FYI Miami: November 15, 2018
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
GARAGES PARKED AGAIN: Coral Gables and Coral Gables City Center LLC still haven’t been able to agree on re-development of two city-owned garages. City commissions have been actively trying to redevelop the Andalusia Avenue garages, built in the mid 1900s, since 2013. The commission Tuesday deferred the issue until Jan. 23, 2019, to allow staff and developers to reach new financial terms. The developers said the plans have been changed roughly 18 times as they try to meet all city demands. Developers proposed a 190-foot office tower and a 163-foot residential tower with 700 parking spots, a mix of permitted and public. But several commissioners think the buildings are still too tall and want finances reviewed. Commissioner Vince Lago suggested the city redevelop the garages itself. Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli asked to move the project forward, saying “Have we made these people waste years and hundreds of thousands of dollars for us to come up with new criteria today?”
PARKING FINE HIKES DEFERRED: Ordinance changes to increase parking violation fines throughout Miami-Dade received a stay of execution last week, as primary sponsor Sally Heyman deferred the item to the next county commission meeting, tentatively Nov. 27. After months of deferrals in subcommittee, the item was finally forwarded Oct. 18 to a full commission vote. If approved, the updated ordinances would mark the first Miami-Dade raise in parking fines in 30-plus years, according to Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin, who told commissioners last month that while the state average fine for overtime parking is about $40, here it remains $18 to $33. “We thought it was fair to come here and ask you to raise it to $32 [minimum], which would still put us at the bottom of the state,” he said at the time. “This is a proper step forward and is one that frankly is very fair.”
RARE TRANSIT GAIN: Spurred by a high percentage gain in ridership in September, Miami-Dade County Transit managed to hold its annual loss in riders to 8.6% for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. The September gain of 21.4% in total riders for the month was in comparison to September 2017, when Hurricane Irma hampered or totally shut down transit starting Sept. 10. It was the first monthly gain in system use since a less than 1% increase in March 2015. The 8.6% annual loss followed a 9.6% loss in the prior fiscal year. The transit system has lost a total of 26% of its riders in the past four fiscal years. For the fiscal year, Metrobus ridership fell 10.8%, Metrorail ridership fell 4.2%, and ridership on the free Metromover fell 7%. The system handled 81,455,770 total rides in the fiscal year, down from more than 110 million in fiscal year 2014.