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)

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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.”

Belle Isle parking to get tighter; how to get guest parking tags as 9 Island Avenue construction begins

Belle Isle residential parking is Zone 14

Construction is expected to begin Monday on the lobby level parking deck at 9 Island Avenue, Belle Isle’s largest condo, and the result will be a tighter parking situation for everyone who lives on the island.

9 Island residents have been told that guests can’t valet park at the building until the work concludes. The project – which includes the parking decks and pool deck – is supposed to last a year.

Why the parking problem? As construction displaces unit owners from spaces, they will be diverted to spaces where the 9 Island valets used to park visitors. And that means visitors to the 274-unit condo must park in residential spaces around Belle Isle Park.

To park in a residential space, you need a residential permit on weekends and at night. Only on weekdays, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., can someone without a permit park in a residential space around Belle Isle Park. And trust us, most weekdays those spots are filled. The Miami Beach ticket brigade is pretty active in enforcing the residential zone.

So if you live in 9 Island and want a guest to visit you without being ticketed or towed, take a trip to the Miami Beach Parking Department, 1755 Meridian Ave., where you can buy hang tags good for one use.

The parking office is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Expect to wait about a half hour to be served.

Tags cost $1.07 each, and you can buy 10 of them a month. You can buy three months worth at a time, and each licensed driver in your condo is entitled to that quota.

To buy them, you will need to show a vehicle registration with your Belle Isle address, a driver license, and some kind of bill (no more than 30 days old) from your Belle Isle address. It can’t be a web-based printout.

South Beach Local stays on Belle Isle, but moves route to north side of the island

A new bus route around Belle Isle.

Starting today, the South Beach Local won’t be zooming around the tight turns on Belle Isle’s Island Avenue South.

Responding to suggestions from Belle Isle residents, Miami-Dade Transit has directed drivers of the commuter bus to change course and head west directly in front of Belle Isle Key Apartments and The Standard before looping back east to the SBL bus stop at Belle Isle Park.

Belle Isle residents have complained for more than a year about near-collisions will the buses, which always seemed too big to be careening around the half-circle of condos and parked parks on Island Avenue South.

According to Miami Beach interim Transit Manager Christine Bettin, the change is experimental; if buses find their path blocked on Island Avenue North by delivery and garbage trucks too frequently, they may not make the change permanent. But “if the detour operates smoothly, then this realignment will become permanent during the implementation of MDT’s June 2011 regional service changes.”

The county’s agreement to change the path cames a day after Miami Beach commissioners reinforced their commitment to the SBL stop on Belle Isle at the urging of representatives of the Belle Isle Homeowners Association. Thanks to Josh Fisher of Nine Island Avenue (and a key advocate of preserving the SBL stop), there is a video clip from that discussion.

On Thursday, at least one of the buses drove the new path as a test.

South Beach Local bus tests the new route (Photo by Josh Fisher)

Yippee! DecoBikes reach Belle Isle

DecoBikes on Belle Isle (photo by Josh Fisher)

It took almost two days, but DecoBikes finally delivered bikes to the Belle Isle station on Venetian Way.

Seven bikes were delivered Wednesday afternoon. Around the same time, we heard from DecoBikes HQ, and the swipe cards for monthly subscribers have arrived. So now, for $15 a month, you can grab a bike at our doorstep and ride across South Beach, leave it at another stop, and go about your business.

You can download an iPhone app to learn where the stations are (and how many bikes are there), or check the DecoBikes website.

Share your experiences when you share the ride. We’d like to hear about it.