Planners unveil a greener and more pedestrian-friendly Wynwood

Designs would create more public spaces and enhance sidewalks

Wynwood rederings
Wynwood rederings

Wynwood’s future streetscape could look completely different, with a bicycle and wellness loop, pocket parks, lush landscaping, and more woonerfs, a Dutch-inspired shared street design aimed at slowing down traffic.

At a Wynwood Business Improvement District meeting this week, urban planners revealed their proposals for the streets of Miami’s most popular neighborhood, nearly a year after the Miami City Commission approved contracts to develop a streetscape and tree canopy master plan for Wynwood.

Arquitectonica GEO vice presidents Michelle Cintron and Ben Hutchens unveiled a preliminary version of the plan, and Local Office Landscape & Urban Design founding principals Jennifer Bolstad and Walter Meyer presented four versions of a woonerf being proposed for Northwest Third Avenue between 25th and 29th streets.

Both public works projects are set to dramatically alter the pedestrian and car experience in Wynwood amid the neighborhood’s construction boom that includes several large-scale commercial and residential developments, such as Wynwood Square, Wynwood 25 and Cube Wynwyd.

Arquitectonica GEO’s proposal calls for extending sidewalk curbs to narrow the gap at crosswalks, creating mid-block crosswalks and reducing the number of on-street parking spaces along some streets. Sidewalks would feature geometric patterns and be lined with an array of native trees and shrubs. A network of green bike lanes would connect at important intersections to create a 2.5-mile loop around Wynwood, and stretches of Northwest First Avenue and First Place would be converted into woonerfs.

Local Office’s woonerf concept for Northwest Third Avenue would create a single lane for cars, bicycles and pedestrians to pass through that would be closed to cars during major events. Two of the designs include environmentally conscious ideas that would blend elements of Miami-Dade’s Fairchild Tropical Gardens or the Everglades with Wynwood’s urban environment.

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Albert Garcia, vice-chairman of the Wynwood BID, said the woonerf could serve as a test run for future public spaces in the neighborhood. “We have a drought of public space,” Garcia said. “This woonerf, if properly executed, will be a draw into Wynwood.”

Some developers who attended the meeting, like Goldman Properties CEO Jessica Goldman Srebnick and One Real Estate Development president Marc Coleman, said the master plan needs tweaks.

Goldman liked the bike lanes, extending sidewalk curbs and the crosswalk designs, which she said reminded her of the Wynwood Building’s exterior paint scheme, a property her company owns. However, Goldman said the proposed master plan calls for too much greenery. “The landscape is too lush,” she said. “It felt for me that it needed a scaling back of the foliage.”

Coleman, whose company is building Wynwood Square, expressed concern that a dense landscape in Wynwood would diminish the neighborhood’s gritty character. “We are not Coral Gables and we are not Coconut Grove,” Coleman said.

Arquitectonica GEO and Local Office could present final versions of the master plan and the woonerf design this summer.