Yesterday, the normally sleepy Miami-Dade County commissioners were downright joyous. It was like watching a bunch of hapless nerds finally get the attention of a cool kid, and that cool kid happened to be named David Beckham, and he totally wanted to hang.
"Go, soccer!" Commissioner Juan Zapata bellowed. "Go, MLS!"
Everyone was in agreement. The county will begin negotiations to lease public land to Beckham et al., who will build a gargantuan, 25,000-seat soccer stadium. The most likely spot? PortMiami. There's just one little problem: It's a terrible place for a soccer stadium.
The proposed stadium would constitute one prong among many in the development of the port into a playground for the world's elite. There will be a hotel, offices, and something called a "mega-yacht facility." But the crowning jewel will be Beckham's stadium.
The issues with this proposal are manifold, but almost all of them can be encapsulated in one world: traffic. The only way to access PortMiami is by Port Boulevard via NE Sixth Street -- which also happens to be the busiest spot in the entire city. Take a closer look.
What's that red circle? Hell. That's traffic hell. Because right above that red circle also happens to be American Airlines Arena, which seats 19,600 and makes Biscayne Boulevard impossible to navigate several nights of the week. (Funny how dozens of limos parked out front, clogging up every lane but one, will do that.) You've experienced driving along this stretch of road and have hated it.
Now, take that experience and multiply it by an additional 25,000 soccer fans -- unless of course most of them will arrive at the stadium via the "mega-yacht facility." But even that option might prove frustrating, because weekends, when soccer games occur, are also the busiest yachting days.
According to the Miami Herald, Beckham has targeted PortMiami because other MLS cities have had had success attracting crowds when their stadiums are built in urban centers -- and near mass transit.
Other cities are not Miami, the most car-obsessed city in America. And, um, what mass transit? The trolley and Metromover? And forgo one's BMW? Not a chance.
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"If we think in a traditional manner, then there's going to be some challenges on the transportation," Alyce Robertson, director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority, told the Herald in November.
If you know more, send your story tip to author, Terrence McCoy.