Currently viewing the tag: "bike lanes"

A Transit Miami-Shout Out to La Carreta on Key Biscayne for putting up a new bicycle rack.  La Carreta is a popular pit stop for cyclists and on any given weekend you will find hundreds of cyclists refueling with pastelitos and coffee. Thank you La Carreta!

New Bicycle Rack at La Carreta on Key Biscayne

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Unfortunately, we here at Transit Miami were unable to attend the Cycling Town Hall meeting hosted by Commissioners Ralph Cabrera and Carlos Gimenez.  If you were able to attend please use the comments section and let us know how it went. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

A special thanks to Commissioners Ralph Cabrera and Carlos Gimenez, as well as the County Public Works Department, for holding this very important meeting.

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The below email was forwarded to Transit Miami this afternoon:

Commissioner Carlos Gimenez and I are hosting a cycling community meeting concerning the 25 cents set aside for safety improvements on the Rickenbacker Causeway. The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:30 PM at the Coral Gables Youth Center auditorium located at 400 Anastasia Avenue. Please pass this message along to members of the cycling community. Hope to see you there.

Ralph Cabrera

Commissioner

City of Coral Gables

Commissioners Ralph Cabrera and Carlos Gimenez have a long track record of being very supportive of the cycling community.  I have personally seen Commissioner Ralph Carbrera on a bicycle wearing spandex. I believe Commissioner Gimenez used to be a roadie, but currently does not ride (we need to convince him to come out of retirement!).

Please tell, bring, and drag fellow cyclists to this meeting. The cycling constituency is getting stronger, but conditions for cyclists will only improve if meetings like these are well attended. Let’s make it happen.

Transit Miami received this email regarding Euclid Avenue from Gabrielle Redfern, on behalf of BASIC (Bicycle Activists for a Safe, Integrated City)

Another day, another bicycle facility on the chopping block in the City of Miami Beach.  Current plans call for dedicated bike lanes on this road when it gets reconstructed in the nearer future. Even with out the new curb and gutter that the avenue is programmed to get, this 70 foot behemoth of a local road could benefit today from a little TLC, in the form of a small coat of paint, say running down each side of the lanes of traffic to narrow the car roadway to slow traffic and make more room for bikes.  But no.  The neighbors will have none of it!

Long story short:  what say you?  If you cannot make it tomorrow, no worries.  This is just the first skirmish in what looks like a long war, and this battle will pay out in other conference rooms, and perhaps the Commission Chambers before all is said and done.  BASIC objects to all this plan revision in the City of Miami Beach that involves removal of bicycle facilities.”

The extra large lanes, with no bike lanes, currently encourage a speedway effect from the foot of the Macarthur to Lincoln Road.  Few lights, very residential, no trees, it is the perfect street to use in your car when traveling north south, avoiding Alton or even the scenic park-side Meridian. (If you never knew, and I blew it for the neighbors, I am sorry.)  Something needs to be done, that is certain. I spent much time riding it yesterday, and this road is ugly, unsafe and hot! And thank God plans are in the works to make it so much better.  But reconstruct a roadway, with 70 feet of ROW and not add dedicated bike lanes?  Bike lanes currently called for in the City’s own Master Plan?  That is what the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association plans to argue for in their streetscape sections before the committee on Wednesday. No bike lanes on Euclid Avenue.

To be fair, the neighborhood is proposing extra wide sidewalks they think will be good for sharing between pedestrians and bicycles.  However, we disagree on this, the nature and manner of providing for bicycles.  They see bicycles as recreation only.  BASIC demands bicycles be given equal attention to cars in the transportation grid.  We need a complete street that accommodates pedestrians, bicycles and cars.  In that order.  On that, the neighbors and I agree.  How we get there, well, that is another battle brewing….

So how do we meet them halfway?  (I pray daily to avoid war with folks I respect and admire).  In the hope we can come to common ground, BASIC proposes a street section that includes two foot swales in front of all properties; providing for 12-foot sidewalks, clear of signs and other obstructions; a five foot street-side swale for landscaping and signage; two, one way, 15 foot travel lanes, with sharrows, separated by a two foot landscaped median. Currently all properties program right up to the sidewalk.  Providing those landowners with two feet of green space running the length of their property will increase their property value.  It would make for a beautiful street, in our opinion.”

MIAMI BEACH MAYORS BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE ON BIKEWAYS IN MIAMI BEACH

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2010 2:00 p.m. (although this item may be a time certain 3:00 p.m)

MAYOR’S CONFERENCE ROOM

FOURTH FLOOR MIAMI BEACH CITY HALL

666 17TH STREET

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA 33139

It’s only taken FDOT 7 months, but they finally tried to fix the Coral Way bike lanes.  As some of you may recall, back in October, I performed a detailed evaluation of the new bike lanes and made suggestion for improvement.

Thanks to pressure from of our readers FDOT agreed to improve the bike lanes. According to Transit Miami sources, FDOT is done with the repair work. Unfortunately I do not have good news to report.  FDOT gave it the old college try, and as a result, the bike lanes do not get the Transit Miami seal of approval. Essentially all FDOT did was remove the white lines that incorrectly terminated the bike lanes at every intersection.

Coral Way bike lanes before repairs

Coral Way bike lanes after FDOT repairs

Personally, I’m kinda tired of FDOT’s antics.  They should have gotten it right the first time and if they needed to fix it, they should have done it correctly. These reindeer games need to come to an end.

Perhaps FDOT could get in touch with the County Public Works Department. The PWD just painted some great bike lanes on SW 2nd Avenue. I’m sure PWD would be glad to educate FDOT on bicycle lane design.  The bike lanes on SW 2nd Avenue are clearly defined with two white lines that demarcate it nicely. Peg-a-tracking is placed in potential conflict areas such as intersections and driveways. PWD produced a textbook example of what a REAL bike lane should look like. The bike lane design PWD selected is entirely suitable for this particular street.  Well done PWD! Now if we can just get FDOT on board. Please help us; we need your help PWD!

New bike lanes on SW 2nd Avenue. Please observe the peg-a-traking through the intersections and the double white line that clearly demarcates the bike lane.

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Governor Crist signed HB 971 today. Though I had called before, I wrote a last minute letter to him that was clearly of no avail. I wanted to share it with you so you are aware of some of the issues this bill brings up, and the changes it will now mean. If you are one of the ones with questions about what the problem is with the mandatory bicycle lane law, please give this a read.

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A cyclist was struck by a car yesterday morning in Key Biscayne. According to the Miami Herald, the cyclist ran a red light and was then struck by the car. If this accurate, it does not surprise me one bit. Quite frankly, there are too many testosterone-filled cyclists out there giving good cyclists a bad name. All cyclists need to start obeying the rules of the road if they want to earn the respect of motorists. Running red lights and breaking other traffic laws makes all cyclists look bad. It goes without saying that cyclists will usually end up on the losing end in a collision with a 3000 lb vehicle. Please let us know if you have more details of this accident.

Since the hit and run collision that killed cyclist Christoph LeCanne in January, the Transit Miami Eye has noticed that the Miami Dade Police Department has wholeheartedly stepped up enforcement on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  This morning I noticed a small army of Miami Dade police officers pulling over speeding cars. Well done MDPD, your efforts have not been overlooked.

Thank you MDPD!

Busted. Speeders can run, but they can't hide from the MDPD.

Unfortunately, even with the additional enforcement, many hazards still remain.  Additional enforcement certainly helps, but is not a long term solution for the Rickenbacker Causeway.  We still have a roadway that is designed to encourage cars to travel in excess of the posted 45 mph speed limit, which in and of itself is too high. Even with all the additional enforcement, I saw several cars traveling in excess of 60 mph today. Speeding is particularly prevalent on bridges, where it difficult for the police to set up speed traps. Drivers are aware of this and take the opportunity to rev-up their engines. For this reason, bridges are the most dangerous sections of the Rickenbacker Causeway for cyclists.

What we really need to do is design a roadway that polices itself.  If we were to construct a roadway with a design speed of 35-40 mph, we would not require the coveted services of our police department. Instead the valuable resources of the Miami Dade Police Department could be allocated to deal with the more pressing issues of our community. Please do not misconstrue what I am trying to say, I really am grateful for everything the Miami Dade Police Department has done for the cycling community. They have been very supportive of us, but enforcement is only part of the solution to the many issues that plaque the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Today I also saw a Miami Fire Department truck parked in the bike lane. A bike lane that also doubles as a shoulder creates a major conflict for cyclists when motor vehicles are parked in it.  You can also see several other pictures of Miami Dade County employees parked in the bike lane that Transit Miami reader Yaniel Cantelar sent to us last week.

Motor vehicles parked in the bike lane create major conflict areas for cyclists

For the past couple of weeks I have been eating, drinking, and biking my way through France. My wife and I spent a week honeymooning in Provence and another week in Paris.

Provence

We spent the first week of our honeymoon cycling through the heart of wine country in Provence. Our tour was organized by Headwater and was truly epic. When you travel on a bicycle you get to fully experience your surroundings.  You smell the country side, you feel your environment and you interact with the locals. There is something about traveling on a bicycle; for those that have done it you know what I’m talking about. For those of you that haven’t, you should really consider it. You can find our itinerary here.

Arriving in Cotignac

Elevated crosswalk in Carces used to calm traffic

Bollards used to protect pedestrians and calm traffic. Notice how the street and sidewalk are the same grade

No sidewalk? Not a problem, just create a space for pedestrians by striping

Paris

I can’t say enough about how wonderful this city is. Unlike Miami, most motorists actually yield to pedestrians. All intersections are clearly marked with wide zebra crosswalks.  I also noticed that the pedestrian crosswalk signals are much lower than the pedestrian crosswalk signals here in the United States. Placing the pedestrian crosswalk signal closer to eye level makes it easier for both pedestrians and motorists to notice them.  Also, traffic lights are placed before the crosswalk and not in the middle of intersections.  By placing the traffic lights before the crosswalk it forces motorists to stop before the crosswalk, giving pedestrians the right of way they deserve. Another feature I also observed was the pedestrian fences.  In areas where pedestrians should not cross the street, tasteful pedestrians fences have been erected to corral the pedestrians towards the large zebra crosswalk.  Sidewalks, for the most part, are wide and inviting.

Notice how motorists are forced to stop before the crosswalk when traffic signals are not located in the intersection.

Traffic signals are placed before the crosswalk and not in the intersections.

Sidewalks are wide, making the public realm more inviting to walk

Tasteful fences are used to guide pedestrians to the crosswalks where it is safe to cross.

The Velib bicycle share system in Paris is absolutely spectacular. Because Paris is so walkable, I only used it once, but the system is very easy to use and is well connected to mass transit.  I was amazed to see Parisians from all walks of life using the Velib bicycles. I saw stylish women and men using the bicycles, as well as businessmen, businesswomen and the elderly using the Velib.

A fleet of Velibs

Bicycles lane were clearly marked and in many areas were allowed to share the bus-only lanes. Buses are equipped with an electrical horn that sounds like a bicycle bell.  Bus drivers use this electrical bicycle bell to politely warn cyclists and pedestrians that the bus is coming.

Bike boxes give cyclists priority in the transit queue

Chevron arrows through an intersection

Chevron arrows across an intersection into a protected bicycle path

Bicyclists can share the bus lane

The metro and the bus system are easy to use.  At the metro stations and bus stops there are electrical boards advising transit users when the next train or bus will arrive.

The next bus arrives in 2 minutes

Next train arrives in 3 minutes

Most crosswalks have provisions for the blind and I even found a train station that had a textured path that could be felt with a walking cane.

Textured path to help guide the blind in a train station

Most crosswalks have provisions to help guide the blind

Parks are scattered throughout Paris. The parks I entered were active and drew a wide array of people of different ages.

Children playing in one of the many park of Paris

Lounging in the warm afternoon Paris sun

Paris recycles; Miami does not.

Our Central Florida friends at CommuteOrlando.com have made us aware of a little-known fact that could mean big changes to bike lane use in Florida.

Unbeknownst to Florida Bicycle Association, a mandatory bike lane use provision was included in the Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles bill.  The bill also allows local governments to permit mopeds, golf-carts and other motorized vehicles on sidewalks and trails.

Call Governor Crist as soon as you can to ask him to veto this bill. Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146

According to the wording on this bill, use of a bike lane by a person on a bicycle would be mandatory, by law (though unstated for sure, this could be either at the expense of, or in direct conflict with, our right to ride on the road). As stated above, it would also allow local governments to permit motorized vehicles on bike lanes and trails.

In my opinion, mandating the presence of bike lanes on all applicable road projects is great. Mandating the use of said bike lane at all costs is not. In Miami Beach I already have to contend with city golf carts around the South Beach promenades as it is, I’d hate to have to deal with the army of scooters and mopeds we have down here as well. Then there’s e-bikes, and I have not made up my mind about those yet.

Quoting from the CommuteOrlando.com post:

Why it’s bad for pedestrians:

It’s bad enough that pedestrians have to suffer parked cars blocking sidewalks, being blasted by sprinklers, sidewalk bicyclists who don’t announce themselves when passing, and thousands of other nuisances, now they’ll have to share stretches of sidewalk in some jurisdictions with motorized vehicles.  Local governments will be able to permit mopeds, golf-carts, motorized scooters and other vehicles which don’t belong on sidewalks and on “bike paths.”  The law limits such vehicles to 15 mph, but how will that be enforced?

It’s time for Florida’s bicyclists and pedestrians to send a strong message: “We will not be marginalized.”

I can’t say I disagree at all.

You can also email the Governor at Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com.

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Bike Lane on SW 127 Ave - photo by Daniel M. Perez

Speculated upon by Miami Bike Scene last week, yesterday I spotted the brand new bike lanes on SW 127th Avenue, stretching from Bird Road (42nd Street) to Miller Drive (56th Street). I’m told by a resident of the area that the road is used by a lot of people on bicycles, so hopefully the bike lane will make it safer for them to ride and make it more obvious to drivers that they need to watch out for bicycles sharing the road.

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4/24/2010

9:15-11:30

34 Miles

This morning a female cyclist rear-ended a Miami-Dade Transit bus on the Rickenbacker Causeway. The cyclist suffered minor injuries and was not taken to the hospital. I don’t have all the details of the accident, but this much I do know: the cyclist was in the bike lane and she rear-ended the bus that was parked in the bike lane/bus stop/shoulder.

This accident highlights another major and possibly deadly design flaw on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  In many instances when a bus pulls over to pick up or drop off passengers, the bus tends obstruct the bike lane. When this occurs, there is major conflict between the cyclist and the bus.  Cyclists are either forced to stop short, or they are forced to enter the roadway in order to overtake the bus. This scenario is very dangerous for cyclists as they must enter the roadway were most cars are traveling between 40-50mph. Cyclists will eventually come out on the losing end of this situation.

A conflict area is created when buses and cars park in the bike lane. Cyclists are forced into the roadway.

Ideally the bike lane should not be used as a bus stop and shoulder. Below is an example of a bike lane that is physically separated from the bus stop. The roadway on the Rickenbacker Causeway needs a similar treatment. Today’s accident followed an earlier incident in which a bus overtook two cyclists only to cut them off as the bus partially obstructed the bike lane in order to pick up passengers.

Source: safecycling.org

I also witnessed:

  • Several hundred cyclists enjoying the morning
  • Hundred of runners and walkers exercising
  • A small army from the Miami-Dade Police Department handing out speeding tickets
  • Most cars traveling between 40-50 mph
  • At least 5 cars traveling in excess of 65 mph on the William Powell Bridge and Bear Cut Bridge. (Speed limit is virtually unenforceable on the bridges)
  • One decoy police car
  • Half dozen runners running in the bike lane

Sooner or later there will be another cycling fatality involving a motor vehicle on the Rickenbacker Causeway. This is not debatable; it’s just a matter of time.  In order to raise awareness of the inherent dangers of the Rickenbacker Causeway, I will try to briefly document all my Rickenbacker Causeway bike rides. Welcome to The Rickenbacker Report!

4/19/2010

18:00-19:30

25 miles

  • At least 6-7 dozen cyclists
  • 2-3 dozen pedestrians/runners
  • At least 15 cars driving in excess of 50 mph
  • 2 cars parked in the bicycle lane
  • 3 joggers running against the flow of traffic in the bike lane
  • 1 decoy police car

4/21/2010

18:00-19:45

32 miles

  • At least 5-6 dozen cyclists
  • 2 dozen pedestrians
  • 1 black Porsche Cayenne doing about 75 mph up the William Powell Bridge
  • 1 black BMW M3 accelerate to about 65 mph as he passed the decoy police car (the driver was not fooled)
  • 1 silver car doing about 65 mph on Bear Cut Bridge
  • At least 20 cars driving in excess of 50 mph
  • 1 car cut me off as it made a right hand turn
  • 1 jogger running in the bike lane

I’ve seen many accidents on the Rickenbacker Causeway which luckily have not involved cyclists.  Many of these accidents are due to speeding.  Check out this picture of a motorcycle that ended up under the rear end of a truck. Here is an article about a motorcyclist that was killed while drag racing on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Unfortunately cyclists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of the causeway. Speed is undeniably a major problem on the Rickenbacker Causeway and it is not being  addressed appropriately. Speed kills. We need to slow down cars on the Rickenbacker Causeway now.

The Miami Herald is reporting that the FDOT Port of Miami tunnel project will break ground in June. FDOT currently has three megaprojects in the works in South Florida. Check out the FDOT video plugging the Port of Miami tunnel project.  From the looks of it pedestrians and bicyclists were not considered in the design of the port tunnel/MacArthur Causeway.

FDOT Megaprojects:

  • $1 billion Port of Miami tunnel project
  • $1.7 billion Miami Intermodal Center near Miami International Airport
  • $1.8 billion reconstruction of Interstate 595 in Broward County.

It’s sad to see that FDOT has money to spend on theses megaprojects, yet it can’t come up with money for bike lanes on Sunset Drive. This goes to show where their priorities lie.

In other news, the US Military is warning that by 2015 oil demand will outstrip supply bringing us one step closer to peak oil. Perhaps FDOT should spend their money more wisely on projects which do not depend on cheap oil.

Yesterday I received the following email from Mr. Gus Pego, FDOT District 6 Secretary:

As you know, at the public information meeting on March 30th for the resurfacing project on Sunset Drive from SW 84th Place to 69 Avenue, the department received numerous inquiries and requests regarding the configuration of the roadway to address the needs of bicyclists.

The design presented at that meeting reflected a minor pavement widening into the roadway median and a reduction in lane width of the inside travel lane in order to implement a wide outside lane in each direction (14 feet in width) to provide a bicycle facility along the corridor.  A wide outside lane is one in which the motorist and bicyclist travel in the outside lane together. This meets the requirements of a bicycle facility per the department’s standards.

At the public meeting, the bicycle community requested that the District evaluate an option that would provide a delineated lane for bicyclists.

The department evaluated two different options:

  1. Implementation of 4 foot undesignated bike lane in each direction
  2. Implementation of a 5 foot designated bike lane in each direction.

Each of these options would require the addition of significant amounts of pavement to the corridor.  As such, new drainage facilities would be needed to treat the additional stormwater runoff resulting from the new pavement areas.  Normally french drains would be used for this purpose and environmental permits would be required.  Given the project’s close proximity to the South Wellfield protection area, the department’s research indicates that this type of drainage system is not feasible or permittable in this area, although any existing exfiltration trenches or slab covered trenches are “grandfathered-in. Only dry systems for treatment and attenuation (swales or ponds) which would not fit in the corridor without ROW acquisition could be permitted in this area.  The additional pavement area would also require the implementation of concrete curb and gutter along the roadway edges due to the proximity to fixed objects along the roadway.

The current project budget is $3.5 Million. The two options cited above are estimated to cost $9.9 Million and $10.1 Million, respectively.

Due to the increased cost and probable drainage permitting issues cited above, the department is not able to implement a 4 foot undesignated bike lane or 5 foot designated bike lane as part of this project. Therefore, the current design of a 14 foot wide outside lane will be maintained; however the department will explore the possibility of installing signing to inform motorists that they need to provide a 3 foot clearance to bicycles and will also explore utilization of special pavement markings.”

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