Nicolas Aguirre always liked having a nice ocean view. That’s why he moved into Bayshore Place Condominiums on Brickell Avenue more than 30 years ago. The apartment building overlooks the Miami South Channel and Biscayne Bay Bridge, and has great access to a promenade along the water.
“It’s really quite beautiful in the mornings, when it’s nice and quiet,” said Aguirre, a U.S. resident from Ecuador.
On the opposite side of his apartment, however, Aguirre has a not-so-pleasant view: an entourage of taxis huddled outside the Four Seasons Tower, the tallest building in Miami.
He noticed the problem a little more than two years ago, and it has been a pain for him ever since.
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“Currently there is a little curb outside of the tower that is reserved for the taxi stand. It can fit two cars comfortably,” he said. “However, there are 8 to 10 cabs regularly parked there throughout the day.”
The cars not only fill the curb, but flood out into the surrounding street—Southeast 14th Terrace—blocking a significant portion of the road, which only permits one lane for cars going either way.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,”Aguirre said. “It’s illegal and a hazard.”
As of Thursday, the hotel had not responded to a Miami Herald inquiry about the taxis.
At first, Aguirre called the hotel to complain. He was put in touch with the hotel’s assistant manager, who assured him that the same thing occurred where he lived on Biscayne Boulevard.
“He played it down,” Aguirre said.
The problem was addressed, but temporarily. The day after he called the hotel, only four taxis appeared at a time. But two weeks later, they were back in “full force,” Aguirre said.
Ever since, it's been a “perennial problem,” he said.
As time went by, taxi drivers got tired of waiting in their cars for customers and set up a table outside, where they would eat and play cards. Even worse, the drivers would normally use the adjacent bushes and trees to relieve themselves.
“I had had enough,” Aguirre said.
In January, he contacted the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA), whose mission is “to grow, strengthen and promote the economic health and vitality of Downtown Miami,” according to the organization’s website. Their representative promised to reach out to the city to address the issue, specifically the Regulatory and Economics Resources Department, which regulates the taxicab industry.
Once again, the same result. Two weeks of regulated taxi traffic, followed by the usual overflow of taxis on the curb. The card table, however, was eliminated.
The complaints are not just driven by Aguirre. After he contacted the DDA, several other homeowners from Bayshore Place accompanied him to the Miami City Commission to complain. Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, elected from the Brickell area, will soon visit the site, Aguirre said.
Aguirre’s proposed solution for the taxi problem is the hotel’s six-story attached parking garage, which has 934 spaces for hotel guests, employees and residents.
“Why not set the taxi stand up in the parking garage? There is plenty of space there,” Aguirre said.