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Optimized Miami 21 Parking Standards and Parking Space Trading Platform for Sustainable Development and Mobility Adaptation

Updated Miami 21 Minimum Parking Requirements will lead to many benefits, including a new model for selling existing unused spaces

Photo of Aaron DeMayo
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Miami is the city of the future and is growing at increasing rates because of the many benefits South Florida has to offer.  In the City of Miami, under the Miami 21 Zoning Code, there are minimum parking calculations which must be met when constructing real estate development of all types and sizes.  There are specific areas and circumstances which allow for relaxed parking minimums, for instance being in Transit Zones or along Transit Thoroughfares.  There are already some areas of the Urban Core that allow for no parking.

Each parking space provided allows for additional development to occur, like an equation, allowing for additional dwelling units, or additional habitable square footage. There are many necessary constraints put in place to protect the public realm and urban contexts such as minimum distances between driveways, screening parking garages with art or habitable space, as well as practical issues like turning radii and driveway dimensions. The current standards were written a decade ago and do not reflect the updated mobility options, density, and lifestyle choices that our city is now accustomed to.

Creating efficient parking garages is often one of the first steps in determining the feasibility of a project on a property because of these minimum parking standards.  Parking is a necessary part of Miami because most of the population relies on car ownership, as well as single occupant rides to get around, due to the lack of reliable public transit, the sprawling design of Miami, as well as the climate.

However, in recent years there has been a shift that accompanied both the densification of the city, especially in the urban cores from Brickell, Downtown, Overtown, Arts and Entertainment, Edgewater, Midtown, Design District and Wynwood, along with the multiplicity of choices for transportation, specifically ridesharing, metro-mover, citi-bike, and for a brief period on-demand scooters and bikes with Lime and Bird.  Miamians are now choosing new mobility options at alarming rates, 85% of rides into and out of Wynwood are with ridesharing, and on average each vehicle has 2.6 people in it.  As Miami continues to become more dense, as micro-transit options come online, and as transportation increasingly becomes autonomous and connected, our urban infrastructure will also change. This includes how we get around, the allocation of space on our streets, and the means for storing vehicles.

The entire city, and people of all industries will benefit from this project. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this technology will be the public urban realm, streets, sidewalks, the right of way, on street parking as well as public and private parking garages will be able to be retrofitted in the future to accommodate new mobility needs and enhance our way of life.

This paradigm shift is occurring and will continue.  In many instances, developers are requesting variances to build less parking, and often wish they could build even less than that amount. Forward-thinking architects and developers are designing garages which they can retrofit when necessary into habitable spaces in anticipation of less car ownership and a transition to an internet of things shared mobility future.

Every Miamian, as well as tourists and visitors, will use and benefit from this solution in one way or another! 

Existing parking space owners will be able to generate revenue from existing parking garages.  Current garages in the urban core have huge amounts of unused parking spaces.  Even more so, parking spaces can be optimized based on time of day use.  These parking spaces can be rented out or sold to fulfill parking needs for additional developments that will be built.  These profits will go directly to the owners of these spaces. There can be a requirement that a percentage of this revenue must be used for optimizing the streetscape nearby to allow for ridesharing activities to occur, ensuring the success of shared mobility options.

Reducing parking minimums will open up possibilities for development on sites that were previously encumbered by these minimums, allowing for more landowners who were interested in selling to do so, this will also generate additional taxes.  With more opportunities for development, more multi-family units can be built which will lower rent and purchase prices. This development will also generate jobs, create taxes, promote walkability, and densify the city in core areas or along transit thoroughfares which will further lead to more people using public transit and reduced congestion from the previous sprawl design of the city.

Additionally, reducing the amount of parking being built will drastically reduce construction costs as parking spaces are very expensive to build, especially in multi-level garages. These savings will trickle down and reduce the costs for everything, including housing, office space, retail, etc. Reduced parking standards and shared parking garages will also allow projects to be built without a typical “podium-tower” design which is synonymous throughout Miami, this will enhance the urban context and pedestrian experience. In Little Havana, projects under 10,000 square feet do not need to provide parking, this was created because the character of the neighborhood was being degraded by projects with ground floor parking garages with apartments above. This same effect is caused by parking garages of all scales.

At a recent roundtable discussion with over 20 leaders from the Real Estate Development sphere, including Architects, Engineers, Urban Planners, Land Use Attorneys, Real Estate Brokers, Technology Experts and many more, there was a consensus that parking minimums needed to be addressed.  The overwhelming conclusion is that the massive amounts of parking spaces are going unused, yet no large-scale data is affirming this. Many developers are nervous or unwilling to further address these concerns without new codes as well as quantifiable information. We feel that without this data, business will continue as usual.

Special Area Plans, projects of at least 9 acres can apply for special zoning accommodations.  Many SAPs in the city are also using a model of creating central garages to accommodate the minimum parking needs for many buildings. This creates much more interesting and walkable neighborhoods like Wynwood, Design District and Coconut Grove. It is proven to work, and this proposed project takes it to the next level.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Land owners whose land was previously unusable. People who own parking spaces including businesses, apartment building owners, as well as individual condo owners. More construction will be able to occur, at lesser costs, lowering rents which will affect everyone. Property taxes will be generated. More people will use public transit, generating more transit dollars to further enhance the network. The streetscapes will be adapted to a new mobility future. The main users of the "solution" will be parking space owners, and developers looking to purchase or lease spaces to apply to their projects.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and I, along with students from the University of Miami School of Architecture will work together. Elizabeth is a founding principal of Duany Plater-Zyberk, the firm who wrote the Miami 21 Zoning Code. Aaron DeMayo is an Architectural Designer and Urban Planner with experience in zoning, urban design and transportation planning. The University of Miami School of Architecture is a world-renowned program and has contributed to many impactful projects throughout the city.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

A platform to buy and sell existing parking spaces, to be used to meet minimum parking needs in future developments has not been done before. There is a need for it and people will want to join. We will account for overlapping time-of-day needs. We will create a platform where this commodity can be traded and will charge a fee for providing this data and brokering this service. A fee will also be charged that must be used to enhance the streetscape and to accommodate ridesharing pick-up drop-off locations, and other future mobility needs like spaces for electric bike or scooter parking nearby. This platform can scale. Moving past the Urban Core, the next likely areas to apply this would be around South Florida transit hubs, along transit thoroughfares, researching future smart plan routes, and on Miami Beach. This idea is scalable and can then also apply to other cities.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

The first success will be after we accumulate parking data and collect analysis from parking garage owners and operators. We will then create a report and make suggestions for updating the minimum parking standards. We will propose an ordinance to allow for the trading of parking spaces to encourage smart development. Achieving these results will be the first measure of success. Nex we will build the simple platform for trading these spaces. Lastly as the trend of car ownership continues to decline, as Miamians continue to voice their desire for the execution of the Smart Plan, as shared mobility options emerge, as “Little Vehicles” like scooters become accepted, as autonomous cars become more advanced and trusted, as new developments move away from building as much parking, the urban realm will change. This will encourage more small vehicle trips as well as more shared trips, reducing traffic, congestion, pollution, accidents, and stress from commuting.


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Photo of Eduardo Cusido

So basically rent/sell unused space?

Photo of Aaron DeMayo

Hi Eduardo,

Basically, yes!

The first step is to compile a report showing actual use of spaces in the urban cores. Second, to work with the city to reduce parking minimum standards to reflect actual car use which will reduce the number of spaces being built, as well as create an allowance under Miami 21 for unused spaces in existing garages/parking lots under these new standards to be rented or sold to be used for new developments.

Photo of Eduardo Cusido

That sounds awesome! Cheers.

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