Currently viewing the tag: "FDOT"

On Thursday, June 2nd, The City of Miami Bicycle Initiatives hosted the Miami Bicycle Summit at The Grove Spot in Coconut Grove, Miami.  A variety of speakers, including city and county planners and public officials presented to an audience of local citizens and bicycle advocates, followed by a spirited question and answer session.  The meeting was an informative overview of ongoing bicycle projects -  but also highlighted the lingering disconnect between public agencies and advocates.

City of Miami District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff opened the summit by announcing monetary awards to both the South Florida Bicycle Coalition and the Green Mobility Network. The SFBC received $5,000, which will go towards the installation of ‘3 Feet’ law signs such as those in place on A1A in Palm Beach County. The Green Mobility Network also received $5,000 toward the creation of a bicycle map for the City of Miami. The Commissioner concluded by saying, “We need to continue to improve biking and bike safety, if nothing else, because it’s simply the right thing to do”.

From the city of Coral Gables, Commissioner Ralph Cabrerra announced the launch of ‘Gables Bike Day’ for October 23rd. As part of this event, the city of Coral Gables will close numerous streets to automobile traffic, including the Miracle Mile and Ponce de Leon.

David Henderson, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator for the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization, presented a comprehensive overview of the pedestrian and bicycle program for the county. Despite the recent T4America report describing Miami as being one of the most dangerous place to ride a bike in the USA, Henderson stated that simply is not the case, laying out some particularly interesting facts regarding cycling projects and safety trends, including:
  • In 1999, there were 100 miles of multi-use paths, 10 miles of bike lanes and 70 miles of paved shoulders in Miami-Dade County.
  • Now, there are 130 miles of multi-use paths, 70 miles of bike lanes and 30 wide-curb lanes with many more in the planning stages.
  • Bicycle parking increasing at Metrorail stations and pedestrian/cycling counts increasing in downtown area.
  • Bicycle injuries are down, and have dropped by half since 1990. Still, 65 pedestrians and 12 cyclists were killed in accidents in M-D county last year.
Both Henderson and Jeff Cohen, from Miami-Dade Public Works, touched on the recent ThinkBike workshop held earlier in May and the plans to implement projects studied during that meeting, including bike lanes on Miami Avenue and a cycle track proposal along NW 14 Street, through the Health District. While many in the audience were excited about these two projects possibly coming to fruition, there was palpable frustration amongst many when the potential timing of the project was discussed later in the evening. First, a traffic study must be commissioned in those areas to observe traffic volumes and patterns. Unfortunately, this study will not be done until the fall, when the school year begins. Audience members were assured that once the study is completed the project would move forward (which begs the question, why waste time and money on a traffic study if the project will move forward anyway? what possible benefit will result from the pseudo-science of traffic engineering?) This was disappointing to many in the audience, as some questioned the delay for the study, given that stretch of Miami Avenue does not have any major schools on or near it.

Cohen continuted to provide a thorough overview of bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the county, past and present. Among the notable project is the planned construction of a pedestrain/bicycle bridge on the Commodore Bike Trail in the Cocoplum neighborhood. Also, downtown Miami streets that were recently resurfaced will be marked with ‘sharrows’.

Ken Jeffries from the FDOT was scheduled to present, however two FDOT consultants from Kimley-Horn, John McWilliams and Stewart Robertson were on-hand instead as Jeffries was not present. Robertson and McWilliams highlighted the three basic types of bicycle facility in FDOT standards - bike lanes, wide curb lanes, and shared use paths. They also discussed the FDOT’s ‘commitment’ to the Florida Complete streets policy and the development of a pedestrian/cyclist checklist for engineers to use when considering projects (too bad they miss the point - streets are more than mere engineering projects).  ‘Sharrows’ were also a major topic, as the FDOT has adopted their use. A planned FDOT project on Sunset Drive will experiment with using ‘sharrows’ on the roadway, which has a posted speed limit of 40mph. Sharrows are usually reserved for lower speed limit roadways. Again, many in the audience were frustrated that this project will not include a designated or physically separate bike lane on such a busy roadway with a high speed limit.

The consultants were questioned heavily on their explanation of design speeds, especially on the MacArthur Causeway. Audience members questioned the safety of the bike lane designated on the MacArthur, given that the design speed of the roadway far surpasses it’s posted speed limit of 50mph. Many individuals in the audience were advocating for a protected bike lane, especially given the ongoing tunnel project, in which the FDOT are planning to add additional travel lanes for traffic. There are no plans currently to alter the scope of the project to better accommodate cyclists on the MacArthur causeway. 

Miami Beach resident Xavier Falconi from the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee and touted the success of the Deco Bike Program on Miami Beach and other improvements to bicycle infrastructure, including ‘sharrows’ on Washington Avenue and the development of Bicycle Parking Design Guidelines for the city.

Collin Worth, City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator, wrapped up the evenings presentations, mentioning a RFP (Request for Proposal) for a bike share program in downtown Brickell and Omni area and the City’s goal of eventually becoming a designated Bicycle Friendly Community.

TransitMiami would like to thank Collin Worth for helping organize and plan the evening. It is clear that some are taking the needs of cyclists seriously in Miami by improving infrastructure and raising awareness - but much more needs to be done. Our policymakers and public employees need to understand that streets are more than just exercises in traffic engineering. Streets are for people.

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It seems there is a new campaign to get the attention of Florida’s elected officials when it comes to public transportation.

IM4Transit is a campaign of the Board of the Florida Public Transportation Association to identify, recruit, and mobilize at least 100,000 pro-transit Floridians.

If you support public transportation in Florida, go to  www.im4transit.org/ and show your support.  It would be nice to have 100,000 people tell Rick Scott want more transportation options.  You can also go to Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/im4transit.

 

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The article below is a repost.  It was originaly posted on November 15, 2009. The FDOT has made some very small striping improvements since the article was originally published.  Needless to say, it is not enough. The FDOT must do more.

Inspired by the recent Dangerous by Design report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America Transit Miami will begin documenting existing conditions that are dangerous and potentially deadly to pedestrians and bicyclists. In what will likely be an infinite collection of posts, the MacArthur Causeway will be the first roadway evaluated for Transit Miami’s very own Dangerous By Design exposé.

Although the MacArthur Causeway is actually designated as bicycle route, I don’t like to ride it because I fear for my life.  The Venetian Causeway is a much safer alternative.  This morning all bicyclists and pedestrians were forced to take the MacArthur Causeway because the eastern drawbridge on the Venetian Causeway was broken.  Non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians had no other alternative to traverse the bay other than the MacArthur Causeway. I decided to make the most of my MacArthur Causeway crossing, so I took the opportunity to more closely inspect FDOT’s current resurfacing project on the MacArthur Causeway.  Sadly, it seems like FDOT did not seriously consider pedestrians and bicyclists during the design phase of this resurfacing project.

My intention was to allow FDOT to finish the project before critiquing it, but that won’t be necessary, because what little work remains to be completed is mostly cosmetic (i.e. painting bicycle lanes and symbols). As one of only three arterial roads that connects Miami to Miami Beach, it is imperative that this wide, high speed, high capacity thoroughfare have safe pedestrian and bicycle provisions. FDOT’s current design consists of an unprotected bicycle lane that doubles as an emergency shoulder.  Sorry, but anything less than a separated and protected multiuse path is unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists.  For this reason the MacArthur Causeway is being regrettably recognized as Dangerous By Design. If FDOT were genuinely concerned about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists they would have designed a separated and protected multiuse path.  Below are examples that should have been considered.

Wilson Bridge Bike Path. Photo courtsey of http://joeholthaus.com/id69.html

Wilson Bridge Bike Path. Photo courtesy of http://joeholthaus.com/id69.html

Burrard Bike Lane, Vancouver Canada. Photo courtesy of www.news1130.com

Burrard Bike Lane, Vancouver Canada. Photo courtesy of www.news1130.com

Below are a few photographs taken this morning of poor design standards on the MacArthur Causeway:

The bus stop needs to be protected; a pedestrian could have easily been killed here.

Bus stops on a three lane highway need to be protected; a pedestrian could have easily been killed here while waiting for the bus.

The bike lane/shoulder becomes bus stop. Please note that the bike lane/shoulder/bus stop ends.

The bike lane/shoulder becomes a bus stop. Please note that the bike lane/shoulder/bus stop ends without warning.

Bicyclists are forced into travel lane as soon as the bike lane/shoulder ends. It is not a coincidence that a taxi cab driver struck 11 bicyclists last year at this location.  This is a major design flaw.

Bicyclists are then forced into the travel lane as soon as the bike lane/shoulder ends. It is not a coincidence that a taxi cab driver struck 11 bicyclists last year at this location. This is a major design flaw, a similar design flaw contributed to the death a bicyclist on the Rickenbacker Causeway a few years ago.

Where are the temporary provisions for pedestrians, the handicap, and parents with strollers?

Where are the temporary provisions for pedestrians, the handicap, and parents with strollers?

A temporary solution needs to be found.

A temporary solution needs to be found. Access is very difficult for pedestrians.

Around 11:00am this morning a cyclist was hit on Brickell Avenue. The cyclist is currently in the trauma center with a broken leg and pelvis, his injuries are considered to be life treating.   I spoke with two witnesses and this is what I believed happened:

The cyclist was traveling east on SE 14th street.  I’m not sure if the cyclist was riding on the road or on the sidewalk, but apparently he was attempting to cross to the east side of Brickell Avenue.  One of the witnesses I interviewed, a pedestrian, said she was crossing Brickell Avenue on the north side of SE 14th Street intersection from east to west.  She confirmed that the “walk” signal had just changed; indicating pedestrians had the right of way.  The other witness I spoke to claims the Ford Explorer was traveling west on SE 14th Street and was making a left turn onto Brickell Avenue heading south when he struck the cyclist. I also overheard the driver saying he had a green light. If these are the facts, then the driver failed to yield to the cyclist while making a left turn. If my assessment is correct, the Miami Police Department should have issued a ticket for failure to “yield to pedestrian”.

This afternoon I decided to shoot some video at the exact location where this accident occurred. (Brickell Avenue and SE 14th Street). As I was filming this 30-second video two women were nearly hit by a red Cadillac (20 seconds). They must flail their arms in order to get the Cadillac to yield. Also, watch as 5 vehicles fail to yield to the pedestrians that are in the crosswalk.  This happens every single day.  Again, there is no enforcement.  The City of Miami could probably balance their budget in a week if they started handing out “Yield to Pedestrian” tickets.

 

When are our elected officials and the FDOT going to acknowledge that we have a serious problem on Brickell Avenue? How many more people need to be critically injured or must die before they act? Where is our enforcement? How many “yield to pedestrian” tickets have been issued in the past two years around Brickell? My guess is none.

We are still anxiously waiting for Commissioner Sarnoff, Mayor Regalado, County Commissioner Gimenez and the FDOT to announce more safety improvements as was promised during a recent press conference on Brickell Avenue. The FDOT is quick to make safety improvements for motor vehicles, but in the process they are actually creating more dangerous conditions for pedestrians. During the past year I am personally aware of at least a half dozen accidents around Brickell Avenue. This entire situation is utterly disgraceful. As the Brickell population continues to grow ,and our streets maintain an antiquated and autocentric design, the situation will only get worse. Deaths and injuries are certain to increase exponentially if nothing is done.

We hope the cyclist makes a quick recovery.

Please find links to all the accidents which have been documented below:
http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/another-pedestrian-hit-on-brickell-avenue
http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/pedestrian-hit-near-brickell-avenue-mayor-regalado-and-commisioner-gimenez-support-ped-friendly-streets-fdot-still-says-no
http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/fdot-continues-to-play-pedestrian-russian-roulette-on-brickell-avenue

 

 

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The Upper East Side neighborhood, loosely considered the area around the Biscayne Boulevard corridor from NE 50th Street to NE 85th Street, has tremendous potential for redevelopment. Unfortunately FDOT’s current streetscape design for Biscayne Boulevard is suffocating the neighborhood and stunting its growth.

FDOT recently resurfaced Biscayne Boulevard, but they did a disastrous job. They essentially designed a highway through a historic commercial and residential neighborhood without considering the needs of the businesses and residents that call the area home. As long as Biscayne Boulevard remains unfriendly to businesses and pedestrians conditions in the Upper East Side will not improve. The redevelopment of the Upper East Side begins with Biscayne Boulevard. FDOT must understand that they play a central role in the economic redevelopment of this community. They cannot persist to enable the decline of communities through poor roadway design that is unfriendly to businesses and pedestrians. If FDOT continues to design roadways with the sole purpose of moving cars faster, communities will suffer and they will not prosper.

The first step to redeveloping the Upper East Side neighborhood is to redesign the Biscayne Boulevard streetscape.  Lucky for the FDOT, University of Miami Professors Chuck Bohl and Jaime Correa have provided the MiMo Business Improvement Committee with a Biscayne Boulevard Streetscape Vision plan. At the very core of redevelopment are the businesses; they need to be on solid footing to thrive. Accessible parallel parking is the cornerstone for businesses to flourish.  Without it businesses will continue to go bust and prospective retailers will continue to turn their back to the area.

Source: MiMo Business Improvement Committee- Design by Professor Chuck Bohl and Professor Jaime Correa- University of Miami

 

Once parallel parking is in place, a number of things will occur which will transform the neighborhood. Existing business will blossom and new businesses will relocate to the neighborhood.  Parallel parking will help to calm traffic as well; bringing the current 45 mph design speed closer in-line with the 35 mph speed limit. (The speed limit should be reduced to 30mph). Once the design speed is reduced to 35 mph, Biscayne Boulevard will become more pedestrian friendly. Additional crosswalks and bicycle sharrows would also be introduced, further calming traffic and enhancing the pedestrian realm.

As a result, there will be a domino effect in the neighborhood. More businesses will open and remain open. A sense of place will be created and residents and visitors will begin supporting local retailers because the area will be more pedestrian friendly. More importantly, crime will decline since there will be more “eyes on the street”.

Last but not least, the 35 foot building height limit needs to increase to 53ft. Without it, real estate developers will not invest in the area.  One of two things will occur if the 35 foot building height limit remains- 1) Empty lots will remain or 2) The area will be filled with Discount Auto Parts type buildings. Contrary to doomsday conspiracy theorists that believe increasing the building height will destroy the neighborhood, the 53 ft building height is not out of scale. If we want good development to come to the area, the neighborhood must support an increase of the building height. If you want crappy development, keep the 35 foot building height limit.

Source: MiMo Business Improvement Committee- Design by Professor Chuck Bohl and Professor Jaime Correa- University of Miami

Source: MiMo Business Improvement Committee- Design by Professor Chuck Bohl and Professor Jaime Correa- University of Miami

So how do we make this happen?  Well, we here at Transit Miami are trying to mobilize the Upper East Side HOAs.  Tonight we will have an informal meeting with several HOA representatives. The Upper East Side HOAs need to come together with the MiMo Business Improvement Committee and the MiMo Biscayne Association and agree that streetscape design is the most pressing issue for the neighborhood. If the community speaks with one voice we can apply enough pressure on Commissioner Sarnoff and shame the FDOT to make these necessary and relatively inexpensive changes to make the economic redevelopment of our community a reality.

The Upper East Side Neighborhood must plan for its future now and begin envisioning the future for this historic district. We need to consider a week long charette and bring all major community stakeholders to the table within the next year. Let’s make this happen neighbors!

FYI: Speeding is clearly an issue on Biscayne Boulevard in the Upper East Side neighborhood. I have documented three accidents in the past 4 months. There have been more, but I just have not had time to document all the accidents.

http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/motorcyclist-collides-with-pedestrian-on-biscayne-boulevard-in-mimo

http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/bus-shelter-destroyed-in-mimo

http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/pic-of-the-day-two-weeks-notice

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Today’s quote of the day comes from Transit Miami reader Ruhappy in response to my post FDOT, MiMo Historic District, and Complete Streets. Several of our readers came out to defend FDOT, putting the blame on area businesses for the current design of Biscayne Boulevard in the MiMo Historic District. Ruhappy sets the record straight:

Over and over, it is repeated that during those public meetings in the 90s the only choice FDOT gave the community was 10 continuous blocks of medians with no turn-ins OR nothing (no medians at all). One can’t expect a struggling business to count on customers driving 9 blocks out of the way & turning around to return. Likewise residents weren’t thrilled at the choice either – it was a lose-lose for the neighborhood. Missing was someone to suggest a solution rather than letting FDOT achieve their goal to MOVE TRAFFIC swiftly through the main street of a neighborhood.”

There is, however, some good news.  The MiMo Business Improvement Committee commissioned a MiMo Streetscape Study. Architects and planners from the University of Miami produced three streetscape scenarios that could be easily implemented. These scenarios achieve several objectives. They emphasize safety and are business friendly.  They also calm traffic and encourage pedestrian activity. Pretty much a no-brainer and a win-win situation for everyone.

I’m a new resident to the area, so I wasn’t present at any of these FDOT meetings. Given FDOT’s track record of poor roadway design, I’m willing to bet the ranch that FDOT did not produce design options that were agreeable to residents and businesses. They probably gave them a couple of options: bad or worse. Businesses and residents chose the lesser of two evils.

In the end FDOT got their way and designed this roadway according to their modus operandi-to move cars as rapidly as possible and putting safety of pedestrians and bicyclists last. It is glaringly obvious that complete streets is not in FDOT’s vernacular.

According to the MiMo Biscayne Association 3 light poles were hit by vehicles between April & November 2010 in the historic district.  This could have easily been pedestrians on the sidewalk.

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Looks like 2011 may be the year of the Complete Streets movement in Miami. Upper East Side residents and businesses from the historic MiMo district are organizing in an attempt to get FDOT to make Biscayne Boulevard more pedestrian-friendly.  Residents have been asking FDOT to do more for pedestrians ever since a school-aged child was killed crossing Biscayne Boulevard near 64th Street about two years ago.  Needless to say FDOT has done little since this tragic accident to make Biscayne Blvd. safer for pedestrians and cyclists.  FDOT must recognize that proper road construction needs to take all users into account (pedestrians, cyclists and motorists).  Only a few years ago FDOT completed a major roadway redesign on Biscayne Blvd.  from 40th street  to 79th street. Unfortunately, the roadway was designed with the sole purpose of moving cars faster through the MiMo Historic District.

The current speed limit in this area is 35mph; however the design speed of the roadway is closer to 45mph. The design speed of Biscayne Blvd. should not exceed 35mph (30mph would be ideal) and crosswalks should be placed at  just about every intersection, not every 5 blocks and in some cases every 10 blocks (Bay Point area). Needless to say, there aren’t nearly enough crosswalks in the historic district. Parallel parking should have been included to support access to local retailers. Prior to FDOT’s most recent project parallel parking existed, unfortunately it was removed to move cars more quickly through the area. Lane widths should have been narrower to calm traffic. Also, bike sharrows/bike lane should have been included in FDOT’s design plans.

Unfortunately, none of these traffic calming features where incorporated in the current design.  Instead we were given a business-unfriendly, high-speed arterial road that cuts through a beautiful historic district.  FDOT has to become a willing participant in the economic development of our urban core. In their attempt to facilitate the movement of cars, they have made the area more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. At the same time have contributed to the decline of many businesses that depend on accessible on-street parking to attract customers. If FDOT continues to apply their current design standards within our cities economic development will suffer.

The MiMo Biscayne Association is leading the charge to make changes to the design of Biscayne Blvd in the MiMo Historic District. They have already met with Representative Luis Garcia and Senator Bill Nelson’s aide. Both appear to be very serious about helping to “convince” FDOT to look at the MiMo Streetscape Study, which was commissioned by the MiMo Business Improvement Committee, and completed by architects and planners from the University of Miami. I’ve been told that Mayor Regaldo has been very supportive. Transit Miami hopes to meet with Commissioner Sarnoff soon regarding this issue as well.  Mayor Regalado, Commissioner Sarnoff, and Representative Luis Garcia were all instrumental in persuading FDOT to reduce the speed limit on Brickell.

FDOT needs to do the right thing here as well. The area has three schools (Morningside Elementary, Cushman School, Bertha Abess Children’s School), two large parks (Legion and Morningside) and the Lemon City Public Library.  These facilities need safe access for pedestrians and cyclists, not just for cars.

Transit Miami will focus a lot of our energy on this complete streets campaign in 2011.  In addition to working with our elected officials, we will be working with the following organizations:

The MiMo Biscayne Association

MiMo Business Improvement Committee

University of Miami/ School of Architecture

South Florida Bike Coalition

We hope we can count on the following organizations for their support:

Green Mobility Network

Center For Independent Living

Belle Meade Homeowners Association

Morningside Homeowners Association

Bay Point Homeowners Association

Morningside Elementary

Cushman School

Bertha Abess Children’s School

Hopefully, FDOT will show some initiative here. FDOT needs to become an active participant in the development of healthy and vibrant communities.

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A Transit Miami Shout-out to the Miami Herald for publishing our letter to the Editor. You can also see our letter to the Editor below:

FDOT can do more to make Brickell pedestrian-friendly

The Brickell community deserves a round of applause. A coalition of residents, businesses, elected officials, advocates and civic groups rallied together to ask the Florida Department of Transportation to improve the walkability of Brickell Avenue. After months of lobbying our local elected officials, the Brickell Coalition can chalk up a small victory — FDOT officials conceded to a lower speed limit for a portion of the road and will add one new crosswalk. This is certainly a step in the right direction, but with so much more to be accomplished to make Brickell truly walkable, FDOT needs to do more.

Thirty-five miles per hour is not appropriate for a street with intense pedestrian activity. Just a few blocks north, Biscayne Boulevard has a posted speed of 30 mph — a clear precedent for low-posted speeds along U.S. 1 in the Central Business District.

While a complete redesign of the street would make the biggest impact on motorists’ speed, there are inexpensive traffic-calming measures that could easily be included in the current design, starting with an even greater reduction in speed, the use of raised crosswalks and prohibiting right turns on red.

FDOT also needs to do more than the bare minimum when providing crosswalks. In October, Transit Miami sent the city a list of more than 25 possible locations along Brickell that needed pedestrian crosswalks where none currently exist — yet FDOT has only agreed to add one new crosswalk.

Why does FDOT want to make it difficult for us to cross the street? FDOT can do more. Together, we will help the agency realize the original vision for Brickell Avenue as Miami’s grand pedestrian boulevard.”

Anthony Garcia, Felipe Azenha, Kathryn Reid Moore, Transit Miami, Miami

YOU spoke and FDOT listened! In what may be the first instance of FDOT actually listening to a group of concerned citizens, the Miami Herald is reporting a series of concessions made by FDOT on Brickell in response to the overwhelming support for  the Transit Miami/ South Florida Bicycle Coalition Brickell campaign.

 Among their concessions, they plan to lower the speed to 35 mph (not the 25-30 mph appropriate for a neighborhood street), add ONE crosswalk on the 1400 block, add sharrows to the outside lane, and complete existing intersections that only have 3 crosswalks.

Our partners at the SFBC had this to say:

The South Florida Bike Coalition will continue to seek an appropriate posted speed limitfor the full length of Brickell Avenue that meets Florida state standards for residential/business districts (25-30mph) despite the recent concession from FDOT to reduce the 40mph to 35mph.

We agree 35 mph is still not appropriate for a pedestrian-friendly street like Brickell- but it is better than 40 mph. As many TM readers have pointed out, a redesign of the street would make the biggest impact on motorist speed, but our efforts came too late in the project timeline to go back and change the design. That being said, we will look into the latest traffic studies conducted by FDOT and let you know what we find.  There are basic traffic calming measures that could easily be included in the current design such as raised crosswalks, and prohibiting right turn on red.

We also want to see abundant crosswalks - lots of them. (See below) Unfortunately, when it comes to crosswalks, FDOT still does not understand that doing the bare minimum is not good enough for a safe pedestrian experience. They only agreed to finish all 3-sided intersections (a no brainer) and will install ONE new additional crosswalk at 14th Street. LAME. Transit Miami planners sent the City a list of over 25 locations along Brickell that needed pedestrian crosswalks where none currently exist. Why does FDOT want to make it so hard for us to cross the street?

 Here is our comprehensive list of potential locations that NEED crosswalks, including mid-block locations where clearly marked crossings (both on the street and in the median) will make a huge difference for pedestrian safety and access: SE 14 Street, SE 13 Street, SE 15 Road, SE 14 Terr, SE 11 st, SE 12 st, SE 10 st, between 10 St and 11 street at least 1 crossing, between 10 and 8 St - at least one crossing (but 2 crossings evenly spaced would be best), SE 5 St, SE 6 St, SE 7 St. Then from 15 Road to the Rickenbacker you should follow the existing breaks in the median (19 Rd, b/n 18 Rd  and 17 Rd, @ 16 Rd, b/n 19 Rd and 18 terr, 21 Rd),  and coordinate with existing bus stop locations ( 18 Rd, 20 Rd, 22 Rd). Also, pay special attention to the intersection right after 25 Rd.

We strongly support the inclusion of bike sharrows and increased ‘share the road’ signage. This is a big link in the bicycle network being formed throughout Miami - but for people to be safe and comfortable the speed still needs to be lower. Not to mention that the outside lanes are being widened to allow for sharrows, a point of discussion amongst bicycle planners, who feel that narrower streets calm traffic. FDOT should not widen the street; it’s actually counterproductive to traffic calming and encourages motorists to speed.

Lastly, isn’t it sad that we hear about these improvements from the Miami Herald? This is indicative of how disconnected FDOT is from the community - the FDOT project manager should have informed the residents and business-owners directly of these improvements considering the multiple ways FDOT can communicate with folks. They can do better - and together with you we are going to help them! We look forward to working with FDOT on this project; there is still more that needs to be done.  The Transit Miami Eye is watching … we want real complete streets!

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The FDOT (The Department of Streets and Highways) is seeking approval of transportation planners in Broward and Palm Beach Counties to approve five-year plans for road and “transit” projects. The Sun-Sentinel reports:

“A total of $2.37 billion will be spent in Broward County and $916 million in Palm Beach Countyfrom 2012 through 2016.”

Wow, pretty cool, eh? With over $3 Billion in spending we’ll surely be zipping along the FEC corridor from Miami to Jupiter in no time. Perhaps we’ll be able to ride the Ft. Lauderdale Wave Streetcar from my downtown office to the Broward General Medical Center. Heck, maybe we’ll be commuting on some new flashy BRT routes throughout both counties. Nope. This is FDOT we’re talking about - there is only one right way to blow $3.3 Billion.

“Major highway projects in Broward and Palm Beach counties are moving from the top of wish lists to reality.”

Oh Joy! Christmas has come early!

“State officials are including money in the latest plan to build an interchange for FAU’s new stadium in Boca Raton, widen State Road 7 in southern Broward County and expand the last two-lane section of Andrews Avenue in Pompano Beach.

It’s a dramatic turnaround from two years ago when the state had to delay numerous projects because of a decline in gas tax revenues and other resources. The state couldn’t keep up with the rising cost of land and materials to build roads.”

That’s right, we need more interchanges and lanes. Silly me. How could I forget how effective incessantly widening highways to meet ever growing congestion needs has been? For all their faults, the FDOT will be investing some money in Transit. Just what exactly? I’m so glad you asked:

“The county will study improving mass transit on its busiest routes — Broward Boulevard, Oakland Park Boulevard, State Road 7 and U.S. 1. The improvements could range from pull-outs so buses don’t hold up traffic to special equipment that allows buses to pre-empt traffic signals so they stay green longer so they can get through intersections.

Another study will look at improving State Road 7 from northern Broward into southern Palm Beach County, by improving mass transit and adding lanes.”

Wouldn’t want those buses to get in the way of all those cars now would we? Now, let’s get this straight. FDOT suddenly has $3.3B more to spend between 2012 and 2016 in Broward and Palm Beach. So the logical solution is to pump the money into projects already underway? And, for safe measure, to cover their asses and pretend to be serving the best interest of all transit modes, they decided to invest a pittance into transit studies?

“The new projects are in addition to work that already is started or will begin next year, such as the extension of the I-95 express lanes to Fort Lauderdale that will begin next year, the I-595 construction and I-95 widening in northern Palm Beach Countyunderway and construction of a new Eller Drive overpass connecting I-595 to Port Everglades that will start in 2011.”

I know what you’re all thinking. C’mon, 95 Express - dude its a transit project, kinda - we’re getting buses to use those routes and whisk passengers across highways to their destinations quickly and effectively. After all, one of the main selling points of the 95 Express HOT Lanes was the ability for transit buses to access the tolled lanes free of charge, providing transit riders with a cheap alternative to driving alone and simultaneously improving the commute time of “regional” service buses. In theory this plan works. In theory. But we lack the sufficient density to make BRT along our highways effective; and, congestion hasn’t reached the point to justify the time it would take users to park-and-ride.  Plus, BCT and MDT lack the funds to keep these buses operating:

“The Broward County Commission will hold a public hearing at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December  14, 2010, at the Broward County Governmental Center, Room 422, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, for public input on proposed changes to the 95 Express Bus Service.  The proposed changes would become effective on Monday, January 10, 2011.”

The proposed service changes are:

  • Discontinued service to the Golden Glades Park & Ride stop
  • Discontinued reverse commute trips from Miami during the morning peak hours
  • Discontinued reverse commute trips from Pembroke Pines during the afternoon peak hours

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Last night’s meeting with FDOT regarding the upcoming Brickell Avenue resurfacing project went pretty badly. Transit Miami reader Ned does a wonderful job summarizing the meeting.

“That was a miserable meeting. Few things in life are as frustrating as taking time out of your life, to plead for sanity, to people without power to effect change, representing a bureaucracy on autopilot. There is no sense that FDOT even knows which problems a reconstruction of Brickell Avenue should solve. Their proposal does not appear to target substantive improvement in any of the myriad problems with the design of the roadway (unless perhaps its drainage?). It is obvious that the agency has no strategy in place to identify, evaluate and implement inexpensive, innovative, proven effective techniques for mitigating roadway contention among various modal users. Indeed, implicit in the whole presentation is the sickeningly 70s refrain that roads are exclusively for cars.

What is perfectly clear is that FDOT is not capable of designing a kick ass Brickell Avenue even if they wanted to. There is no more powerful indictment of that futility than for this agency to seriously propose the project as it is currently designed. It is completely irrelevant to the needs of the community. I almost feel sorry for FDOT. They are too dumb to know what to do and too proud to do what they’re told. They build the same roads today that they did 50 years ago, but can’t figure out why it doesn’t work anymore.

Miami cannot afford more bungling from FDOT. This city must have a modern infrastructure to survive, and after decades of neglect, we are now beyond the tipping point. People and businesses are staying away or leaving on the basis of Miami’s ineffective transportation network. The car monoculture is every bit as bankrupt as GM was that built it.

I would support a statewide, five year trial referendum, granting localities the option to vote, by a super majority, for a no build alternative and tax refund on FDOT projects. As it is, FDOT is not accountable for their design decisions and have no incentive to pursue alternatives. As acute as the need on Brickell Avenue is, it is better to do nothing now and hopefully something good later on, than to waste millions doing practically nothing now and nothing later either.”

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It is very important that we get as many people as possible to attend this meeting. Please spread the word if you would like to see a more pedestrian-friendly Brickell Avenue.

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Brickell Avenue and SW 15th Road was the scene of yet another accident on Wednesday.  During the past two years I have personally seen the advertising board/bench at this intersection hit by speeding vehicles at least four different occasions. FDOT needs to stop dragging their feet and do something about the absurdly high speed limit before someone is killed. How many more accidents do we need before FDOT reacts?

I received the below email from our friends over at the Brickell Homeowners Association.  The person who witnessed this accident preferred to remain anonymous.

“Dear BHA,

I have reason to write-in very concerned about pedestrian safety after an incident that occurred just hours ago on Brickell Ave near my home.

As I was driving East on Broadway Ave (SE 15th Rd) right in front of St. Jude Church, I heard a terrible crash behind me. A Toyota Corolla was smashed against the pole that carries the Walk/Stop screen at the South/West corner of Brickell Ave and Broadway. A Jaguar was smashed against the traffic light pole on the island on the West side of Broadway. I stopped my car and ran over to the site of the accident where 2 ladies were shaken-up and hurt by their exploding air bags. The ladies will most likely be ok; the cars will most likely be declared a total loss. After calling 911 and waiting for rescue teams to arrive, I looked around and came to a chilling realization: I have been at the same exact corner where the Corolla was smashed many times with my baby son, waiting for the light to change. Many of those times I have instinctively stepped back a few feet, frightened by the speed of the cars. How fast were these cars going if air bags were deployed and the cars were so damaged? What would have happened if someone was standing at that corner?

After spending some time on your site, I’ve become aware that the BHA has also expressed concern re: pedestrian safety in this section of Brickell, most recently with the mid-block crosswalk at 1770 Brickell Ave. and the lack of awareness regarding this crosswalk. The reason this crosswalk is not effective, and the reason such terrible accidents keep occurring at the aforementioned intersection, is that the speed limit (40mph) is set way too high for the amount of cars and pedestrians in the area, not to mention that drivers routinely go over this limit.  Nobody is going to stop for a flashing light when they are going 50mph, and managing/obeying traffic lights at that speed is difficult and subjective. The Brickell Ave. area between 26th Road and SE 14th St, has become a speedway for cars in both directions and is a tragedy waiting to happen. Moreover, I have never seen police enforcing the speed limit. What has to happen for someone to do something?”

If you would like a safer Brickell Avenue, please sign this letter and feel free to send it directly to FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus.Pego@DOT.STATE.FL.US.

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The upcoming Brickell Avenue resurfacing project has been an enlightening experience for Transit Miami. Through this process we have discovered that FDOT is broken. Let’s use our recent experience to illustrate some fundamental problems with FDOT.

We first found out about the Brickell Avenue resurfacing project in August. I contacted FDOT and they provided me with their design plans. I then proceeded to take a field trip with two FDOT engineers on Brickell Avenue to discuss other improvements which they had not considered. This was just the beginning of the battle for a ped-friendly Brickell.

The Transit Miami led coalition has worked very hard to raise awareness about this project. Together with organizations like the South Florida Bicycle Coalition, we have made a concerted effort to reach out to all the major Brickell Avenue stakeholders. We meet with the Brickell Area Association, the Brickell Homeowners Association, and the Miami Downtown Development Authority. We then personally sat down with Mayor Regalado, Commissioner Sarnoff, and Representative Luis Garcia to talk about our efforts.

Now it seems that everyone’s collaborative hard work may pay off. Two weeks ago the Miami Herald covered this very important story and this past weekend the Miami Herald Editorial Board wrote a piece in support of ped-friendly improvements to Brickell Avenue.

FDOT seems to be slowly reacting.  How much they will do is still unknown.  Apparently, sufficient pressure has been placed on FDOT to motivate them to at least listen to the needs of the community. Unfortunately, this was only accomplished because of the initial efforts of  the Transit Miami coalition with the help of the greater Brickell community.  We engaged as many stakeholders as possible and built consensus. This took a lot of time and effort on our part, but we love a good fight and made plenty of new friends along the way.

Herein lies the problem with FDOT. Why does it take an entire community to beg for overdue improvements?  Shouldn’t FDOT have been proactive and taken the initiative to introduce improvements from the beginning? Why didn’t FDOT reach out to the community to get their input?

Together we will make a difference on Brickell Avenue, but only because so many people are directly affected by this poorly designed road. It was relatively easy to engage the community because so many residents and businesses inhabit this corridor. In areas that are less urbanized it will be more difficult for advocates to garner a critical mass of people to convince FDOT to design roads for all users. FDOT should lead the charge to design complete streets, not Transit Miami.  As much as we would like to, we cannot oversee every FDOT project.

It is the intentionally decentralized nature of FDOT that makes it so difficult to work with this agency.  The only way to fix FDOT is to have a FDOT Secretary in Tallahassee that works to change how things get done. Will Governor Rick Scott make this necessary change? I sure hope so. If not, FDOT will remain broken.

Perhaps FDOT engineers should read this article Confessions of a Recovering Engineer. It’s not about speed, it’s about safety.

If you would like a safer Brickell Avenue, please sign this letter and feel free to send it directly to FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus.Pego@DOT.STATE.FL.US.

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Last week a pedestrian was hit near Brickell Avenue.  Below is the story according to the victim.  Apparently the driver of the vehicle was not ticketed.  Natalie Brown from the Brickell Homeowners Association forwarded this email to Transit Miami.

“I’m contacting you because you might be interested in what happened to me November 11.  I live at Brickell Place D building and walk most every morning to Publix or Walgreen’s. When I was returning I walked to where I can enter the building….that is the driveway where cars go in and out.  I crossed the driveway where the cars are leaving the building and I stood and waited a moment to see if it was clear for me to continue to the gate which I would enter.  All of a sudden a white car swung into the drive and came towards me and hit me.

I just layed there on my stomach…..the lady driver came over and was crying and I couldn’t move. Another lady came along….put my jacket under my head (which was bleeding) and she called my husband for me. I think it was a policeman who asked me what happened. All I said was “The driver entered the driveway very very fast.” Then the ambulance came and took me to Mercy Hospital.

It’s ironic that the very next day there was a long article in the Herald about the walkers vs. cars on Brickell! I read your name in the article and thought that you would be interested to hear what happened to me.

According to the police report, I believe that the driver did not get a ticket. I had to have 8 stitches over my eye…there was a large hematoma on my temple and I have bruises and lots of pain in my back.

You are right….there are not enough crosswalks on Brickell, and in fact, to enter our building from Brickell Av. there is not one crosswalk.”

The victim went on to say…

“Indeed we need more crosswalks and I believe that the speed limit should be reduced especially in the residential part of Brickell.”

Commissioner Gimenez and Mayor Regalado attended the BHA meeting last night. Both support pedestrian-friendly improvements on Brickell Avenue. They believe Representative Luis Garcia can help Brickell Avenue residents and businesses by lobbying FDOT in Tallahassee.

If you know of any similar incidents on Brickell Avenue, please let us know in the comments section.  Sadly, there is still no word if FDOT will make any ped-friendly improvements on Brickell.

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