David Beckham's MLS soccer team has finally locked in a site to build a stadium in western Overtown just a block from the booming Miami riverfront. However, those plans don't include a parking garage, and the group is hoping that existing parking in the area and nearby mass transit will suffice.
According to Barry Jackson's Sports Buzz, Beckham hopes to have the plans all settled and signed off on by June and will begin construction shortly after. However, one of the major sticking points seems to be the parking situation.
"I really don't know how you could possibly walk from Culmer," Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado tells Jackson. "I think it's too far."
The Culmer Metrorail Station is three blocks from Beckham's proposed stadium site. As the Next Miami points out, that's a five-minute walk.
The Miami trolley system also runs through the area, making stops on every block.There are also 7,000 existing parking spaces within a ten-minute walk of the site.
"One topic that has sparked discussion is that we are building a stadium without parking," Miami Beckham United spokesman Tadd Schwartz told the Miami Herald. "The fact is, Miami is becoming an increasingly urban city and soccer is an inherently urban sport in markets around the world, so an MLS stadium in the urban core is a natural fit. Our stadium will be within walking distance of downtown Miami, the Metrorail system, and the Miami River District, providing our fans multiple ways to arrive and plenty of restaurants and bars where they can spend time before and after matches."
Schwartz pointed out that the Miami Orange Bowl didn't have parking garages and did just fine.
Schwartz also says the team is considering adding shuttles and water taxis to transport fans on game days.
Granted, the plans still deserve scrutiny, but perhaps the tactic to take shouldn't be that Miamians can't walk five minutes. It's questioning whether enough would even take the Metrorail to begin with.