August 27, 2014
Wynwood is home to many of Miami’s startups, including LiveNinja, Learner Nation, Choose Digital and LAB Miami. There is no doubt that the neighborhood has gone through many changes and growth in the last few years, and as more business open so does more government regulations. So here comes the City of Miami Parking Authority, who in the last few weeks started implementing strict parking rules and ticketing vehicles in the heart of Wynwood overnight. Bad move.
Today entrepreneurs joined in the offices of LiveNinja for their weekly Waffle Wednesday Meetup to discuss with MPA leaders their plan to charge for street parking. Art Noriega, CEO of MPA, told a room full of entrepreneurs that, “Wynwood changes so much. This is a neighborhood where you need to adapt to change.”
The issue was brought up by Choose Digital’s CTO Mario Cruz in a post in The Starting Gate, where he stated Wynwood has so far been exactly that for many businesses, and more than 100 jobs have been created in the last year. Like most entrepreneurs in the neighborhood, he felt it was unfair and counterproductive to the economic development. Parking authority executives tried to explain that the flow of customers into Wynwood had increased to the point that parking fees were needed to open up more spaces for in-and-out traffic. Not only that, MPA had removed many monthly decal parking for employees in Wynwood and moved them to a not so safe area just outside.
After various meetings with local businesses, MPA decided to add the additional decal parking for monthly employees back to Wynwood except for a few high traffic areas to allow for more retail parking. Cruz reminded Noriega that this was a positive step but not enough.
“For us this is just the start. This neighborhood is important to the tech community. We want a solution that is cohesive. We want public transportation to come in to Wynwood and we want safety,” says Cruz.
Noriega urged startups to reach out to other key players in this debate, including landlords and the mayor of Miami to keep bringing sustainable efforts to create a neighborhood that fosters the startup community.
For now, after Sept. 1, drivers parking on the street in Wynwood will be required to pay $1.50 an hour and be limited to three hours in designated zones, according to the parking authority.
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