Colombo, who is not obligated to construct the river walk portion at the spot until he finishes the second tower, has instead provided a walkway from the sidewalk to the existing portion of Epic’s river walk.
At a recent Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce presentation on the river project, backers blamed the long delays in completing the greenway on the fact that no one agency or group is in charge, and that government jurisdictions along the waterway often overlap, making it hard to get decisions or permitting approved.
“There is no one agency that can jam this through,’’ said lawyer Spencer Crowley, a commissioner on the Florida Inland Navigation District, a state agency that has provided substantial grants for river and bay walk construction. “There is no easy way to get this done. It’s going to take the business community to demand it.’’
Backers say the development revival now underway will take care of some missing pieces. The Flagler on the River residential tower now under construction, for instance, will add a riverfront restaurant and walkway on the site of the late and much lamented East Coast Fisheries restaurant.
Until recently, though, few had a clear idea of what segments of river and bay greenways were completed, where gaps existed, and where problem areas — such as buildings backing directly onto the shoreline — obstructed construction.
But the University of Miami’s architecture school put all its students and faculty to work on projects analyzing the city’s waterfront, producing a book that precisely maps each segment of river and bay walk, documents gaps and proposes solutions — such as floating or cantilevered walkways — to get around obstacles.
Like others at the chamber meeting, UM architecture Dean Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk said the river walk in particular has the potential to become a symbol of Miami, much like the river in San Antonio, Tex., has become a familiar emblem of that town.
“There are not many places in Miami-Dade County where you can access the waterfront without going to the beach or engaging in boating or kayaking. This is the only place many people have,’’ she said. “It’s a great resource, and the quicker we can do it, the better.’’