Op-Ed

In 2019, Miami will continue its focus on improving residents’ quality of life

El Nuevo Herald

This year has been one of action in the city of Miami. From operationalizing resilience to helping our residents beat the heat by funding air conditioning in public housing, we identified challenges and executed solutions.

With the leadership of our administration and support of the City Commission, we tackled housing, mobility and public safety, and improved public spaces and internal processes, while striving for resilience and innovation in everything we do. We are using this forward motion to launch us into 2019, but let’s take a moment to reflect on the major accomplishments that have improved quality of life in Miami.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to live where they work. In partnership with FIU’s Metropolitan Center, we launched the development of an affordable housing plan, focused on creating or preserving 12,000 affordable housing units by 2024 through the Connect Capital initiative. We also set an example for the region by passing inclusionary zoning legislation that will strengthen our communities from within.

Helping people get around efficiently motivated the expansion of the Miami Trolley system to Little Haiti and Flagami, and upgrading of our trolley app to include real-time tracking. The motorized scooter pilot program approved by the City Commission will help solve the first- and last-mile problem. Our resident survey revealed mobility is a top concern. We hear you, and these steps are just the beginning.

Home is where you feel safe. With that in mind, we provided tools to our first responders including the addition of gunshot detection technology and a state-of-the-art fireboat. We also partnered with Ring to distribute video doorbells to help residents make their homes safer. Most important, we’ve made an effort to build good will, engaging the community and law enforcement agencies.

We worked to improve how residents experience Miami, building community by improving parks and public spaces. Adding bike lanes to alleys in Model City and new playgrounds like the one in Virrick Park gives neighborhoods back to our children.

The resident experience extends to how we provide service, so we zeroed in on simplifying our processes. It started with an expedited building permit process and concierge service, capped off with the full implementation of Electronic Plan Review (ePlan), taking the permit process online. Our year of process improvement also included finishing touches on our soon-to-launch new city website and training hundreds of employees to be more efficient.

And on one of the most pressing issues, we walked the walk on climate resilience. We have installed numerous pumps and backflow valves that will strengthen our city against the threat of sea-level rise. The recent approval of the first projects to be funded by the Miami Forever Bond signals to the world that Miamians are working together to secure our future.

We are just getting started. Next year, 2019 will bring an increased focus on resilience, fine-tuning our work to improve quality of life and a commitment to find pathways to prosperity to bridge the gap between the “two Miamis.” We thank Miami residents for their trust.

Francis Suarez is the mayor of the city of Miami. Emilio Gonzalez is Miami’s city manager.

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