This is Part II of a series of articles covering the Business and Economic Task Force Meeting held on December 2, 2021.
Board Member Max Milam presented an extensive report of the current parking situation in Miami Springs’ Central Business District. It’s the most extensive Parking Study of the Miami Springs Central Business District I’ve ever seen. We applaud Mr. Milam for producing it. Milam had asked the City to produce a report, but after repeated attempts to get the City to produce a parking report to no avail, he decided to take the matters into his own hands and produce it himself. Now, he Here’s what Mr. Milam found:
Central Business District Parking Study
Board Member Max Milam wanted facts. Not subjective data. Not opinions. But facts. Ask the business people and they tell you we have a parking problem. Ask the City of Miami Springs and they say we have excess parking.
“City Manager Alonso and City Planner Heid stated that the city does have adequate parking for the current businesses.”
One group says we don’t have parking. The other says we have plenty. So what’s the reality? Show me the numbers.
That’s what Max Milam wanted to find out. So he counted all the parking spots and used county records to determine how much parking each property would need to meet code. If the total number of parking spots exceeded the amount required by code then we have surplus parking. However, if the total number of parking spots are less than the amount required by code, then we have a parking shortage or deficit. That’s a pretty straightforward and black and white way to look at what we’ve got and assess the current situation. Here’s the data from Mr. Milam’s report. NOTE: The data below has been reformatted to be displayed on the web and mobile phones. Click here to download the complete Miami Springs Downtown Business District Parking Study (1).
As you can see in the chart above, we have over 50 commercial properties within the Central Business District. You’ll notice some of the older properties have no on-premise parking as they are grandfathered in from the early days of Miami Springs. However, to determine how many parking spots are needed for each property, Max Milam applied the current code that applies to the business district to determine how much parking each property needs. As you can see, the current code calls for 1,317 parking spaces or an average of 26 parking spaces per property. You’ll also notice we only have 494 on-premise parking spots in the Central Business District or about 10 parking spots per property.
Of course, the parking is not evenly distributed. Some buildings have no parking on-premises (like Siamo’s). While other properties have a surplus (like Milam’s Markets). This is important to understand as you can’t count one property owner’s private parking surplus towards another business’ parking deficit. So if you take the 1,317 total parking spaces required by code and subtract the 494 actual on-premise parking spaces (minus 27 private surplus spots) you’ll end up with an 850 parking space deficit or shortage. In other words, to meet current code, we would need 850 additional on-premise parking spaces.
What about street parking / public parking?
Great question. Max Milam looked at that, too. Here’s what he found: There are 423 available public parking spaces and street parking spaces.
There are 423 total public parking spots according to the report provided by Max Milam. However, 41 of those spots are reserved for Police. That leaves 382 net public parking spots for the public and businesses.
SPECIAL NOTE: The Central Business District is surrounded by multi-family residential units. We all know that the public parking spaces are used by many of those residential units by residents and visitors. This report does not subtract parking used by the residential units. If he did, the report would show an even greater parking shortage.
So, let’s do the math: We know we have a deficit or shortage of 850 on-premise parking spaces as shown earlier in this article. And we only have 382 available public parking spots. So if we subtract the 382 public parking spots from the 850 on-premise parking deficit, that leaves us with a shortage of 468 parking spaces.
In other words, if you take the subjectivity away and just look at the math of what’s required and what’s really available, it’s clear to see Miami Springs has a parking shortage. Period. End of story.
MIAMI SPRINGS PARKING DEFICIT
What the data clearly shows is that Miami Springs has a parking problem. And it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse. This isn’t the first time we’ve told you this. I think most of us have known this for some time. And thanks to Max Milam’s diligent efforts to truly study the state of parking in our Central Business District, we now have the facts and data to back up what we’ve known in our guts for a long time.
What’s crazy is that the City of Miami Springs had a parking shortage BEFORE they approved the Gateway Overlay District. We had a shortage of over 300 parkings spots before the new Miami Springs Town Center construction was approved. In other words, we could ill afford to give up even more parking.
What’s happened downtown is a swindle. I don’t blame the developers. Every developer wants to maximize leasable and sellable real estate. What developer doesn’t want to add more sellable or rentable space and reduce the amount of square footage required for parking? According to Miami-Dade County, the typical parking space is 8.5 feet by 18 feet. That’s 153 square feet of real estate per parking space (not including the space to drive to and from these parking spaces). Max Milam calculated that the Town Center Development has a shortage of 147 on-premise parking spaces. Multiply that by 153 square feet of real estate per parking space and you’re talking about 22,491 square feet of real estate the developer didn’t use for parking. Isn’t that a sweet deal? So the developer gets to build more on the property since they don’t have to use over half an acre on parking.
But the developer still needs over a half an acre of parking. Fortunately for the developer, the Gateway Overlay District was created and tailor made for this project. The developer didn’t need a variance to comply with parking. Instead, the Gateway Overlay District gave the City Planner the “authority to establish parking requirements for alterations and new construction by counting a combination of on-site and on-street parking and other elements.” Gee. I wonder what those “other elements” were.
Here’s the loophole created by the Gateway Overlay District that bypasses the city’s own parking rules:
The CBD parking requirements as provided in Section 150.070(E)(1-3) shall apply to the Gateway District, including, without limitation, the grandfathering of provided parking, if any, for existing buildings and current uses. Additionally, because of the uniqueness of the buildings, configuration of parcels, and road network in the Gateway District, the minimum parking space requirements and design for new construction or alterations to existing structures that expand occupiable space, shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. The City Planner shall have the authority to establish parking requirements for alterations and new construction by counting a combination on-site and on-street parking and other elements identified below. For any on-street parking space(s) counted towards the satisfaction of a property’s requirement, or any spaces otherwise waived as a result of one of the factors listed below, a fee shall be paid to the City for each such parking space, in an amount set from time to time by approved resolution of the City Council. The funds shall be used to fund parking and way finding improvements in the Gateway District and the CBD.
In determining the parking requirements for non-grandfathered properties, the following shall be considered:
- availability of on-site parking;
- availability of on-street parking;
- provision of bicycle parking;
- distance to, or inclusion of, bus and trolley stops;
- internal capture of peak traffic trips as a result of mix of uses;
- distance to public parking; and
- walking accessibility of the site. All on-site parking shall be appropriately landscape to provide visual relief and, to the extent possible, shade.
It’s maddening that a city with a parking shortfall would create an even bigger shortfall by allowing this project to move forward with blatant and obvious parking shortages. Just look at the report produced by Max Milam.
Big question, has the City of Miami Springs collected on the fees that “shall be paid to the City for each such parking space” or did the City of Miami Springs give up public parking for free at the tax payer’s expense?
Again we’d like to thank Max Milam for his hard work. I can imagine he just might be slightly upset. You see, Mr. Milam and his family own two key downtown properties. And guess what. None of his properties have a parking shortage. His office building has the exact amount of parking as required by code. And the Milam’s Market Grocery Store has a small surplus of parking. Out of 51 properties in the Central Business District, only 6 properties have enough parking to meet the current parking codes. In other words, Milam’s has two-thirds of the commercial properties that actually meet code for parking within Miami Springs Central Business District. The other properties are either grandfathered in, used a variance, or in the case of the the new retail / apartment complex, bypassed the variance process and received approval because the dirty, filthy, smells like corruption Gateway Overlay District was perfectly designed to bypass all the protections the city had in place to prevent this fiasco. (For the record: Three out of the Four Council Members to vote for the downtown project are no longer on Council. Bob Best is the only one who voted in favor of the Downtown Development still on Council. And the architect of the Gateway Overlay District, former City Attorney Dan Espino, no longer represents the City. Current Miami Springs Mayor, Maria Mitchell, was the sole dissenter who voted no on this project when she was a Councilwoman.)
If I were Max, I would be incredibly upset that other businesses take advantage of his parking, while the biggest developer to ever come to our central business district got a sweetheart deal with insufficient on-premise parking.
Take a whiff. Do you smell that rot? Do you smell that? i wish it was the smell of incompetence. I wish it was the smell of something rotting from the Miami canal. I wish it was the smell of Miami-Dade County political corruption blowing in from downtown. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to tell you that this smells like Miami Springs corruption.
…And it really stinks.
MORE TO THE STORY
Folks, there’s a lot more to this story. Look for Part III of this series coming soon. You can watch the full Business and Economic Development Task Force Meeting video below including the brilliant presentation by Max Milam on the current state of parking in Miami Springs. Warning: There were some fireworks.
If you missed Part I of our coverage on the Business and Economic Development Task Force, click the link below to catch up on what’s happening:
The following are links to PDF documents produced by Max Milam:
- Miami Springs Downtown Business District Parking Study (1)
- EXHIBIT E–Town Center Parking Calculation (1)
- EXHIBIT C GATEWAY OVERLAY DISTRCIT Sec. 150-070.1(D) (1)
- EXHIBIT G.2 Council Minutes and Staff Report dated April 22, 2019 (1)
- EXHIBIT G.1 Zoning & Planning Board Minutes and Staff Report dated 4.1.19 (1)
- EXHIBIT F Langan Traffic & Parking Study–(1)