Parking Officials Question Safety Legality Of Lots Near Carnival Center
Written by Deserae del Campo on October 12, 2006
By Deserae del Campo
Miami Parking Authority board members say patrons of the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts are parking in dimly lit, unfenced private lots in the area that could be operating illegally.
The issue arose at a meeting last week after Chairwoman Jami Reyes wanted to "state for the record" the use of the lots in the vicinity of the recently opened center. Ms. Reyes said the parking authority should be proactive in getting the lots closed if they are being run illegally.
The authority oversees parking in nearby lots owned by the Miami-Dade County School Board.
Art Noriega, executive director of the parking authority, said board members primarily are concerned about the safety of Carnival Center patrons who use the lots.
"People parking in these lots return from the performing-arts center and come back to a dark lot with no proper lighting," said Fred Bredemeyer, the authority’s deputy executive director of operations. "They are going to need a flashlight to find their cars."
Mr. Noriega said the parking authority is alerting Miami officials about the private, self-parking lots. "We are submitting reports and photographic documentation to code enforcement," Mr. Noriega said.
Mariano Loret De Mola, Miami’s code-enforcement director, said once the department gets information from the parking authority, code officers will visit the lots to see if they comply with city code. "We will check to see if they have a proper certificate of usage or an operating license. If they don’t, we will give them a notice of violation, and they will have a certain amount of days to comply and get the proper licenses."
Owners of the lots could be fined $250 a day if they are deemed in violation of city code and continue to operate the lots.
Mr. Noriega said photos will be sent to the Miami commissioner of the district "so that appropriate action can be taken." Linda Haskins is the district’s interim commissioner, but a special election is scheduled for Nov. 7 to fill the seat.
Mr. Noriega said lot owners may have been given city permits to operate but have numerous safety issues "such as paving, drainage, lighting, improper or nonexistent fencing and lack of security."
The Miami Parking Authority is managing 770 spaces in four parking lots owned by the school board and is charging patrons $15 to park. The center has 751 spaces for valet parking for a $20 charge. Mr. Noriega said the private lots are not charging less than that for self-parking.