Miami designates Brickell Key for water taxi service
In a growing metropolis like the City of Miami – embraced as it is by vast waterways – expanding transit options to the water makes sense.
Miami city commissioners have just designated a site on Brickell Key for water taxi service, while the Miami River Commission continues to lobby Miami-Dade County to identify potential water taxi stops on the river.
On July 27, city commissioners accepted a right-of-way deed of dedication for upland property on the key, a man-made triangular island at the foot of Southeast Eighth Street.
It’s part of a development agreement the city has with property owner-developer Swire Properties.
The legislation directs City Manager Daniel Alfonso to accept, pursuant to a right-of-way deed, the dedication of upland from Swire Properties US Inc., Swire Properties Inc. and Swire Jade Co. LLC.
The land is to be “utilized as a public linear park and as a public water taxi pick up and drop off location” and associated purposes, the resolution says.
As part of the deal, the Swire companies must maintain the property subject to the deed.
A map presented with the deed marks the park and water taxi site just north of where Brickell Key Drive bridge (Southeast Eighth Street) connects with the island.
Also called Claughton Island, the 44-acre island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. The island is home to high-rises offering office space, hotel rooms and, primarily, luxury condos.
Swire took over the development of Brickell Key in the 1980s.
A plan for the build-out of Brickell Key, with the development of a new residential tower, was given the go-ahead in October 2015. City commissioners approved an amendment to the Brickell Key Development of Regional Impact, or DRI, order.
The change reduced the permitted non-residential floor area by 676,116 square feet while increasing the number of residential units by 668, and required a 3.75-acre linear park on the island.
Swire Properties plans to bring a new residential tower to the island’s southern corner.
At the time of the amended DRI order, Swire said references to the 3.5-acre park were confirmation of an existing “linear pedestrian park already in place around the island.”
The amended development order is noted in the latest resolution, stating the order permitted a 3.5-acre linear park and a quarter-acre park on the island.
Swire has determined that to satisfy its obligation, in part, to dedicate public park land it will convey property to the city for a park and water taxi site, according to the resolution.
The new deed includes a reverter clause should the property ever cease to be used for a public park and water taxi stop.
Dedicating the site for public water taxi use comes as city and county officials are seriously considering encouragement of water-borne transportation and are busy sifting sites for water taxi stops.
County officials are considering a water transit fleet to help lessen traffic gridlock on area streets and highways. The county’s transit department is looking at both a water bus system for commuters with a fixed schedule and route, and water taxis.
Having water taxis power a major component in a growing transportation system gained buoyancy with heavy use during the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key in 2016 and 2017.