Currently viewing the tag: "bike lanes"

We expect a large turnout for the Key Biscayne Memorial Ride on Sunday. The County Public Works Department along with the Miami Dade, Key Biscayne and Miami Police Departments have been working tirelessly over the past few days to ensure our safety. We expect between 1000-2000 bicyclists and possibly more. Cyclists from as far as Broward and Palm Beach County have confirmed that they will be attending this event to pay their respects to Christophe Le Canne, the bicyclist that was killed last Sunday by a hit and run driver.

We need everyone’s cooperation to make sure no one gets hurt. The police will be on hand to help us and are providing an escort for the large group that will be meeting across the street from the Mast Academy at 9:00 a.m.  We will leave promptly at 9:15 a.m., stopping at the Christophe Le Canne memorial sign which the County Public Works Department has very thoughtfully placed on Bear Cut Bridge where the accident occurred.

After a twenty minute stop we will proceed to the entrance of Bill Bagss Florida State Park on Key Biscayne.  We will turn around before the entrance to the park and head back towards the mainland. At this point the police escort will effectively end.  Please use caution after the escorted ride is over; regular vehicular traffic will be present. Remember we must also follow the rules of the road; share the road works both ways.

*The Miami Seaquarium has invited us to use their parking lot as a staging area for the 9am ride. They ask participants to use the main Marquee entrance to enter the parking lot and park as close to the causeway as possible.

Family & friends of Le Canne are asking those who wish to help to donate funds to Haiti Relief instead.

Make checks payable to:
American Red Cross
P.O. Box 37243
Washington, DC 20013
Notation on check:
AP 2885 – Haiti Relief – IMO Christophe Le Canne

According to the Key Biscayne Times, a young girl was struck by a car while riding her bicycle in Key Biscayne. The car was making a right hand turn and hit the bicyclist. Luckily the girl seems to be doing alright.

I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that Christopher Lecanne’s death last Sunday could have been avoided. There are a number of factors that contributed to that tragic event, starting with Carlos Bertonatti’s decision to inebriate himself and then drive back home under the influence. This was not an accident. Bertonatti may not have set out to kill Lecanne, but the moment he decided to drive under the influence he accepted, consciously or not, that he could be an instrument to death. And he was. But there was also an aspect to the event that has to deal with the bicycling infrastructure on which Lecanne transited, namely the bike lane that puts people on bicycles right next to cars on a road where drivers routinely overshoot the speed limit.

This event highlighted something that bicycle advocates in Miami have been telling those in positions of power for days, weeks, months and years prior: our roadways are not safe for people on human-powered vehicles. Key Biscayne is one of Miami’s premier cycling location, the place where, if anywhere, going beyond the strict requirements of the law would be worth it given the amount of people on bicycles that use it. And yet, as written by Esther Calas, P.E., Director of Miami-Dade County Public Works Department, the facilities there only meet the State and Federal requirements. That’s all they shot for, without consideration that this particular area could use some specifications that go beyond.

Key Biscayne is a microcosm of Greater Miami. The tragedy that took place on Key Biscayne last week can, and has, and will, happen elsewhere in Miami wherever bikes and car are forced to co-exist without the proper attention as to how that coexistence needs to happen for safety’s sake. Need proof? Look no further than October 2009 and the sad case of teenager Rodolfo Rojo, killed on Biscayne Boulevard.

How many more Rojos or Lecannes will it take before those people in positions of power, people put there by our very own votes, will finally get the message and take action to protect the bicycle-riding segment of the population they represent and serve?

As it is usually the case, the tragedy has acted as a catalyst and now we’re getting responses and promises from people like Commissioner Sarnoff and Miami Dade County Mayor Alvarez (still notably missing is Miami Mayor Regalado). I hope these lead to actual changes, I really do. Maybe this will make people realize that bicycle advocates are not just talking to hear themselves talk when we tell politicians over and over than more and better bicycling infrastructure can and does help keep people safe when on human-powered vehicles.

Bicycle riding isn’t a fad. It is an accepted, long-standing and continually-increasing form of transportation, one that has to be taken seriously and accounted for in current and future plans for the cities and county of Miami.

When it comes to Lecanne, could a separated bike lane have saved his life? We’ll never know for sure. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure it out before we have another such tragedy in our hands?

This is a very special ride dedicated to Christophe Le Canne, a 44-year-old cyclist and family man who was struck and killed by a motorist on Sunday morning.

Come show your support for a safer Rickenbacker Causeway.  Together we can make the Rickenbacker Causeway a better place for everyone.

This ride is for everyone!  Cyclists, pedestrians, roller skaters, etc. Anyone who uses the Rickenbacker Causeway for recreational purposes. All are welcome.

We will meet across the street from:

Mast Academy / Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149

*If meeting at the beach is an issue we can meet a few yards away at the Miami Seaquarium parking lot.

You can find the facebook invite here.  Please invite your friends and family to come.

We have strength in numbers and politicians will listen to us!  Please spread the word.

*The Miami Seaquarium has invited us to use their parking lot as a staging area for the 9am ride. They ask participants to use the main Marquee entrance to enter the parking lot and park as close to the causeway as possible.

Today’s article in the Miami Herald suggests that fire-rescue took too long to arrive to the aid of Christopher Lecanne, the bicyclist that was killed on Sunday morning on Bear Cut Bridge. Although I agree that the response time was not good, there was very little fire-rescue could have done to help Christopher Lecanne.

Unless you are Superman, the chance of surviving an impact at 60 mph is close to zero. The chance of surviving an impact at 45 mph (posted speed limit on the Rickenbacker) is about 10% (see below). So let’s stop pointing the finger at fire-rescue, there is absolutely nothing they could have done to save his life.

The County Public Works Department should be held responsible and liable for this accident.  They designed and approved an unprotected bicycle lane next to a highway where cars often travel in excess of 60 mph. Our most popular cycling route in the county is a ticking time bomb. More deadly accidents will occur. By designing an unsuitable roadway for all users the County Public Works Department effectively gives cyclists a false sense of security. Fast moving cars and unprotected bicycle lanes do not work.  It never has and it never will. I cannot be more emphatic about this point!!!

Of course, Carlos Bertonatti also needs to be held responsible.  There will be more accidents like this on the Rickenbacker Causeway if the fundamental design flaw is not addressed.  Distracted drivers are a fact of life. The very least we can do is give our bicyclists a chance of surviving.  This can be done by designing a roadway which encourages cars to slow down and by putting protective barriers between bicyclists and cars on our bridges.

Let’s point the finger at the County Public Works Department.  They have neglected bicyclists and pedestrians for too long.

Please send Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email demanding a safer Rickenbacker Causeway @ ecalas@miamidade.gov

According to the Sun Sentinel, two children were hit while riding their bicycles in Ft. Lauderdale on 1000 block of E. Sunrise Blvd on Monday. The children were taken to Broward General Medical Center with minor injuries. The driver remained at the scene.

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This morning I reported that a bicyclist was killed on Bear Cut bridge.  This is the 2nd bicyclist that has been killed while riding on the Rickenbacker Causeway in the past three years.  The Rickenbacker Causeway is unquestionably the most popular biking route in Miami, and on any given weekend morning thousands of bicyclists of varying abilities descend upon it to ride their bicycles.

Much will be written about who’s at fault for this accident. I would not be surprised if the driver was drunk or under the influence. Most people will blame the driver for the accident. I for one believe the driver should share the blame with the County Public Works Department. The County PWD should be held accountable for designing such poor bicycles lanes. Unfortunately, it was just a matter of time before this happened and to be quite honest I am surprised accidents like this don’t occur with more frequency.

About two years ago, the County Public Works Department began resurfacing the Rickenbacker Causeway.  The PWD modus operandi with regard to bicyclists seems to be “Do as little as possible for bicyclists”. This is exactly what they have done on the Rickenbacker Causeway-as little as possible.

Anything less than a protected bicycle path should not be accepted by the bicycling community. By protected bicycle path I mean there should be a concrete barrier that physically separates the cars from the bicycles. If the County Public Works Department is going to encourage bicyclists to ride the Rickenbacker Causeway, they have the responsibility to make sure that the bicycle infrastructure they design is safe first. Putting a bike lane next to a roadway in which cars are traveling at speeds in excess of 45-65 mph creates an extremely unsafe and all to often deadly situation for bicyclists. The Rickenbacker Causeway (and frankly all our Causeways) are long overdue for an overhaul which insures the safe travel of all, including bicycles and pedestrians.

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

Physically Seperated Bicycle Path: Burrard Bike Lane, Vancouver Canada. Photo courtesy of www.news1130.com

Below is a graph which shows the likelihood of surviving a collision with a car. Bridges typically happen to be areas where cars like to speed.  If the County Public Works Department continues to encourage bicyclists to ride here without the correct bicycling infrastructure, accidents like this will sadly continue being a fact of life.  I for one have been discouraged from biking here, but my passion for riding on two wheels will have me back on the Rickenbacker tomorrow morning.  I just hope I don’t become another Rickenbacker Causeway statistic.  Be safe.

Source: http://peds.org/2009/01/

This morning at around 8:40 a bicyclist was struck from behind by a hit and run driver in the south bound bicycle lane on Bear Cut bridge. The driver was apprehended about 4 miles away from where he struck and killed the bicyclist; the bicycle still underneath the car.

I don’t know all the facts of the accident yet, but I can assure you there is not a single factor that contributed to the death of this bicyclist. There will be plenty of blame to be shared; especially by the County Public Works Department which designed the dangerous and inadequate bicycle facility on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  There are 1000’s of bicyclists that ride the Rickenbacker Causeway every weekend. Accidents like this can be prevented be designing proper bicycle facilities.  This is the second fatality in the past three years on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Numerous other bicyclists have been injured here too.

Our condolences go out to the family of the bicyclist.

I wanted to share two letters I recently recieved that showcase how tricky it is for municipalities to get bike infrastrutcure right without having proper professional guideance.

From Coral Gables resident:

From Coral Gables Resident,
 
This has been on my mind for a while and I have not known who to write? As a Coral Gables resident I am appalled at the lack of sentiment towards bicyclists and pedestrians in my city. Coral Gables has one of the greatest collage of 2 lane scenic roadways with large grass swale areas perfect for a picturesque setting and great for slowing cut through traffic however, there is little to no regard for pedestrians and bicyclists.
 
A current project under development by FDOT for 57th Ave between Calle Ocho and Coral Way (2 major destination streets) does not envision bike lanes or full integration of pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks on both sides. There is ample room to have a 4’ bike lane, and 6’ sidewalk and still have small size trees or palms. This is the border of Coral Gables and the entrance to our city from all E-W cross streets. Also shame on FDOT for not following their own design manual and mandate to accommodate cyclists, much less federal ADA rules regarding pedestrian access, maximum cross slopes, turn around areas for wheelchairs at all intersecting sidewalks, level surfaces over all driveways, etc. Throw rules and regulations to the wind. The fact that portions of this road are historic is no reason for not making a safe mode of transportation for all users. I’m not suggesting removing trees, adding lanes, or otherwise degrading the scenic character. If this logic was true historic building would be totally exempt from ADA, building codes, and life safety. Historic designation means the character should not be changed while bringing the facility up to date.
 
Many street intersection both in neighborhoods and on thoroughfares do not include basic ADA access from the sidewalk to the roadway and across intersections. It was standard in the past all over Miami-Dade County to curve sidewalks around the blocks never meeting the streets. I guess maybe engineers and planners thought people were like Nascar drivers and only walked in circles around one block??? To make matters worse when these intersections are “improved” it usually means adding a 5’ wide strip of concrete facing 45 degrees towards the intersection forcing the disabled into the intersection and once again forgoing the fact that people do not walk like robots and wheelchairs do not make 45 degree and greater angles with sharp intersections. Why can’t these be tapered or flared to allow easy movement from one direction to another and offer proper alignment with the crosswalks that are non-existent but fictitious.
 
Please write your Commissioners below, FDOT and Miami-Dade County and demand that your tax dollars upgrade existing infrastructure to allow 2010 standards. Also on this point urge all city’s Public Works Departments, Miami-Dade County and FDOT to adopt the NEW 2009 MUTCD manual of traffic control standards. This is imperative to allow new bicycle sharrows, new signage and ADA requirements to become mandatory for all projects.
 
Coral Gables Commissioners:
Don Slesnick- mayor donslesnick@coralgables.com
Bill Kerdyk, Jr.- wkerdyk@coralgables.com
Maria Anderson- manderson@coralgables.com
Chip Whithers- wwithers@coralgables.com
Ralph Cabrera- rcabrera@coralgables.com
 
FDOT District 6:
Gus Pego- gus.pego@dot.state.fl.us
 
Miami-Dade County Bike + Pedestrian Coordinator:
David Henderson- davidh@miamidade.gov

This came to me from TM reader Kurt Kaminer :

Rydel of Miami Bike Scene suggested I forward you the following report I compiled, regarding Coral Gables outrageous bicycle lanes added to their recent Segovia St./Coral Way roundabout project, along with a campaign to have these lanes removed in favor of proper sharrows, and door-zone issues removed - not only on the existing roundabout, but on the new one being constructed a block south at Segovia and Biltmore Way.

A full discussion of the problems associated with the striping is available at Bikeforums.net, at present:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?614246-City-of-Coral-Gables-Bike-Lane-Outrage

I have also cross-posted the report to the MIAfixed.com discussion boards, in addition to the Emerge Miami Critical Mass Meetup board.

A Flickr group is available at the following link: http://www.flickr.com/groups/coralgablesbikelanes/

I hope this report is of interest.

I like that they are considering bikes in their redesign of Biltmore Way and Segovia, but the type of infrastructure being used, as Kurt points out, is inappropriate. Then, along major arteries, no bike infrastructure exists. Considering that they are willing to spend the money on bikes, they should at least listen to the people who are actually using the infrastructure. Please write or call in if you live in the area. (Or let us know if you dont agree with the letters above!)

PS. I called Coral Gables Public Works in the summer last year about this project and received zero response.

PPS. This project is funded with ARRA stimulus dollars.

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The Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meets once a month. Meetings are held at 5:30pm at the Steven P. Clark Government Center. For more information about the meeting and for meeting minutes please visit the BPAC webpage.

For additional information you can email David Henderson, BPAC Coordinator and Bicycle Pedestrian Specialist, or by calling him at 305.375.1647.

Steven P. Clark Government Center

111 NW 1st Street.

Miami, FL 33128

Map

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Last night, after several bottles of wine the conversation turned to the Metromover. At the table were several colleagues from my office. We all have at the minimum college degrees, so I think it’s fair to assume that we are of at least average intelligence.   Dario, a Londoner, explained to me that the first time he rode the Metromover he ended up where he started from.  Issiac, a New Yorker, also got lost the first time he used it. He figured out something was very wrong after he passed the same building twice. Mind you, he has ridden the subway in New York his entire life and has never gotten lost!

Most every time I use the Metromover, I find a lost soul seeking directions.  Even as a veteran of the Metromover, I often have to study the map before getting on to ensure that I get off at the right transfer station.  Or I have to strategically think about which station I need to walk to in order to avoid riding the Metromover aimlessly.

I do like the Metromover, it works for me.  However, it is poorly designed. You need a Phd. in order not to get lost. Transit should not be complicated; the Metromover is. In order for transit to work efficiently, a first time user should have a clear understanding of how the system works right off the bat. So this got me thinking last night, maybe we need to abandon the Metromover?

However, before we abandon the Metromover, we need to replace it with a well thought-out streetcar. So what to do with the elevated infrastructure from the Metromover once it is replaced with a proper streetcar? Well, it should not be torn down. Instead we should consider converting it to an elevated bicycle path, a greenway in the middle of the city, much like the New York City High Line.  In many ways it would become a bicycle highway in the middle of our city. Imagine the possibilities. What do you think?

Inspired by Daniel’s post, An informal Bike Count, I decided to conduct my very on spontaneous bike count while riding north on West Avenue a couple of weeks ago. My unscientific experiment was carried out around 7:00pm from 9th Street all the way up to Dade Blvd. The route is less than 1 mile and took me no more than 5 minutes to ride it. I counted 46 bicycles, of which most were locked up to anything but a bicycle rack. In all fairness there were about 7 bicycles that were locked up to the new bicycle racks at The Shops of West Avenue between 9th Street and 10th Street and another 4 bicycles locked up to a large “wave” bicycle rack in front of the Mirador. I must have seen about 4 other cyclists riding on West Avenue, and that left about 31 bicycles or so parked to trees, sign posts and garbage cans.

That’s quite a lot of bicycle activity.  The city of Miami Beach must begin to proactively meet the needs bicyclists.  South Beach is especially under-served in terms of bicycle infrastructure.  I don’t believe that the city of Miami Beach seriously considers bicycles as actual transportation. Although they do have a Miami Beach bicycle master plan (Atlantic Greenway Master Planner), they do not have a bicycle coordinator to ensure its implementation. At one point the city of Miami Beach did have a bicycle coordinator, but they decided to do away with the position. This is a clear sign that they do not value the bicycle coordinator position or the implementation of the master plan.

I took the time to review the Atlantic Greenway Master Plan which was commissioned in 2007. Upon review, I discovered that nearly 100% of the bicycle facilities that were slated to be completed by 2009 on South Beach have not even been started. This is a dismal performance by the city of Miami Beach.

Although there has been talk about a bicycle share program, there has been no other sincere effort by the administration to promote cycling aside from purchasing new bicycle racks. The Miami Beach Bike Ways Committee seems to be ineffective as per Daniel’s Miami Beach Bike Ways Committee Update. I have attended this meeting on several occasions and I have to agree with Daniel’s assessment.

This is really a shame.  Miami Beach, particularly South Beach, has the potential to become a truly great bicycling city. The demographics clearly support cycling.  South Beach has an extremely high population density, distances are short, and parking is expensive and difficult to find. In addition, the topography is flat and the weather is beautiful.  These are the reasons that bicycling is already flourishing on South Beach. Can you imagine how great cycling would be on South Beach if there was actual infrastructure to support safer cycling?

The city of Miami Beach should aggressively seek to promote cycling by building bicycle facilities that encourage more cycling. Bicycles must play a central role in Miami Beach’s transportation policy. The administration should be held accountable for not implementing the Atlantic Greenway Master Plan as was promised to its residents.

Dear Santa,

Transit Miami and its readers have been good boys and girls this year. So below are just a few things that we would like from you:

  • Miami 21
  • Bike Miami Days
  • Well designed bicycle lanes
  • A protected and separated bicycle facility on the Rickenbacker, MacArthur and Julia Tuttle Causeways
  • Implementation of the Miami Bicycle Master Plan
  • A complete streets approach to designing our public right of way
  • Safer, better, and more crosswalks
  • Bay Link
  • Streetcar
  • Yield to Pedestrian signs around Brickell and Downtown Miami

With Love,

Transit Miami

p.s. Santa has been watching us and he knows who’s been naughty or nice. If you have any special requests for Santa please let him know in the comments section.  Santa reads Transit Miami on a regular basis.

Shortly after the Dangerous by Design report came out, I filled out a letter at the Rails to Trails website to be sent to the Florida Legislature on the subject. I just got a form-letter reply from Speaker Larry Cretul that I’d like to share.

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.  I welcome the opportunity to learn of your concerns and I appreciate your suggestions for improving transportation safety.

Please know the Florida Legislature is concerned about the number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities, and has worked to make our state safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.  State law requires walkers and riders to be fully considered in the development of transportation facilities.  In addition, the Legislature passed legislation in 2005 that requires motorists to completely stop for sight impaired pedestrians with a properly identified guide dog or service animal, and 2006 legislation requires motorists to allow three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist.  These efforts have resulted in increased pedestrian safety, as this past year saw pedestrian deaths decrease five percent over the previous year.

The Florida Department of Transportation’s Safety Office bicycle/pedestrian coordinator works with many offices within the department to provide input and suggestions throughout the various stages of planning and design.  This position also serves as a member of the Strategic Intermodal System technical advisory committee to ensure a focus on safety with alternate modes of transportation.   In addition, the Florida Department of Transportation has a bicycle and pedestrian interest group that meets regularly to discuss safety issues.

I would encourage you to work with your local government and metropolitan planning organization on pedestrian and bicyclist safety needs in your area.  State law requires the plans and programs for each metropolitan area provide for the development and integrated management and operation of transportation systems and facilities, including pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities that will function as an intermodal transportation system.  I assure you that I will keep your concerns and suggestions in mind throughout the legislative process

Thank you again for writing to me.  If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Larry Cretul
Speaker

It doesn’t say much that I didn’t expect; the Legislature pats itself on the back for the few advancements that have made and then it passes the ball to the local government and to us as citizens. The really bothersome part of that is, if I were to go ask people in the various micro-City Halls of Miami, they would all point me back to Tallahassee as the one I need to talk about improving the traffic situation unveiled by the Dangerous by Design report.

When your arguably four major cities are all listed as Russian roulettes for pedestrians and bicyclists (compounded by the hit-n-run epidemic), this isn’t a matter only for the local government, this is a state-government matter, and a very serious one. Take responsibility and take action.

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.

Regards,

Transitmiami.com

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