Category Archives: Belle Isle Park

The center of island life in words and photos.

Belle Isle residents to discuss traffic, development issues

Belle Isle residents will get updates on a variety of public and private construction projects on and around our island when the Residents Association meets Tuesday night.
Among the items on the agenda:
— We’ll learn the latest timetable for switching the toll collection on the Venetian Causeway to Sunpass, and how that may affect annual pass renewals, which happen each May.
— The Florida Department of Transportation will provide an update on the Alton Road construction project, which has disrupted traffic throughout the east side of Miami Beach.
— The city will report on the sulphur odor on Belle Isle and around the park, as well as the park landscaping.
— The city will explain the delays on the Collins Canal bikepath, a partially completed project that was due to be finished last year. The pathway is mostly done, but lighting and landscaping are not.
— We’re get a report on the Sunset Harbour pumping station project, designed to reduce flooding in that neighborhood.
— The Belle Isle Residents Association will update several development projects near us — the 17th Street Marriott Residence Inn, proposed apartment on Belle Isle at the Belle Isle Key apartment location and a proposed parking expansion and renovation at The Standard.

The meeting happens at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Ave. There is a meet and greet at 6 p.m. and the meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Sent from my iPad

Belle Isle scenes from Miami Marathon 2014

The runners came dressed for success

The runners came dressed for success

It was a warm and wonderful Sunday on Belle Isle, and some 25,000 runners crossed our island, pursuing personal milestones. Volunteers gave them water and Gatorade and we cheered them on….(Thanks to Belle Isle’s Steve Neifeld for the photos)


DecoBikes is back asking for ads on kiosks

DecoBikes on Belle Isle. Advertising would go on the lime green device.

DecoBikes – Miami Beach’s popular bicycle sharing program – has stretched from South Beach to North Beach, bringing praise to Miami Beach from urbanists to tourists.

But the DecoBikes vendor, which bid on a program it said would be sustained by user revenue, is back at City Hall for the second time since the program launched, asking for permission to sell advertising on the bike rental kiosks.

This time, it looks like approval of some kind of advertising scheme is likely. It’s being recommended by the city administration and the City Commission approved it on first reading last week.

DecoBikes started its service in March 2011. In July, it asked for permission to place ads 7 feet by 2 feet on the lime green devices where you check out bikes. The city first delayed a decision until September, and then said no.

In the meantime, DecoBikes expanded its service from South Beach to Middle and North Beach. In much of the Beach, there’s a DecoBike station every few blocks. It operates 83 stations with 850 bicycles, and plans to install 27 more stations during the next three months.

The company says it lost $387,561 during 2011. It projects a loss of $76,500 for this year, despite increasing ridership and revenue.

DecoBikes does sell ads on the bicycles themselves; currently the baskets on the bikes features an ad for the W hotel on South Beach.

In the administration’s analysis of the issue, City Manager Jorge Gonzalez noted that when the city planning staff held workshops on kiosk advertising last year, “a majority of people who spoke at those meetings were opposed to any kind of advertising on the Deco Bike kiosks….some individuals stated that the matter should be reconsidered after one year of operation and after the city audits the books to verify whether advertising revenue is necessary to make this program financially viable.”

The recommendation from the Miami Beach administration would allow advertising on 40 of DecoBikes kiosks, which it estimates would generate about $211,200 in advertising (after the city takes a cut of $57,600). The ads would be a minimum of 22 inches by 48 inches on each of the 40 kiosks.

A public hearing on the proposal will take place July 18.

What do you think?

Belle Isle morning brings sun and rainbows — really!

Rainbow over 9 Island Ave., Island Terrace and Terrace Tower.

Courtesy of FOB (Friend of Blog) Josh Fisher.

Should Decobike racks (like on Belle Isle) include advertising?

DecoBike rack on Belle Isle, near the bus shelter.

The folks behind the Decobike bicycle sharing program say that despite widespread use of their two-wheelers — and you see folks riding the bikes all over South Beach — the program isn’t generating enough revenue for it to expand to mid-Beach and North Beach.

They say allowing advertising on the rental kiosks will do the trick. There are Decobike stations almost every three blocks on South Beach, including one on on Venetian Way in Belle Isle Park. It’s easy to count 50 in the general South Beach/Sunset Harbor area right now. The ads would be 7 feet by 2 feet in size.

They would translate into a lot little billboards. The city commission couldn’t decide what to do about the issue in July, and referred Decobikes request to the commission Finance and Citywide Projects Committee. The item comes up this Wednesday, Sept. 14 — though the committee hasn’t made a recommendation yet.

A group called Scenic Miami, which is active on billboard and signage issues acround Miami and Miami Beach, is advocating against the ads. They say the city needs a better solution than adding advertisements to what will end up being 100 different locations around Miami Beach.

Herb Frank, a Belle Isle Homeowner Association board member, is active with Scenic Miami. A letter circulated by Herb and wife Barbara says:

Although community support for the Decobike rental initiative is growing, the failure of the program to meet its revenue targets should be addressed in ways other than the  city authorizing advertising on the kiosks.  Advertising on kiosks would be an eyesore, not only for those located on residential streets and in parks, but also in commercial areas, where this would be a visual detriment to already cluttered streetscapes.

In an editorial in late July, The Miami Herald advocated a different position:

Revisit the contract and each side give a little. Agree to smaller ads? Maybe in fewer locations? The city kicks in a small subsidy?

Just keep this smart and popular program rolling.

The commission meets Wednesday after 6 p.m.What do you think? Leave a comment.

Magazine calls Belle Isle “best hidden neighborhood”

The New Times Best of Miami 2011 issue is out, and in the City Life section, it singles out our island as “Best Hidden Neighborhood.”

It praises our park, our views, our quiet and The Standard. Oh, and it mentions the J.C. Penney estate. We think someone read the Belle Isle Blog!

From the nugget: “…unlike its stuffy, rich-kid siblings, it marries the Venetian’s quiet, exclusive vibe with a more bohemian, South Beach cool.”

You can find it on page 25 in print, or…..

Watching out for Belle Isle

A good look at Belle Isle Park

Belle Isle Park from above.

For residents, there’s a lot to like about Belle Isle Park, now that the landscaping has stabilized from the 2007 renovation project and both fenced-in dog runs are open.

Jim Harper, who writes for the monthly Biscayne Times, notes his impressions  of the park in the May issue, giving it 3.5 out of a possible five palm trees and saying  “Belle Isle Park offers a little shade, a little grass, and a winding road of relaxation.”

He doesn’t exactly love our island: “Belle Isle Park’s 3.3 acres sit in the middle of a circular condo canyon so tightly packed that sunrise and sunset must pry their way into the circle. It’s enough to give you vertigo.”