Why Pedestrian Promenades Are So Important

October 4, 2017



By Pola Bunster

“If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.”

– Fred Kent, Project for Public Spaces

As a bustling multi-cultural hub, Miami is growing in many directions and some of those will impact what our city looks like for years to come. Whether it’s infrastructure or culture related, we can all definitely agree that having a place to go experience what makes our city so great is essential for that identity to remain preserved. That’s why public spaces where pedestrians can roam free are so important and why we’ve championed these kinds of projects from the Downtown Development Authority’s Biscayne Green to the highly-anticipated Giralda Plaza made possible by The City of Coral Gables and the Business Improvement District of Coral Gables.

When our city begins to show us that pedestrians are more important than cars, we all feel more free to discover its vibrancy at any given moment. Promenades like the upcoming Giralda Plaza foster streets and places and turn vehicle traffic into foot traffic. It might take some time for people to get used to the changes in flow or not being able to use their favorite traffic shortcuts, but in the end it’s all about investing in a place to go to, not through.

Photo by Blog of Civinomics

 

Once people have a destination, it then begins to take root and that’s where you can hear the heart of a neighborhood pump. A busy gathering space not only adds to the general safety of an area, but it changes the way everything around it grows. Surrounding businesses go from being normal brick & mortars to a valuable characteristic lending to the entire personality of the promenade, seeing noticable differences in profit and growth. Pedestrians eventually even feel welcome to stay long after businesses have closed for the day.

When the pedestrian-friendly avenue becomes a well-known place of life and movement, the entire city begins to shift as a place where accessibility is not only possible, but real. Promenades like Giralda, Las Ramblas in Barcelona, or even Lincoln Road develop into a destination for absorbing community and experiencing the true identity of a city’s culture. Happenings, neighborhood events, local vendors, these all find a home and help add to these promenades becoming the center of the city’s directional compass.

Photo by The Sun

If you can’t already see, we’re extremely excited for Giralda Plaza to open, and so are The City of Coral Gables and the Business Improvement District of Coral Gables. To celebrate the momentous occasion, we’re throwing a huge grand opening on Friday, October 13th featuring live performances by Spam Allstars, Patrick & The Swayzees, and Jacob Jeffries. Plus pop-up activations and all the delicious eateries that call Giralda home every day. This isn’t just a game-changer for Coral Gables, this will transform Miami as a whole.