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Miami race runs into trouble

NEWS STORY
30/10/2019

Yesterday's meeting of the board of county commissioners at Miami-Dade's City Hall saw F1's hopes of a race in Miami suffer a further blow.

Two resolutions were passed, and though they have yet to be approved by Miami-Dade County mayor, Carlos Gimenez, a keen supporter of the race who has the power to veto them, F1 bosses will be concerned at this fresh blow to their hopes of a second US race.

While the first resolution prohibits road closures near residential neighbourhoods in Miami Gardens, which would mean the proposed track layout would need to be changed, the second calls for a public hearing before any F1 race in Miami Gardens got formal approval.

"It's Formula 1 racing in a bedroom community," argued former county commissioner Betty T Ferguson. "The majority of residents in Miami Gardens do not want to see F1 racing at Hard Rock Stadium; the Miami Gardens city council voted to oppose Formula 1.

"We have seen too often deep pockets paint rosy pictures and have their way," she continued, "only to the embarrassment of the county at a later date.

"Don't allow F1 promoters to come in and roll over us over, like we're not even humans," she added. "They can produce all kinds of phony statements about how they can mitigate the deadly effects, but we can never erase deadly health damage, and possibly permanent hearing loss, especially to children. Even the county's own study verifies the deadly effects.

"No permission for road closure or special events should be given to the Dolphins without full public hearing."

"We understand we're in the business of tourism," added Miami Gardens Mayor, Oliver Gilbert, "but this has to be a good place to live and not just visit.

"F1 may bring people, but the people that live here matter and sometimes we forget that. There's people living around the corner, there are schools there.

"I'm not against events at the stadium," he insisted, "but not all events are the same. We're not in support of Formula 1. It's not a place to dump events that are toxic to people."

"We are zoned for motor vehicle racing," argued Marcus Bach-Armas, senior director for legal and government affairs for the Miami Dolphins, whose stadium would form the core of the porposed race facility, "because a couple of years ago we resolved a lawsuit with the county commission and the city council, there were public hearings and public votes and the resolution of those three years of discussions.

"You voted to allow motor vehicle racing at the stadium district as a matter of right," he added. "Three years later, we're rehashing that conversation."

Insisting that the race would be "an economic juggernaut for this area" and that the stadium is a "regional asset that's balanced with residents, and we've worked together with them to sort through issues before!", he concluded that "I don't understand why the response now is simply ‘no'.

"The easy thing is to say ‘no', but we should work through this so it benefits the community. We've always done that, and we're looking to have the opportunity to do that. It would be embarrassing to give up this opportunity."

"It's a world-class event, like having a Super Bowl here in Miami Dade County every year," said Miami-Dade County mayor, Carlos Gimenez.

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1. Posted by Trixi, 04/11/2019 0:50

"I see no comments! My comment is-there are always NIMBYs. Go away for a few days, Betty; and let the people enjoy the economic boom and great time everyone will have...especially with you gone! "

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2. Posted by Agrajag, 01/11/2019 11:36

"No chance of permanent hearing loss with these engines.
Bring back the screaming V10s and the residents would have a point."

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3. Posted by The Canadian, 31/10/2019 21:49

"There are lots of interesting venues other than Miami... If they don't want it, they don't want it. Why not Daytona Beach, which already has a road course? Or Orlando, run a race right through Disney World? Or even Washington Dc Itself? There's a ton of options, maybe just not this one"

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4. Posted by Mambo, 30/10/2019 9:38

"In terms of local disruption, I'm with the residents. Four or five years ago my son decided to move from Fulham to Ealing by chance on the day a bike event/race was being held from central London to Surrey and back, closing off all roads to Fulham and elsewhere until late afternoon.

He had no idea it was on and neither did we, driving down in a van from Cambridge and subsequently stuck in all sorts of jams as road after road leading to Fulham were closed off. Very ungreen and several hours of our lives wasted.

When I complained to the organisers afterwards, I was told they'd leafleted all the properties in the area, which sounds fine but in a multi-occupancy house with a common letterbox the chances of everyone seeing the flyer or being told (and remembering) are zero.

I'd imagine the same issue must arise with the London Marathon and similar events every year – even though they may be well known, if you've no interest in them and not aware of when/where they're happening, rarely go to the chosen city by road to see (I assume) warning signs, the chances are you too will be caught out.

Blanket closing of roads for the few (three or four hundred cyclists in my example) is never a good idea because of the unintended consequences for the many thousand who have other things to do in life.

I understand why cities, towns and villages like to attract events as fund raisers and vanity projects, but the organisers and local authorities need to put residents, commuters and 'chance visitors' first and confine the event and associated activities to a small, well defined area to minimise disruption for residents, their visitors and passing traffic.

And then... the organisers should pay a significant fee to the authorities for the trouble caused, ring-fenced to pay for local improvements. Doing the sums on 'making the event happen' might bring some common sense to its very idea.

A lot of venues for grand prixs have popped up and disappeared again over the years when the organisers found the sums didn't add up. If the money's not there, with a chunk for the local community, don't do it."

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