The first official Transit Miami “shout-out” goes to the Traffic Signals and Signs Division over at the CPWD. Mr. Robert Williams and his staff came through and fixed the broken pedestrian crosswalk signal below in a very timely manner. The Traffic Signals and Signs Division should be recognized for their commitment to making our streets safer for all pedestrians. According the Mr. Williams, if you contact their department @ email@example.com, problems such as these will be repaired ASAP, generally within a few hours, but may take up to a few days. This is a much better response then we received from 311 which informed us that it could take anywhere from 2-4 weeks for the repair.
Keep up the good work Traffic Signals and Signs Division!
All downtown developers should be required to put up protective pedestrian scaffolding around their work site. Most large downtown development projects usually take over the sidewalks and pedestrians are left to fend for themselves. This picture was taken on Brickell between 6th and 7th Street. Kudos to the developer for taking this precautionary step and ensuring the safety of pedestrians. We should enact an ordinance that requires developers to make temporary provisions for pedestrians if the work site infringes upon the pedestrian’s right of way.
Unlicensed driver Charles Sanford, 19, was sentenced to 5 years for killing 4-year-old Veronica Desir on April 4, 2008 according to the Miami Herald. Charles Sanford fled from the scene of the accident and was apprehended three days later, his damaged Dodge Magnum was found at a Fort Lauderdale body shop.
A five year sentence is not a just punishment for this horrendous crime. Broward Circuit Judge Bernie Bober should have sent a stronger message that hit and run accidents will no longer be tolerated by sentencing him to at least ten years. Sanford committed murder and witnesses said Sanford sped away without hesitation. Our condolences go out to Veronica’s family.
Now you’re probably asking, what’s the MUTCD? The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices sets the standards for striping, signage, and signalization across the country. If a traffic control feature you want is not in there, you’ll have a hard time getting it installed on your road. The US Department of Transportation just released a long awaited new version of this manual that comes with some changes that many complete streets advocates will welcome. Hit up the press release here, and if you really want to delve into it, read the actual manual at FHWA’s website.
Until now, some new pedestrian and bicycle features have been experimental and difficult to install since they weren’t in the old 2003 MUTCD. Here are some of the additions to the roadway designer’s palette in the new manual:
- Shared lane use markings, or “sharrows.” These are like bike lane markings in the middle of the traffic lane, for lower speed areas where bicycle lanes don’t fit. That’s one in the picture next to on-street parking.
- “Bicycles may use full lane” sign, for use with or without sharrows. It’s a white regulatory sign, which carries more weight with police.
- “HAWK” signals. These are hybrid signals designed for mid-block crosswalks. These will be easier to install than regular signals since they don’t require as much vehicle traffic or pedestrian traffic.
States have two years to adopt the 2009 MUTCD. It may take a few months before Florida adopts it, but projects that are being designed now (to be constructed once we adopt the new MUTCD) may start incorporating them. We hope designers will use the new pedestrian and bicycle features as soon as possible.
Here’s your chance to speak to an FDOT representative about the recently released Dangerous by Design report that ranked the following four metropolitan areas within Florida as the most dangerous for pedestrians in the United States.
1. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
4. Jacksonville, FL
The MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee will hold their monthly meeting on Wednesday Dec. 16th on the 18th Floor (room 18-3) of the Government Center. This will be the first meeting since the Dangerous by Design report was released. Please come out and express your concerns to the FDOT representative that will be present. We need to work together with FDOT and encourage them to design complete streets that address the needs of all users and not only those of cars. We deserve better streets.
We have a little bit of good news to report; the pedestrian crosswalk signals at the South Miami Avenue and SE 13th Avenue intersection are working again after nearly a week since they stopped working.
Nevertheless things appeared to take a turn for the worse around lunch time today at this intersection. I went home for lunch to find the electrical contractors hard at work, but also found that all the traffic lights, in addition to the pedestrian crosswalk signals not working. Although the electrical contractors had placed 2 temporary stop signs on each side of South Miami Avenue, they did not place any temporary stop signs on SE 13th Avenue. The lack of a temporary 4 way stop created a hazardous situation for motorists and lunch time pedestrians. I observed as several pedestrians attempted to cross the street, only to sprint back to safety, as they realized they would not make it unharmed to the other side of the street. Drivers simply were not stopping because there wasn’t a mandatory stop sign for cars travelling on SE 13th Ave.
In all fairness, major work is taking place at this intersection. However, the process that was undertaken to make these improvements could have been done in a manner that did not put pedestrians in harm’s way. I fully understand and appreciate that work needs to be done at this intersection, but question how we are going about it and whether we are setting up the necessary temporary provisions to ensure the public’s safety. This is not a small job. The sidewalk on the NW corner of South Miami Avenue and SE 13th Avenue has been completely torn up.
When doing major work like this, the CPWD needs to think about the impact that their work will have on the welfare of pedestrians. This is especially true in areas with heavy foot traffic and where schools are present. Going forward the CPWD needs to be more mindful as to how they schedule their projects. Starting a project and taking three days off is no way to run a big job like this. This type of work needs to be completed as quickly as possible, in order to minimize the risks to the public. Regardless of the length of any project, appropriate temporary provisions need to be made to ensure the public’s safety.
To quickly recap, work began last Thursday, that same day the pedestrian crosswalk signals stopped working. The electrical contractors were on the job site on Friday, but then proceeded to take Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. They were back on the job Tuesday. Today (Wednesday) they got the pedestrian crosswalks signals working again. Work still remains to be completed, as the sidewalk is still under construction.
It seems like things are getting worse, not better, for those of us that live and work around Brickell. The traffic lights on Brickell Avenue and SE 14th Street were broken yet again today. Yesterday morning Public Service Aides were at this intersection directing traffic during morning rush hour, but today they were no where to be seen. Needless to say, traffic was a disaster. This seems to be a reoccurring problem since these very same traffic lights were broken on Friday as well and have yet to be fixed properly. For some reason the only time these traffic lights don’t work is during morning rush hour.
The problem with these traffic lights is that they remain green and never turn red for those traveling on Brickell Avenue. This forces the cars on SE 14th Street to run a red light when they deem appropriate, since it never turns green for them. Screwed are the pedestrians that get caught in the middle trying to sprint across the street to make it to the other side of the street safely.
Also worth mentioning is that there were electrical contractors working on this intersection last week.
It’s been 24 hours since I dialed 311 to report that all the pedestrian crosswalk signals at the SE 13th Street and South Miami Avenue intersection were not working. This morning, I took the time to witness several parents trying to cross the street here with their young children on the way to South Side Elementary School. It was not an easy task for them or any of the other countless pedestrians that attempted to traverse at this very busy intersection during rush hour. Everyone had to wait and try to time exactly when it was safe to dart across.
I was optimistic that the problem was going to be fixed today. At 8:10am the electrical contractors were already on the scene as you can see below.
At around 12:30pm I headed home for lunch and for my daily 15 minute siesta. I was surprised to see that the pedestrian signals were still not working, but I had high hopes that the problem would be fixed today. The electrical contractors were still busy at work as you can see below.
I left work this afternoon around 5:30pm feeling pretty good that the crosswalks signals would be working, but to my chagrin they were not.
Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed electrical work being done on traffic lights and pedestrian crosswalk signals around the Brickell Area. Unfortunately, the contractors don’t seem to think that the pedestrian crosswalk signals are all that important. Last week the pedestrian crosswalk signals on Brickell Ave. and SE 14th Street did not work for almost an entire week. Two days ago they started working again.
Today around 12:30pm I noticed contractors doing some work on the traffic lights on SE13th Street and South Miami Avenue. On my way back from work, at around 5:30pm, I noticed that all the pedestrian crosswalk signals at this intersection were not working.
At around 6:00pm I called 311 and reported the problem. The operator was very helpful and he told me that it could take up to 30 days to fix the problem, but that he would flag it as an emergency.
My fingers are crossed that the pedestrian crosswalk signals are working by tomorrow morning. It just so happens that an elementary school sits about half a block away from this intersection. I see a lot of parents with children crossing this already dangerous and poorly designed intersection every weekday morning. I think that if we can keep our traffic lights working we can keep our pedestrian crosswalk signals working too.
I also think that the city could do a much better job of promoting the 311. Unless you are a Transit Miami reader you probably don’t know about it. Perhaps the city could start a public service announcement campaign by putting the 311 phone number somewhere above crosswalk buttons throughout Downtown and Brickell? This can be done very cheaply with something as simple as a sticker.
Yesterday I posted a blog regarding the lack of crosswalks in Downtown. I took it upon myself during lunchtime today to count the number of pedestrians that crossed the street on SE 3rd Avenue and SE 1st St. were a crosswalk currently does not exist. If there was ever any doubt whether a crosswalk is needed, today’s results overwhelmingly favor pedestrian demand for a crosswalk. Within a 5 minute time span, 60 pedestrians crossed the street where there isn’t a crosswalk! If a pedestrian were to get hit here, some would blame the jaywalker. I wouldn’t, I’d hold those that designed this intersection responsible.
FDOT just recently repaved a section of Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown. I’m not sure why, but several major intersections were left without a pedestrian crosswalk. I really can’t think of a reason as to why FDOT did not take this opportunity to include 4 crosswalks at every intersection. There is enough density and pedestrian activity to justify 4 crosswalks at every intersection. Aside from helping pedestrians cross three lanes of fast moving traffic, crosswalks serve as traffic calming devices as well.
To make matters even worse, the intersection on Biscayne Blvd and NE 4th street had an existing crosswalk and crosswalk signal, but not anymore, FDOT decided to remove them. Check out the old crosswalk and signal right here: View Larger Map
Here are just a few examples of intersections without crosswalks:
These pictures were taken yesterday in front of the 200 South Biscayne Boulevard building. Cars have always parked here illegally to pickup passengers. So in order to accommodate the cars, approximately 4 feet of sidewalk has been taken away from pedestrians. Pedestrians are now only left with about 4 feet of sidewalk.
Sorry, but I want the sidewalk back. One of the most used Metro Mover stations is less than a block away. There is enough density in this area to justify an 8 foot sidewalk.
How was this approved?
Dear Governor Crist,
As you may know a recent report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America has shown that the following four metropolitan areas within Florida are the most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the United States.
1. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
4. Jacksonville, FL
The report titled “Dangerous By Design” concludes that Florida roads are dangerous for pedestrians because they have generally been designed to speed up -not slow down-traffic.
As residents of Miami Dade County, this comes as no surprise to us. However what does surprise us is that Florida has managed to take the top 4 spots nationally; this clearly is not a great achievement. The common denominator for all 4 metropolitan areas is the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) which is responsible for designing most of the roads within these urban environments. We believe that (FDOT) should be held accountable for poorly designed roads within our state that results in hundreds of preventable pedestrian deaths each year.
The decades of auto-centric culture within FDOT needs to come to an end. A major paradigm shift has to occur within FDOT from designing roads for cars to designing them for people. There is no simple solution and it will take a leader who is capable of changing an organization whose sole focus seems to be moving more cars faster, rather then considering pedestrians and bicyclists. Florida happens to be the most deadly state for bicyclists as well.
With so many retirees and an economy that is heavily dependent on tourism, we hope that FDOT can reinvent itself and begin designing safer roads for future generations in Florida. This pedestrian epidemic needs to come to an end now and it begins with a progressive and proactive FDOT which is capable of designing complete streets for everyone.
Its official folks, Miami has officially been ranked the 3rd most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians. Dangerous by Design, a report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America has concluded that:
The Miami metropolitan area is one of the nation’s most dangerous for pedestrians because the roads here generally have been designed to speed up — not slow down – traffic”.
Although the blame needs to be shared with the County Public Works Department (i.e. broken pedestrian signals), FDOT deserves an honorable mention for this shameful award. If they keep designing roadways, crosswalks and bike lanes like the recently completed Coral Way resurfacing project, Miami should be able to clinch #1 spot in a few years. This is pathetic at best and should be of no surprise to anyone.
You can find the full report here.
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