I am saddened and appalled at the current state of downtown Miami. As a native Miamian who practiced law downtown for some 40 years, I have seen many changes.
Lengthy street construction projects have been adversely impacting foot and car traffic. The homeless have been allowed to take over the streets in the late afternoon and evening.
I recently parked behind Macy’s (downtown's only remaining department store) to shop one afternoon. When I left through the store’s back entrance, I was stunned by the developing lineup of men laying on the sidewalk or setting up their corrugated cardboard “mattresses” for the night. I confess that I felt uneasy walking to my car.
It has been years since I last saw police patrolling downtown. There is no visible law-enforcement presence, not even during the holiday shopping season. More and more stores are becoming vacant as business slows due to the lack of customers.
The downtown merchants certainly deserve better from the city. So do the homeless. There needs to be a more visible police presence as well as a better place for the homeless to sleep than the sidewalk.
Rita Norton, Miami