Wednesday May 3, 2006

Development and planning around MPAC

satellite view of Miami Performing Arts Center

Well, the Miami Performing Arts Center seems to be pulling its parking situation into shape nicely. Meanwhile, I have the recent Herald piece, Development blossoms around Performing Arts Center—with no plan in place, which is a criticism of a lack of urban planning (rather then the PAC), specifically singling out the unfinished Miami21 plan. Well, a public meeting to present a draft of the first quarter of the plan has just been announced. After the meeting (on May 13), the draft will be available online, and a series of open houses will begin (presumably to allow the public to comment on the plan).

This will be interesting; we have the opportunity to create the city of the future here, and the Herald is quite pessimistic:

[Development] is occurring with no comprehensive development plan in place. Even as the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency . . . spent three years and $716,000 preparing a 250-page master plan for the area, the City Commission has approved one massive project after another, rendering moot some sections of the CRA’s plan before it was ready. The city’s vaunted new, neighborhood-friendly development rule book, Miami 21, is months behind schedule and may not be in place until fall. Even some in the real estate business question whether stacks of high-priced condos—with few provisions for new parks, public spaces or other public amenities, much less affordable housing or a solution to the area’s persistent homeless problem—are what the MPAC district really needs amid signs of a possible condo glut.

Gee, when you put it like that, it sounds kind of crappy. Something tells me, though, that Miami21 will restore that green space, and that the MPAC district will become pedestrian-friendly and appealing. And with the impeding condo crash, it will, for a time at least, even be affordable. Hipsters all over South Florida are saving their money and biding their time. Meanwhile, look at that map – it turns out that MPAC was surrounded by parking lots and garages all along—check out the picture. How did we ever get into conversations about putting parking underground?

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  1. Miami Transit Man    Thu May 4, 04:18 AM #  

    Want pedestrian friendly? Then you will have to limit automobile access and remove the unsightly parking garages…Parking Underground would help remove the hulking monstrosities…

  2. alesh    Thu May 4, 06:26 AM #  

    Interesting point, Gabriel, although parking undergound is a joke, you need garages if you’re putting up a condo tower, no way around that. But if you have one major artery (say Biscayne Blvd.), then many of the side streets can theoretically be very pedestrian friendly. The question is whether they’re set up to be (landscaping) and whether there’s anything to walk to. That means sidewalk-accessible shops on the ground floor of the condo towers—something that i do not believe is in the plans.

    Actually, that very thing may be single faliure of the planners – not requiring mixed-use. If in fact they didn’t . . .

  3. A.T.    Thu May 4, 07:46 AM #  

    Timely post, Alesh. I agree, underground parking is a european solution we should try more often (instead of building a building to just park). And we’re doing it in the downtown Kendall development.

  4. KH    Thu May 4, 09:58 AM #  

    Wouldn’t underground parking be like building an aquarium for cars during a hurricane, especially right on the bay? A tropical storm with heavy rainfall could cause trouble.

    Our water table is only a few feet underground; I just don’t get the whole put utilities/roadways/parking garages/etc. underground. I guess that large a concrete mass might serve to restrict the influx of salt water into the aquifer. Or vice versa, should the everglades be fully restored.

    When the everglades were healthier many many years ago, freshwater from the everglades would flow underground to the bay, with freshwater upwells appearing in the Gables, Grove, and even in the bay itself.

    My grandfather has stories about some of the ones in the bay; I don’t know that they are there any longer.

  5. Rebecca Carter    Thu May 4, 10:35 AM #  

    From what I understand the fresh springs that used to be are no longer. I agree that underground parking in Florida is nearly impossible, as are basements in houses.

    I’ve been wondering lately why they don’t make multi-level parking garages with the top level a green roof (covered in plants to catch rainwater, produce oxygen, etc.).

  6. DC    Thu May 4, 05:27 PM #  

    Parking garages hidden by perimeter condos above ground floor retail is the most practical answer and I believe Miami21 requires that.