Fort Lauderdale’s Misguided Plans For Future

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

Get used to huge skyscrapers blocking the sun.

Get used to crushing traffic jams.

Get used to lengthy lines everywhere from restaurants to Publix.

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale’s future, as envisioned by your elected politicians.

Word from Larry Barszewski in the Sun-Sentinel is that the population of downtown Fort Lauderdale “could grow eventually to more than 45,000.”

It was 8,200 in 2010 and there are already enough approved projects for it to roughly double.

Having 44,000 live in downtown Fort Lauderdale will negatively impact the entire city.

There are already portions of Fort Lauderdale where residents are unable to leave their homes at times because of the heavy traffic.

Why would anyone want to add to the problem? Did residents ask for any of this?

Fort Lauderdale once had a quaint downtown with a laid-back lifestyle. A lot of people like it that way.

Thanks to the developers’ lapdogs in City Hall, Fort Lauderdale is fast becoming a third-rate copy of every Sunbelt City from here to Richmond.

Those complaining about Marina Lofts because of a tree should turn their attention to the big picture.  They should see the forest growing up around them instead of one tree.

 

Miami: A Real City

 

Let’s compare Fort Lauderdale’s dream with Miami’s reality.

Miami’s 1.8 square mile downtown area, stretching from the Brickell financial center to the Arts and Entertainment area near the American Airlines Arena, contained 32,100 residents in the 2010 census.

There is a reason 32,100 residents want to live in downtown Miami.

Miami is a real city with all a city has to offer.

Key to Miami’s success is its role in international business (i.e., jobs), especially with Latin America.  This has attracted thousands of new residents, both part-time and full-time.

Miami has nationally-rated sports, performing arts and museums.  It is the financial centers for Spanish-speaking world.   It fronts on Biscayne Bay and is an easy drive on expressways to one of the hottest beach scenes in the nation – South Beach.  It has internationally renowned bars and restaurants nearby.

Miami is also easier to get around.  It is has direct exit/entrance ramps for two expressways, plus an elaborate bus system and two rail transit system – Metrorail and Metromover.

Fort Lauderdale?

Hmmmm.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale has restaurants and bars.  A decidedly small group, many unremarkable because they are branches of chains.

Oh, there are the arts.  Although the Performing Arts Center is first rate, there is little else.

Jobs? The number of employers in downtown Fort Lauderdale is minuscule compared to Miami. I would actually bet there are more good jobs within two miles of the Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise than in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Sports?

You’ll have to go to Miami or Sunrise.

Getting around downtown Fort Lauderdale is already a nightmare. Interstate-95 is roughly a mile away reachable only by driving on already crowded West Broward Broward across railroad tracks.

Transit?

Frankly, transit is one of those feel good and apple pie issues.  Until you start considering who will pay for it and ride it.

Nobody is getting out of their cars in steamy, rainy South Florida that doesn’t have to.

Given that lukewarm support, there is little chance voters will approve paying for transit when there are so many more important unmet needs.

A lot has been said about building transit on the Florida East Coast Railway serving downtown, but who is going to pay?  What happens to the Tri-Rail, which has already cost taxpayers more than a billion dollars?

Miami is lucky they built their transit system when money was flowing from the federal government.  That day is over.

So where does this leave downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Wishing, hoping and striving to be one of the Big Guys.

Why?  Why try to be just one more bland indistinguishable high-rise Sunbelt City?

City fathers should be happy protecting and building on what’s left of our unique lifestyle.  They should think twice before permitting any more units downtown.

 



10 Responses to “Fort Lauderdale’s Misguided Plans For Future”

  1. Whack-a-mole says:

    People bought expensive properties in the River House, alongside Bubier Park, for the ‘downtown experience,’ and then complain bitterly when any event in Bubier lasts past 10 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday evening.

    Fort Lauderdale is a bedroom community that doesn’t realize it — there is no reason to visit downtown Fort Lauderdale, even if you could get there by car, bus, or train. And more residents in the area just means it’ll be tougher to get out of town to enjoy yourself.

  2. Once Upon says:

    Fort Lauderdale should never resemble Austin or Portland. It is unique and should be kept unique.
    The empty River Walk restaurants and retails shops is a big indicator of why more should not be built. Fort Lauderdale beach has empty buildings, and the decision to build more with retail below is ridiculous.
    Unique business like the Riverside Market should be encouraged to do business here. They should not have to be dragged through the mill by a big buck political donor.
    Don’t let these five elected ruin the history of the river for a big buck investors. Make these 5 hold up the history of Fort Lauderdale and engage the residents that are here.

  3. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    This is what I do not understand. The Mayor keeps emphasizing growth(Seiler). Big, big bldgs., to a trolley service hooked up to an electrical wire , to transport people all over Downtown. Fine. First of all this so called tax , this 99.00 to charge the residents along the route is not needed. If we are going to get all this hustle/bustle, fine. Why should the resident who happens to live on the route be forced to pay for it? When they are not even going to ultilize this, but yet have to be forced to pay a hundred bucks per year? Come on. Charge say 25cent to 50 cent extra-tax the riders. I mean to shove this “wave” down the residents throat-there is no need. If again all these people are moving Downtown etc, then let the people that will take advantage of this pay, not the resident. This City manager doesn’t give a damn about the resident, only bringing in revenue. I don’t understand why he wants(yes) to raise your property tax, along w/ the “fire -assessment, to now this “wave Tax”.Do you realize Bubba(city manger-Lee Feldman)that if you get your way(Hell no) that these residents will get hit all @ once. And don’t forget the County’s e-911 tax. So again Mayor Seiler how do you jusify raising all these taxes @ once?? Mayor Seiler will state , first of all my parents hate you and (here we go) that we have one of the lowest mileage rate in the State. So raise them?? June 4 6pm @ City Hall. Residents be there……

  4. Ha Ha Ha says:

    “developers’ lapdogs in City Hall” – names please! Sunshine is the best disinfectant!!

  5. Duke says:

    If the county commission back in the early 90′s had a clue, that beautiful arena out in Sunrise would have been built downtown. But then Panther’s owner Wayne Huizenga convinced the commission that since 60% of his season ticket holders lived in west Broward, that’s where the arena should go. Big mistake. it’s a beautiful venue that is consistently one of the top 10 grossing arenas in North America. It should be in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale where Riverwalk is. It would have been very beneficial to other businesses in the area and downtown residents could walk to all those nicer events at the arena. People out west would have to come downtown to spend money. isn’t that the way it’s suppose to be. Only in south Florida do we build our arenas and stadiums out in the burbs.

  6. Duke says:

    Additionally, it’s funny to read about Ft. Lauderdale’s misguided plans for the future, when the reality is that the entire tri county area has always had misguided plans for the future. Just look at our infrastructure or lack thereof. We have a bunch of politicians down here with a “what’s in it for me” mentality. It’s almost impossible to get anything progressive or worthwhile done down here.

  7. Taxpayer says:

    @City Activist Robert Walsh-

    you are correct and I agree. But to ride The wave when complete will nOT be free. The ‘property assessments’ are to fund the construction (Hard and soft costs) to design and build the stupid thing. And if you know how efficient and competent the city (and county) is at that, you just have to look at Sistrunk improvements (millions over budget a year behind schedule with tons of drawings screw ups), the courthouse (millions over budget and a year late breaking ground), every fire station, park improvement, etc. City (and county) cannot and will not manage this project and will run out of money before finished.

  8. tell the truth says:

    I agree with Once Upon
    but of 5 electeds, 3 are attorneys and 3 votes are all that is needed to inflict long term damage and debt

  9. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    #7-”Taxpayer”. Everyone form the Feds on down laid down heavy($$). I mean I don’t think they have to charge the resident a hundred bucks/per yr. And if this “wave” is going to bring sooo many people Downtown” then tax the business’ along the route. Not the resident. I mean Ft.Lau resident . You business owners, haven’t a clue where you all live. All I am is concerned is that the resident isn’t be burden by this tax. And I do not care if this is only a hundred bucks a year Comm.Trantalis. By all means pay for it all Comm. The only increase should be the Fire assessment. W/ over 50 thou calls last year-I mean please.

  10. neverends says:

    and, then added to all that consider what will be heaped upon SoFl after the new run way adding an INTERNATIONAL airport, port dredging for massive ocean ships, Margarittaville Hollywood Beach , Dania’s reconstruction of downtown and the casino going into the fronton, the whole Hallandale Gulfstream and Dog Track casino charade and on and on with huge hiRises on all sections of our beaches well into Dade and Broward… traffic and jams have not even begun to realize the impact that seems to be torpedoing our way Add Vegas Style gambling which seems it may just be up our future road and it may be time to move to Alabama!!!

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