Currently viewing the tag: "Pedestrian"

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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It’s been about a month since I first reported on the new Coral Way bike lanes. Since I have not seen any progress during the past 4 weeks I will assume that  FDOT has officially completed this project. Sadly, I think this may be the finished product. It’s unfortunate to see that what we were left with is as good as it gets.

I would like to reiterate my suggestions for improvement for the bicycle lanes:

  • Paint the bicycle lanes green at all intersections and all conflict areas (i.e. driveways).
  • Paint three bicycle symbols per block.
  • Paint two white lines instead of a single white line to more clearly define the bicycle lanes.
  • The bicycle lanes should continue through the intersections with dashed lines in addition to being painted green; this keeps the continuity of the lane while also making bicyclists aware that motorists will be turning through the lane.
  • Add more signage: “Share the Road” and “No Parking in Bicycle Lane”
  • The Coral Way bicycle lane needs a seamless transition to the already existing SW 15th Road bicycle lane.
  • Road diet. Narrowing travel lanes to ensure motorists travel at slower speeds.

Pedestrians also needed to be considered more carefully in this project. Below is what appears to be the finished product for the crosswalks. Both of these crosswalks are not safe enough for pedestrians. Particularly the crosswalk on Coral Way where cars are usually traveling at about 40 mph in this area.

This crosswalk isn’t safe for pedestrians. The yield to pedestrians signs are not effective alone, traffic calming devices need to be included with the design.

This crosswalk isn’t safe for pedestrians. The yield to pedestrians signs are not effective alone, traffic calming devices need to be included with the design.

How about a couple of yield to pedestrian signs and a more clearly marked crosswalk?

How about a couple of yield to pedestrian signs and a more clearly marked crosswalk?

Check out this video from Streetfilms.  They did a piece on this sweet ass crosswalk in Seattle, Washington; yellow flashing lights are activated with a tap of the foot.  FDOT must consider using this type of crosswalk for Coral Way and all other crosswalks were pedestrians are put in the unlucky position of crossing 4 lanes of traffic where cars travel at high speeds.

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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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Friend of Transit Miami, Olga Ramos, lives on Brickell Avenue and wanted to share her daily commuting to work experience with our readers.

Every day I make a choice; a small choice, but an important one none the less. I choose to walk to work. Even though my company pays for a much coveted covered parking spot in one of the most prestigious pieces of real estate in Miami, I leave the transponder in my car parked in our apartment building and I choose to use what nature gave me to get to the office. My primary motivation comes from my belief that it is important to do the little things in order to reduce my carbon footprint, and because frankly that quarter of mile of movement allows me to transform myself into the focused business women my colleagues know.  I also walk to my gym (which is exactly 1.04 miles from our home thank you map quest) even though at that gym I receive free valet parking. I consider it my cardio warm up.

I think that the biggest change in most Americans lives over the last 40 years is that we have stopped walking. The little trips to the library, post office or corner store has been replaced with jumping into gas guzzling SUV’s to go just half a mile. In most cities the reason is because suburban sprawl and poor urban planning have made these locations far from were people live. But in Miami most people don’t walk because it is dangerous. During my walk every day, I play a sort of human frogger that affords me at minimum 3 near death experiences a week. As an adventuresome girl I could deal with that, however; what really irks me is how rude people are. I have been crossing Coral Way and Brickell, the crosswalk will be clearly signaling my right of way and drivers will still regularly yell obscenities in whatever native language is theirs or just use hand signals to communicate their disgust. I must admit that the road rage I encounter does make me dream of the day that I walk to work with rotten eggs in my hands so that when I encounter these drivers that have turned to the dark side I can leave a memorable impression.

But what I really want are two simple things. I want for all of the crosswalk lights to work (something I haven’t experienced since July) and I would like for some signage to go up on the traffic signals that states “Yield to Pedestrians”. The crosswalks lights that aren’t functioning are located on the NE side of Brickell Ave and 14th Street as well as the crosswalk lights on NE side of Brickell and 13ts Street. These are small things, but they would make a world of difference to this urbanite and her fellow pedestrian walkers.

And I promise that if I get what I want, that I won’t consider the rotten egg retaliation again.”

Although I don’t recommend rotten egg retaliation, I understand her frustration. Drivers need to respect the rights of pedestrians and the city also needs to do a much better job of enforcing their rights. The City of Miami must educate the driving public by putting up more “Yield to Pedestrian” signs throughout Brickell and Downtown. There is enough density and pedestrian activity to consider a “No Turn on Red” ordinance for Brickell and Downtown. Such an ordinance would make walking safer and would slow down traffic in these heavily populated areas.

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Tropical Paradise or Transportation Paradise?

Morro de Sao Paulo is a small village on the island of Tinhare in Bahia, Brazil which is located about 40 miles south of Salvador, Brazil’s third largest city. It is only accessible by a 2 hour boat ride or on a 25 minute puddle-jumper.  It has a small population of about 3000 local residents which rely predominantly on tourism in order to fuel the local economy.  Up until about 15 years ago, Morro de Sao Paulo was a fishing village.

The real beauty of Morro de Sao Paulo is not just the beaches, but the fact that no cars are allowed to enter the village center. To get around, your only real transportation option is your feet. In fact, during my 4 days in Morro de Sao Paulo, I saw only 4 bicycles, a couple of donkeys, and a tractor that collects garbage early in the morning. I saw my first car when I was on the way to the airport while riding on the back of a tractor-bus.

Getting around on two feet was not difficult, but rather pleasurable.  The development of the village has grown naturally on a human-scale; meaning most distances within the village are no longer than a half-hour walk. The inaccessibility of Morro de Sao Paulo is certainly a major contributing factor to its organic growth.

Particularly inspiring is the manner in which supplies are transported within the village. Whether a refrigerator, cement bags, computers, alcohol bottles or food, all goods are transported within the community by wheelbarrow. It is astonishing to see the small supermarket in the village was fully stocked with first-rate amenities. Approximately 200 men wheelbarrow all the supplies from the arriving boats to the village.  The car free village generates jobs by employing wheelbarrow operators that do not pollute.

There are some valuable lessons to learn from Morro de Sao Paulo. This tight knit community has shown that with a little hard work and planning, a car free community is possible and desirable, as can be evidenced by the thousands of tourists that visit this remote village every year. The community’s low reliance on motor-vehicles, combined with a transportation infrastructure which is predominantly reliant on human power will allow it to adapt more easily to an oil starved future.  As our cities become more densely populated, perhaps we will need to turn to working examples such as Morro de Sao Paulo.  This small village illustrates that with an emphasis on human power we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

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Unloading Beer Bottles and Propane Tanks

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The Miami Herald is reporting that a bicyclist was struck and  killed on the 1500 Block of West Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Details of the accident , including the name of the victim, have not been released. Apparently, the driver stayed at the scene of the accident, which sadly seems to be the exception to the rule here in South Florida.

More in keeping with the typical behavior,  a hit-and-run incident yesterday  took the life of a pedestrian near Southwest 157th Avenue and 289th Terrace. The victim, as well as the suspect who police were able to track down, have yet to be identified publicly.

UPDATE: The Miami Herald is now running a mor robust story on the hit-and-run in Southwest Dade on Sunday. The suspect’s name is  Jose Ramon Medina, who admitted to driving without a license, drinking alchohol prior to the incident, and fleeing the scene afterwards. He will be charged with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, and tampering with evidence.

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Streetfilms has produced a short film demonstrating an innovative pedestrian crosswalk design in Seattle.

One has to wonder if such design could have helped save Dr.  Robert Geronemus on Brickell Avenue, Ashley Nicole Valdes on SW 80th Street, and  Mario Reyes on the MacArthur Causeway.

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From the World Carfree network:

Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don’t have to accept our car-dominated society.

But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to “normal” life. When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.

Let World Carfree Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars…365 days a year.

As the climate heats up, World Carfree Day is the perfect time to take the heat off the planet, and put it on city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport, instead of to the automobile.

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Alton Road on Miami Beach does not work. Traffic is clogged, pedestrians cannot cross, and bicyclists cannot ride safely. On Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 6:00 pm in the Miami Beach City Hall Commission Chambers, The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting, which will be our last chance to make Alton Road work for the future. In terms of road construction projects, especially in an urban historic setting, opportunities to do something different are few and far between.  We will gather that day, to be handed an opportunity from the State of Florida to make Alton Road work by doing something different.

Instead, it looks like we will be getting more of the same.

The plan that was recommended by the land use committee and from the City Commission as a whole is the same Alton Road we have today. The same. Same seven lanes of traffic. Same marginally wide enough sidewalks, and same bumper-to-bumper on-street parking.

Let us start with the 100’ right of way. 100 feet! 75 of which are carved out for the seven lanes of traffic. Note: seven lanes is essentially equivalent to the south bound segment of I-95.

Alton Road, Miami Beach

Image Via Zickie’s Flickr

Onto the sidewalks

13 feet. That’s it. It might sound like a lot, when compared to the highly touted but very ineffective ADA requirements of 3 feet (remember this three feet is brought to you by the same people who think $6.25 should be minimum wage) but 13 feet is hardly adequate for the most pedestrainized area in the state.

This is Miami Beach. People have been coming here since the Smith-Avery family began ferrying them over here to experience our amazing climate. Our outdoor dining scene rivals some of the century’s oldest ones established in Paris and Rome, and we are barely 75 years old! I often shake my head at the folks who sit on 41st street outside Arnie and Richie’s crammed between a light pole and a trash can, while I barely have two feet to walk past by. Miami Beach is a tourist destination.  Tourism is a mainstay of our economy that will ride us out during oscillations in the real estate market. We must do everything we can to bring people here and get them around in an economical and environmentally friendly manner.

Let’s not forget another Miami Beach mainstay: our vibrant Orthodox community, a group that promotes walking as a virtue. This absence of adequate pedestrian facilities forces hundreds to walk the streets two days a week. We need wide sidewalks. Wider than most and Alton Road with the bus shelters, parking stations, pedestrian lighting, street lighting, and trash cans can barely accommodate a café table, let alone folks strolling and patronizing the shops and living and crossing. Yet the plan that was recommended out of our City Commission is more of the same.

Someone smarter than I defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The State of Florida is coming to us, wanting to fix our road, give us wider sidewalks, more options for non-motorized transport, rational public transit ways, more landscaping and this solution, this opportunity for real change, and therefore real results is being lost to petty politics and 325 parking spaces.

More on the parking issue in segment 2.  Stay Tuned.

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  • Today: June 3, 2008 from 6-8pm there will be a Miami-Dade Bicycle/Pedestrian Action Committee Meeting in Miami’s City Hall…
  • Tomorrow: June 4, 2008 there will be a Miami River Commission meeting at 10 AM in the Miami River Inn (118 South River Drive.)

For today’s Metro Monday, we once again direct you over to our friends at Streetsfilms to view an exceptional piece on Melbourne’s pedestrian facilities. It is simply amazing to see how quickly a city can change with the right policy, perhaps Miami 21 will serve as our saving grace.

There is an invaluable lesson here. In the early 90s, Melbourne was hardly a haven for pedestrian life until Jan Gehl was invited there to undertake a study and publish recommendations on street improvements and public space. Ten years after the survey’s findings, Melbourne was a remarkably different place thanks to sidewalk widenings, copious tree plantings, a burgeoning cafe culture, and various types of car restrictions on some streets. Public space and art abound. And all of this is an economic boom for business.

Miami 21 Update: On Thursday the City of Miami commission approved the continuation of the Miami 21 project with the mapping of the quadrants. Interestingly, the only mention of this in the Herald was a recent editorial two days before the actual vote by Daniella Levine… Perhaps this is a contributing factor for much of the confusion regarding Miami 21…

  • Farecards are coming and we couldn’t be happier. MDT will spend $72 Million to finally upgrade the transit fare collection system, phasing out the cash only system for a new high-tech card. However, on the downside, MDT is also looking to increase fares to $2 among other things in order to improve the federal ratings of the proposed North and East/West expansions…
  • Man who tried to commit suicide by rail this morning is alive and well, even after he was run over by 3 rail cars…
  • Ana Mendez performs a mini experiment and finds that walking around downtown is easier than driving (duh!) I find it shocking how many Herald reporters don’t use transit regularly…
  • The CITT has reversed its original decision to refuse the funding for new metrorail cars. We can likely kiss one (maybe two) of the original proposed extensions goodbye…
  • Downtown Doral is rising…
  • Rumor has it that the state is working on an incentive program to bring a new Hispanic owned airline to MIA as well as a reincarnation of Eastern Airlines…
  • Here is another no-brainer: Rising Gas Prices Lead to Increase in Public Transportation

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There is a Bicycle/Pedestrian Action Committee meeting today (April 23, 2008) from 5:30 to 7:30pm. The meeting will take place at County Hall on the 18th floor in conference room #2.

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After introducing Walk Score and Drive Score to you, today we’re announcing a new site which merges the technical ability of Google 3D with a virtual online shopping (and traveling) experience. Available only for select cities across the world (yes, Miami Beach is one of them), Everyscape Beta allows visitors to walk along virtual paths seeing everything as if they were really there. The 3D view is integrated with features that provide restaurant, hotel, and nightlife information and in some cases indoor views.

Aside from being fun to mess around with, Everyscape appears to be the pioneer in this form of online marketing. The program is functional, easy to use, and creative enough to hopefully lead to a new form of tourism marketing.
EveryScape lets businesses and organizations build engaging, immersive relationships with consumers through three-dimensional, photo-realistic experiences of cities and towns, streets and sidewalks, building exteriors and interiors. Now you can take your business to the next level by bringing visitors into your establishment, allowing them to view, explore, and engage with your offerings like never before.

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