Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An Inconvenient Truth for Miami: Sports Stadiums, Arts Centers, Museums and no way to get there. The Irrefutable Costs of Traffic Gridlock … by gimleteye

The Miami Herald limps to the issue of poor fan attendance to professional sporting events. In its publishers' view -- professional sports are a positive form of civic boosterism, apple as American pie.

But the David Beckham soccer stadium, following on the fiascos of the American Airlines/ Miami Heat and Florida Marlins / Miami Marlins deals, couldn't help but draw attention by the international press to question of Miami's fickle fans for professional sports. Even the UK Guardian football blog questioned the relation of Miami to its sports teams, without getting to the underlying point: you can't GET to the games.

"The Dolphins ranked 21st in attendance at 64,319 per game last season and played to only 85.8 percent capacity — 30th worst in the NFL and ahead of only Washington and Oakland. The Marlins ranked 29th, ahead of only Tampa, in attendance last season, at 19,584 per game. This year’s team is playing better and is averaging 21,865, worst in the National League and 25th overall. The Panthers finished this past season 29th of 30 teams in attendance at 14,177, ahead of only Phoenix."

So here you go, David Beckham and your lobbyists; the cost of gridlock is robbing families across the region of quality of life. If you are spending ten to twenty hours a week commuting to and from work, what are the chances you will want to invest your little remaining free time in a costly professional sporting match or performance?

In the Herald's "David Beckham's Miami soccer gamble: If they build the stadium, will fans come?", the traffic problem in Miami-Dade scarcely rates a yellow light. Never mind commuters from Broward or Palm Beach who would be "discouraged" from driving to games in downtown Miami. How about Coral Gables? I've spent an hour in traffic just trying to get from Biscayne Boulevard to the I95 on-ramp when the Performing Arsht Center lets out! Report THAT! So here you go, international press:

Traffic is the elephant in David Beckham's Miami telly room.

By George! The Herald itself moved to the Broward border in part to liberate capital but also to liberate staff from the terrible costs of commuting through gridlock. (How often is Tom Fiedler, the great proponent of the Marlins Stadium, going to baseball games in Miami?)

Miamians know that a soccer stadium at the Port of Miami will require a commitment at the end of a long work day or week. The game is 90 minutes. What is the time and cost budget for commuting to and from home to a soccer game in the Port of Miami?

For failing to highlight for its readers the irrefutable costs of traffic and poor planning for access to Miami sports and cultural venues, EOM gives the Miami Herald a red card.


Anonymous said...

The County Mayor and his entourage, along with the Herald reporters, should park their cars in a downtown spot and take a brisk walk to the future stadium site over the course they expect thousands to walk in mass. I remember your post about the broken sidewalks outside of the new Perez Art museum. This same obstacle course of broken concrete and discarded alcohol bottles to get into the Arsht is sad joke amongst my friends. We wonder how people have the courage to wear their jewels to high end performances when they have to park downtown and run into the building, Oh yeah, plenty of police presence. Is that still the security strategy with the police budget being cut (bye bye cadets) while subsidies are made available to three sports teams?

Anonymous said...

Name one first or second tier American or international city that makes such a hash of mobility and civic/ cultural institutions. Glad this blog is pointing it out. Maybe someone someday in positions of authority will listen. Too bad about your newspaper. I gave up subscribing years ago.

Anonymous said...

Want to better the quality of life in downtown Miami? Address the homelessness issue. When you smell urine on your downtown walk, it's a symptom of this problem. Some of us don't valet the car and see the reality.

Anonymous said...

Not to put too fine a point on it but these infrastructure issues (and the homeless downtown) are really about the failures of the city not the county.
Gene Stearns, the father of incorporations, said his goal was to incorporate downtown as it's own City since the City of Miami siphons downtown's taxes for all its other porker misdeeds.
He argues if the revenue downtown generates was spent downtown on services, we would enjoy a world class city.
His problem is the concept is too esoteric for the City of Miami voter and the process runs through the BCC which as my father used to say , couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the directions were written on the heal.

Anonymous said...

Traffic is a huge problem. Isn't traffic the main reason we are spending $1+ Billion on a tunnel to PortMiami? Then why compound the problem with handing over 36+/- acres of PortMiami to two promoters from England and a lobbyist from NYC? Shouldn't the next new stadium go west of I-95?

Anonymous said...

The stadium will not be built at the port site:
- the city of Miami turned the port to the Cointy with the proviso that all that land be used only for port related projects.
- the real "powers-that-be", cruise lines and commercial shipping, don't want a stadium there. Period. End of conversation.

These discussions are just to keep all of us fools, busy so we don't discuss the real problems. It's an old political trick and our devious and conniving Mayor and his cadre of wily lobbyists are experts at playing the game.

Anonymous said...

I agree that "misdirection" is a deliberate strategy to keep readers' eyeballs and public attention OFF the big pieces of corruption.

Anonymous said...

I am beyond frustrated with this tired conversation. Whether it is a stadium or not, that parcel of land will be developed for non- port activity. Why is everyone overlooking this?

The increase in traffic will be there with both proposed projects. If anything the soccer stadium will contribute less to congestion as matches begin and end after rush hour. If the port has it's way and builds office buildings on the site, guess what? Those people will be arriving and leaving downtown during rush hour, thus increasing congestion.

Move past the "stadium" and look at the real issues. The City and County need to work on public transport and fixing the homeless issues. People should not have to see naked homeless people (yes it still happens) nor smell urine and feces while walking.

These are the issues preventing downtown from being a walkable district. Hopefully people can get their heads out of the sand and judge the projects on the basis of what is best for downtown, because one or the other is being built. Lets shift the conversation towards analyzing the projects and leave out the stadium hysterics.

Road Rage said...


Anonymous said...

any thoughts on port security? Strange that isn't the main issue, along with traffic. What does Homeland Security think about this hair-brained idea?

Anonymous said...

Kendall Resident

The Mayor needs to get up to speed on transportation in his community, all of his community that is .. not just the red lights at the end of his street. He's a good guy, just a bit clueless on that subject.

Gregory Stubbs said...

Miami Dade County continues to fail at building elevated rail through out the county. Elevated rail will give people a option to get off of the roads. Also these new metrorail stations need to look like the airport station. Now the City of Miami itself needs to tackle the homeless problem. If they must privatize every sidewalk and street, so be it.

Anonymous said...

Julio Robaina and wife found NOT GUILTY of all charges by a jury of his peers. That settles that. Now, let's hope he runs for Mayor to get rid of the clown who now holds the seat.

Betty Marshall said...

1. Gag Gag. No Julio R in the Mayor Offices.

2. Do you think that anyone who drives from Kendall or Hialeah to work, is going to "run" home and grab the kiddies and come back to a game at the port, anymore than they do for baseball?

3. Do you think that people who live on the beach are going to run home take off their work clothes and turn around and hurry back to downtown?

4. Do you think the business people are going wear their wool, summer weight suits to work and then take off the ties and jackets and hike across a bridge to go to a game? Ladies in 4 inch heels do so well on the city sidewalks that one shoe repair by Macy's used to offer a special service of replacing the covering on heels damaged by the cracks.

5. Get Real. Let's dump some really DUMB ASS politicians who can't imagine using port land for ships. (Julio will run on this issue, you watch. Gimenez better get it resolved quick.)

Anonymous said...

If the PortMiami site could generate income for taxpayers and NOT harm the Port users why doesn't the County or PortMiami do a RFP? Why isn't there a Master Plan? Open the bidding? Look for developers willing to pay the most?

Anonymous said...

Hi Betty the majority of the matches are on Saturday and Sunday so people won't have to drive home and come back.

Lets stick to the facts when discussing a very important decision. An RFP is a great idea!

Betty Marshall said...

Thanks for the answer. But once people leave work downtown on Friday night, I can't imagine them turning around and driving back even on the weekends. Who wants to be back in the congestion?

I understand the heat does okay when they are winning, but we are talking soccer, not basketball.

Land that was assigned a public purpose like the port should be used for its correct purpose.

Why don't we put the stadium on Miami International Airport? It would be between 4 major turnpikes; it would have tri rail and metro rail access. It would be on property that is assigned a publc purpose, one with security issues, and one that the FAA could sue us over. Oh yah, MDAD is a county cash cow department, so the stadium would perfectly screw that up too.

The best part about using the airport property is after the FAA finished with us, if the county won the ability to build, the property wherevthe stadium sits would cause the county to buy or take land at great cost from the surrounding community to expand.

So, actually, if we can chose between the county's money generating departments, at least the airport has transportation, hotels and visiting teams could take an airport bus to work. And we don't have drudge or fill water to expand. What a deal.

Gangguy said...

Put it in homestead. We have land, the turnpike, a near by hospital for players, ocean reef for the rich guys and could use the revenue.

Teams can fly into Tamiami and take bus. We have plenty of hotels too.

Anonymous said...

With this awful traffic mess, if it is not on TV, I won't see it. Only going to work or a medical emergency is worth this level of pain. They need to put a moratorium on all these unneeded projects for billionaires that will make the situation worse and go to square one, basic transportation infrastructure. That is where our money needs to go.

Anonymous said...

Beckhams handlers say the soccer stadium will cost $250 Mil? They say only 25-26 games per year. Oh? Really? How will they get a return on their investment? Is this really just a land grab?

Anonymous said...

So basically it a stupid idea because some people won't go. We keep overlooking"

1. Our tax dollars are not going towards building the stadium. They will pay market rent. The site will be developed by them or someone else for NON-PORT related activity, the land is a wash.

2. Increase Traffic! The plan will provide less rush hour traffic than the other proposal which includes multiple office buildings, hotel and retail.

3. Who is going to drive to downtown? Newsflash, people live downtown, a lot of them. And many more will do so in the next few years. Drive to the Metrorail and take it downtown.

I find it funny how the people yelling about traffic refuse to use the Metrorail which could bring them into downtown and reduce said traffic.

We absolutely need for our government to spend on transportation, parks etc. I am still waiting for one coherent argument to point out why this project (and not the other one) does anything to prevent the county/city from spending on transport and parks.

Anonymous said...

Did someone say rent? Like the Heat has been paying rent?

As a private enterprise, they are free to go on the open market and buy the land they need. All they need from us is zoning, and plan approval on the land they purchase from private landowners. Under no circumstance should public land should be considered. Con men will continue to come here each year begging for our best publicly owned land. Under no circumstances should they get it.

Anonymous said...

Up until now, they are promising to pay market rent (something Royal Caribbean doesn't do). If that does not occur then it is a different story.

At least you have a valid issue with regards to public land, however, that land will be used for the proposal the Port was promoting in Asia.

That is essentially my point lets leave our bias for sports stadiums aside and analyze the realities of the situation. Is anyone examining the Port's proposal?



Anonymous said...

The con men from the Marlins were from NYC. They easily baffled disgraced ex-Mayors Carlos Alvarez and Manny Diaz. Beckham has used his head to stop soccer balls a few too many times. His handlers are from London and drum roll please ... NYC. Let them buy their own land from a private seller.

Anonymous said...

Lets make sure the Port includes a NO NYC DEVELOPER clause in the bidding for this project!


Anonymous said...

Land owners who own land which meets their requirements would be glad to entertain conversations with them. This is America, we believe in private enterprise, not government subsidies for billionaires. Unfortunately, given the Marlins Stadium deal, we have been identified as a mark in the global confidence community because they believe that we have many dishonest, irresponsible, naive, stupid, and greedy elected officials. Those con men, hucksters, film-flam artists and the like will continue to come every year with new strategies to snooker us out of the remaining few highly visible publicly-owned properties we own. The question is will we be suckers again?

Anonymous said...

At con men conventions people give lectures on how easy it is to take/steal taxpayer land and property in Miami-Dade County. Beckham's handlers took the course. They see Gimenez and his motley crew as "easy pickings". Why buy land from private sector sellers when Carlos Gimenez (Carlos Alvarez, Manny Diaz, Marc Sarnoff, Bruno Barrerio ...) are just giving it away?

Anonymous said...

These remarks are embarrassing for our community. Do the research, comparing the Marlin's stadium with this deal is not close to fair.