always turn up exactly what developers, land use lobbyists, and the unreformable majority of the county commission want to hear: that existing highways are adequate to the purpose of moving citizens and visitors from home to workplace or other destination, and where they are not adequate, simply adding lanes or driving more highways into farmland is the best choice. Their studies universally offer the best choice to those who profit from the bankrupt model of suburban sprawl in Everglades wetlands and more condos on the coast.

At the heart of America’s suburban sprawl predicament is that it has provoked a corrosive psychology of previous investment. Having poured all the treasure of the 20th century into the matrix of housing subdivisions, malls and strip malls, office parks, freeways, highways and numberless paved byways, we can’t imagine reforming it, letting go of it or getting over it. It’s our stuff and we appear to be stuck with it. The future, however, is going to compel us to live differently whether we like it or not, and we are doing absolutely nothing to prepare for that. To me, the danger of a President Christie is that he is about the last politician one might expect to recognize the nation’s tragic predicament and he is exactly the figure who will mount America’s deadly final campaign to sustain the unsustainable. He represents what amounts to a sort of national debt slavery: We will pay any price to stay where history has marooned us. One vivid example of this was Governor Christie’s decision in 2010 to cancel New Jersey’s participation in building a new commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River to relieve the unsustainable pressure on the existing 100-year-old train tunnels. He derided the project as “a tunnel to the basement of Macy’s.” Christie then diverted $4 billion from the tunnel project to New Jersey’s transportation trust fund in a bid to keep the state’s gas tax the second-lowest in the country. (New Jersey’s transit system, meanwhile, ranks among the country’s worst, and Christie has cut its funding.)

Kunstler's "Having poured all the treasure of the 20th century in the matrix of housing subdivisions…" is what we chronicle here in granular detail at EOM, focusing on financing (US Century Bank) and the web of relationships extending to local city government and the Miami-Dade county commission where spreading sprawl across buffer lands to the Everglades was viewed as a highest priority and remains so.

Today the construction mini-boomlet in downtown Miami proceeds at a furious pace. Construction crews are working around the clock to satisfy the nervousness of bankers and builders who want "in" and "out" of projects as quickly as possible. What the building boom lacks, entirely, is what downtown Miami has always lacked: a credible plan for transit to accommodate people instead of a reckless fast-forward ignoring all common sense.

"Museum Row" coupled with the Heat Arena on one side and the Genting slot machine emporium on the other is one simply fantastic example. Now there is a plan to add 750,000 square feet of retail on the other side of the Miami Heat arena. Construction will begin at the end of 2014 and will no doubt be financed by blue chip, experienced banks and builders.

Look where it is. How are people going to get there? Understand that this section of downtown Miami is served by transit that from the west and from the north boils down to one traffic lane at Biscayne Boulevard! So when Kunstler writes, "… we can’t imagine reforming it, letting go of it or getting over it. It’s our stuff and we appear to be stuck with it." he is describing Miami and Miami-Dade County to a "T".


Al Crespo said...

There is plenty of blame to go around, but front and center, the biggest portion of blame goes on the Miami City Commission and District 2 Commissioner "Ethics" Sarnoff.

He leads the other 5 Dwarfs around by the nose, and is also the Chairman of the DDA.

You might be interested to know that one of the principals in this new Convention Center/Mega Shopping Center in front of the arena is Nitin Motwani, managing director of the Miami Worldcenter Group LLC.

What you might not know is that normally a guy like Motwani wouldn't sit on this board because of the massive conflict of interest that exists since the this project sits directly within the DDA boundaries.

Not to worry, Motwani got a waiver from the Miami City Commission, just like Jay Solowlsky, another special Sarnoff pal, and partner in the law firm Solowsky & AllenMhere Sarnoff is now hanging out as "Of Counsel", also got a waiver to be the DDA's outside counsel.

The DDA Board is loaded with insiders including Neisen Kasdin, former Miami Beach mayor, who's client list includes numerous developers that require him going before the Miami City Commission to expedite their permitting and variance problems, Jerome Hollo, son of Tibor Hollo, who Sarnoff has on more than one occasion put on knee pads to provide him with a Happy Ending to one of his real estate deals - 1814 Brickell Park being one of them - Hank Klein and Danet Linares, of Bianca Commercial Real Estate, Inc., because obviously having just 1 member of that company on that board just didn't seem adequate.

And then of course you've got County Commissioner Bruno Barerrio on the board because what's the sens e of having just one corrupt public official when you can have 2.

There's your problem.

Anonymous said...

Depressing to look at Bicentennial Park being raped by the museum krauts. To bad the sewage pump station is not upwind of the open air museums.

Youbetcha' said...

Where is the soccer stadium going?

And why do we need another nasty Bayside?

Anonymous said...

Actually there is plenty of public transportation in this area. Both metro rail and metromover. People will be able to take the train from the airport to here (I did it myself last week and it is really convenient). This would make a perfect place to put a new convention center and hotel. The new train station to Orlando is going just to the west of where the old arena was. Now, that being said, I bet none of it gets built. There are a lot of renderings, videos, etc., but no boots on the ground. I bet it is another flip scenario. Most likely to the Chinese for eb5 visas. This seems to be the scam du jour.

Anonymous said...

AA Arena was allowed to be built without enough onsite parking capacity. Offsite lots are all but developed.

Condominiums cannot selectively enforce the rules. They are all or nothing. Which is why so many escort services are run out of Miami condominiums. The Boards cannot enforce the rules anymore.

Anonymous said...

The Park West neighborhood has been ravaged by promoters and sleazy slumlords like Nitin Mowani and his out-of-town bosses. So many unpaved vacant lots with overgrown weeds. Then you have the unlicensed parking lots most of which are run by Andrew Mirmelli. Add the drug clubs on NE 11th Street run by Luis Puig and Greg Mirmelli and you have a total crime wave.

Gimleteye said...

If there is anyone who like to talk to EOM about the EB5 visa issue, please let us know by email how we can contact you to talk …

Prem Lee Barbosa said...

can you give me any more information regarding the bad traffic studies?

I'd like some more insight in to that subject

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