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Front Page » Communities » Plan to transform Biscayne Boulevard gets federal grant

Plan to transform Biscayne Boulevard gets federal grant

Written by on August 8, 2017
Plan to transform Biscayne Boulevard gets federal grant

A plan to transform Biscayne Boulevard into something other than a busy downtown street just got a significant financial boost.

The City of Miami and the Downtown Development Authority applied for and were awarded a $421,829 federal grant to speed the Biscayne Green Lane Elimination Analysis Project along Biscayne Boulevard from Southeast First to Northeast Sixth streets.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will pass through the federal funds, and a Local Agency Participation agreement will be required to access the funds.

On July 27, city commissioners voted to allow City Manager Daniel Alfonso to accept the funds and execute the necessary local agency agreement.

A background memo on the grant says the Biscayne Green Lane Elimination Analysis Project will provide essential pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements at seven Metromover stations.

Currently, the Biscayne Green Project is included in FDOT’s five-year work program, a comprehensive list of major capital projects throughout Florida.

For years the development authority has advocated for Biscayne Green, which aims to reduce driving lanes from eight to four or six from Biscayne Boulevard Way to Northeast Eighth Street and replace them with grass, trees, street furniture and other features to link Biscayne Bay and Bayfront Park to downtown.

The plan aims to calm downtown traffic and provide more and safer pedestrian and bike access.

The proposed vision of Biscayne Green calls for the redesign of the boulevard into Miami’s grand pedestrian promenade, similar to that of San Francisco’s Embarcadero, Madrid’s Paseo del Prado, and Barcelona’s Las Ramblas.

In 2011, the development authority completed a streetscape analysis for a complete redesign of the six blocks of Biscayne Boulevard. The preferred concept includes reducing lanes for vehicles, on-street parking, wider sidewalks, and a dedicated bicycle facility.

In January, the development authority, with support from the Knight Foundation, created a one-month temporary installation within three pods in the median of Biscayne, reimagining the boulevard and creating a new active public space for downtown residents and visitors.

The installation provided both recreational and passive amenities, fun and interactive elements, as well as events for guests day and night, allowing people to gather and connect.

From Jan. 6-26, the installation attracted 16,939 visits on Biscayne between Southeast Second and Northeast First streets.

The project transformed surface parking lots into colorfully decorated spaces with picnic benches, a playground, a dog park and other amenities.

The temporary pop-up park was a hit with some of the new residents who call downtown home.

Development authority officials touted the demonstration as a successful first attempt to showcase the potential of a redesigned Biscayne Boulevard into a world-class pedestrian promenade, saying it provided a sneak peek into the future of downtown Miami.

Beyond the lane elimination analysis, future steps include securing funding options to advance design development and finance future construction.

16 Responses to Plan to transform Biscayne Boulevard gets federal grant

  1. Global Reach

    August 8, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Oh yes the cars that use U.S 1 will just disappear.

    • MiamiTrafficRocks

      August 8, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      The cars won’t disappear immediately, but after traffic gets so unbearable, those people will begin to look for alternative modes of public transportation. Or, if they’re willing to move, they will move closer to downtown. This is how a big city evolves and it’s better we embrace change now rather than keep doing more of what we’ve always been doing. I grew up in Miami, specifically West Kendall, and I know how attached people can be to their cars. Miami residents need to start changing their mindset unless they want to continue sitting in 3 hours of traffic a day. Either start to embrace a change to public transit and multimodal transportation or continue living in a car dominated city where pedestrians are not respected and quality of life is terrible. It’s that simple.

      • DB

        August 9, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        Couldn’t have said it any better my man!

      • Anthony

        August 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm

        If the SMART plan was still in affect I would agree with you. But it’s not, and not enough people will not catch the bus. And guess what? Buses sit in traffic as well and just move closer to downtown. I’m a Realtor, and I would love for Miami residents to be able to afford to live closer to downtown or in it. But again that’s not the case. This is going to be a nightmare in a city that continues to grow and goes backwards with infrastructure.

        • MiamiTrafficRocks

          August 11, 2017 at 10:40 am

          The SMART plan is not in effect for a good reason, there is no money to build rail!~1.5 Billion? Where are we going to get those funds? Gimenez is realistic in proposing Bus Rapid Transit, which if done right, will cost a fraction of what rail would cost and it would accomplish the same thing in a MUCH shorter period of time. Rail is ancient and VERY costly to maintain. Look at cities like Medellin that have implemented a Bus Rapid Transit. It yields the same results. And you are correct, downtown and Brickell are too expensive, but as the city densifies and, hopefully, adds Bus Rapid Transit corridors that connect to downtown, other neighborhoods close to Brickell that are not as expensive will become more desirable. It’s happening in most major cities, not just Miami. Our city’s infrastructure needs are not unique by any means. Let’s use forward thinking, financially sustainable methods to address the problem.

      • Orleans

        August 11, 2017 at 12:20 am

        I am sorry but it is not “miami residents” that need to change their mindset. It is the city government, beholden to corporations, that needs to lead the change. We , residents, can embrace public transit, but is public transit embracing us? What public transit? Stinking buses and a sorry metromover?

    • DC Copeland

      August 9, 2017 at 8:57 am

      This plan is certifiably nuts. In effect they will be creating the “bottleneck of all bottlenecks” so that a few people won’t have to walk a few extra feet to Bayfront Park.

  2. Joseph

    August 9, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Ironically, it is the city buses (and city approved ‘big bus’ tour buses) that cause the worse traffic in this area. They essentially take two lanes themselves when pulling over for passengers, and then pulling to the next lane to pass the sitting bus in front of them.

  3. Bad idea

    August 9, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    This is the dumbest idea I have come across so far this year. Solve traffic by eleminating lanes. Have you people seen the traffic at 5 pm in downtown Miami???

  4. Lea

    August 10, 2017 at 1:43 am

    What about schools? No schools in the neighbourhood!

  5. Domingo

    August 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Maybe bus dedicated lanes, and more frequent service, will make people prefer to take them instead of being stuck in traffic. Bike lanes, safe ones, would provide another way of getting around. I emphasize the word “safe”. More car lanes is definetly not the solution.

  6. peter zalewski

    August 10, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Can any of the government money be used to finally fix the numerous nonworking street lights and eradicate the rat problem in Downtown Miami?

  7. Lawrence Snetman

    August 10, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    The best of the demonstration project, and perhaps the most popular, was the dog park. If part of Bayfront Park can’t be set aside for,free running pets, then adding a site to the new project would be great.

  8. Teri

    August 28, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I bike down this road to get from work in Brickell to my home in Sobe almost everyday. The part they want to redevelop is already the widest and safest part of my commute, there is no need to expand it. Takinf out the too few car lanes we have already is a horrible idea! Traffic is already a disaster, and in the rain and heat biking and metro mover is not realistic year round even for ppl like me who prefer to bike. I uber to Brickell so I arrive sweat free, and then I citibike home. Miami has had some great improvements in bike accesability and promotion of alternative transportation. This is not one of them.

    I think this plan has the potential of creating such a traffic disaster, in addition to what we are already dealing with, that it could result in ppl like me turning down jobs in Brickell and bussiness declining in general because the commute is too difficult.

    I am all for public spaces, making biking easier and safer as a form of daily transportation, but I do not support this plan.

  9. Frank Gentner

    August 31, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Those current Royal Palms were planted in the mid-1920s in honor of World War I veterans. The maximum number should be preserved as an historic corridor and in honor of the veterans. Ditch the artificial objects and use Royal Palms. They have served Biscayne Boulevard since the 1920s. Keep them the major part of your planning and shade options.

  10. Emmanuel chill

    September 13, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Biscayne green is quite a good idea I think.