Miami's Giant Pop Up Recreates Downtown Street

March 13, 2017

Temporary installation is the first attempt to showcase possible improvements that could transform Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami into street rivaling the Embarcadero in San Francisco.

What kind of lessons did you learn during this pop up trial that you’ll definitely want to incorporate into a redesigned Biscayne Blvd?

Lessons learned through this experience based on the community response to the spaces created as part of Biscayne Green include: the desire and need of residents for a dog park. It was also noticeable how people reacted positively to the outdoor plaza environment. From a programmatic standpoint, it was also very telling how people responded to the various community and cultural events that were offered for free.

One of the best attributes of tactical urbanism is that you can test out infrastructure changes before you invest major money and start ripping up asphalt. What features did you think would work, that you’ve had to reexamine on future changes to Biscayne Blvd?

A feature that was incorporated to the temporary installation that is not part of the long term vision is that of a transit lane or a combined bus/bike lane. The positive response of the on-street parking lane in combination of a transit priority lane may be something to consider and evaluate as viable options as the design continues to evolve.

Now that the demonstration project is over, what are your next steps?

Next steps include creating a summary report that reflects the accomplishments of the project as well as the metrics that were collected. We’re still inviting people who was able to experience Biscayne Green to take a short survey at - so please help spread the word. In addition to that, in 2017 we will start working on an RFP for the Lane Elimination Analysis so that we can start the selection process of the firm that will be helping the Miami DDA through that next step.

Downtown Miami has changed pretty dramatically over the last decade. What are some of the things that you’ve identified as being crucial to keep this momentum going and what role is the DDA playing on implementing these initiatives?

As a relatively young city built on sprawling development patterns, Miami has long been defined by its automobile-oriented environment, bumper to bumper commuter traffic and suburban strip malls. As vertical development continues and demand for urban living grows, Miami’s urban growth is in overdrive – but its pedestrian multimodal infrastructure has yet to keep up.  Biscayne Green was an ambitious attempt to demonstrate how smart planning and context sensitive design can help transform this corridor into a quality place.
The Biscayne Green demonstration project may have been temporary, but the ultimate goal was to elevate awareness to consider land use, transportation and infrastructure needs in an integrated manner in order to meet community needs. This transformational vision wants to build infrastructure that fosters an accessible and walkable environment that meets the needs of Downtown residents and businesses in order to stimulate the local economy and elevate Miami to world class city status. As we move forward is crucial to keep the community engaged and excited about what the future holds. As stewards of the public space in Downtown, the Miami DDA is exploring ways to continue hosting community events at key locations to encourage people to get off of their cars to experience their city. Hopefully these initiatives will help sustain the momentum and builds awareness about the direction we need to continue pushing for the future of Downtown.

NEXT: More Sights and Scenes from Biscayne Green

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