Traffic is what everyone on Miami Beach is talking about. Developers are spending millions of dollars pushing an 800-room, 29-story new convention center hotel project in the middle of one of our most congested areas.
They are telling us that this massive project will reduce traffic.
How stupid do they think we are?
The proponents argue that they have a traffic study to back their misguided assumptions.
During my 10 years of sitting on the dais as a commissioner and mayor, I have never seen a traffic study that found a development to actually increase traffic. This study is flawed for the following reasons:
▪ The data gathered was done at a limited time — two weekdays in April 2013 and one in June of 2014.
▪ The study assumes that only 30 percent of convention center traffic comes over the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Maybe the proponents would have us believe our visitors are coming from the airport on magic flying carpets.
▪ It doesn’t take into account any of the large projects that have come on line since mid 2014 and future projects currently in development.
▪ The study estimates that only 28 percent of guests will use the hotel for convention business. If so, why is the hotel even necessary?
The proponents also advocate reversing a business model that works to one that’s antiquated.
The city’s great success has been based on leisure tourism and consumer shows such as Art Basel. Only five conventions came to Miami Beach last year.
The convention market has been contracting over the past two decades, with more cities competing for a smaller market share.
Why would we trade a business model that works for one whose days have come and gone?
This whole deal is wrong.
I urge Miami Beach voters to vote No.
David Dermer, former mayor, Miami Beach