You probably noticed that the sidewalks have been completed surrounding the new Miami Springs Town Center located at One Curtiss Parkway. The sidewalk is made mostly of pavers. The sidewalk also includes the curb cutouts along Curtiss Parkway and Canal Street to allow vehicles to park in a forward angle.
So yesterday we decided to livestream a video walk through and share what we saw around the new development. Here are a couple of things we noticed.
Some palm trees have been added along Canal Street and Hook Square. This is a welcome addition as the palms help to beautify the area and provide some limited shading. You can see them below.
That said, technically, palms aren’t really considered trees, but a grass. Not dissimilar to bamboos which are also considered a type of grass. In fact, back in the days when Miami Springs knew the difference between grasses and trees, my father had pulled a permit to cut down a couple of Washingtonia Palms. At the time, the City of Miami Springs required my father to replace the palms he had cut down. However, he couldn’t replace them with other palms, because they were not considered trees. So my father planted a couple of oak trees as the replacements.
So when a longtime Miami Springs resident cuts down a palm, he had to replace it with an oak tree. But when this developer came in, they weren’t required to add oak trees or any canopy tree. They were allowed to add grasses. Again, just another example of how this developer was treated differently than your typical homeowner.
The brick pavers look great and provide a more upscale look. However, the installation looks cheap in some areas. We saw areas where the pavers seem to roll up and down in waves as if the underlying sand wasn’t properly leveled. You hate to see the shoddy installation because the pavers definitely improve the look.
In one area along Canal Street, it’s clear that there’s a cavity and a collapse of the pavers…almost as if the underlying sand was washed out. (This area should be immediately closed off as its not safe for pedestrians and presents a trip hazard.)
I’m sorry, but it’s embarrassing to have the sidewalks opened up and this is the first impression we get from the installation.
I swear I can’t make this up. Below you’ll see the handicap sidewalk entrance ramp along Canal Street and Curtiss Parkway. You can clearly see two massive cracks on the brand new concrete along with scrape marks along the pavers. I’m sure the pavers will be fine once they’re properly cleaned up, but I hope the City of Miami Springs doesn’t approve the final permit until the sidewalk is repaired.
Seriously. It’s a brand new sidewalk and someone has already damaged it. And it’s right in front of the main entrance. Ouch.
Canal Street Remains Closed
The sidewalk is open, but Canal Street remains closed. Canal Street has been closed now for 33 months.
Let’s review the timeline:
- DECEMBER 2019 – DEMOLITION BEGINS & Canal Street Closed (Unnecessarily and prematurely.)
- MARCH 2020 – COVID-19 Hits
- JULY 2020 – Canal Street Temporarily Re-Opened
- JANUARY 2021 – One Year After Demo, Developer Promises to Start Controversial Apartment Complex
- APRIL 2021 – 16 Month Delay – Canal Street Closed Again
- APRIL 2022 – Canal Street Closed for 24 Months
- NOVEMBER 2022 – City Manager Promises Canal Street Will Re-Open in 2-3 Months
- FEBRUARY 14, 2023 – Canal Street remains Closed – 90 Days after Promises that Canal Street would be Open by this date.
- FEBRUARY 14, 2023 – City Manager William Alonso submits notice of resignation effective May 31, 2023.
- MAY 31, 2023 – William Alonso’s final day as the City Manager
- JUNE 21, 2023 – Canal Street has piles of dirt and debris and remains closed.
As a reminder, Miami Springs’ Municipal Code states that:
It shall be unlawful to obstruct any part of the public streets, sidewalks, parkways, parks, or other publicly owned properties in the City by placing or causing to be placed thereon any box, stand, counter, shelving, debris, sign, merchandise, building material, or other obstruction; …In case of the construction or repair of any building in such location as to make it necessary or proper that any part of a public street or sidewalk be used for the placing of building materials thereon during the construction of such building, the City Manager may in his discretion, grant a permit upon payment of a fee of $5.00 to the City Clerk for the temporary placing of such building materials thereon, for a period not to exceed 60 days.
In other words, the City Manager had the authority to close the road for 60 days, but not the authority to close the road for 33 months.
We’re hoping that Canal Street finally gets cleaned up, paved, and reopened this summer before the kids go back to school. That would provide business owners and patrons with much needed nearby parking for their respective businesses.
As a comparison, we took the following photo of the demolition at the Shoma Village located on Hialeah Drive and East 4th Avenue back on March of 2020. Today, Shoma Village is not only completed, but already has residents living inside the complex.
New Street Lamps
The developer has added new modern street lamps with LED lighting along Canal Street and Curtiss Parkway. The lamps themselves are attractive.
While reviewing the lamps we noticed that the lamps along Curtiss Parkway cover the pedestrian sidewalk as you can see above. However as you can see below, the lamps on Canal Street face the street. Why the inconsistency?
Again, I think the new lamps look good. But they don’t look good when they’re damaged either from the manufacturer or during installation. We noticed the lamp below curved inward a whole lot more than some of the other lamps. (Sorry. I need to retake the photo below to better show the excessive curving.)
Now, the following issue isn’t related to construction, but the City of Miami Springs. Specifically the City Planner (who was fired last month) and the City Manager (who resigned last month. Why didn’t the City of Miami Springs negotiate to get new lamps to replace those on the opposite side of Canal Street?
I know some of you will say you prefer the old lamp shown above better than the new ones. Others will say they prefer the new ones over the old ones. My point is that neither of them look good when you have a mishmash of different styles on the same street. Uniformity goes a long way in improving the look of Canal Street. Once again, another missed opportunity by the City of Miami Springs administration.
The retail storefronts will be at a higher level than the sidewalk. This helps with flooding and insurance. However, due to the height difference, there’s a railing that prevents someone from the sidewalk to enter the elevated floor. This is also to protect someone that’s on the elevated storefront area from falling onto the sidewalk. That’s fine.
We noticed that there’s an entrance at each end of Canal Street from the sidewalk. We also noticed entrances multiple entrances along Curtiss Parkway and along Hook Square. However, there we no entrances midway through Canal Street.
So say you’re an employee or a customer and you parked in the middle of Canal Street. You can’t just walk up to the business in the middle of Canal Street. You have to walk half a block to the corner to then walk another half block back to reach the store in the middle. That seems very inconvenient for customers and employees. It seems they should have put an entry way in the middle of Canal Street.
Nobody benefits from the delayed construction. We hope the developer completes Canal Street and successfully leases the retail spots to wonderful new restaurants and retail establishments. Especially the kind of retail establishment that acts like an anchor tenant and draws retail customers. (Can you imagine if they opened up a Salty Donut? They’re so good!)
As for the residential apartments, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. There isn’t enough parking in the garage to support 52 residential apartments. And the developers know it, too. That’s why they advertise available “street parking.”
Of course, the City of Miami Springs gave away our public parking and never established a parking fee until it was too late. That administrative failure ultimately cost the taxpayers over a million dollars in uncollected parking fees.
We are hopeful that the new apartments provide a true luxury interior. We hope they don’t suffer from poor workmanship. We hope that the new apartments bring in quality residents that will appreciate beautiful Miami Springs and do their part for our community.
Of course, not everyone will like the lack of sufficient garage parking and the looming threat that the City Council may ban overnight parking along parts of Canal Street and Curtiss Parkway.
Who knows? Maybe the City of Miami Springs will ban overnight parking along Canal Street except for those with some type of paid residential placard. It may be a way to finally recoup dollars the City of Miami Springs never got from this developer in the first place. The developer may have to charge less for rent if his renters have to also pay the City of Miami Springs for 24 hour on street parking access.
What do you think?
Should the City of Miami Springs embrace a No Overnight Parking rule within the already established Gateway Overlay District?
Should the City of Miami Springs then sell a monthly and/or annual parking permit that would allow for 24 hour parking within the district?
I can’t think of any other way to reclaim the “free parking” that was given away to this developer. What are your thoughts?
Let us know in the comments section below or via social media.