West Kendall Corridor study establishing new guidelines

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part report.

More than two years in the making, a 58-page West Kendall Corridor Planning Report was presented in draft form to residents on May 21, providing new development guidelines for Kendall’s “Main Street” in the West End.

“This document shows what the suburbs for safe family life can be in the future,” said Miami-Dade District 11 Commissioner Juan C. Zapata speaking to some two-dozen citizens at the West End Regional Library. “The plan will increase available spaces for business and commercial facilities along Kendall Drive and adjoining areas.

It was Zapata who initiated corridor planning in 2013 when he detailed a plan for a charrette that took place on Mar. 1, 2014, when more than 100 residents met with Miami-Dade County planners to sketch out ideas for future improvements along Kendall’s “Main Street,” west of SW 137th Avenue to the Everglades.

The corridor plan extends for one-half mile north and south of SW 88th Street for more than a 10-mile distance, providing extensive guidelines from transit and shopping centers to parks, new pedestrian trails and bike paths.

Major recommendations:
• Redevelopment of older shopping centers in the Kendale Lakes Plaza area;
• Provide bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks and/or additional landscaping;
• Require future Town Center DRI projects conform to CDMP land use;
• Adopt standards for more attractive business signage;
• Dedicate lanes for Bus Rapid Transit on Kendall Drive, and
• Require “mixed use” grid patterns, inter-connected canals and lakes, biking lanes, recreation areas in the Urban Expansion district.

A visual summary of the report’s extensive recommendations coupled with impressive before-and-after graphics of redeveloped street ways and shopping plazas was led by Jess Linn, principal planner for Miami-Dade Country Development Services.

Recommendations of the report are “intended to set general guidelines…not as a substitute for land development recommendations,” he cautioned, answering questions raised by West Kendall community activist Frank Irizarry about the plan’s impact on current land use and the potential movement of the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) outside agricultural areas.

In a historical note, the report said the corridor study area “is particularly interesting since it was among the first areas to experience large-scale development following implementation of the county’s first comprehensive plan in 1965.

“Its physical form exhibits many of the planning goals and policies established at that time which were intended to result in a largely low-density suburban pattern of development.”

The draft report will go next for review by the Planning Advisory Board for any additional recommendations before presentation for approval by county commissioners.

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