Business Monday

Some CEOs say walking to Beckham’s soccer stadium is a good idea

Dr. Alejandro Badia is an orthopedic surgeon who leads a network of orthopedic urgent care centers called OrthoNOW based in Doral. The company has locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Dr. Alejandro Badia is an orthopedic surgeon who leads a network of orthopedic urgent care centers called OrthoNOW based in Doral. The company has locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

This week’s question: Do you think a parking-free David Beckham soccer stadium in Overtown is a good idea? Are Miamians ready to walk? Or will attendance suffer?

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As a physician, any idea that involves getting our community out and about and walking more has some merit; however, in this case, it may prove challenging since walking and relying on public transportation is not currently a part of Miami’s DNA. Changing behavior requires time. In fact, it may even take an entire generation to change the thinking and behavior. With that said, soccer is a great draw and I’m excited to see it succeed. And, Miami’s tourists may feel right at home taking the metro!

Alejandro Badia, orthopedic surgeon and founder, OrthoNOW

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We should be moving in that direction as a city and hopefully Miami will get on board with other forms of mass transit. A mass transit system needs to be created to truly see a culture change in Miami. I don’t think attendance will suffer because of the increased support for the sport across the country, especially in Miami.

Peggy Benua, general manager, Dream South Beach

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Walkable cities and neighborhoods are in high demand and short supply. I think we need to encourage people to walk rather than drive especially if we have quality transit servicing the area. Plus, since Uber / Lyft can now operate in Miami-Dade County, we have plenty of ways to get around without our own car.

Meg Daly, president and CEO, Friends of The Underline

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Yes. Have you ever been to a Heat game? If so, you would know that Miamians will walk if the show is good!! And parking-free makes attendance affordable for many soccer families. It will definitely have a positive impact on attendance.

T. Willard Fair, president and CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami

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The soccer stadium needs parking. Miamians love their cars.

Vicky Garrigo, market head, U.S. Southeastern Region Private Banking, HSBC Bank

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I believe in a permutation of “build it and they will come.” Mine is “build it and they will come, if they want it badly enough.” So, it’s for others to tell me what the market is for soccer here in Miami, but just as folks venture to Miami Beach, even with very little parking, they will find their way to the soccer stadium if they want what it has to offer badly enough. With no parking, it also allows those of us who believe in it to continue to lobby for better public transportation.

Mitchell Kaplan, founder, Books & Books

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Miami is becoming a more urban city and increasingly, locals and visitors are walking more and using public transportation such as the Metromover, Metrorail and car-sharing services. The soccer site has more than 7,000 nearby parking spaces for those who wish to drive. What’s exciting about the soccer stadium is that it will add a world-class sports venue in Miami without the use of public dollars.

Alan Kleber, managing director, JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle)

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It’s a nice idea to think that Miami fans will walk, but as an automotive dealer, I know that Miami residents prefer to drive to sporting events. Cities where the “march to the match” is popular are not like our market. Perhaps Mr. Beckham wants to try to change our culture or he doesn’t want to fund a parking garage. Either way, I don’t believe a parking-free stadium meets the needs of his customers.

Mario Murgado, president and CEO, Brickell Motors

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I am fearful that a parking-free soccer stadium will be a logistical complication that will significantly hinder the success of the venue. It is clear that Miami is still very much a driving city, and Miamians are not ready to walk, nor is there sufficient public transportation to meet the potential demand.

Steve Perricone, president and owner, Perricone’s Restaurant

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The fact that Beckham is willing to do a stadium with a minimal contribution from the public is an incredible positive step for our community. We should support him by helping him to provide parking. It will also help Overtown to become a more vital center in Miami.

Craig Robins, president and CEO, Dacra

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I do not believe that Miami has developed into a walking city quite yet. Without proper public transportation, it is very unlikely that a parking-free facility will flourish. That being said, I truly believe a soccer team will be a tremendous addition to our city’s cultural/entertainment landscape.

David Samson, president, Miami Marlins

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Having played soccer as a child, I know what a great opportunity we have to build a world-class stadium. However, Miami is challenged by traffic. It’s important to make it easy for fans to attend games and events while not adding to Miami’s traffic burden. The new stadium provides Miami with a great opportunity to showcase a modern, mass-transit system like they do in many destinations around the world.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light

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If this stadium can pave the way in showing Miamians how to walk, it would be the salvation of our city. Traffic here is unsustainable and intractable. Miami was mostly developed in the age of the car, so its sprawling nature is not ideally suited for non-vehicular transport. We only seem to think about building more highways to fix it. Study after study shows that this doesn’t work. However, there are a wide array of innovative public transportation solutions that have sprung up in modern cities around the globe. If Miamians demand a solution to traffic and better access to public transportation and safer bike routes, and if our leaders will invest in these solutions, we will have more time with our families, more money in our pockets that’s not spent on gas and cars, cleaner air, more room for parks and wild spaces, less flooding — and the benefits continue. The Underline is just one example of such a future.

Rachel Silverstein, executive director, Miami Waterkeeper

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