Downtown’s been attracting plenty of new residents and development, but it’s still aways off from being a destination, or even a true neighborhood, like South Beach or Wynwood.
Residents like Stephen Dutton are hoping to change that by getting Downtown residents to stroll, browse, and dine their streets. And Steve hopes to kickstart that with Avenue 3, a plan to turn Northeast Third Avenue – which runs only two blocks – into a pedestrian-friendly zone. That’s a rendering of his vision above.
He hopes to mimic streets like Española Way on the Beach and Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables, breathing new life into an area that’s looking for ways to combat homelessness, dwindling business, and after-dark emptiness.
It’s an extremely personal mission for Steve, whose husband, Tom Lang, was killed a few years ago after he was attacked by a mentally-ill homeless man in Downtown. The men, who moved here from Texas about five years ago, both worked with agencies combating homelessness. Steve stuck around to try and improve the neighborhood in his husband’s memory.
Here’s what Steve’s got in mind for Avenue 3:
Remove the street parking on Third Avenue and replace it with parklets that will allow additional seating for the restaurants on the street. New lighting and colorful awnings would be installed over the restaurants and along the street.
Downtown’s filled with one-way streets and diverging roads, but Northeast Third Avenue is a real anomaly. It goes from Flagler Street to Northeast Second Street but… that’s it. Southeast Third Avenue is a few steps west and extends down to the Miami River. Steve thinks that’s part of what makes his project an easy experiment.
THE CITY’S ROLE
It’s Steve, not the city, running this show. Although the city does still have to approve certain changes to make room for the project, the installation will be in Steve’s hands. He’s got preliminary approval to get started this summer with a crew of volunteers.
He’s still waiting on official city approval to replace the parking spaces and move the seating from the sidewalk into the street. Work is expected to start soon after that.
The street has a mix of mom-and-pop shops and is home to nearly a dozen restaurants, including a CVI.CHE 105 and a Pizza Rustica. There are also healthy food spots like Ten Fruits and Freshealthy. Steve says a lot of the owners have bought into the idea of changing up the street and are hopeful that the re-design will lead to more foot traffic.
The local U.S. Green Building Council is also offering free consulting to the businesses to help them reduce energy and water costs.
“I’ve promised all the business and restaurants on this two-block street that we’re not going to close [your businesses], we’re going to build a customer base starting right away,” Steve says. “We’re going to transform this street into a destination for Miami.”
Interested in getting involved with the project? You can contact Steve at [email protected] He’ll be presenting the idea to the City of Miami commission at their June 28 meeting.
Paving paradise. Yesterday the Miami-Dade County Commission gave preliminary approval to a plan to extend the 836 highway southwest, past the Urban Development Boundary, the line past which no development is supposed to occur. The reason? To give some traffic relief to Kendall residents stuck in gridlock every day. But smart growth advocates and environmentalists are not about it. They say building a highway, rather than bolstering transit options, is a short-term, old-school fix– and it comes at the expense of fragile, ecologically essential wetlands on the western edge of the county. Now the extension is headed to the state for approval. (Miami Herald)
Left out. The Florida Constitution says that Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is supposed to provide an education to every child in his district – including the 1,000-plus unaccompanied minors being held in a Homestead shelter as a result of the Trump administration’s family separation policy. So he’s pretty PO’ed at the federal government for not telling him the children were there. “We should at least provide these children with the dignity of some connection with caring adults and access to educational services,” he wrote in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security. (Miami Herald)
Reversals and reactions. Before President Trump announced the reversal of his policy separating families, local politicians and companies mobilized: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said they were headed to a tent city on the U.S.-Mexico border in protest of the policy; major airlines – including American Airlines, which has a hub here in Miami – told the federal government that it better not be using their planes to transfer the children; and Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola threatened to ban the contractor running the Homestead facility from doing business in his city, calling the CEO a “chickenshit.” But Gov. Rick Scott also threw some politicians under the bus, announcing that he told them back in February that the Homestead facility would be opening. (Miami Herald, Miami New Times)
Miami Confidential. The late beloved foodie star Anthony Bourdain loved the 305’s mix of cultures, and made at least a few trips down here over the years. The Miami woman who worked as Bourdain’s fixer on two of his Miami visits shared his favorite low-key haunts. You’ll spot a few that locals know and love. (Miami.com)
Anotha one. Yes, we just got through a county commission race. But there are five more county commission races to look forward to in August. Tuesday was the qualifying deadline, and all but one of the county commissioners up for re-election – Daniella Levine Cava, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Jean Monestime, Rebeca Sosa, and Javier Souto – have an opponent. Only Sally Heyman is running unopposed. (Miami Herald)
Our turn. Miami Beach is one of four finalists gunning to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. We’re up against Milwaukee, Denver, and Houston, and the city will be making its pitch – which will hopefully not include the Pitbull non-hit “Sexy Beaches” – next week. The City of Miami and Miami-Dade County will also be part of the proposal. (Miami Herald)
⚽ Multiple dates through 7/15: World Cup Viewing at Charcoal beer garden + tapas pop-up (Wynwood)
🎶 Today: Jam all over the 305 on Make Music Day (South Beach)
🕉 Today: Get zen at New World on International Yoga Day (South Beach)
🖼 Tuesday, June 26: Enjoy some food, drink and music while bidding on art (Miami Beach)
📽Friday, June 29: Check out a vintage Japanese gangster film at O Cinema (Wynwood)
🔬Saturday, June 30: Have some summer fun with the kiddos at the Yard (Wynwood)
🗣Saturday, June 30: Hear from legendary poets at the Maroon Poetry Festival (Liberty City)
Want to partner with us? Here’s how that works.
👠 Turn up for a viewing of RuPaul’s Drag Race, hosted by Queef Latina (Wynwood)
🙏 Celebrate International Yoga Day on Palm Court (Design District)
🎤 Jahzel Dotel takes over PAMM Third Thursdays (Downtown)
🎭 America’s Short Play Festival comes to town – through Sunday (Downtown)
🏢Test your Dunder Mifflin knowledge at an “Office” trivia night (Brickell)
🍻Celebrate the life of bartender John Lermayer (Miami Beach)
👀 Check out a psychedelic audio/visual indoor festival – through Saturday (Downtown)
🎷 Catch some jazz at Ball and Chain (Little Havana)
👞 “Won’t you be my Neighbor?” premieres (Coral Gables)
📽 Watch “Black Panther” under the stars at the Barnacle (Coconut Grove)
✊ Fight for black women’s rights at “Here Comes the Boom” – through Saturday (Downtown)
👨🍳 Celebrate the launch of “Cuba: The Cookbook” (Coral Gables)
😅 Get your rear in gear at PAMM (Downtown)
🍍 Eat all the tropical fruit at this festival – through Sunday (Redland)
🎸 Flor de Toloache takes over the 1 Hotel penthouse (South Beach)
🎲 Drink, dance, and play dominoes – 50 percent off with code “domino50” (Downtown)
🏌 Play some putt-putt (Little Haiti)
🍛 Nom on all the Thai food (Homestead)
🛍 Shop, nom, and jam at the Miami Flea (Downtown)
🎞 Catch a free screening of Moonlight (Coral Gables)
🎶 Listen to two hip-hop classics at Classic Album Sundays (Little Haiti)
📈Learn how to scale your company (Wynwood)
🏛Take a walking tour of Miami Beach’s Art Deco history (Miami Beach)
🤓Test your random knowledge at Bar Nancy’s trivia night (Little Havana)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with New Tropic member
We’ll catch you mañana.
– The New Tropic