We’ve been telling you there’s a parking problem in Miami Springs. The first thing the Business and Economic Task Force recommended was more parking. Now it’s official. The Miami Springs parking war has begun.
The first battle in the parking war has taken place at the Truist (formerly BB&T) Bank parking lot. The bank has sustained abuse from employees and patrons at nearby businesses that have taken advantage of their abundant private parking at Truist for years. The bank most likely looked away most of the time. But when their own customers can’t find a parking space, that’s when you call in the tow trucks.
This week, we’ve received photos from residents showing several vehicles being towed from the Truist parking lot. Take this as a fair warning not to park in their private lot unless you’re going into the bank yourself. Curbside parking or street parking is public parking and you won’t be towed if you park on the street.
I have to admit, I’ve also parked at the Truist lot to go to Siamo’s, Sushi Sake, and even Subway’s. Usually, it’s been at night or on weekends. Nevertheless, everyone should be aware that parking at Truist is being enforced. While most of the towing that’s been reported has been during business hours, there’s nothing to stop them from towing on night’s and weekends. You’ve been warned.
Note: While it hasn’t been enforced strictly, you can get towed if you park at Milam’s Markets. In order for Milam’s to sustain the ease of getting in and out of their store, they must keep their parking lot free of non-customers.
And as we’ve said before, this is an issue that will only get worse. We have the new downtown development that at some point will be completed. (When it’ll be completed seems to be a mystery.) Then, there’s the new triangle shopping center at the former Barry’s Cleaners locations. As we reported before, while the new renovation at the Triangle Development looks great, the owner removed a covered parking area and a covered driop off area and closed it off. In other words, there’s less parking area today, than there was before. Specifically, there is less square footage available on the private property today than there was before the renovation.
On a separate note, the City Manager proclaimed that the Triangle Shopping Center was “adding parking”. That’s a bunch of bologna. The Triangle Shopping Center has reduced the available square footage for off-street parking. I’ll repeat that. The Triangle Shopping Center has reduced the square footage for off-street parking.
The City Manager is defining “Adding Parking” as striping the public alleyway and narrowing the street. That’s not “adding parking.” That’s using “on-street” public parking. That’s simply striping part of the public alleyway where people were already parking on when it was Barry’s Cleaners. Sure, it’ll be striped and defined parking. But there is no new parking being added to the property.
We are also curious to see how much space is left over for parking for the properties on the opposite side of the alleyway. In other words, did the properties across the alleyway lose part of their easement to accommodate this “added parking?”
Make no mistake that there is no new land being provided for parking. There is no building being removed to add parking. In other words, when they closed off the covered parking and separate covered driveway area, they reduced the amount of available space for private off-street parking.
Here’s the point.
We love that business owners are investing in Miami Springs and opening new businesses. That’s fantastic wonderful news. We love the face lift being done on the two Hook Square projects. Renovating a retail area that has looked the same for 40 or 50 years is wonderful news.
Under pressure by the current City Council and the Business and Economic Task Force, the City of Miami Springs received a grant for a parking study. We are curious to see the results of the parking study. But we don’t have to wait for the results of the Parking Study to know that we have a parking problem. We’ve been lacking parking for some time. Now, cars are getting towed. What do you think is going to happen when the new development comes online and all the residents of the new apartments are parking on the street because the apartment complex has insufficient on-premise parking?
PARKING SOLUTION WESTWARD
Captain Nihal of the Business and Economic Development Task Force presented the following recommendation where the City of Miami Springs would upgrade the first two blocks of Westward Drive for the purpose of widening the sidewalks, adding angled parking on the median, and reducing Westward to a single lane in each direction. The recommendation was approved unanimously by the Task Force.
Here are the obvious benefits from a one lane Westward Drive on the first two blocks from the Circle.
- More parking
- Pedestrian friendly sidewalk
- Retains tree canopy on median
- Increases tree canopy on the wider sidewalk (by adding new trees)
- Expanded sidewalk dining
- Slow down Westward speeders
PARKING SOLUTION CURTISS PARKWAY
We’ve been pointing out for some time now that you can only legally enter southbound Curtiss Parkway from the right lane of the Circle. Yet we’ve seen many car accidents as well as many drivers who jump to southbound Curtiss Parkway from the inside or left lane of the Circle. That’s partly by design. There are two incoming lanes to Curtiss Parkway. That is simply insane. For strictly safety reasons and to prevent accidents, the right lane of Curtiss Parkway should be eliminated. This will help show drivers that you must be in the right lane in order to enter south bound Curtiss Parkway. This will also help to slow down speeders on Curtiss Parkway. Again, people are less likely to take off at high speeds on a single lane roadway versus a two lane roadway. Then, when you turn the first block of southbound Curtiss Parkway into a single lane road, you can use the right lane to change the parking from parallel to angled parking. This allows the City of Miami Springs to solve three problems with one solution:
- Reduce accidents
- Slow down speeders on Curtiss Parkway
- Add more public parking
- Keep the Curtiss Parkway green
Gateway Overlay District Fees
We have to give credit where credit is due. The current City Council did do their part and established the Parking Fees that should have been set forth at the time the Gateway Overlay District was drafted. So going forward, the City of Miami Springs has set a standard for collecting fees on commercial projects that don’t have sufficient off street parking. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, it was too little too late in terms of collecting parking fees on the biggest project in downtown Miami Springs history.
Now, if the City of Miami Springs had collected fees from the Downtown Development, there might be a pool of money ready to use to fund parking projects like these.
Post Office Parking Garage
The other idea that has come up is to build a multi-story parking garage behind the Westward Drive Post Office. This would give business owners and customers an easy place to park and then walk to nearby shops and restaurants. Obviously, this is one of the most expensive options. Hence, why it was important to set the the Gateway Overlay District Parking Fees in the first place.
What do you think? Which options do you like most?
- One lane of first block of Curtiss Parkway
- One lane Westward Drive on the first two blocks
- Parking garage behind post office
Bottom line is this: We have a parking problem right now. You don’t have to be a parking study expert to know that it’s going to get worse when the new apartments and businesses come online. Now’s the time to commit to the solutions and then hunt for the money to pay for them. 2023 is just a few days away. I pray that by this time next year, the City of Miami Springs has a parking plan in place. Once you have a plan in place, then you can seek the funding. We have three viable plans above. I’m sure there are more viable ideas out there. Please share your thoughts on social media or in the comments section below.
Elections in April
The Miami Springs Municipal Election is coming in April. Your vote has an impact on solving the downtown Miami Springs parking problem. Stay tuned on who’s running for office and what they stand for here at MiamiSprings.com.
The parking garage is most definitely the way to go. The city has to bite the bullet of the lost revenue of Parking Fees they did not go after. It will keep the rest of downtown MS looking like Tree City when you enter Westward Drive. NOT A PARKING LOT!