Watson Island getting two new parking lots
By Susan Stabley
With an eye on growth on Watson Island, the Miami Parking Authority is polishing off an upgrade to one lot and will soon break ground on another next to the Miami Children's Museum.
The island's boat ramp and a lot next to it were upgraded recently for about $445,300. The ramp and lot are near Parrot Jungle Island and Ichimura Miami-Japan Garden on the north side of the spoil island off the MacArthur Causeway connecting the mainland to Miami Beach.
"Initially, it was just a ramp, dirt and gravel," said Art Noriega, executive director of the Miami Parking Authority.
But activity there has increased, notably by the amphibious Miami Duck Tours, which operates from that site. The lot - near the Miami Outboard and Sailing clubs - accommodates 30 stand-alone vehicles and 50 boat ramps, he said.
Concepts are also under consideration for a walkway along the bay in that area, he said.
In March, the authority hopes to start construction on its 340-space surface lot next to the children's museum, just across the causeway from Parrot Jungle on the south side of the island. Projected cost of this lot is nearly $813,000, according to the authority.
The lot will also accommodate spillover parking from Parrot Jungle. Mr. Noriega expects a shuttle may transport visitors throughout the island as more attractions are created. Also planned is a $281 million Island Gardens development of two hotels, a mega-marina, restaurants and shops near the museum.
Depending on the growth of the island, another level may be added to the south lot, he said.
Both lots are or will be fully automated, utilizing meters. The authority manages more than 17,000 parking spaces, including five garages.