Art Noriega, CEO of the Miami Parking Authority, mingled with the crowd and then took part in a talk moderated by documentary filmaker Billy Corben and also including Mario Cruz, Choose Digital's CTO who kicked off the community debate with this Starting Gate post. You can get an idea about the issues the Wynwood tech and arts community are concerned about -- primarily safety but also parking accessibility, cost and lack of public transit options -- in the numerous comments on that post, too. In response to the debate, which has moved from online to the real world in community meetings, the MPA added more decal parking on certain streets.
"Art was very responsive in adding back some spaces," said Cruz, who also wrote a follow-up guest post here. "But we still face issues ... we need better transit, we need better security... and we want to be involved in the discussions. Tech is here to stay. In seven months, [tech companies] have created 100 jobs in Wynwood."
Noriega, who brought some of his staff and MPA board member Marlon Hill, noted that there are a lot of different needs -- short term parking, long term decal parking, accommodating peak hours. He also said the MPA is still figuring it out, and will tweak and modify the plans as needed, as it has already done with the decal parking. And he took a lot of questions. Among the answers:
* The long-promised, long-awaited DecoBikes is supposed to roll out by Oct. 1 but which sections fo town it will be available in first is unclear.
* Noriega said the MPA is involved in negotiating a couple of parking garages within Wynwood, and one is moving fairly quickly (though don't look for it before 2016). He said he learned the hard way from Coconut Grove that smaller spread-out parking facilities work better than one large one on the outskirts.
* Noriega said he would look into why the parking app only charges in increments of an hour. "we can certainly modify that." He also said the MPA is looking at extending the 3-hour limit on short-term parking in some places and hours.
* Noriega said the MPA would be doing away with the surcharges on the pay-by-phone in coming months.
* As to why Wynwood doesn't have a trolley stop, while that isn't under the MPA, Noriega said new stops and trolley expansion is being discussed in the city manager's office now and he recommended "getting in there now and pushing for Wynwood to be a piece of that .. reach out to Alice Bravo, the assistant city manager."
LiveNinja CEO Will Weinraub explained that LiveNinja's #WaffleWednesday grew organically, starting as a weekly team gathering when the startup moved into its larger space with a kitchen. Soon team members began to invite friends from other Wynwood businesses and as awareness of the fun event grew, now -- at least some weeks -- it has also evolved into a community platform to talk about issues. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado has been invited to next week's #WaffleWednesday -- no confirmation yet, however.
Posted Aug. 27, 2014