Urban Resilience with Blue and Green infrastructure
The benefits of Blue and Green infrastructure include conserving ecosystem values and services, beautifying communities, mitigating flooding and more. It is not about a particular style but is based on the concept of reducing waste and using resources efficiently. I support the concept as it incorporates the natural environment and engineered elements.
Making Transit a Policy Priority
Two bicyclists passed away this month… one on the MacArthur Causeway and the other on the Venetian Causeway.
This is a common trend. Oftentimes, aggressive, impatient drivers can affect the life of a cyclist in a split-second. In fact, there’s been numerous times where cars have hit me with their side-view mirrors. Bicyclists are getting hit because there’s little space to ride. There’s little chance to react or get out of the way. A cyclist always loses these encounters.
We need to continue to further protect the roadways. It’s time to further commit to transportation transformation and further embrace exciting opportunities to make transit better now. When cities invest in building safe spaces, autonomous mobility options work.
As a city of the Future, Miami Beach’s comprehensive bike and pedestrian plan is leading the way. The sections on West Avenue featuring bike lanes nestled between sidewalk and parked cars is a great safety buffer for cyclists. The green bike lanes on the Venetian Causeway now serve as a clear visual of the “share the road” approach.
The lanes make cyclists feel safer while signaling to drivers and pedestrians that bicycles also have a right to the road. Bicycle repair stations are also set up in South Beach at Washington Avenue and 11th Street and in North Beach at Ocean Terrace and 73rd Street and more.
Let’s continue to further make transit a policy priority.
An Opportunity to Further Connect
Miami Beach cannot wait another 20 years for our city’s transit system to reach that of the modern era.
I strongly support the idea of a public/private partnership to bring the monorail project that links with Miami Downtown, Virgin Trains/Brightline, and the Miami International Airport. It is an opportunity to truly bring the next generation of travel to Miami Beach. Genting has a global reputation for sophisticated development projects. Poor connectivity to the rest of South Florida translates to poor connectivity to the world.
The stage is set for a new narrative for Miami Beach.
A New Narrative
Miami Beach is well positioned to become a hub for highly successful scale-up companies that create ample wages for the entrepreneurs and their employees.
Technology companies in the last two decades have shared the great wealth with the teams that built the company.
A healthy, sustainable and economically diverse community is one where residents are more than just getting by, but are thriving. An opportunity for Miami Beach to thrive is to further support current and future residents in building and scaling innovation enterprises.
The Kaufmann Report identified Miami as the “Number 1 Startup City” to the “Number 1 Scale-up City.” Innovation centers like Buro, WeWork, and Pipeline are good examples of new economies in our region. This added economic diversity can aid with employment, higher wages and make it less volatile, as measured by changes in employment and number of jobs.
Innovation, not just Stimulation
Is Ultra Music Festival good for Miami Beach’s long-term legacy? It fills an immediate need for “heads in beds.” Is it building Miami Beach’s long-term goals?
As a city with a rich history over 100+ years, we must focus on strengthening our image as a “sophisticated brand.” The city has matured to know what works for our residents and visitors. We can shape our city’s destiny. This means not just accepting short-term wins, but rather trading-up for a new wave of decision making starting with a long-term focus of building “sustainable tourism”.
Large events of this caliber affect our city’s:
- Public Beaches
- Natural resources
- Our public-service officers
- Sanitation and safety services
- Quality of life and more
I understand the challenges and the situation we all face as a community.
Let’s build a smarter direction for hosting potential events in our city… events that uphold and refine our brand image and make our city stronger, healthier, and economically robust.
All events deserve a conversation at the table and the diversity of people and thinking. is encouraged. Let’s move in the direction of strengthening the cultural tapestry of what defines Miami Beach as an international city for business and entertainment. The city has a proud hospitality sector. Let’s support services and businesses that can further attract more businesses, while also maintaining a quality of life for residents and visitors.
We have the opportunity to shape the destiny for our “city of the future.” It begins with smarter tourism.
2019 marks a pivotal point in moving the needle to make smarter decisions to say yes to a new type of economy focusing on attracting international businesses, entrepreneurs, and making Miami Beach a destination for innovation, not just Stimulation.
Protecting Ecology and Achieving Economic Goals
Miami Beach’s unique geography makes the city vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels. It is a long-term problem that all acknowledge exists and may threaten to worsen.
Miami Beach has seen the costs of decades of inaction on sea level rise first hand from flooded streets, damaged infrastructure, and crushing losses for small businesses. Some stores are looking to shift some of their revenue opportunities to be online, or opening in other locations that are not in a flood zone. In response, a series of emergency actions were presented to our community with the choices to either protect and preserve the local economy or sacrifice the health of Biscayne Bay.
We must make sure combating sea level rise does not come at the expense and health of our bay. As Miami Beach commissioner, I will work to implement Miami Beach’s aggressive Stormwater Master Plan that both protects property and natural resources, by incorporating the following changes:
- Filters for water pump stations
- Regular testing for bay water quality and turbidity levels made publicly available on the city website
- Preservation of sea-grass beds and corals
- Review the maximum rate of floodwater discharged into the bay deemed to be safe
Millions of our precious corals, a vital component of our marine ecosystem, are perishing at an alarming rate. According to Science Direct’s “Marine Pollution Bulletin, sediment covered 50–90% of adjacent reefs, 560,000 corals within 0.5 km of the channel were lost due to dredging and dredging has impacted corals and reef habitat at least 2.5 km and possibly greater than 10 km away.
If sea level rises to suppress property valuations, there will be less public money to address the risk. It is wise to accelerate investments in storm-water drainage improvements now. There is a tax base to afford it now—something that one may not necessarily be able to count on in the future.
We must not be doom and gloom about flooding. There is hope when there’s momentum to change.
My name is Jonathan Welsh and I am running for the Miami Beach Commission, Group #5 in the next citywide elections on November 5, 2019 and I need your support.
Please help by making a donation to my campaign.
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