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By: PRLog
O.P.R.A. to Spearhead Florida’s first “Pavement to Parks” Pilot Program
PR Log - May 18, 2012 - Following up the success of their Grand Central Park project in Downtown Miami, the Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association (O.P.R.A.) has announced their latest initiative to increase pedestrian traffic and spur economic development in Miami’s up and coming urban core.  The Pavement to Parks Pilot Program is a joint initiative between O.P.R.A., the City of Miami, Downtown Miami Partnership, and the Miami Parking Authority.  The program is modeled off of successful Pavement to Parks or “Parklet” programs implemented in San Francisco and Los Angeles and involves replacing metered parking spots with outdoor terraces to be used by restaurant patrons and has been featured as a key tool to revitalization by the Tactical Urbanism Movement in Volume 2 of their toolkit manual. (http://issuu.com/streetplanscollaborative/docs/tactical_u...).

In other Cities, the parking impact has been minimal but the quality of life and economic impact has been notable.  The O.P.R.A. project aims to have the same impact and will be the first of its kind in Florida.

Bradley Knoefler, Founder and President of the Omni Parkwest Redevelopment Association Inc. (501(c)(3)), a Florida non-profit corporation based in Miami, was positive about the project and the working relationship with the various government agencies involved.  “everyone agrees that making Downtown Miami more livable and pedestrian friendly is a good thing for economic development,” he stated. “and with the goodwill and experience from prior projects such as Grand Central Park our organization is well positioned to take the lead.”

O.P.R.A. plans to implement the pilot projects through the existing special events permit process.  “The idea is to use an established means to get the pilot project off the ground and to identify any issues and roadblocks” said Knoefler.  “then work with elected officials and the administration to implement the program on a City-wide basis.”

Three local Downtown businesses, Elwoods Gastropub, The Corner, and Grand Central are participating in the program, which will involve renting two metered spaces in front of each business and placing a wooden deck with railing and planters to increase the outdoor seating area and allow people, rather than cars to occupy the public right of way.  While various departments, such as Police and Public Works need to sign off on the permits, O.P.R.A. plans on installing the first parklets in 30 days or less.

“We are excited to continue the implementation of low cost, high impact urban redevelopment programs such as parklets and pop-up parks that have been extremely successful in major Cities around the country” said Knoefler.  “This is squarely in the core mission of O.P.R.A. and we look forward to being a key player in making Downtown Miami one of the most innovative neighborhoods in South Florida.

For questions and further information, please visit www.grandcentralpark.org or contact Bradley Knoefler at 305.527.7332 or info@grandcentralpark.org.

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