Note: Fast Forward to the 45 second mark for the beginning of the race.
In the post I also compared Route Verte’s length to traveling between Miami and Daytona Beach, or between New York and Washington. However, it’s actually roughly the equivalent of a bike path from Miami to San Diego or from Miami to New York and back.
The issue at hand will be the proposed extension of the “Black Creek Trail” 8.8 miles to reach the Krome Trail at the L-31 N levee. Not surprisingly, there’s a vocal and organized opposition to the extension, so it’s important that cycling proponents or anyone who cares about sustainability shows up to this meeting.
The meeting will be held at:
- The addition of an official definition of bike lanes and bicycle routes
- The inclusion of cycling as a form of transportation to be promoted as a means of achieving sustainability
- The requirement that developers post a “performance bond” at the time of permit application, which will force all new buildings over 50,000 square feet to be at least LEED Certified Silver. Failure to accomplish these standards within one year after the completion of the project would force developers to pay into the Miami 21 Public Benefits Trust Fund (would help fund affordable housing, among other things)
- Article 3.7.1.d: Bicycle use of thoroughfares should be as follows: Bicycles and vehicles may share use of lanes on thoroughfares with design speeds of thirty 30 mph or less and should not share use of lanes on thoroughfares with design speeds of more than thirty (30) mph. Thoroughfares may include dedicated bicycle lanes. Greenways, waterfront walks and other Civic Spaces should include bicycle lanes.
- Article 3, Section 3.7.1.e, Thoroughfares: Bicycle Lanes may be made part of thoroughfares that have sufficient paving width to accommodate bicyclists’ safety. A City-wide bicycle plan may designate an interconnected network serving bicyclists with a series of routes that include Bicycle Lanes as well as Bicycle Routes that give bicycles priority, such as those Thoroughfares which parallel major corridors and which can be reconfigured to limit conflicts between automobiles and bicycles.
- Developers will receive incentives to reach Gold or Platinum LEED Certification
- Down-zoning of T3-L from allowing 18 units/acre to only 9 units/acre
- The requirement of at least one bicycle rack for every 20 vehicular parking spaces (it used to be 10 in some cases)
- Within a half mile radius of a TOD and within a quarter mile of bus transit, the required parking may be decreased by 30%. In T6-48, parking for residential uses located within 600 feet of a Metrorail or Metromover station shall not be required.
- Bulb-outs may be added where Thoroughfare widths are wide and design speed high, or where sidewalks are narrow in order to facilitate pedestrian safety.
I’m not sure yet how I feel about the performance bond. It sounds like a good idea upfront, but I worry that wealthy developers will just say “the hell with LEED” and just plan from the get-go to pay into the special trust fund. Even though the trust fund is designed to help fund affordable housing, we just cannot sacrifice opportunities to have green buildings.
I was very disappointed to see the T3-L designation get down-zoned. Could this be a bone thrown to “suburb-in-the-city” types who fear density and true urban living?
As for the parking reduction language, it sounds pretty good on paper. However, I would much prefer to see it mandated instead of just an option, because developers in Miami do not have a good track record of reducing parking when possible under the current code.
“You can cycle the Route Verte all at once, section-by-section, or by following your own itinerary. Some people regularly use the sections close to their homes, while others make a special trip a few times per year. The Route Verte can be a personal challenge or a relaxing place to spend your leisure time. You can enjoy it alone, as a family, or with friends. Every year numerous groups organize special outings along portions of the bikeway. When it comes to leisure, tourism, health, and the environment, the Route Verte is an invaluable asset”.
Way to go, Quebec.
I think Florida is currently underutilizing one of the nation’s most scenic roads - A1A. If the state wants to send its own bold message that it is serious about cycling, while simultaneously providing a fantastic coastal transportation asset that would traverse hundreds of communities, it would step up and create a continuous A1A trail. It could be our “Orange Route”.
Photos courtesy of SamediVelo.com, Wikipedia, and Canadatrails’ flickr account
The reason weather is rarely discussed on this site is because we think for the most part it is a non-issue. By and large,
Another thing to keep in mind is that most people commute early in the morning when temperatures are nearly at their coolest, which is certainly bearable even during
In poorly designed places, heat does have the potential to be oppressive. This is why it’s so important to adhere to quality urban design principles, with buildings having short setbacks coupled with awnings or sidewalk shade trees (this usually means higher density – one more reason why it’s not an evil thing). Mayor Diaz is trying to attack this issue with a Tree Master Plan, with goals to improve the City’s tree canopy by 30% by 2020. Developers need to do their part, too, by making their street frontages more protected from sun.
This is one more reason why low-density sprawl is so bad, especially in
And lastly, rain is definitely a non-issue for pedestrians - all you need is an umbrella!
Photo courtesy of slowernet’s flickr photostream
The landmark proposal is still “largely conceptual, with designs nearing completion”, according to park planner at
According to the Herald, the Greenway would be replete with trail amenities including benches, rest stops, scenic mile markers, vegetation markers, and even occasional outlets for kayaking and canoeing.
How much is this going to cost, and who’s going to pay you ask? Current estimates are approximately $30 million.
I must say, though, while it is very encouraging to see this level of support for such a large bicycle project, it still appears that cycling is considered a “recreational pursuit” and not so much a legitimate form of transportation within this county. We need to continue to pressure for a Bicycle Master Plan – one that includes a vast network of urban bike lanes and greenways as well as recreational trails. Hopefully the Biscayne-Everglades Greenway will be the first step in a new direction for bicycle transportation policy in
Amazingly, the bike lanes almost didn’t happen. One of Miami’s 387,962 NIMBY groups masquerading as a neighborhood improvement organization, the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association, had been a vocal opposition to the bike lanes on 16th. “I understand cyclists want bike paths, but why 16th Street”? Nice argument - I’m sure NIMBYs everywhere were proud.
According to the Sunpost, the real issue at hand is the right-of-way along 16th Street that would need to be taken back by the City in order to accommodate the bike lanes AND widen sidewalks. Similar to the Grove’s opposition over the quality 27th Avenue enhancement project, Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association members are concerned that the City will reacquire public right-of-way between buildings and the sidewalk that has been used for private means (e.g. landscaping). Commissioner Richard Steinberg took the stated position that “widening the sidewalks toward the buildings would not, in fact, encroach on private property, but in reality the private property was encroaching upon the city land”. It’s great to see an elected official embrace the public realm and what’s best for the city as a whole and not the private interests of a few NIMBYs.
photo courtesy of huwkan’s flickr account
A good example for realizing such a system can be found within the 27th Avenue beautification project, which should be finalized in the next couple months. I find this to be one of the most encouraging, visionary projects in a long time in Miami. The concept is simple: implement bike lanes on 27th Avenue, between US-1 and South Bayshore Drive, giving bicyclists a dedicated right-of-way from the bay to the Metrorail. Of course the improvements in the pedestrian realm are also much needed and will certainly enhance the corridor from that aspect; however, the biking infrastructure will make the prospect of riding transit much greater for those living near 27th Avenue and >0.5 miles to a transit station.
This model should be adapted for the following streets, at a minimum:
This also has the potential to significantly reduce congestion on these thoroughfares, especially during rush hours . Under the current system, massive park-n’-ride lots are designed to encourage people who want to use Metrorail, but cannot easily (or quickly) get there by walking, to drive to stations. Then, they are faced with $4.00 parking fees. Biking to the stations instead would eliminate these issues.
Furthermore, if Mayor Diaz really wanted a world-class Green Policy, he would embrace this plan by requiring all new commercial buildings in the CBD and Brickell to provide bicycle parking and locker rooms with showers so riders could clean up before work if necessary. Toronto has amended its zoning laws to require that new large-scale developments provide storage and showering facilities for bikers. Given the excessive parking requirements currently mandated by the City, I don’t think it would be too much to ask to provide these bike-friendly facilities - at least if you really care about sustainable transportation and traffic reduction.
Lastly, providing the bike infrastructure has inherent benefits even without everyone using it to connect to transit. Biking presents a fast, efficient, dirt cheap transportation alternative to the automobile. If you use 10MPH as an average biking speed, one could go from Downtown Coral Gables to Downtown Miami in just 20 minutes; it would take just seven minutes to travel one mile. This is significant, given that nearly two-thirds of trips under one mile are taken by the automobile.
This is part II in a series on biking in Miami. Part III will look more specifically at some potential routes…
- New York, NY: An elaborate city website exhibits all the bike information you could ever need, including maps. The City already has several hundred miles of bike lanes cris-crossing all five boroughs, yet plans to implement another 900 lane miles of bike lanes and greenways. NYC even has a bicycle master plan, which, if I am not mistaken, is completely foreign to any municipal body in Miami-Dade.
- Louisville, Kentucky: The City is in the process of implementing a citywide system of bike lanes and paths. Mayor Jeffrey Abramson, who keynoted the 2007 National Bike Summit in Washington, has adopted a “complete streets” policy that requires bike lanes as apart of all major road improvements.
- Seattle, Washington: Creating safer cycling conditions is the City’s top priority. The City is about to implement its own Bicycle Master Plan, a 10-year strategy to create 200+ miles of bike lanes citywide.
- Portland, Oregon: A national leader in urban bicycle policy, the City’s fantastic website has extensive biking information. Everything from maps, guides, and brochures - it’s on the website.
- Copenhagen, Denmark: Perhaps the most bicycle-friendly city on Earth, 32% of residents bike to work. This is despite being a city with a climate that is cool, wet, and dreary for much of the year - the antithesis of Miami (so much for all those lame weather excuses Miamians use to drive everywhere). So 32% of residents bike to work…fantastic, right? Not good enough for Copenhagen. The City has set a goal to increase this percentage to 40%.
Jean-Louis Touraine, Paris’ Deputy Mayor, says the program was meant “not just to modify equilibrium between modes of transportation and reduce air pollution, but also to modify the image of the city where humans occupy a larger space”. Wow - you won’t find any language like that in city codes and master plans around here. The closest echoing would be the objective of “balancing vehicular needs with pedestrian needs”, which invariably means a built environment where cars rule.
Why are we always preaching compact urban form and mixed-use? Because that kind of environment allows a program like this to flourish. Consequently, most trips for bike renters will be free because they only have to travel a short distance. In Lyon, France’s third largest city, 95% of approximately 20,000 daily bike rentals are free because of the short nature of most trips there. Moreover, Lyon’s 3,000 rental bikes have logged about 10 million miles since May 2005, helping to eliminate roughly 3,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Also, vehicle travel has decreased by four percent. Officials are estimating that each rental bike in Paris will be used 12 times per day, which equates to 250,000 trips per day and 91 million per year. Just imagine what could be accomplished with a program like this in Miami (or most American cities, for that matter) when you consider that most car trips in this country are within one mile from origin.
Rental fees will be free for the first half hour and then will double every half hour thereafter to facilitate faster turnover, making a 2 hour 30 minute rental $9.10. Membership would be $38 per year. To release the bikes, riders would use a prepaid card or a credit card at a computerized console. To discourage theft, each rider must leave a credit card or refundable deposit of about $195 along with personal information. Also, each bicycle rack will have a computer that can tell where the bikes are as well as their condition.
JCDecaux, outdoor advertising giant, will fund and operate the program for 10 years, including start up costs of approximately $115 million. All revenue from the program will go to Paris’ coffers, including an additional $4.3 million per year. In return Paris is giving JCDecaux exclusive rights to all city-owned billboards, including revenues.
I think Miami is a long way off for a citywide program like this to be feasible. However, there are sections of the city and county (Downtown, Brickell, Coconut Grove, South Beach, North Beach, Little Havana, Downtown Coral Gables, Midtown area) where small bike stations could be located. As the program increased in popularity, it would increase pressure on planners and politicians to allocate more space to bicyclists in the form of bike lanes and greenways. Gradually, more stations could be added based on demand. This is the kind of program that could help bridge the gap between driving and walking, decrease automobile trips, decrease pollution, and even make people healthier.
Photos courtesy of Flickr accounts: DennisWorld & mknely
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