Miami commission awards nearly $1M for Wynwood streetscape

Part of the plan: woonerfs -- streets designed with devices that slow down traffic

(Credit: Spokane Regional Transportation Council)
(Credit: Spokane Regional Transportation Council)

Wynwood may be the Miami neighborhood with the most foot traffic, but it is considered far from pedestrian-friendly. Two recently approved city measures championed by Wynwood developers and property owners aim to fix that conundrum.

The Miami City Commission this week approved a contract with Arquitectonica GEO to develop a streetscape and tree canopy master plan for Wynwood, as well as the hiring of Local Office Landscape and Urban Design, LLC to convert a stretch of Northwest Third Avenue into a woonerf, a street which is designed with devices that slow down traffic.

The Wynwood Business Improvement District, which represents landlords and tenants in the artsy neighborhood, has advocated for both projects to accompany a zoning overlay approved in 2015 that gives developers more flexibility to convert roughly 273 acres of industrial properties into commercial and residential buildings. At the same time, the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District, or NRD, provides owners of existing warehouses with incentives, such as the transferring of development rights to other projects, to maintain and improve their buildings.

“As part of our NRD, we had two broader initiatives we wanted to accomplish,” said Joe Furst, managing director of Goldman Properties, who is the Wynwood BID’s chairman. “One is the street master plan so that all our streets, sidewalks and street trees made sense and worked together. And the other is our large impact project along Third Avenue, the woonerf.”

Furst said the city and the BID are aiming to complete the woonerf within two years and implement the master plan in phases over a series of years.

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According to the scope of work, Arquitectonica would receive a maximum fee of $615,140 to work with Wynwood property owners and other stakeholders to develop a blueprint for a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly neighborhood.

“There is a dramatic need for green and open space areas along with an enhancement to the tree canopy for the benefit of its current and future residents and visitors,” the scope of work states.

Arquitectonica, among other tasks, has to identify strategic tree species and planting locations at Wynwood gateway streets and thoroughfares, develop guidelines for public landscaping on rights-of-way that interact with art on commercial buildings and find ways to improve the pedestrian experience with appropriate street furniture and other streetscape features.

Local Office Landscape is getting a $342,900 contract to transform Northwest Third Avenue between 25th and 29th streets into a woonerf, a Dutch version of a pedestrian-primary, bicycle friendly “shared” street.

The scope of work calls for installing trees, landscaping, street furniture, sculptures, exercise equipment and artistic wayfinding devices along the proposed woonerf. Local Office Landscape must also develop the woonerf so that it encourages interactions with surrounding projects such as Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Arcade, as well as ensuring safe and continuous pedestrian and bicycle passage along the entire length of the shared street.

Both the master plan and the woonerf design will be subject to final approval by the BID, the planning and zoning appeals board and the city commission.