Currently viewing the tag: "Miami Beach"

Friend of Tranist Miami Kenneth Bereski was injured on Wednesday night after a green Mini Cooper convertible with dark side stripes intentionally hit him. Here’s how the incident occurred according to Ken:

It started when the guy tried to use the bike lane as a right turn lane on 16th and Alton. After honking at me to move and me pointing out that it was a bike lane, when the light turned green and I didn’t immediately move he got upset. Words were exchanged, ending with him accelerating to hit me. I swerved into another lane between cars. He followed partially, just enough to hit me and send my bike flying. He then swerved back into the turn lane to run straight through a red light to escape. The actual hit and run occurred on Alton Road and 17th street by the movie theater”

Although Ken is doing OK, he’s got an emergency room bill to pay, is unable to work, and his bike which he relies on for transportation is totaled. If caught, the driver will face battery with a motor vehicle.

If you have any information on possible suspects, please let us know.  Ken said he would be able to identify the driver.  This crime deserves a punishment.

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If you are a Miami Beach resident and care about the future of bike facilities then come down to the Miami Beach Bikeways Committee, this Wednesday at 2 pm.

Where: Mayor’s Conference Room, 4th Floor, City of Miami Beach City Hall

The new Big Box shopping center which opened up on South Beach seems to be very popular amongst bicyclists. I have ridden and driven by on a number of occasions and I am astonished to see the number of bicycles parked outside the entrance to new Publix on 6th Street between Lenox Avenue and Alton Road. It seems like the developers of this shopping center did not account for the fact that shoppers would come to this shopping destination by bicycle.

Today I counted 23 bicycles parked outside the entrance to Publix.  With only two bicycle racks available on 6th Street, we can all agree that this shopping center is underserved by bicycle parking. In addition to being underserved, the bicycle parking should have been placed in a safe, secure and covered location, much like the parking which is available for cars. To be fair, there are additional bicycle racks on Lenox Avenue, but they are about a block away and not utilized due to their distance from the entrance. The parked bicycles on 6th street are locked up to anything that is anchored to the ground, including trees, garbage cans, and sign posts.

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This is poor foresight by the developer of this project.  It should be of no surprise to anyone, except for the developer, that so many customers would not arrive by car. Although I did not check out the parking garage, I’m willing to bet that a large percentage of the available parking is empty.

If the developers had really understood their target market, they should have known many of the trips undertaken to the shopping center would be done by bicycle, public transportation and foot. Crosswalks in the area have seen very little improvement, and with so many elderly people living in the area, need to be enhanced to ensure their safety. Developers should share the responsibility of providing safe and secure access, not only for cars, but for actual people too.

It’s really in the developer’s best interest to have fewer people arrive by car.  Instead of allocating precious square feet to unused parking, the developers would receive a higher ROI if they could lease out commercial real estate space instead of parking. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone.

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Come be part of the BIKE BRIGADE and roll with BASIC in honor of our Armed Forces! BASIC (Bicycle Activists for a Safe, Integrated Community) will be leading the bicycle ride on Veterans Day.

Where: Miami Beach Convention Center Drive to Flamingo Park down Washington Avenue, Parade Steps off @ 9:15 a.m. Meet at City Hall Parking Lot

How:  Festoon your rides with flags and symbols (No political symbols or posters, please).  There will be a multi-part banner to affix to the bikes in the first row!

Who:  You, your family and friends.  This is a kid-friendly event.

Details and sign up: Contact Gabrielle @ 305-790-5461 or GABRIELLEREDFERN@GMAIL.COM or facebook

Space is limited

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Courtesy Miami Beach Bicycle Center

Courtesy Miami Beach Bicycle Center

The Miami Beach Bicycle Center organizes a monthly bicycle ride with a Miami Beach Police escort.  This is a great free event for the entire family.

Saturday, November 14th @ 9am

Miami Beach Bicycle Center

601 5th street (Corner of 5th and Washington)

Miami Beach, FL 33139

Tel: 305-674-0150

Experience Level: Novice/Intermediate

Bring water and sunscreen.

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Nuff said. Miami Beach residents should come out and vote in support of Gabrielle on the November 17th. She is a transit advocate and a good person all around.

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As a true transit and bicycling advocate, Gabrielle Redfern understands the fundamentals of good urbanism. According to the Miami Herald, Gabrielle Redfern is advocating for a system of four Beach-only circulating bus routes on 20-minute schedules to alleviate congestion.  She also supports charging market rates for on-street parking with the revenue going towards enhancements in the neighborhoods that generate it. This is the kind of, out-of-box, forward thinking candidate Miami Beach needs.  Join us in supporting Gabrielle Redfern for the Group 3 Commission seat.

From NOAA:

...MINOR COASTAL FLOODING EXPECTED TO CONTINUE ALONG PORTIONS OF
THE ATLANTIC AND GULF COAST NEAR TIMES OF HIGH TIDE OVER THE NEXT
FEW DAYS...
TIDES ALONG BOTH THE ATLANTIC AND GULF COAST HAVE BEEN RUNNING
BETWEEN A HALF A FOOT TO A FOOT ABOVE NORMAL. THIS IS DUE TO AN
APPROACHING NEW MOON...AND THE LUNAR PERIGEE...OR WHEN THE MOON
MOVES CLOSER TO THE EARTH.
MINOR COASTAL FLOODING WAS REPORTED THIS MORNING IN PORTIONS OF
MIAMI BEACH AS WELL AS MARCO ISLAND. WATER COVERED PORTIONS OF
ROADWAYS...BUT NO ROADS WERE REPORTED AS IMPASSABLE.
IT WILL NOT TAKE MUCH RAIN TO RESULT IN THE POTENTIAL FOR MORE
SERIOUS FLOODING ALONG THE COAST...ESPECIALLY IN MIAMI BEACH. THE
BEST CHANCE OF RAIN AT MIAMI BEACH IS ON FRIDAY...WHEN A TROUGH
IS EXPECTED TO MOVE ACROSS THE AREA FROM THE EAST.

Lunar Perigee? Sounds fishy. Even if the flooding is related to a lunar phenomenon, it still brings to light the fact that Miami Beach is within half a foot  of serious flooding that can cause problems, and disrupt daily life. What is Miami Beach’s plan to deal with the flooding?  The picture below (again from Transit Miami reader Justin Falango) was taken this morning on West End Ave. Justin has been in the market for an apartment for a while now, and the flooding (now and back in June) worried him enough that he is deciding against buying on the beach. Too bad the beach has repeatedly killed Bay Link - that would go a long way to convince people like Justin who have to commute everyday from the beach that even if flooding becomes a fact of life on Miami Beach that they have a safe (and dry) way of getting to the mainland.

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Thanks to my friend Justin Falango for sending these shots of high tide on Miami Beach taken this morning. Keep in mind, it hasn’t rained in more than 24 hours.

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Alton Road: Yep, that’s salt water. It’s coming up from the storm drains.

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31 street & Indian Creek Drive

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31 street & Indian Creek Drive (same intersection as above)

This wasn’t caused by a huge rainstorm or hurricane, just a normal high tide in September. Our watertable reaches its highest level in October (due to the rainy season). Now this wouldn’t be a problem except that the Miami Beach storm drainage system is already at or below the high water level (and it is a gravity based system). It is very telling that on days like today, when it hasn’t rained, water creeps comes backward through the drain at high tide.  Consider what will happen when it does rain. It won’t take a huge rainstorm (like the one this past June) to see the streets of Miami Beach completely under water.  Welcome to the future present Miami Beach.

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The long anticipated South Pointe Park in South Beach was finally unveiled this spring. I have delayed sharing my thoughts because I wanted the park to be “broken in” and discovered by its regular users before venturing out to see it. Well, without a doubt the park was worth waiting for.  Stretching the length of the tip of South Beach and connecting to the lower western waterfront’s pedestrian promenade, South Pointe Park is an undeniable success. Users of all kinds seem to be flocking to the park at all hours to take in its beautiful vistas. Sunbathers enjoy the constructed ridgeline overlooking Government Cut and the cruise ships that pass by, picnickers enjoy the shade trees and well-manicured grass, families bring kids to enjoy the playgrounds, splash pads and fountains, and  exercise fiends traverse the park in droves. Indeed, I altered my daily running route to include the park.

I must admit, however,  I first questioned the lack of formal active playspace (basketball,  tennis courts, soccer etc.), but it seems they aren’t missed. Indeed, the park  balances a fine mix of passive and active use areas, as well as  organic and formal landscaping. Furthermore, the presence of the swank steak house-Smith & Wollensky -seems to further activate the park, especially along the outside bar located on a primary spine of pedestrian activity. Perhaps the park could included another, less formal and inexpensive dining option… then again, you can just bring your own!

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, downtown Miami has reintroduced the Paul S. Walker Urbanscape, a hardscaped mid-block pocket of missed opportunity. Oh, was that too harsh? Maybe,  as the mini park is certainly a vast improvement on the vacant lot that occupied the space previously. Moreover,  I am not aware of all the programming, design and logistics that went into the formulation of this space. However,  why offer a space clearly intended for the lunchtime crowd and not encourage the adjacent restaurant-Viaggios-to freely spill out onto a portion of the plaza with tables, chairs and dining service?  Doing so would have made that or any future restaurant that occupies the space a truly unique setting in downtown. Or perhaps recruit Miami’s best lunch time street vendor and either insert them into the park, or let them hang right outside, as that would  further activate the park beyond the 12-2pm lunchtime crowd. The  landscaping does its best to hide the long blank western side wall, but one imagines even a windows or a door would go a long way.

Beyond that issue, the proportions feel too tight given the building bordering the eastern edge rises high  (unavoidable), and the space still feels sterile despite its somewhat soft edges.  For now, I will withhold any real judgment until a further date, as the urbanscape is brand new so perhaps there will be movable tables and chairs for lunchtime use in the near future.  I sure hope so, as the park’s use  seemed somewhat sparse during the Monday lunch hour  given the amenity such a space ostensibly provides.  In defense of the park, I will say that the attractively designed sliding doors are a nice feature, and functional too, as I am guessing they close this space up at night to prevent vandalism. Smart move.

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The Miami Herald ran a story today regarding the Venetian closure and the effects it will have on pedestrians and bicyclists. Featured in the story is Felipe Azenha, a regular Transit Miami reader and a dedicated bicycle activist. From the article:

But some cycling advocates don’t think that is enough. The MacArthur is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, they say.

‘I think it’s really an accident waiting to happen” said Felipe Azenha, who used to ride his bike over the Venetian daily to work. Azenha pointed to recent causeway calamities. In March, NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth ran over a pedestrian on the MacArthur, killing him. In August, a cab driver plowed into almost a dozen cyclists out on a leisurely ride on a Sunday morning. None of the bicyclists died.

‘They have to put safety barriers out on the MacArthur and make it more clear that there will be bicycles and pedestrians,’ said Azenha, who also suggested a lower speed limit on the MacArthur during the month of May.

Molins said he could not address the concerns because the causeway is a state road controlled by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Of course, we all know that FDOT has said the County can do something by working with the statewide agency to ensure safe passage between the two cities for bicyclists and pedestrians.  Well, May 1 has come and nearly gone.  There is no telling if action will be taken.  Regardless, life goes on for the intrepid, as I saw four other bicyclists and two runners out on the MacArthur at 8:30 this morning. If the County and FDOT were wise, they would work together to figure out a solution before someone gets hurt.

If you do decide to head out there, please take extreme caution.

The Miami Herald is reporting a pedestrian was struck crossing Alton Road at 16th Street on Miami Beach. This just happened, so no details have been released. We will attempt to relay any updates as the day goes on, provided such information is reported. Let’s hope this is not another fatal incident.

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Pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, and motorists be warned: the easternmost bridge of Venetian Causeway will be closed for construction from May 1 - May 30. While it is understood that maintenance is essential to keeping the bridge safe, the loss of this major east-west link presents several challenges for all of its users, especially  pedestrians, bicyclists, and moped operators who depend daily upon the Venetian for a safe link between the City of Miami and Miami Beach.

According to a Miami-Dade County construction fact sheet I obtained from a toll booth operator, all traffic will be diverted to the MacArthur Causeway for the duration of the bridge closure. While the detour is  inconvenient for all of the above, the detour is potentially life threatening for the aforementioned groups, those who do not depend on enclosed motor vehicles for their daily transportation.  Since the fact sheet mentions obstruction to motor vehicles only, and nothing for all other users, it is extremely unlikely that the County will take any additional steps in ensuring any viable options for pedestrians or bicyclists to travel in a manner to which they are accustomed.

Certain MetroBus lines will likely enjoy some overcrowding as a result, but will likely be the safest alternative for those traveling between  Miami and Miami Beach. However, the monthly cost and inconvenience of traveling by such a mode will further impede many Venetian Causeway users.

Thus, please join Transit Miami in asking the County to protect both shoulders of the MacArthur Causeway with some type of temporary barrier so that bicyclists and pedestrians may proceed without immediately fearing for their lives. While such a provision will surely not appeal to every user, it will do much to alleviate the temporary convenience.  and allow people to travel more safely.

To make this simple request, please contact Delfin Molins, Public Information Officer for Miami-Dade County Public Works, with this simple request. Delfin may be reached at 305-375-1682, or delfin@miamidade.gov. As always, phone calls tend to be more direct and effective.

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NFL journeyman, Donte Stallworth, has had his vehicular manslaughter hearing postponed until May 21. Stallworth was charged with a DUI, which resulted in the killing of Mario Reyes.  We’ll be tracking this one, as Stallworth deserves full punishment for the crime he so irresponsibly committed.

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As we mentioned back in January, it seems B-cycle is coming to Miami Beach. If you peruse their site, you will find that they are actively lobbying other cities to accept their low-cost, high benefit system of public transportation. We called attention to this months back, and it seems many of you voted for your own city in South Florida. Let this post serve as a reminder to let B-Cycle know you and your city are interested in their services.

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