Ever wander around a block two, three, or four times looking for a parking space? Odds are you live in Northwest Dade.
Luis Castro-Guerra, age 61, a resident of Villas of Hialeah, a gated community west of the Palmetto, said that in the last five years, he has had to park at least one of his cars outside the complex because there is not enough room for everybody.
“It’s crazy!” said Castro-Guerra. “It’s not because I don’t have a permit for my car, but because there is no space!”
Castro-Guerra lives with his wife and two sons. He owns three cars. “Here in Miami each person needs a car,” Castro-Guerra added. “If not, things aren’t easy.”
Many area residents agree that finding a parking space after a long day at work has become a daily struggle. Mostly, those who live in condominiums or small buildings are forced to look for a space to park in the streets because of the limited spots designated for each apartment unit.
Yanepsy Chavez, age 43, who is a wife and a mother of two, lives in a one-bedroom apartment at La Hacienda Condominiums near the Country Club of Miami. She said the parking situation in her area is more than complicated.
“Every day is a struggle for my husband to find parking,” said Chavez. “And they have made it harder for us to park outside since they put “No Parking” signs everywhere near the fences of the complex. If you park outside, you can be sure security will call the towing company.”
Chavez said that the apartment complex where she lives allows those who live in a one-bedroom unbit to have one car parked inside, and those in two- or three-bedroom apartments to have two cars. If anyone else wants to have another car parked inside, then there are a few permits available for $50.
“I don’t know where those people would park anyways,” said Chavez. “There is no space.”
Similar rules apply for Castro-Guerra. A representative of Villas of Hialeah condominiums, where Castro-Guerra lives, said that all residents can have two cars parked inside the gated community, and they all get a sticker to be identified as residents.
According to Hialeah’s city code, which was revised in 2016, parking in residential use is limited to two parking spaces per one or two-bedroom unit. One half parking space is added for each additional bedroom.
But is the real issue the limited amount of spaces assigned per apartment, or the number of people living in one apartment who drive cars?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of July 2018 Hialeah’s population was 96.4% Hispanics or Latino origin, and approximately three to four people live within the same household, with at least 93 percent of them living within the same house over a year.
A study by Martha Tienda and Faith Mitchell published by the National Research Council in 2006 provides detailed analysis regarding Hispanic households in America. It says they are family-oriented, and usually have up to three generations living in the same house.
Chances are that many others like Castro-Guerra and Chavez go through the same trouble every day because the number of cars they own exceeds the quantity of parking spaces they are allowed.
As Hialeah’s population keeps growing, and more adults need cars, this problem may intensify.
“There are a few factors that contribute to this problem,” said Chavez. “First, there is a bad distribution of the parking areas in Hialeah and it affects all of its residents, and second, the public transportation in Hialeah is bad to the point that people would rather drive than wait an hour or two at the bus stop.”