Monday, November 30, 2015
ENJOYED A SNEAK PREVIEW OF WYNWOOD GARDEN
Without the Goldman Family, there would be no Miami Beach Art Deco District renaissance.
Center City Philadelphia wouldn't have a 13th Street Rebirth.
Parts of Manhattan would have been slower to renew.
And certainly, Miami's famed Wynwood would not be a world-famous arts district without the hard work of the late Tony Goldman and his entire family.
PlusUrbia Design is proud to have worked with the Goldmans and other stakeholders to create the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District.
The firm also is proud to have designed Wynwood Garden, the next great open space, event space and home of mural art next to the famous Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Doors -- all thanks to the Goldman Family.
We checked out the progress -- and enjoyed the barrier-free paved access -- on the Thanksgiving weekend.
Two giant thumbs up.
Saturday, November 28, 2015
PEN 2 PAPER SPONSORED BY COALITION OF TEXANS WITH DISABILITIES
EarthboundTomboy author Heidi Johnson-Wright is a finalist in the 2015 Pen 2 Paper disability-focused creative writing competition.
It's sponsored by the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.
Her entry, "Fiddler Crabs, Mosquitoes, and the Dreaded Yellow Bus" is at:
CTD is the largest and oldest member-driven cross-disability organization in the state.
"Cross-disability" refers all types of disabilities and different essential needs, rather than a particular disability or subset of disabilities.
CTD envisions a future where all Texans with all disabilities may work, live, learn, play, and participate fully in the community of their choice.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY MUST ENSURE THAT UBER, LYFT AND OTHERS SERVE WHEELCHAIR USERS, DISABLED CLIENTS AND ALL NEIGHBORHOODS
We applaud Miami-Dade County elected and appointed officials for tackling the issue of regulation for Uber, Lyft and any other similar systems that use smart phone apps to link drivers with clients.
We read in the Miami Herald that the County administration is looking at waiving millions of dollars in fines.
We have a suggestion to help ensure that our County government creates rules that require Uber, Lyft, etc. to serve disabled passengers and those in communities that are often ignored.
We understand that Uber, Lyft and likely other app-based services are not going away.
But if we are going to endorse privatizing a large portion of our transportation utility, we must establish rules that ensure equity of all.
Sadly, the business model for private industry very rarely is to serve all communities equally.
Just like there are no fancy department stores in our most needy communities, the drivers for Uber and Lyft notoriously decline rides requested from areas that they perceive as poor, unsafe or worse.
There is a built in classism/racism in this system.
In our world, the #1 job of elected officials is to strive for a system that treats all equally and restores the unbalance of economic, housing, transportation and other opportunity that exists in far too many of our communities.
People with physical disabilities represent the most underemployed, most transit option-deprived community on earth.
Our taxis are required to supply a certain number of wheelchair-equipped vans and vehicles. Uber and Lyft have fought the truism that they are obligated to do the same.
It is inhumane to have a 50 billion company to pretend it is an appservice, not the fast growing transportation utility on earth.
It is discriminatory for these firms to ignore their obligations to wheelchair users and folks with other mobility issues. But they have a history of dodging the issue of providing accessible transportation -- or providing woefully inadequate lift-equipped options when forced to do so.
We suggest that the accrued fines -- be they the full amount or a reduced portion -- be set aside to create a fund for buying wheelchair lift-equipped vehicles to be a required part of the Uber, Lyft, etc fleets.
To get licensed by the County, these firms should match the fine amount with their own millions to provide a dispatching system and to fund maintenance and operations of a fleet that serves disabled County residents.
Some of the money should be put into a fund for a third party service that tests these driver summoned by app transport firms to make sure they are providing the County-required service to the disability community.
This would work much like housing testers that expose bigoted, horrible landlords that claim a unit is no longer for rent when a person from a minority group inquires about the advertised vacancy.
Stiff fines should be imposed for Uber, Lyft, etc. if they ignore minority communities and/or people with disabilities. Certainly, technology could easily monitor zip codes or sub neighborhoods "redlined" by drivers.
The random monitoring could take care of any violations against disabled people.
If Uber, Lyft and others cannot play by those rules of equity, then they have no business making billions off the backs of our diverse community.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
UPDATE: FDOT's SHORTLIST FOR CALLE 8
Thanks to the growing coalition of stakeholders all working toward a better Calle Ocho and SW 7th street in the heart of Little Havana.
FDOT recently released the four shortlisted firms in the running for performing the $2 million design and environmental study that will determine the future for the Calle 8 corridor:
One of continued use as a de facto highway, or as a complete street with calmed traffic, wide sidewalks, transit lanes, safe crossings and bike lanes.The short listed firms are:
AECOM TECHNICAL SERVICES, INC.
JACOBS ENGINEERING GROUP INC.
PARSONS TRANSPORTATION GROUP, INC.
FDOT's final team selection dates is January 11 2016. FDOT District 6 will launch negotiations with the selected team on Feb. 9 2016. Work on SW 8th and SW 7th streets, between SW 27th and Brickell avenues, will begin later in 2016.
PlusUrbia Design and all of the elected and appointed officials, resident and merchants and other stakeholders of the Calle 8 corridor will stage a community meeting in early 2016 focused on ensuring that the selected FDOT team focuses on the community's vision of calmed 2-way traffic, walkability and Main Street vibrancy.
Friday, November 20, 2015
SOUTHWEST SEVENTH STREET ALSO MUST BE REDESIGNED FOR PEDESTRIANS
The Calle 8 corridor is an authentic destination.
It is not a series of traffic lights on a speedway for commuters.
Residents, merchants, artists, visitors of Little Havana should no longer have to leap out of the way of dangerous one-way highway-like traffic.
We deserve a Main Street/Complete Street.
It is unjust for the core city to subsidize sprawl with our main streets and neighborhoods scarred by "highway-ization."
We support Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez's MPO resolution at today's (Nov. 19) meeting.
It's the first step in a long process to return safety and humanity to SW 8 & SW 7th streets after a half decade of highway hijacking.
A recent FDOT safety study shows that at least one pedestrian dies in an automobile collision on SW 8th Street -- between SW 27 and Brickell avenues each year.
These are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, wife, husbands, neighbors, friends, doctors, barbers, pastors, vets.
We must calm traffic. Now.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
VISIONING WORK TO CREATE A BETTER CALLE OCHO CORRIDOR
The PlusUrbia Team was humbled this morning when the City of Miami declared today PlusUrbia Design Day and honored our collaborative work with the Little Havana Community to create a better, safer, more prosperous Calle Ocho.
Thanks so much to Mayor Tomas P. Regalado, Commissioner Frank Carollo and Commissioner Francis Suarez for saying such kind words of praise on the dais about our pro bono designs, community forum and dedication to improving SW 7-8th avenues between SW 27 and Brickell avenues. Thanks to each of you for co-sponsoring our proclamation awarded during this morning's Miami City Commission meeting.
Thanks also to Commission Chair Wilfredo "Willy" Gort and Vice Chair Keon Hardemon for their continued leadership and for honoring our mutual commitment to a better Miami. Our gratitude also goes out to Commissioner Marc Sarnoff for his decade of leadership that included the enactment of the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District.
We were honored that Commissioner-elect Ken Russell was in the Commission Chambers this morning, applauding our recognition with the rest of the audience. A special thanks to City Manager Daniel Alfonso, Planning and Zoning Director Francisco Garcia and the entire hardworking city administration for being present when we received our proclamation on the dais.
We continue to work with the community and FDOT to ensure that the Calle Ocho corridor is redesigned as a complete streets with calmed two-way traffic, wide sidewalks, safe crossings, transit lanes, bike lanes and prosperous merchants and cultural institutions.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Wil Haygood, a humble Columbus, OH native and my writing mentor
for life, will appear 11 Saturday 21 at Miami Book Fair
Shapers of History with Wil Haygood
Author of The Butler, Wil Haygood, details the life and career of one of the most transformative legal minds of the past one hundred years, in Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America.
The 1906 rampage of black soldiers stationed in Brownsville, and President Roosevelt’s controversial response to it, is the subject of Harry Lembeck’s Taking on Theodore Roosevelt: How One Senator Defied the President on Brownsville and Shook American Politics.
Harry Lembeck And Wil Haygood
Room 8301 (Building 8, 3rd Floor), 300 NE Second Ave., Miami
FREE/NO TICKET REQUIRED