The alluring rendering above represents a visionary snippet of "MyCalle8," a bold transformation of the one-way Calle Ocho corridor into complete two-way roads booming with bikes and foot traffic, breathing life into one of Miami's most iconic streets.
The pro-bono vision launched by design firm PlusUrbia last summer continues to build momentum while the Florida Department of Transportation -- who has money earmarked to upgrade the historic street -- is launching a $2 million study this month to redesign Southwest 8th and Southwest 7th street between Southwest 27th Avenue and Brickell Avenue.
MyCalle8 has garnered the support of three past or present Miami Mayors, per PlusUrbia: current Mayor Tomas Regalado, former Mayor and author Manny Diaz, and Xavier Suarez, a previous Mayor and current Miami-Dade County Commissioner.
PlusUrbia got the idea for the domino crosswalks in the portion of MyCalle8 pictured above from a stakeholder at last Friday's Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays event named Mauricio Villasuso. It pays homage to a Calle Ocho trademark in nearby Domino Park (Maximo Gomez Park).
"The main concept is having a two-way street with parking and bigger sidewalks," says PlusUrbia Design Director Juan Mullerat, also a Little Havana resident. "I mean who doesn't what that? It was a slam dunk because once we put that project out with those images, everybody loved it."
Every merchant they've spoken to except for one is in support of their concept. It's important to recognize that PlusUrbia's vision is not meant to clash with FDOT's plans, but rather help them by highlighting the desires of its longtime residents.
"We are trying to build community support needed to empower FDOT to design a great Calle8," Mullerat emphasized.
Today the corridor is a mini highway, providing hazardous conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. FDOT's priority in South Florida should not simply be about improving traffic flow but erasing cars off the road by improving Miami's lagging public transportation system.
It'd pave the way for the revival of streets with historical and cultural significance like Calle Ocho.
A safer Calle Ocho makes for a better Miami.
To find out more information about MyCalle8 including the signing of their petition, visit their website.