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.