Your writer is a slight woman, sometimes confused for a minor, who dreams of a South Florida where everyone feels safe crossing the street. Friends, family, and in these videos, my boyfriend, would clearly prefer I keep myself away from traffic. I hate to stress them but - when pro-pedestrian/pro-safety traffic modifications are installed, I just can’t help but try them out.
So, for today’s transit humor (because no one was hurt), here are two videos of myself and my wary significant other, trying (and failing) to cross the street at 48th & Biscayne Blvd.
FDOT: Thank you! It’s an important first step. City of Miami Police: where are you??
Interesting note: Found this Florida attorney’s webpage on ‘Penalties After Violating Pedestrian and Crosswalk Law':
“If there is a person attempting to cross a road while in a marked crosswalk you are required to stop until the person has cleared the crosswalk. Most crosswalks are marked by painted lines and a yellow sign with an image of a person walking… The rules here are pretty obvious, and most drivers wouldn’t move their vehicles through a crosswalk if a pedestrian was there.”
As the voice asks in Part 1: “They just don’t see the sign, love. They… can’t… possibly…”
This lane marking is approved by the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration and is part of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
“Public Transit has to be at the center of our national policy.”
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has been re-appointed head of the Democratic National Committee. This is exciting news to us at TransitMiami because just as the President was making this announcement, Gabriel Lopez-Bernal (founder of TM and now of TranSystems) and I were listening to a promising speech by the Congresswoman at the annual meeting of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association, (the non-profit leadership behind the Sun Trolley). She told a packed house of transportation officials, private consultants, lobbyists and parking policy wonks that public transit is not only at the center of national policy now, but it “is essential to our economic success.”
Wasserman-Schultz has been integral to the success of City of Fort Lauderdale in securing $18million in TIGER grant money for ‘the Wave.’ She remarked that everyone should see what the streetcar has down for Portland, Oregon because that is what we should expect for Broward. The fiscal cliff and election cycles have left most of Washington, D.C. silent on the critical needs of our nation’s infrastructure, but Wasserman-Schultz named local bridges in need of repair and livable communities as priorities when she returns to the House Appropriations Committee next term. “We must increase our investment in public transit NOW,” she said.
An optimistic story, brought to you by TM.
If you have ever wandered the Design District, just once in the last
70 150+ years or so, you might remember the awesome beauty of the trees located on NE 39th Street. After MaiTardi closed and construction began on the new, über-glamorous developments in the Design District, locals kept an eye on these wonderfully unique natural beauties and celebrated the fact that the City of Miami’s tree policy would not allow for their removal. Workers demolished EVERYthing you see in the above picture, BUT the trees. The gold mosaics and popular destination (my favorite local restaurant) were missed, but the trees remained. Until today.
Even more shocking, these trees were not dug up to be replanted elsewhere, but literally hacked to splintered bits. We’ll post a picture of the remaining stump tomorrow with the help of daylight.
But for now, we are left to mourn the last remaining natural beauty in this historic heart of Old Miami - and to ask: Craig Robbins, how could you let this happen?
Where is our respect for place? For the shadows, the sounds, the sights of trees that make walking, bicycling… stopping, wandering so richly rewarding?
If you have information on how or why this happened, please share. Thank you.
If there is a reason, where were the pink tags? The permit-required signs notifying neighbors why?
National news continues to cover the tragic death of four local men killed in the Doral parking garage collapse. International news, Twitter and the campaign trails of both Presidential candidates keep returning to the tragic killing of four Americans in Benghazi.
Where is the outcry over continuous deaths of men, women and children who die on Miami roads all the time?
In just the last few days, at least 5 people have lost their lives on Miami’s roads and sidewalks. Speed has been blamed in all three incidents:
A police officer in an unmarked car crashed into a young couple’s SUV at a Hialeah intersection, killing a college student.
A driver cut off another in Miami Gardens, clipping a third car and careening into a group of people sitting at a bus stop, killing at least one of the 5 maimed or otherwise critically injured by the speeding driver.
A third speeding driver killed his passenger as well as a boy and his father in a separate vehicle on Saturday morning.
Five people killed in Miami in three days. Where is the outcry?
A 29 year old man, also waiting for a bus, was killed by a man trying escape the scene of a separate, relatively minor rear-end collision in West Miami. This actually happened two weeks ago but apparently made news when The Miami Herald determined the driver was an icon of Miami’s culinary scene. No charges - not a traffic ticket - have been filed for leaving the scene or killing a pedestrian on a sidewalk in that case.
These are not “accidents.” These are not “cars” killing our neighbors, our friends, innocent people. This is a culture, particular to South Florida, that makes it unsurprising to be passed dangerously close by a car, often an off-duty* police car, on all kinds of streets. Here in South Florida, we don’t expect cars to stop before the crosswalk at intersections - pedestrians are lucky when all the cars stop on the red light. Do you disagree?
The lack of truly pedestrian and bicycle-friendly infrastructure is part of the problem. The fact that our streets are notoriously Dangerous by Design is another critical part. But the piece most easy to dismiss is just as important- enforcement.
The City of Miami Police Department employs around 1,400 people. 17 of them are in Traffic Enforcement. Given the City and County’s exceptional fatality rate in traffic, isn’t about time we do more to enforce our laws?
Who Wants More Traffic Tickets?
Not the Police. No one wants more traffic tickets, your local police department, most of all. See, several years ago, Florida state legislators got ‘tough’ on traffic-related crimes, raising the fines for all kinds of infractions. Unfortunately for our safety as a state, this backfired, because your local cops already have it hard when it comes to giving tickets. 1) It’s more dangerous than Special Ops and far less sexy. No one’s family wants them to be the guy pulling over Joe with a gun.** 2) Police are average people, too. They don’t really enjoy hearing your sob story about how this $250 ticket will keep you from making rent and make your kids homeless. 3) Okay, maybe one or two don’t mind that part, but they hate going to court only to have a Judge fall for said sob story and throw out the case.
Not Politicians. So, Dr. So-and-so gets a ticket, gets upset, calls our Commissioner and threatens all kinds of drama. It’s a hassle. Plus, there aren’t statistics on how many people were not stopped by an officer and then immediately killed someone’s child or dog (that really would get on the news!). In other words, it doesn’t win sound bites or votes.
Not the Public. Most people seem to think traffic tickets are just some excuse for your local politicians and police to make easy money. It’s not ‘easy’ money**.
And yet, hardly anyone speeds in the Village of Pinecrest! That’s not because the lanes are narrower (no) or because there are fewer texting-calling-children wrangling-pompous drivers (no). It’s because everyone knows you’ll get a ticket. New to the area? Everyone else is abiding the law so chances are, you will, too.
If you really want to live in a safer place, where businesses benefit from local traffic and your neighbors and tourists don’t get killed waiting for the bus, then all of us need to drive more safely, follow the speed limit, put down the phone. Always change lanes to give those pulled over a full lane of space. Do the same for people on bicycles, too.
Call your commissioners and PDs and tell them you WANT more traffic enforcement. Do it today. Call 311, give them your address and they can tell you how to reach your elected officials. Do it.
Because your life depends on it.
*You know they are off duty when the car says Bal Harbour and you are on I-95, for example.
**In the last decade, nationwide, more police were killed in cars or by cars than were shot or killed by terrorist attacks, combined.
Hey, at least we’re not Texas!
You know that bicycles can be powered by burritos, cars by gas, some motorcycles by electricity - but how much energy is that, really?
The good people at the for-profit WellHome, a company that helps people make their homes more environmentally sustainable and comfortable, have created this sweet infographic to help us understand The Energy Efficiency of Movement:
The New York City Department of Transportation’s newest project brings the successful concept of Bus Rapid Transit to an important cross town bus route and showcases, once again, what a progressive DOT is capable of doing to improve quality of life and transportation options for its residents and visitors. As you can see in the rendering above, the idea is not only to improve an existing roadway and speed up bus service, but to also improve the pedestrian experience along the corridor.
Famously successful in cities like Bogota and Curitiba, the idea of dedicating lanes to buses has been successful here in Miami, as well. The South Miami-Dade Busway acts as a low-cost extension of the Metrorail for thousands of county residents. TransitMiami.com remains a strong proponent of Light Rail (or LRT over BRT), but as Miami looks to expand its transportation options, our leaders could learn a great deal from NYC - where they understand the importance of land-use in transportation planning.
Look at the two pictures. What is missing on our Busway?
Commissioner Carollo wants you to know that he supports Bike Miami Days. At today’s meeting of the City Commission, Mayor Regalado presented a statement to commissioners on the scheduled April 25 event. Before he could move on to his next point, Commissioner Carollo asked to put on the record,
I was at the first Bike Miami Days and I will be there on April 25… Every once in a while, it’s good to leave your car at home and go for a bike ride.
The Mayor and Commissioner went on to comment that they both have sons who like to bicycle and that the new City Manager, Carlos A. Migoya, is a cyclist, as well. At this point, we can only hope that this means that Carollo will support bicyclists on the road, as well as on the record. As reported here earlier this week, the Commissioner has put all bicycle projects in his district on hold. This concerns residents and local business owners for a number of reasons. The SW 32nd Road project, which had already started, would connect the Vizcaya Metrorail Station/M-Path to Coral Way and its bike lanes. The project represents a significant connector route for cyclists and transit users, and promotes local businesses by connecting shops and restaurants with the highly residential neighborhoods of Coconut Grove, the Roads and anyone who lives along the M-Path.
Last but not least, it is one of the first benchmark projects of the City’s Bicycle Master Plan. With this bicycle route up for reconsideration, what will that mean for the other projects cyclists are waiting for in District 3, such as SW 3rd Ave or Flagler to 5th? We encourage you to direct these questions yourself to the Commissioner and his Chief of Staff, Jude Faerron, and let us know if you get a response. If there is ever proof that they are listening to you, this is it.
You can watch the video from the Commission meeting on the City’s website here. The conversation took place around 11:40am.
At this week’s Bicycle Action Committee meeting, the regular updates given on the status of the Bicycle Master Plan were missing a few crucial projects, all of which are in Commissioner Frank Carollo’s district. I asked the Bicycle Coordinator, Collin Worth, what happened? Ever the diplomat, he informed us that they had been put on hold by the new Commissioner. “Does the Commissioner not understand that these projects are of crucial importance to the connectivity of our bicycle routes“, we asked.”…the safety of cyclists who use them to bypass busier streets and access the restaurants and shops of Coral Way?”
Mr. Worth would not speak for the Commissioner, who had sent no representation of his own to the meeting so… what can we do? Rumors (so far, just rumors) suggest Carollo is no fan of the Bicycle Master Plan (yet), that he thinks car parking is more important than bringing cyclists and pedestrians to stores, or that he simply doesn’t realize how important these projects are to us, the residents of Miami.
Of course, we cannot expect the new Commissioner to automatically support everything started in his district before he took office. We understand that it can take time to look at each project and that even if it is nearly completed, he will be held responsible if it is completed under his watch. So, we have reached out to the Commissioner and hope that you will, too. Let him know that you support road improvements that support the City’s Complete Streets Policy and/or Bicycle Master Plan and/or whatever you feel is important.
Each City of Miami Commissioner controls the dollars spent on capital improvements (including road projects) in his district. Have you emailed or called your commissioner to introduce yourself yet? He needs to hear from you. If you do not live in the City, you can still reach out to the commissioner of the district where you work, do your shopping or otherwise visit.
TransitMiami.com encourages our readers to engage with their local government and support moving Miami better.
TransitMiami.com endorses out of the box thinking, innovative transportation alternatives and fun. That stated, we leave it to our readers to assess these six new vehicles, presented to us by Cracked.com :: “These are the baffling contraptions that remind us that while thinking outside the box is cool and all, you should probably make sure that there isn’t a cheaper, less unintentionally hilarious version already in the box.”
Many of the examples are prototype modified versions of the basic human-powered bicycle while others are fully motorized and already on the market. Read the full, hysterical piece here and don’t miss the video of the inventor of the ‘Hyperbike’.
This beautiful city was planned largely around the holiday home of the country’s leading family. It is also home to one of the largest “World Naked Bike Rides”.
Can you name this city?
UPDATE: Visual hints…
The esteemed people of Planetizen.com are just some of the people talking about car parking challenges this week -
Ian Sacs, Hoboken’s own Department of Transportation and Parking Director, writes an engaging and informative piece on how the exceptionally dense but car-enamored city is anticipating its urban parking problems and introducing Flexcar, bicycle infrastructure, and connectivity improvements to reduce the immense waste that car parking lots can be. You can read the whole article here.
Parking is an incredibly challenging issue for any architect, planner or transportation engineer. Parking spaces can cost upwards of $50,000 and other than hold a car for a bit, consume an incredible amount of wasted space. Interestingly, it is precisely these costs that are driving developers and politicians towards active transportation (rather than health or fun).
Portland State University (like Miami-Dade College, one of its downtown’s largest land holders) has been struggling with this issue. In a recent article in the Portland Daily Vanguard, writer Vinh Tran points out that PSU’s newest bicycle parking facility will provide parking for 75 students at the same cost of just adding 4 car spaces.
Here in Miami, some residents of Miami Beach are getting vocal about the increasing costs of parking. An article in The Miami Herald has spurred comments from residents who can’t believe they will have to pay $15 to park ON Lincoln Road. (That’s it!?) This writer wonders why anyone would choose to live in the densest, most pedestrian-friendly neighborhood in our county and then want to drive anywhere-
Parking is a global problem. In countries as (seemingly) different as Italy and Japan, vertical parking is popular:
…so transportation engineers who can think out of the box and design successful parking alternatives are in demand. Naturally, so are those of us who advocate for even less consumption of space - by traveling by bicycle, on foot or mass transit.
UPDATE: This afternoon, we received a link to a great image that shows Chicago’s proactive work on increasing bicycle parking in the last year alone. Our hats off to the people at Active Transportation Alliance, who largely deserve the credit for these successes. Wouldn’t it be great if the BPAC or City of Miami Bicycle Action Committee delivered work like this?
What are your ideas for addressing an ever increasing need for car parking in an ever shrinking urban environment?
Oregonian Congressman Earl Blumenaur is one of this country’s strongest advocates for mass transit and active transportation. This week, the Honorable Representative writes a brief but strong op-ed for Politico.com in which he espouses his support for pro-rail legislation as a defense against climate change.
TransitMiami.com encourages you to engage your representatives locally, in Tallahassee and DC. Inform yourself on what legislation is presented and advocate for what matters to you. (Transportation!!)
Still have questions? Write to us or click on the links below for more information.
Of course, there are lots of resources available online, and we appreciate your recommendations!
GOOD Magazine has published an interactive graphic comparing our country’s largest mass transit systems (here). The abbreviated study looks at Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Boston and Washington, DC. It’s an interesting visual study of what ‘works’ and reminds us that if you build it, maintain it and keep it convenience, the masses will come. What do you think?
This famous street was created in the late 19th century as the result of an international town planning competition. It anchors the older part of this university city with its modern day cultural hub. Transit Miami friends living there tell us it the center of nightlife year round. An almost textbook ‘complete street’ - Can you name this city? Street?
This Sunday at 2pm, cyclists will ride once again for Christophe Le Canne - this time in solidarity with New York City cyclists and non-profit TIME’S UP!, who have organized a ride of their own at the same time in Brooklyn. Local cyclist and TM friend Eddy is organizing this ride to start at Government Center and stop at both Le Canne’s memorial site and that of cyclist Omar Otaola, who died on the Rickenbacker in 2006. You can see the route here and RSVP on Facebook here.
As MiamiBikeScene’s Rydel points out, this is an opportunity for those of us who missed the last ride to take part. We’ll update this space with any new information.
Hit and Run driver Carlos Bertonatti is set to go to court on Monday at 8:30am. Undoubtedly, he will be surrounded by both fans and cyclists. Bertonatti will face Judge David Miller at the Justice Building (1351 NW 12th Street) in Room 3-2.
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