Currently viewing the tag: "bike lanes"

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.

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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Courtesy Miami Beach Bicycle Center

Courtesy Miami Beach Bicycle Center

The Miami Beach Bicycle Center organizes a monthly bicycle ride with a Miami Beach Police escort.  This is a great free event for the entire family.

Saturday, November 14th @ 9am

Miami Beach Bicycle Center

601 5th street (Corner of 5th and Washington)

Miami Beach, FL 33139

Tel: 305-674-0150

Experience Level: Novice/Intermediate

Bring water and sunscreen.

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Sign says "No Bicycle Allowed on Sidewalk"

Sign says "No Bicycles Allowed on Sidewalks"

Although we do not encourage bicycling on sidewalks, the Village of Bal Harbour has made it illegal to ride a bicycle on their sidewalks. Unfortunately, the Village of Bal Harbour has not provided any safe bicycling alternatives. Bicyclists are therefore relegated to riding on the road, on heavily traveled A1A, where there are no bicycle lanes.  As a relatively young and experienced cyclist I don’t mind riding on the road. But if I had a ten-year-old kid, I would not want him riding on A1A.

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For us mountain biking urbanites that long for some single track every once in a while, Oleta River State Park fulfills our needs quite well.  As the largest urban state park in Florida, this patch of green space has approximately 14 miles of well maintained mountain biking trails. The trails are clearly marked and they are classified as easy, intermediate, or expert. Although fourteen miles of trail may not sound like very much to some people, let me assure you, there is enough single track to keep even the most hardy of mountain bikers occupied for a couple of hours. This man-made mountain bike park has some relatively technical trails, with even some small climbs and descents. If you are not careful you can get hurt, especially on the intermediate and expert trails.

Trail Head is Clearly Marked

Trail Head is Clearly Marked

Trails are somewhat technical in some areas

Trails are somewhat technical in some areas

Oleta River State Park is located in North Miami Beach off of  163rd Street. Unfortunately, the vast majority of mountain bikers that use this park come by car.  The bicycle infrastructure that connects to the park is virtually non-existent and the bicycle lanes that do exist on 163rd street (SR 826) are unsafe and inappropriate considering the design speed of this major thoroughfare.

Bicycle lanes on 163rd street are not physically separated and protected

Bicycle lanes on 163rd street are not physically separated and protected

A few years ago FDOT, in their never-ending quest to do the bare minimum for bicyclists, painted a couple of white lines, some bicycle symbols and put up a few “Bicycle Lane” signs on 163rd street and decided to call it a bicycle lane. For those of you that are not familiar with 163rd street it essentially a 3 lane highway. Considering that most of the vehicles traveling on this street are usually traveling above the posted speed limit of 45mph, you would think that FDOT would have designed a bicycle facility with an emphasizes on safety. Quite the opposite is true.  FDOT is in fact encouraging unsafe bicycling by including poorly designed bicycle lanes in some of their projects. If FDOT were sincere in their attempts to encourage bicycling, they would have created a physically separated and protected bicycle facility to promote bicycling on 163rd Street.

Physically separated and protected bicycle path would be safer and much more appropriate

A physically separated and protected bicycle path would be safer and much more appropriate

To make matters worse, the unsatisfactory bicycle lanes that FDOT designed on 163rd Street begin and end at the entrance of the park. In other words, the bicycle lanes do not connect from 163rd Street over the bridge to Collins Avenue, where the population density is located. There seems to be systematic choice by FDOT not to include appropriate bicycle facilities on bridges and causeways (i.e. Julia Tuttle and MacArthur Causeway).  FDOT needs to understand that they have an obligation to consider the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians and failure to do so is negligent behavior on their part.

What happened to the bicycle lane? It just disappeared.

What happened to the bicycle lane? It just disappeared.

FDOT has to play an active role and encourage bicyclists to ride to Oleta River State Park by bicycle rather then driving there. Since this is a major bicycling facility for the county, bicycle infrastructure should branch out from Oleta River State Park to encourage more bicycling to the park. The first step would be to design a proper bicycle facility for 163rd Street.

You can find more information about Oleta River State Park here.

Transit Miami is pleased to see that FDOT included bicycle lanes on Coral Way, but upon reviewing the design more carefully, we believe the bicycle lanes need to be improved. Although even a poorly designed bicycle lane probably encourages bicycling, it does not ensure the safety of bicyclists. Simply painting a white line and a bicycle symbol on the roadway surface does not go far enough. We do not want to detract from the fact that bicycle lanes now exist on Coral Way; this is certainly a step in the right direction, but we should not be satisfied just because new bicycle lanes exist.  The quality of the design of the bicycle lanes is instrumental to its overall success.

As shown by the new lanes on Coral Way, the minimum standard that FDOT uses to “officially designate” a bicycle lane a bicycle lane is:

  1. Painting white lines
  2. Placing one bicycle symbol per block
  3. Bicycle signage

The minimum standards do not guarantee safe bicycle lanes, especially for a street as heavily traveled by motor vehicles as Coral Way.  The minimum standards applied on this main thoroughfare are not adequate, although they would probably be acceptable for a secondary side street.

Below are a few handlebar observations I made last week from the saddle of my bicycle:

  1. Not enough bicycle symbols in the bicycle lanes
  2. More bicycle signage (I’ve been told they are coming, we need to be patient)
  3. The bicycle lanes end and begin at every intersection
  4. Poor road marking transition where the bicycle lanes begin and end

More painted bicycle symbols are needed

More Painted Bicycle Symbols Are Needed

The bicycle lane should not end end and begin at every intersection

The bicycle lane should not end and begin at every intersection

A Better Transition Is Needed Where The Bicycle Lane Begins Heading East

Heading east on Coral Way a better transition is needed where the bicycle lane begins

Here are a few suggestions for improvement:

  1. Paint the bicycle lanes green at all intersections and all conflict areas (i.e. driveways).  The only real distinction between the bicycle lanes and the car lanes is a single white line. In fact, the bicycle lanes look more like a shoulder or parking lane. In addition to painting the bicycle lanes green at every intersection, there should be at least three bicycle symbols per block. Also, there should be two white lines to more clearly define the bicycle lanes, a single white line is not sufficient.
  2. 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.
  3. Add signage: “Share the Road” and “No Parking in Bicycle Lane”
  4. The Coral Way bicycle lane needs a seamless transition to the already existing SW 15th Road bicycle lane.
  5. Road diet. Narrowing travel lanes to ensure motorists travel at slower speeds. Although the speed limit is 35mph, most vehicles exceed the posted speed limit. Narrowing the travel lanes calms the speed of traffic.

Two White Lines Define The Bicycle Lane More Clearly for Motorists and Bicyclits

Two white lines define the bicycle lane more clearly for motorists and bicyclists

The Bicycle Lanes Should Continue Through The Intersections With Dashed Lines  And Should Be Painted Green

The bicycle lanes should continue through the intersections with dashed lines and should be painted green

he Coral Way bicycle lane needs a seamless transition to the already existing SW 15th Road bicycle lane.

The Coral Way bicycle lane needs a seamless transition to the already existing SW 15th Road bicycle lane. Currently, the bicycle lanes do not line up and flow into each other.

FDOT should consider hiring a bicycle consultant for all of their future projects that involve bicycle lanes. Too many important details were overlooked with the Coral Way project that could have a significant impact on the safety of this important bicycle facility. These projects need to be planned correctly from the beginning with the help of an expert.  Poor bicycle lane design only ends up costing the taxpayer more in terms of repairs and potential lawsuits. FDOT needs to ensure the safety of bicyclists through properly designed bicycle lanes. Even though FDOT is moving in the right direction, there is certainly room for substantial improvement.

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Florida Department of Transportation is considering including new bicycle lanes in three upcoming projects located in Miami Beach. FDOT District 6 will conduct a public information meeting regarding three roadway enhancement projects on:

1) 71 Street from East Bay Drive to West of Collins Avenue

2) Normandy Drive from Rue Notre Dame to East Bay Drive

3) 71 Street from West Drive to East Bay Drive

When: Thursday, November 5, 2009, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the

Where: North Shore Park Youth Center, 501 72nd Street in Miami Beach.

The meeting will follow an informal format that allows the public to arrive at any time from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Graphic displays of the projects will be showcased at this meeting and FDOT representatives will be available to discuss each project and answer questions. Please contact Marta Rodriguez, Public Information Specialist, if you have any questions about this project at 305-470-5203 or by email at marta.rodriguez@dot.state.fl.us.

Transit Miami is very happy to see that FDOT is starting to consider bicycle lanes in their projects.

The new bike lanes on Coral Way look great, but we need enforcement to keep them safe.  Below are a couple of pictures I took this past Saturday of some bike lane violators.

PA170168PA170169

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Kudos to FDOT for installing bike lanes along Coral Way from 12 Avenue into Downtown. They are still working on getting the signage up, but I have already seen cyclists using this much needed improvement. Next segment: from 12 avenue to 37 avenue? The upcoming Miracle Mile Streetscape project is going to include bike lanes (between LeJeuene and 37 avenue). This could be one of the longest stretches of urban bike lanes in Miami-Dade County.

Bike lane before markings were painted

Bike lane before markings were painted

bike lane coral way 1

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Critical Mass on WPLG Channel 10

Make sure to join in on the fun next month. Pre-Halloween ride. Costumes encouraged!

October 30th, 2009
6:30pm
Government Center
Downtown Miami

Please add the “last Friday of the month” Miami Critical Mass group on Facebook or Myspace if you have not already done so.

octCM09

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The Critical Mass ride last night encouraged 150-170 bicyclists to take the streets of Miami. These are big numbers for Miami and prove that the momentum for bicycling is really picking up here.

P9250122

The ride was well organized and the turnout created quite a spectacle. We started at Government Center around 7:00pm and headed west on Flagler Street through Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Brickell and back to Government Center.  People on the street were cheering, as if it were a race. Cars had no option but to yield to the bicyclists.

Politicians in Miami, be forewarned, the cycling constituency is politically active and you will have to answer to us. We care about our city, and we promise to hold you accountable for the lack of bicycling infrastructure in our city. Whether its Regalado or Sanchez that becomes our next Mayor, it would be wise to engage the cycling electorate. Bicyclists come in all shapes and sizes, and we will no longer tolerate being relegated to riding on the sidewalk.

A special “thank you” to Rydel at Miami Bike Scene for being so diligent and promoting this great event. Please spread the word. I would personally like to see twice as many bicyclists at the next Critical Mass event on Friday October 30th.  I think it’s possible. Let’s make it happen.

Get comfortable with riding in the road - it’s your right!

The Bike Miami Days Team invites you to a free bike ride through MiMo, Little Haiti & the Upper Eastside this Sunday to becoming safer, better, more confident city cyclists. No registration is required and it is completely free.

Officers from the City of Miami Police Department Bicycle Unit, will be on hand to teach you the basics of riding safe in the road so that you can confidently commute and run errands on your bicycle.

The day will start with an “A-B-C Quick Check”(Air, Brakes and Chain). You’ll learn how to fit your bicycle helmet for optimum safety. You will also learn the basic Rules, Rights and Responsibilities of Cyclists and Motorists before heading out for a short ride – just under 2 hours long. The ride will stop for water and bathroom breaks and learning opportunities as you’ll explore Miami’s Historic Upper Eastside neighborhoods. At the end of the ride, you’re invited to join the City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator, Collin Worth, and other volunteers for lunch. Destination to be determined.

Date: Sunday September 27, 2009

Time: 8:30am-11:15am

Where Upper Eastside City of Miami Net Office

6599 Biscayne Blvd View Map

Need More Info?

305-416-1022

cworth@miamigov.com

http://bikemiamiblog.wordpress.com/bikemiamirides/

Copenhagen isn’t content with the fact that only 55% percent of its population bikes everyday. In order to encourage more bicycling, they are expanding their bicycling network to the outlying areas with bicycle superhighways. The idea is for bicyclists to maintain an average speed of 12mph by utilizing a series of three existing bicycle routes which will be converted into bicycle super highways with a series of improvements which include timed lights. Read more about it here. Simply brilliant.

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In what seems like their never-ending quest to remain the most auto-centric government institution in the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Transportation continues to live up to their unspoken promise of neglecting the non-motorized transportation components of their projects.

You might have noticed that over the past month or so, FDOT has been resurfacing the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Although the asphalt looks great, they failed to consider pedestrians and bicyclists during the planning and implementation process of this project.

Miami Beach is connected to Miami through a network of four causeways. Unfortunately, the only legal means in which pedestrians and bicyclists can traverse Biscayne Bay is via the MacArthur Causeway, the Venetian Causeway or the 79th Street Causeway. The fourth causeway is the Julia Tuttle Causeway, and because it is considered part of the interstate highway system, bicyclists and pedestrians are prohibited from utilizing one of the main connectors between the mainland and Miami Beach.

All four causeways should, and can accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians safely. This is not debatable, since all forms of transportation converge at the causeways for connectivity between Miami and Miami Beach. It is much more difficult for a bicyclist or pedestrian to go 5-6 miles out of their way to arrive to their destination, then it is for a motor vehicle. Bicyclists and pedestrians should not be forced to choose an alternative route when there are so few options. The MacArthur, Julia Tuttle, and 79th Street Causeway should have a designated and protected bicycle facility due to the high speed and volumes of motor vehicle traffic. The Venetian Causeway, with lower speed limits, can accommodate bicyclists more safely with clearly marked bicycle lanes. Regardless, every causeway should be evaluated independently since each one could have a contextually appropriate facility.

The recent resurfacing was another lost opportunity for FDOT to prove to that they understand the “complete streets” approach to engineering roads for motorized and non-motorized vehicles as well as pedestrians. Although there is real difference between street resurfacing projects and larger infrastructure, the assertion could be made that at present, the Julia Tuttle has a long stretch of mostly unused greenspace that could serve perfectly as a bike path on either side, allowing access to the water, recreation etc. along the highway’s trajectory. In any case, here we are in the 21st century, and FDOT is not taking the initiative and considering non-motorized transportation in many of their projects.  The fact remains that it is still illegal for bicycle and pedestrians to use the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

Rumor has it that the MacArthur Causeway is due for an overhaul soon, and that Bicycle Lanes are to be part of the project. Let’s hope that FDOT follows through, and adds contextually appropriate, physically protected bikeways.

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