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
- 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:
- Shady and leisurely
- A place to spread out your picnic blanket
- Of families and children playing
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
- Linkage (to the Boulevard)
- Defined edges
- Open spaces
Bay Walk Track:
- One Miami
- Hotel Intercontinental
- Bayfront Park
- East of (around) Bayside
- Under Port Blvd.
- FEC slip
- Pacel B, behind the AAA
- Miami Herald
- Sealine Marina
- Miami Women’s Club
- Pace Park
Image: Battery Park, NYC
Potential Sources of Project Funding:
- EDA Grants (to create access to Watson Island)
- Greenacres funding
- Tea 21 – ISTEA
- State Funds
- FDOT planning grant
- FLA waterways assistance
- Inland navigation assistance
- Trail grants
- 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