Letters to the Editor

Wynwood parking plan an collaborative process

As the city of Miami renews itself from the recent recession, our residential and commercial districts are on the rebound. Neighborhoods such as Wynwood are some of the fastest growing and developing communities in greater Miami.

With such rapid growth often come problems. Parking is one issue that affects growing urban areas all over the world. As areas develop, parking plans need to be reevaluated and, often, revised in order to be in sync with that growth. The Miami Parking Authority (MPA) consistently aims to plan ahead to address those problems before they become unmanageable crises.

In direct consultation with the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID), the MPA has developed a parking-management plan in response to requests from businesses for a uniform parking system and to address concerns about safety issues. Concurrently, the MPA and its professional consultants have studied the traffic and parking patterns for the past couple years.

The Wynwood parking plan includes a three-hour parking limit. The rationale for this is the same as in other areas with similar limits: It allows for vehicular turnover in the same space and decreases congestion while increasing business traffic from multiple customers.

We’ve all experienced the frustration of repeatedly circling around for a space, sometimes giving up and going elsewhere. It is a waste of time and a loss of potential business for entrepreneurs. It also increases fuel emissions.

The MPA also has been working with Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami to reorient the narrow streets to improve traffic flow in order to allow fire and EMS trucks to drive through in the event of an emergency. Currently, motorists park on both sides of the streets, making it nearly impossible for emergency vehicles to pass through.

There is a misconception that MPA is making these changes to profit from parking fees and parking tickets. This is not true. The MPA does not benefit from writing citations or collecting additional revenues, since the funds from parking citations go entirely to the county for distribution between Miami-Dade and Miami. Parking revenues, after operational expenses, are sent annually to the city of Miami. The MPA does not retain any revenues in its accounts and Miami must approve any increases in parking rates before the Authority can implement them.

We recognize the recent level of concern about the Wynwood plan. The MPA has a long track record of meeting with neighbors, residents, businesses, employees and tenants to respond to their parking needs and establish a two-way communication process. That communication helped us develop the current plan — and will continue to do so as we phase it in.

The complete roll-out is scheduled for Oct. 1, followed by a two-week grace period. Therefore, the official plan will go into effect on Oct. 15.

MPA’s Board of Directors is made up of volunteers. Our primary mandate is to ensure the operations are run capably and ethically, and that parking in Miami is affordable, accessible, and efficient. We also want to make sure that as the city evolves, our parking solutions evolve.

Thomas B. Jelke, chair, board of directors, Miami Parking Authority, Miami