I remember attending the Miami Grand Prix races on Biscayne Boulevard and Bicentennial Park (now Museum Park) in the mid-1980’s. In 2015, I attended the Miami ePrix. Neither series was without controversy, but I have to admit, they were exciting!
And now downtown Miami may be hosting Formula One Grand Prix street racing starting October 2019.
“With the unanimous votes at both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee, we are very pleased to have received preliminary approval towards bringing a Formula 1 Grand Prix to Miami. We recognise that this is only the start of the process and we will immediately get to work with the various community stakeholders, the City of Miami, the Port of Miami, Bayfront Park Management Trust and others, in order to reach a final agreement. Formula 1 in Miami represents a fantastic opportunity to bring the greatest racing spectacle on the planet to one of the world’s most iconic cities, and we are delighted that the journey is underway.”
The proposed track will run along Biscayne Boulevard from NE 3 Street to NE 8th Street, around the AmericanAirlines Arena, across Port Blvd, then back to Biscayne Boulevard. This track will require that Biscayne Boulevard is closed to all traffic for the three days of the race, plus several days before and after; and will impact access to Bayside Marketplace as well as residential condominiums as far west as NE 2 Avenue.
As I said, I loved the Miami Grand Prix during the 1980’s. But downtown Miami’s full time residential population has nearly doubled just since 2000. In the 1980’s, virtually no one lived in downtown Miami, so the road closures and noise were not a large concern.
As Cristina Palomo, president of the Downtown Neighbors Alliance, wrote to the City of Miami:
“Undeniably Formula One is a world class event that can potentially bring a large economic impact to the city of Miami. However, past races such as the Formula E held in 2015 have presented many problems, among them security issues, lengthy traffic disruptions, street closures, and total disruption of pedestrian access to parks and even crosswalks during long setup and tear down periods.”
I love the Grand Prix, but is downtown Miami ready for a 10-year commitment to it?