Traffic congestion in Miami, and specifically Brickell Avenue, is one of the issues that took center stage at the 8th Annual Commercial Real Estate Breakfast of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, affectionately named – Gladiators in the Arena.
I had the privilege of being part of a wonderful panel that included Steve Owens, President of Swire Properties USA; Carlos Rosso, President of Related Condominium Development; and Avra Jain, founder of The Vagabond Group; along with moderator Brian Bandell of the South Florida Business Journal.
We all took some of the blame for the traffic mess since we often block lanes while our major projects are under construction. The reality is that our projects necessitate an endless stream of deliveries. Steve Owens noted that his project, Brickell City Center, is averaging 500 deliveries per day, which is clearly disruptive to an already congested situation. I see it at our project, SLS Lux Brickell.
As these projects are completed, they will continue to foster something that is relatively new to us in Miami – an urban lifestyle. That means, as someone put it, “learning to walk again” to the grocery store, the movies, restaurants, shops, and for many, their job. We are working hard to create a zero commute living environment in the Brickell area where cars will often not be needed at all. This is a major paradigm shift for Miami, creating an urban environment where a significant population will be able to stop using their cars as much, releasing the burden on the roads and the need for parking.
Brickell and downtown residents will depend more on public transportation options, such as the popular People Mover, shuttles, taxies, and Uber. These will become their standard modes of transportation.
Is the traffic congestion in Brickell and downtown terrible? Well, it is, but it’s also the beginning of creating a zero commute lifestyle with less need for cars and less need for parking spaces. Once the construction cranes fold up and the trucks pull out, we will see a new Brickell and a new downtown with less need for cars.