City of Miami Plans for Bay Walk

The Bay Walk promenade is one of those public space projects that is a sort of icing on the cake. It isn’t necessary for the vibrancy of the urban core, but it will improve Downtown’s image, link the Bay Walk to the Miami River Greenway, boost local business activity, increase the quality of life and provide more bay access to the public, as well as add another tourist destination.

There are several major residential high rises recently built and/or under construction that are within a very short walking distance from the proposed Bay Walk. Naturally, buyers in these complexes have a vested interest in the plan’s success. Through a property value standpoint, they are to benefit the most if it is built. The DDA’s report, produced by Projects in Public Places (PPS) and in part by Dover, Kohler, & Partners, does not include how the I-395 realignment would affect the Bay Walk plans nor does it include how the added park space generated by the demolition of the existing I-395 overpass would be factored in.

Design and Functionality:

There will be several paths that link the Bay Walk to nearby attractions and venues. These are critical to enhancing accessibility for pedestrians and the overall functionality of the promenade.


Approximately 15 to 20 feet wide and 3 miles long

Image: Toronto waterfront path dimensions and landscaping

Bay Walk features:

  • Pedestrian-scaled downward-facing halogen lighting
  • Landscaping incorporating a tree line canopy as well as awnings for shade in some areas
  • Multi-national flags
  • “Over look area” or observation deck with benches, plantings, kiosk, and binoculars. This deck could be cantilevered over the water and serve as a location for public art and a stop for the water taxi.
  • Benches and seating at nodes, corners, intersections, facing scenic views, around destinations and facilities.
  • Features will be bundled as much as possible: i.e.: a bench will be near a trash can, under a tree, and light.
  • Paving material other than asphalt is recommended. i.e.: crushed stone, crushed shells, small pea gravel, or other particulate material that promotes drainage, allows wheelchairs and strollers to roll unimpeded, but gives a softer feel to the foot.
  • Fishing pier in front of the Herald, which would also serve as a water taxi stop (proposed).
  • At-grade pedestrian drawbridges or floating bridges to connect Bicentennial Park to the FEC slip and to Bayside

Multi-purpose walkways:

  • Two types of walkways; One for biking, jogging, roller blading, and skateboarding, and the other for strolling.
  • Each pathway will be separated by a Belgian block border.

Image: Brooklyn’s Promenade Park


  • Security patrols on golf cart and Police patrols on bikes
  • Security Call Boxes
  • Rules of conduct postings throughout

A panel of citizens stated that they would like for the Bay Walk to be:

  • Touristy
  • Theme-park-like
  • Tropical
  • Shady and leisurely
  • Low-Key
  • A place to spread out your picnic blanket
  • Of families and children playing
  • Colorful

The Use of Parcel B behind the American Airline Arena:

This excellently situated county-owned water front parcel is directly on the Bay Walk path. There are several propositions for its use.

  • Restaurants such as outdoor bar and grill (too limited)
  • An outdoor market, farmer’s market, or collector’s market (not a bad idea, but redundant; considering Bayside Marketplace is nearby)
  • Bait and tackle shop for nearby marinas (terrible!)
  • -Dancing Ballroom and Square (Eh…I’m not sold)
  • An open area for T.V. events (like a visiting Today Show)
  • Science Museum Wildlife facility (they already have Bicentennial)
  • -Recreational activities pavilion (rent kayaks, skates, paddle boats). This would work if -Biscayne Bay were a quiet lake
  • Aquarium (this idea has been circulating for some time but is not in PPS report)

Image: Paris Plage


  • Space for temporary dockage of visiting boats and taxi service
  • Additional passenger rail access via Bicentenial station
  • Shuttle services from nearby transit stations to the Baywalk

Waterfront Promenade Models:

  • Paris, Plage
  • Toronto Waterfront
  • Battery Park, NYC
  • Promenade Park, Brooklyn
  • Venice Beach, CA
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Oxford, England
  • Riverfront Recapture, Hartford CT
  • Sydney, Australia

Key factors for success:

  • Pedestrian access
  • Sight lines
  • Upgrade Sea Walls
  • Comfort
  • Sociability
  • Linkage (to the Boulevard)
  • Defined edges
  • Destinations
  • Open spaces
  • Activities
  • Maintenance

Bay Walk Track:

  • One Miami
  • Hotel Intercontinental
  • Bayfront Park
  • East of (around) Bayside
  • Under Port Blvd.
  • FEC slip
  • Pacel B, behind the AAA
  • Bicentennial
  • I-395
  • Miami Herald
  • Sealine Marina
  • Miami Women’s Club
  • Pace Park

Image: Battery Park, NYC

Potential Sources of Project Funding:

  1. Federal
    • EDA Grants (to create access to Watson Island)
    • Greenacres funding
    • Tea 21 – ISTEA
  2. State Funds
    • FDOT planning grant
    • FLA waterways assistance
    • FRDAP
    • Inland navigation assistance
    • Trail grants
  3. Local Funding Sources
    • Adopt/name a piece of the bay front/Bay Walk
    • Adopt a bench (NAPCES)
    • Banners (Corporate sponsered)
    • BBRRCT $80,000 Bay Walk grant
    • City and County bond funds
    • Community foundations
    • CRA – $1 million to fund north end
    • Development impact fees
    • Florida family foundations and local philanthropists
    • Friends groups/membership organizations
    • General Obligations bond
    • Tourism Bond Tax
    • Miami Herald $180,000 walkway grant
    • Redirect $1.5 million for the overpass to the Bay Walk
    • Tourism Bed Tax
    • Venetian Causeway toll revenue


Filed under BoB Articles, Parks, The Big Picture, Transportation

14 responses to “City of Miami Plans for Bay Walk

  1. brad5720

    Does anyone know the status of the Miami River “Greenway” or “Riverwalk” that was so highly promoted a few years ago by the city and Miami River Commission but has recently seemed to lose much of its momentum? I suspect the current spotty development along the river has hampered the planning of a continuous, fluid pedestrian promenade. At one point all the proposed development would have been conducive to an impressive riverwalk but now so many projects have been pulled that the city is having a difficult time moving forward with the riverwalk feature. I know that many riverfront projects were approved/permitted with special conditions that obligated developers to construct portions of the riverwalk, dedicate green areas, abide by certain setbacks, etc. Now that many of these projects are dead, the riverwalk sections in that underlying real estate is effectively dead too, for the time being.

    • Sfq

      Grand Forks Guy! No offense taken. I enjoy reidang your blog, as well as Tu-Uyen’s. You both appear to be interested in business and make some very astute observations in your blogs.I would love to have lunch with you sometime and explain why your comments on the Grand Cities Mall are inaccurate. I won’t bore everyone with a detailed explanation here. Suffice it to say that traffic has increased considerably, the businesses there are doing well, and the property’s owners are extremely pleased.The presentation I gave to the board on Dec. 19 was primarily about space utiliztion (and was not in the final report). I don’t have your email, GFG, but I’ll send a copy to Tu-Uyen next week. I think you might find it interesting because it includes an action plan that would have the Riverwalk Centre nearly 100 percent occupied by the fall of 2007. I presently have a verbal commitment from five businesses who would occupy approximatly 75 percent of the Riverwalk Centre.I do enjoy everyone’s comments and suggestions, wherever and whenever they appear, and whether or not they are constructive. I developed a thick skin a long time ago, so don’t worry about being rude.On a final note: If you read my report then you know what I’ve done (or tried to do) in my life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my expiences, it’s that it’s a lot easier to tear something down than to build it. Nevertheless, I prefer to build!

  2. The river dredging is about the only obvious initiative I see progressing along the River. Some parks are getting refurbished, but you’re right, there isn’t much said or reported about the Riverwalk. Spotty development along the river has compromised uniformity but not the idea. That is the difference between the Bay Walk and the Riverwalk or Greenway. The Bay Walk, as planned, would go through quite a bit of park space and less private land. While the Riverwalk would have to go through a jumble of private developments. I’m following up on this as a continuation of this post. After all, in theory, they are connected.

  3. hi! thanks for the link.

    as for the riverwalk- it would be great to have something like that in miami. it really would help to make it a nicer place to live- encouraging people to get outside in a nice environment. as a runner, i would love to have an alternate to the boardwalk 🙂

    i worry, though, about the accessibility of the riverwalk if it’s blocked by all the proposed skyscraper condos.

  4. brad5720

    Accessability has been addressed–city approvals were subject to developers granting access easements (via sidewalks or open green areas) that often extend from the street to the riverwalk area. In theory, there will be mutliple public access points along those streets that are adjacent/parallel to the river, leading to the riverwalk area (another easement that all developers must grant).

  5. haroll

    this is what every major metro appreciates a place to cath fresh air and enyoy beautiful miami it is a go?

  6. haroll

    we really need spaces to walk, talk , and get out of our cars this has to happen we all the new construction and expected boost in population in downtown

  7. Funding has not been secured nor has the project gone out for bidding. The good thing is that the City has paid for some serious studies. Chances are these efforts will not go to waste. There is too much to gain from this project’s development. The Bay Walk will further revitalize the CBD and the M&E. That’s why its important for the public to know what’s being planned.

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  11. lorellis

    aguanten las lorellis!!

  12. I really liked being able to read your anwesrs to these questions! We received your Sarah Abraham thank you card in the mail and it is fantastic! I am very impressed by the paper and printing quality. I like it so much better in person than from the pictures of it on Etsy.Thanks!

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