Buskerfest Busks at Dusk

December12,20144:00 pm — 9:00 pm

Buskerfest Miami 2014
Buskerfest Miami Street Performance Festival returns to Downtown Miami on December 12th. From 4-8pm, local musicians, theater groups, comedians, acrobats, dancers and more will be showcasing their talents at ground level of the Metromover Inner Loop stations. The final performance and wrap-up party begins at 8pm at the Tina Hills Pavilion in Bayfront Park. Guests will be treated to a feature performance by local hip-hop fusion powerhouse Dangerflow with support from The Alt Default, one of three “best bands” of Buskerfest Miami 2013.

The event is FREE for attendees and offers a unique opportunity to meet the local performance community and revel in the diversity of Miami’s culture. Attendees can pick up a Buskerfest passport at any stop to track their travels, select their favorite act of the night, enter a raffle and cash in on deals and discounts offered by downtown businesses, restaurants and bars.

Buskerfest Miami is a collaborative organization dedicated to improving civic life through public street performance. The Buskerfest Miami Street Performance Festival is generously supported by the Miami Foundation, the Miami Downtown Development Authority and Tiliarts, part of the Tilia Family of Companies. For more information, please visit buskerfestmiami.com

RSVP on Facebook or Meetup

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Posted in Announcements, Events

Stuffed from Thanksgiving Turkey? You’re Lucky: Anti-Public Feeding Ordinances Hurt the Homeless

Problematic historical origins, gluttony, and commercialization aside, Thanksgiving is about appreciating what you have and giving back to those who have less, which is why laws like Fort Lauderdale’s ordinance against sharing food outdoors need to go before they inspire politicians in Miami and elsewhere to follow suit.

You may have heard about this ordinance from news stories about 90-year-old Arnold Abbott, who has faced arrest and received multiple citations for violating the ordinance and giving out food to the homeless in city parks.

The public justification for these laws is that they will actually benefit the homeless, by requiring washing facilities and toilets as well as the ability to maintain exact food temperatures. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler claims that he wants these feeding programs to move indoors and get permits.

The real reason seems to be, however, that upper-class developers and business owners believe that homeless individuals’ disheveled appearance will scare away potential patrons (it’s important to note that Fort Lauderdale also passed an ordinance allowing police to confiscate property left in public spaces). After all, retrofitting a simple truck or van to meet these standards is beyond the means of most of the small nonprofits doing this work. Not to mention that the vast majority of commercial food trucks don’t meet these standards, but they seem to be excluded from these regulations because they attract paying customers.

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Posted in Announcements

It Takes a Village to Build a Sea Level Rise App Or, “I Am Not a Scientist, But I, Too, Can Understand Climate Change”

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My parking lot on a floody day earlier this year.

I grew up in Southwest Florida in the 1970s and 1980s, a long time before there was any talk of sea level rise or climate change. We never saw a major hurricane. Hurricane Andrew, the “big one” that hit Miami, didn’t arrive until 1992. I moved to Manhattan in the late 1980s, where I lived for 18 years, and then to Philadelphia, where, in 2012, we were completely unaffected by Hurricane Sandy. I returned to South Florida in 2013, never having experienced a major weather event.

The September day I arrived at my North Miami Beach apartment, the skies were clear. It started to rain when then the movers came. Two hours later, my car was sitting in six inches of water.  I thought it was a fluke. Then it happened again. And again. And again. Fall 2013 was very rainy, and I learned to watch the weather so that I could move my car out of the flooded areas of my parking lot if necessary. What was happening?

My colleagues at FIU, Juliet Pinto and Kate MacMillin, had just completed their award-winning documentary, South Florida’s Rising Seas. “It can be a sunny day, and we can have a week, two weeks of a lot of water,” Miami Beach resident Christine Florez says in one of the film’s most memorable passages. I told them about my parking lot. They thought it might be related to climate change.

Climate change? In my parking lot?

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Write to your Commissioner about the Dangerous Railroad Crossing at Northeast 19th Street and North Miami Avenue!

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There is an unbelievably hazardous railroad crossing downtown. Neither the Florida East Coast Railroad, nor Miami-Dade County will take responsibility for the problem. The tracks catch bike tires, which results in serious injuries. For more than two years, Emerge has been contacting commissioners, representatives of FEC and anyone else who will listen to address this problem. We even started a separate website, Project Ouch, to draw attention to these Tracks of Doom.

Help us engage our commissioners!  Please write to your commissioner about making our streets safer. You can easily look up your commissioner’s contact information at the MiamiDade.gov website. We’ve even drafted a sample letter for you to send.

Dear Commissioner _________________,

I am writing to you regarding a particularly dangerous crossing for bicyclists and wheelchair-users at NE 19th St and N Miami Ave. Essentially, the track crosses the road at such a severe angle that bicyclists must dangerously cut into an active lane of traffic in order to avoid their wheels getting caught in the tracks. It has already resulted in dozens of injuries, some requiring hospitalization and rehabilitation.

To see pictures of the danger that faces members of your community, please go to http://projectouch.wordpress.com.

Over the past two years, members from the cycling community have had an ongoing discussion with county Public Works and the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) to try to resolve the problem. The FEC concluded that no inexpensive short term fix could be implemented prior to the larger “All Aboard Florida” (AAF) construction project. We are asking, at a minimum, for synthetic track inserts to be implemented at this intersection.  These inserts have been effective elsewhere in minimizing danger to cyclists and wheelchair-users.

Jose Gonzalez, Vice President of Corporate Development for the FEC explained that he would do everything possible to prioritize that crossing once the larger development starts, but I wanted to re-emphasize with you that by not instituting a short term fix, the risk of more serious injuries is real.

I’d appreciate any help you can provide in resolving this situation. We’ve made little headway in two years on the matter and I think we all want to see it resolved most expediently.

Kind Regards,

Posted in Petitions

Miami’s Best Kept Secret: The Ludlam Trail

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Public art along the Atlanta Belt Line

A 10 mile-long rail trail in Boston, called the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, provides a scenic commuter route to 1,200 cyclists and pedestrians each day–that’s at least 8,400 trips per week. In Boulder, Colorado, a city where 10% of commuters ride a bike to work, the 7.5 mile-long Boulder Creek Path transports even more people to work, to school, and to fun places every day. A repurposed railway in Atlanta, called the Belt Line, connects dozens of neighborhoods and businesses that would have otherwise remained disconnected. The Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis, a 5.5 mile-long “bike highway” carries an astounding 4,000-5,000 people to their daily destinations. Other examples include the Los Gatos Creek Trail in San Jose, California, the Lake Monona Bike Path in Madison, Wisconsin, the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia, the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway in New York City as well as several others in Chicago, Portland and Austin too.

Here’s the great news: Miami is this close to having a bike greenway that would rival any of the examples listed above. The Ludlam Trail is a 6.2 mile-long abandoned rail corridor that travels from the Miami airport to Dadeland in Kendall, in a straight and uninterrupted line. While it has been envisioned to become a transit route in the past, it is currently vacant. More recently, the county Parks Master Plan outlines a vision that involves a continuous bicycle and pedestrian trail that would connect people to all of the places they need to go, without having to get into their cars. In a city that has been starved for alternate transportation networks, the Ludlam Trail is a hidden gem.

Here’s the disappointing news: on November 19, the Florida East Coast Industries (FECI), the current landowner of the 100-foot wide Ludlam Trail, is scheduled for a hearing with the county commission. The FECI seeks an amendment to the comprehensive plan that will include a density increase and a new designation for the property. The increased density is not the problem. The fact that there is no plan illustrating how or where the increased density is intended to be located is the problem. There is no plan showing the location of the trail, leading most to wonder if it will even exist amongst all of the new development. If the comprehensive plan amendment is approved, FECI will have been granted permission to build 80% more apartments, townhouses and houses, but without being asked to commit to any clear plan for what would be located where—and without even proving there will still be enough space for a real bike trail. Further, public input has been largely ignored, like it often is when it comes to new projects in our city.

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The Atlanta Belt Line converted old railway into a shared use path that will connect dozens of Atlanta neighborhoods. Imagine what this kind of project could do for Miami!

In Miami, we’re growing and change is inevitable. To be clear: this post is not an anti-development rant, but is instead a plea to develop in a smart and sustainable way. A plea to recognize an asset as valuable as the Ludlam Trail corridor, and create a plan for the property that includes a state-of-the-art bike greenway, just like every other major city in the United States has done (even the ones with really cold winter weather).

If there is going to be a legal change in the comprehensive plan (an ordinance that regulates our built environment), members of the community that have to live with these changes deserve an opportunity to contribute input. More than 1,000 people move to Florida every day and Miami Dade County is the most populous county in the state. Our roads are beyond congested and advocates have demanded other options for travel. For example, during the public process for the Seven50 regional plan for southeast Florida, more than 1,750 people actively participated in a poll concerning future development in the region. With four potential scenarios to choose from, the participants overwhelmingly chose the option where transit, bike networks, and pedestrian facilities are the primary method for moving around the region.

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Posted in Announcements

Emerge Miami’s Fourth Annual Mustache Ride

November08,201410:00 am

Movember Ride 2014
Join us for another year of bike flair facial hair as we ride from Coconut Grove Station around town. Wear your best lip ferret and help us raise donations for Team Emerge Miami in this year’s Movember fundraiser for researching a cure for men’s cancer.

RSVP on Meetup or Facebook.

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Posted in Events

Wanted: Young Creative Types Looking to Build Civically Engaged City

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One of the main stereotypes about Miami is that it’s a place meant for parties instead of professionals, and that 20- and 30-somethings looking to make something of themselves should leave for NYC, LA, or Silicon Valley.

Given this bad rap, what in the world would drive a young professional to move to Miami? Read Emerge Miami member Austin’s post on the Miami Herald’s Starting Gate blog and find out!

It turns out that there may be more opportunity than meets the eye–after all, why shouldn’t a city where you can get a cafecito 24 hours a day be a start-up hub? And while Miami is nowhere near perfect, there are many organizations (like us!) working to make it a better place.

Posted in Announcements
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