Currently viewing the tag: "Brickell"

The word on the livable street is that FDOT will begin a major resurfacing project on Brickell Avenue early next year.  Brickell Avenue will be resurfaced from SE 25th Road to SE 5th Street (approximately 1.5 miles).

This is an excellent opportunity for FDOT to shows its commitment to livable streets. Brickell Avenue is one of the most densely populated and pedestrianized areas in all of Florida; it is a destination, not a thoroughfare, therefore it needs to be designed in such a way that speeding is discouraged.

The current design plans for this project call for the same 11 foot travel lanes, no bicycle facilities, and improved crosswalks. This project will come under close scrutiny of Transit Miami (we have high expectations).  If you have any suggestions for FDOT, please use the comments section. We really need everyone’s help on this one. Together we can make Brickell Avenue a safe place for people to walk, bike and drive.

I’m not sure whose job it is to take care of this, but this palm is long overdue for a pruning.

While we’re at it, perhaps we can erect the SE 11th Street sign which has been lying besides this palm, in a neglected vacant lot, for the past 6 months.   The missing street sign has already been tagged with florescent orange spray paint, yet nothing has been done to replace it. How long does it take to replace a street sign?

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We already know that pedestrians have a rough time in Miami, but it doesn’t help when we can’t even maintain our crosswalks properly striped.  I guess we should feel lucky that we even have a barely recognizable crosswalk here. Many intersections in downtown and Brickell don’t have crosswalks. This picture was taken in front of the Brickell Metromover Station, perhaps one of the most utilized Metromover stops on Brickell Avenue and SE 14th Street.

Yes, that's a crosswalk.

Last night my wife and I took the Metromover from the 10th Street Station in Brickell to the Omni Station to check out Mama Mia at the Adrienne Arshet Center. As is usually the case when we ride the Metromover, we had to help several people make sense of the Metromover.

Transit needs to be user-friendly in order for it to work well.  Unfortunately we make it difficult on ourselves when we can’t keep the Metromover maps consistent. The maps at Metromover stations are clearly marked with 3 distinct colors (blue, orange, pink); each color distinguishes the three different routes (Omni, Brickell, and Inner loop).

Metromover station maps are clearly marked with 3 distinct colors (blue, orange, pink) for each route

However, once you enter the Metromover car the colors of the map change completely. The easily distinguishable blue, orange, and pink routes become less discernible shades of grayish/blue. I can’t think of a good reason why we have two different maps; we need to have one easily understood map, not two.

 Maps in the Metromover cars are use different colors; the grayish/blue colors that are less discernable for the transit user.

Maps in the Metromover cars use different colors than station maps; the grayish/blue colors are less discernible for the transit user.

One of our readers, TM Reader, suggested identifying each of the Metromover cars more clearly too.  I’d like to take this good idea a step further. The Metromover cars should be painted blue, orange, or pink to reflect the color of each route.  This would make transit easy to use.

Streetsblog is reporting that over the past decade London has been reducing speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph throughout the city.  Today London has over four hundred 20 mph zones. As s result, Londoners have benefited from a 46% decline in fatalities and serious injury within the 20 mph zones during the past decade according to British Medical Journal.

A 2008 map of London's 20mph zones. Image: London Assembly.

The high speed limits within our densest population pockets discourage people from walking or riding a bicycle. Brickell Avenue has a 35 mph speed limit and Biscayne Blvd. has a 30 mph speed limit. However, the design speed of both of these roads often encourages drivers to travel at speeds of 40-45 mph.  The first step to making our roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians would be to reduce speed limits throughout Miami Dade County. The second step would be to introduce self-enforcing traffic calming measures such as: raised junctions, raised crosswalks, chicanes, road humps and roundabouts.

Source: peds.org/2009/01/

So what’s it gonna take for us to step up to 20 mph speed limits?  Can you imagine how much more livable our streets would be if speed limits were reduced on our city streets?  The results of the London experiment were so glaringly obvious after 4 years that in 2004 the World Health Organization endorsed 20 mph speeds as an essential strategy to save lives.

Bus stop replaced again for the 4th time in the past year and a half

As reported a couple of weeks ago, the bus stop on Brickell and 15th Street was taken out for the 3rd or 4th time in the past year and a half by a speeding vehicle. Apparently the last accident involved a motorcycle which burned the bus stop to a crisp.  Last week the bus stop was replaced yet again.

Photo: http://twitpic.com/16yem5

Damaged bus stop on Brickell Avenue and 15th Street

Although we keep replacing the bus stop, the fundamental issue of speeding on Brickell Avenue isn’t being dealt with.  How many more times does this bus stop need to be flattened before the City of Miami addresses the underlying cause of these accidents? A short term solution would be to move the bus stop to a less dangerous location; the current location is on a very treacherous curve.

Given the history of the bus stop, it’s only a matter of time before this happens again. Hopefully no one will be injured when it does occur.

The Brickell Avenue bus stop between 14th and 15th Street burned to a crisp.

For what must be the 3rd or 4th time in the past year and a half the same Brickell bus stop on Brickell and 15th Street has been wiped out by a speeding car.  The problem here is that the bus stop is located on a dangerous curve and when cars come barreling down Brickell Avenue at night they head straight for the bus stop.  I’m pretty sure drunk driving has something to do with this problem, but speeding is certainly a major factor in these accidents.  The way Brickell Avenue is designed encourages speeding; we need to design this road to discourage speeding. Moving the bus stop should also be considered. Sooner or later someone waiting for the bus will get struck. If you are familiar with the area please feel free to suggest other improvements in the comments section below.

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.

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.

Provisional stop signs are correctly placed on South Miami Avenue.

Provisional stop signs are correctly placed on South Miami Avenue.

Pedestrians dart across SE 13th Street this afternoon. Traffic lights and crosswalk signals were not working today and provisional stop signs were not placed to assist pedestrians and cars.

Pedestrians dart across SE 13th Street this afternoon. Traffic lights and crosswalk signals were not working today and provisional stop signs were not placed to assist pedestrians and cars.

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.

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Father and son are forced to walk in the roadway in order to get to school as the sidewalk is under construction. No provisions have been made for pedestrians, parents with strollers, or the handicap.

Father and son are forced to walk in the roadway in order to get to school as the sidewalk is under construction. No provisions have been made for pedestrians, parents with strollers, or the handicap.

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.

Notice the cars on SE 14th Street running the red light

Notice the cars on SE 14th Street running the red light

This traffic light on Brickell remains green and doesn't change to red

This traffic light on Brickell remains green and doesn't turn red

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.

Father and son waited at least 4 minutes to cross this street today.

Father and son waited at least 4 minutes to cross this street today.

As soon as they started to cross, the light turned green for this car.

As soon as father and son darted across the intersection, the light turned green for this car.

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.

8:15am

8:15am

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.

12:30pm

12:30pm

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.

5:30pm

5:30pm

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.

The pedestrian crosswalk signals didn’t work for nearly a week at this busy crosswalk on Brickell Avenue and  SE14th Street.

The pedestrian crosswalk signals didn’t work for nearly a week at this busy crosswalk on Brickell Avenue and SE14th Street.

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.

Pedestrian crosswalk signal not working on SE13th Street and South Miami Avenue. South Side Elementary School is ½ a block away.

Pedestrian crosswalk signal not working on SE13th Street and South Miami Avenue. South Side Elementary School is ½ a block away.

Pedestrian crosswalk signal not working on SE13th Street and South Miami Avenue. South Side Elementary School is ½ a block away

Pedestrian crosswalk signal not working on SE13th Street and South Miami Avenue. South Side Elementary School is ½ a block away

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.

We have some good news to report. The pedestrian crosswalk signals on Brickell Ave. are working again. Thank you PWD.

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Come celebrate this excellent combination with the Miami DDA. As part of their monthly DWNTWN Miami Concert Series Laura Izibor will be performing. She’ll rock the stage at this free concert at Bayfront Park’s Tina Hills Pavilion.

As always the show is at sunset happy hour and food and drinks are available.

For information on this show and the rest of the season become a fan of the DWNTWN Miami Concert Series on Facebook…or … text DWNTWNR to 878787 for up to the minute updates.

laura_izibor

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Since Olga Ramos shared her story about walking to work on Brickell, the Transit Miami Eye has been on the lookout for working crosswalk signals.  We have some bad news to report, it’s been three weeks and the pedestrian crosswalk signals are still broken. The evidence is below. Who’s responsible for fixing this?

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