The latest plans for development of Virginia Key were presented to an attentive roomful tonight at the Museum of Science in Miami. The City of Miami's consultants rolled out an impressive array of ideas for Miami Marine Stadium and just about every other square foot of the barrier island that hasn't been built on or declared a nature preserve. I was relieved to hear that three miles of mountain bike trails are in the plans, along with a course for BMX competition and many multi-use paths for getting around without a car.
To my eye, there seemed to be an awful lot of parking, which isn't surprising considering the activities the planners had in mind: many new shops and restaurants, additional beachfront, a sports center with several fields for track, soccer, softball and baseball, a conference center, a campground and much more. Oh, yes, there are many nature walks and a wildlife observation tower or two, though if those athletic fields are to be lighted I don't know how many birds and beasts anyone will be able to see.
On one hand, all this stuff would be an improvement over the spoil banks on the key's North Point, but on the other, this design anticipates an awful lot of motor traffic. Is that really what the city wants for its dwindling stock of open space?
An earlier version of the plan was aired in August, and can be found here. The newest will be posted soon, I am told.