There was a well-attended BID meeting on Tuesday morning at The Grove Spot. It was planned for the merchants so that they could air their grievances, sort of like Festivus, but without the pole. There were about 100 people present.
The main concern is the Parking or lack thereof. Over 600 construction workers from all the construction sites have taken over street parking. They also have taken over garages, but street parking costs less than the garages so they take up all those spots first.
Chris Cobb, from Grass River, who co-owns CocoWalk came up with selfish idea claiming that since the street parking was less than CocoWalk's parking that perhaps Miami Parking Authority should raise the street parking metered rates, so that would get the Construction Guys off the streets into garages. Perhaps he can lower his rates at CocoWalk instead? People fired back claiming that CocoWalk's garages are dark and dingy and not pleasant. Sort of like Chris' idea.
I have noticed that early Saturday mornings when I would go to the gym, I was the only car parked on the street sometimes. It is not that way anymore. It's all taken up by these construction guys and it's hard to find parking at 7 am on a weekend! I see them parking and walking a block or so to their work sites.
People are still bitter over the sale of the Oak Street Garage. One side of the street is blocked to traffic now, which adds to our traffic woes, and of course valuable parking is gone. That garage was well used.
One issue talked about at the meeting was using empty lots in Village West and having construction workers park there and be shuttled back and forth. Many of the owners of the lots in Village West also own properties in Center Grove which are being developed and causing the parking problems, so there shouldn't be a problem with getting the rights to park in those empty lots.
At the end of a meeting a friend whose family built a condo in our neighborhood years ago, said that they did that with their construction guys. They shuttled them to our small neighborhood each day from a nearby parking site.
Another issue regarding parking was the post office lot. The lot is not open on off hours as it was in the past, where people could pay and park when the post post office is closed for the night. At the meeting, Ken Russell, District Commissioner, said that the post office makes more money booting cars than having people pay to park. He called that "predatory enforcement." It's a shame when the federal government makes money this way. He is going to try to have the booting company removed and the lot open again for metered parking by working with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on this federal issue.
Just the other day, a friend told me there was a ruckus in the post office lot because the booting company booted a car because the guy didn't leave his parking space fast enough. The guy came from the post office, he had letters in his hand, and he saw a friend, in the lot. So he stopped to say hello. And the booting company booted his car!
Is this what the Grove is turning into? A place where you cannot say hello to your friends and neighbors. Last I heard, the standoff was still going on, but I'm betting the booting company had to release the car on the grounds of being morons.
The Miami City Commission will decide Thursday whether to reduce the cost of booting for drivers going from $89 to $40 and the City wants a larger cut. So this might deter these booters if there is not much money in the booting after the decision on Thursday.