Group of cyclists


When I think about what makes a city great, people, culture, outdoor spaces, community events and transit top my list. Why transit? Because when you can move through a community, it’s more likely that you’ll plug into cool happenings and connect with folks. This year’s Public Space Challenge winners make it easier to do that.

The 2019 Challenge asked Miamians, “How might we improve moving around Greater Miami?” Hundreds of ideas came in, and we narrowed it down to 12 outstanding projects. They’ll share $250,000 to create, improve or activate sidewalks and crosswalks, bike lanes and bus stops, and waterways so that residents can get from point A to point B easier and safer. Target will generously support these ideas that encourage thriving and connected communities.

As a Miamian without a car, I’m especially looking forward to these projects coming to life. Here’s a sampling of how this year’s winners will improve mobility in Miami by making it easier to:

Ride a bike to get around town – Friends of the Commodore Trail with Florida International University students will widen, clean up and repave, then maintain, a part of the path in Coconut Grove. Over in West Kendall, a new community advocacy group will identify mobility needs, then implement signage and other solutions to make the area more bike-friendly.

Walk and jog safely in your neighborhood – A solar-activated, glow-in-the-dark pathway will illuminate a trail for Town of Miami Lakes residents to enjoy during the day and after dark. Similarly, Opa-locka Community Development Corporation and O, Miami have teamed up to bring poetry-projecting streetlight lampshades to unlit sidewalks in Opa-locka.

Try out waterways and alternative transit – The pilot ferry service, Dade Ferry, will connect Palmetto Bay with downtown Miami and Miami Beach via water. To incentivize use of transportation alternatives throughout Miami-Dade County, the Velocia app will integrate rewards points into the 2019 Challenge-winning projects.

Building a connected, vibrant community is what living in a big city like Greater Miami is all about. The Public Space Challenge helps you make it happen. If you’re interested in volunteering with any of this year’s winning ideas, reach out to our Challenge partner, Urban Impact Lab. They’ll connect you. I’ll see you out there, Miami … walking, jogging or on the bus – or ferry!

Chelsea Clark is programs and grants administration associate at The Miami Foundation.

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