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A recent article by Isaiah Thompson of the Miami New Times serves as yet another source showcasing cycling and why it should be a major mode of transportation in Miami-Dade. Below I’ve pasted some key points from the article, but if you have the time the entire piece is worth the read.
At first glance, there is nary a place on God’s green Earth better suited to biking than Miami. It’s utterly flat, with weather that lets a cyclist pedal year-round without donning so much as a scarf in January. Its streets are wide and, for the most part, arranged in a tidy, easily navigable grid.
Meanwhile, as Miami totters in place, more cities are looking to bicycles as an answer to everything from traffic congestion and air quality to fitness and green transportation. Paris recently unveiled the most ambitious bike-sharing plan in history, making more than 10,000 bikes available to borrow citywide for anyone with a credit card. American towns like Portland, Denver, San Francisco, and, closer to home, Gainesville, have transformed themselves in a few short years into some of the most bike-friendly places on the planet. New York, already boasting some 200 miles of bike lanes, plans to double that number in the next two years; Chicago proposes that by 2015, every one of its three million residents will live within half a mile of a bike lane.
Despite Miami Mayor Manny Diaz’s grandiose calls for the greening of Miami, the city possesses not a single finished bike lane; the only one under construction, on South Miami Avenue, is less than a mile long. And the county’s plan, adopted in 2001, states no specific targets whatsoever.
“We’re so far behind and in the dark with bikes it’s absurd,” says Chris Marshall, who owns the Broken Spoke bicycle shop at 10451 NW Seventh Ave. Marshall spent years campaigning for bike lanes and “greenways” to connect the beaches to the mainland, before finally throwing in the towel. “I’d say we’re stuck in the Sixties, but it’s worse than the Sixties,” Marshall says bitterly. “In the Sixties you could still get around by bike.”
A county map produced in 2001 grades every major Miami-Dade roadway based on traffic speeds and shoulder widths. Streets that receive an A for bikeability are drawn in black; those that get a D or worse are in red. The map is blanketed in red. From the largest six-lane monstrosities running like swollen rivers through the county, to the crowded, narrow streets of downtown, virtually every roadway is deemed unsuitable for biking. Of the 1.3 percent labeled A streets, the closest one to downtown is more than six miles west, a small forgotten residential byway that dead-ends at the Palmetto Expressway.
In Miami-Dade’s 2001 Bicycle Facilities Plan, 12 projects are deemed “Priority I” — read: “remotely possible.” In the seven years since the plan was drafted, only two of those 12 have been implemented: the first half of the Venetian Causeway and the second half of the Venetian Causeway.
“It’s a question of commitment,” concedes BPAC Chairman Theodore Silver, who presides over meetings with the dry, mechanical patience of a man crossing a vast desert. “And it’s difficult to get governments to commit to a minority that’s not very popular.” BPAC’s monthly minutes read like the drafting of surrender papers. During a presentation on an upcoming resurfacing of Flagler Street, the group asked a Florida Department of Transportation engineer if a three-foot-wide bike lane might be installed along the massive three-lane one-way road. The answer, which lasted more than an hour, was: probably not.
Ricardo Ochoa, who owns the Cuba Bike Shop at 2930 NW Seventh Ave., arrived two decades ago from Colombia. He worked for most of that time as an accountant before taking over the shop five years ago. Working with bikes, he says, showed him a different America.
Ochoa’s theory is that cars have isolated Americans from each other, especially in Miami. “Here people drive all the time, and it makes them lonely,” he says. “It’s like a cloud of loneliness hanging over the city.
The 107,000-square-foot ”campus” is Gehry’s first Florida building. And though its simple, rectilinear design doesn’t offer the daring of the titanium-roofed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, or the audacious sail-like curves of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the yet-to-be-named facility will solve logistical problems faced by the New World Symphony in its two decades on Lincoln Road.
The Lincoln Theatre ”has acoustical deficiencies and technological limitations,” said Howard Herring, New World president and CEO. The new building, he said, will allow significant expansion and outreach “in how we train our fellows and how we bring music to the public.”
To be completed in 2010, the new building will house a 700-seat, state-of-the-art performance space with capacity for recording and webcasts and 360-degree projections. There will be a rooftop music library and conductor’s studio, 26 individual rehearsal rooms and six ensemble rehearsal rooms. Expanded Internet2 technology will allow greater international partnership and interaction with musicians, composers and learning institutions around the world. Of the $200 million cost, $150 million will pay for construction. The rest will go to the orchestra’s endowment. Its interest will cover the increased cost of operating the facility and expanding programs, Herring said.
Images Via: PlaybillArts…
Miami, the writing is on the wall. I still challenge the City of Miami Beach to at least pursue a pilot bike sharing program for a few months, even if it’s just confined to South Beach. I am so confident the program would prove to be wildly successful, even without a high level of bicycle infrastructure (bike lanes, bike parking, traffic calming, etc) installed yet. This is the time of year to introduce such a program as well, given the phenomenal weather and massive influx of tourists (see: traffic).
Photo: Walter Parenteau’s Flickr
According to the APA,
Great Places in America celebrates places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard of communities. The designated streets and neighborhoods are defined by several characteristics, including good design, functionality, sustainability, and community involvement.
Specifically, Ocean Drive was recognized for its unique architectural legacy, citizen-led historic protection and planning efforts, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented restoration and redevelopment, and ongoing public support.
Not really any surprises, there. I give credit where credit is due, and the planners and citizens of Miami Beach have done a heck of a job (excuse the Bushism) the last twenty years turning Ocean Drive and South Beach around by utilizing its natural resources (density, historic architecture) and engaging the public realm for people instead of cars. It’s really a great local case study that I wish more planners and citizens in neighboring municipalities would research.
Photo courtesy of CTPEKO3A’s Flickr photostream
From NYT columnist Eric Rayman:
The French have embraced communal bike ownership, according to my informal survey of my fellow Vélibiens, as have other Europeans. A culture of Vélibistes is emerging. The camaraderie — a French word that seems to have been invented in anticipation of this new cult — among the riders is entrancing. Riders advise one another on where to find the nearest Vélib docking station, where to park if one is full, and how to find the best routes around the city. When they speak of Vélibs, Parisians smile, even those like a waiter who admitted not having ridden one.
Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, has just declared his intention to run for re-election, and the French newspapers, which are known to mix their opinions with their news to a degree that The New York Post would envy, have already pronounced him unbeatable.
Paris has clearly shown that people are more than willing to use alternative forms of transportation such as bicycles when given the opportunity. Bike-sharing would reduce congestion, calm traffic, and ease parking pressure, which should all be high priorities for any Mayor or elected official. And, it’s great because bikes allow us to be so much more intimate with our cities while still moving at moderate speeds. Imagine how nice it would be for tourists to visit Miami and not feel obliged to rent a car.
Photo courtesy of www.20minutes.fr
COMMISSION MIAMI BEACH ANDMAYORAL CANDIDATES INVITED TO WEIGH IN ON WORSENING TRANSPORTATION ISSUES ANDPRESENTATION FROM FDOT ON ALTONFUTURE ROAD LOOK: GENERAL PUBLIC INVITED TO ATTEND ANDPARTICIPATE.
ART, the for Reliable Transport holds its monthly meeting Alliance Monday, October 8, 2007at Meetings are free and open to the public, and hosted by the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation in the Community Room of the Seymour 945 Pennsylvania Avenue, Miami Beach. This months meeting will focus on political remedies to the transportation crisis on Miami Beach by inviting candidates for public office to share their visions for short, mid and long term solutions for improving our public transportation options and enhancing the non-motorized network that so many in our community rely on as their primary form of transportation.
In addition, representatives of FDOT and Kimley Horn will be on hand to present the latest alternatives out of the Alton Road PD&E. The public is invited to weigh in on the future configuration of
Alton Roadfrom 5th Street northto Michigan Avenue.
ART is also a co-sponsor, with the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association, the Miami Design Preservation League and the Community Development Committee of the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation of a formal Candidates Forum, to be held on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Miami Beach Police Department, located at 1100 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida. The public is invited to attend.
for Reliable Transport is a nonprofit group formed in 2003 by Alliance residents who share an interest in improving public transportation. Miami Beach
I highly recommend checking it out here.
Photo courtesy of Mike Lydon via Planetizen
The AGN Master Plan is being developed to promote alternative transportation and community enhancement in the North, Middle and South Beach neighborhoods of Miami Beach. The objectives are to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, diminish gaps while improving network connectivity, and establish future bikeways.
The Dade Boulevard Bike Path project will run adjacent to Dade Boulevard from Bay Road to 23rd Street and will be designed to extend the existing Venetian Causeway bikeway to destination points within Miami Beach.
Again, this workshop will be held Thursday, August 30th, from 6-8pm at the Miami Beach Police Department. The MBPD is located at 1100 Washington Ave (11th & Washington).
Photo courtesy of www.Miamitours.com
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