Currently viewing the tag: "biking"

As a true transit and bicycling advocate, Gabrielle Redfern understands the fundamentals of good urbanism. According to the Miami Herald, Gabrielle Redfern is advocating for a system of four Beach-only circulating bus routes on 20-minute schedules to alleviate congestion.  She also supports charging market rates for on-street parking with the revenue going towards enhancements in the neighborhoods that generate it. This is the kind of, out-of-box, forward thinking candidate Miami Beach needs.  Join us in supporting Gabrielle Redfern for the Group 3 Commission seat.

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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This past weekend Elizabeth Victoria Stewart, 27, of Tamarac was killed while riding her bicycle. According to the Sun Sentinel, Elizabeth was struck from behind by a pickup truck while riding with a friend at 7:30am.

No word if any charges will be filed against the driver Greg Robinson, 49, of Boca Raton.  My guess is that charges will not be filed and this will be ruled “just another accident”.  Very sad.  Our condolences go out to the family.

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Today I rode the M-Path for the first time in about a month since my last post about the progress of the M-Path.  I was hoping to give our readers a positive update, but unfortunately here we are nearly 4 months into the M-Path project and work seems to have come to a standstill.  In all fairness, I only rode the M-Path from Brickell to Bird Road, but did not see any new improvements. This makes me wonder if all we are getting for $700k is a patch job for some potholes, root rot, and a couple of inches of added width to the M-Path in a few locations?

Patch work on the M-Path with path width extension

Patch work and path width extended. Unfortunately the path's width was not extended enough.

The new asphalt looks great, but the path’s width should have been extended by a foot on each side.

The new asphalt looks great, but the path’s width should have been extended by a foot on each side.

Since there is nothing new to report, please allow me to suggest a few more ideas for improvements that Miami-Dade Transit ought to consider.

For starters, safety should be the #1 priority; not the cosmetic work that is being done. Miami Dade Transit must consider a “no right hand turn on red” from all streets that cross the M-Path on to US-1. Currently, traffic signals such as the one on 22nd (see below) and US-1 encourage vehicles to maintain their speed rather then slow down at pedestrian and M-Path crossings.  This is a simple solution which will make the M-Path safer for pedestrians and bicyclists alike.

The green right hand turn arrow encourages drivers to speed through the M-Path intersections.

The green right hand turn arrow encourages drivers to speed through the M-Path intersections.

Miami-Dade Transit should also take this opportunity to extend the path through “desire lines” (see below) which pedestrians and bicyclists created.  Why this was not considered during Phase 1 of the project is beyond my understanding. Simply fixing what is already broken does not make the M-Path better.

Desire lines show exactly where the path needs to be extended.

Desire lines show exactly where the path needs to be extended.

Below is a M-Path greenway simulation picture that Mike Lydon from The Street Plans Collaborative included in the Miami Bicycle Master Plan. This is what Miami-Dade Transit’s goal should be for the M-Path.

The M-Path in a perfect world

The M-Path in a perfect world

I sincerely hope that Phase 1 of this project is not anywhere near completion. If it is, we have a problem.

Listen to this great radio coverage of the ongoing bike revolution in Miami. Our very own Mike Lydon is interviewed, as well as Bike Miami Days organizer (and friend of Transit Miami) Kathryn Reid Moore.

Also come out to City hall or write/call your commissioner and let them know that you support the Bike Master Plan and proposed bike parking ordinance being discussed on Thursday. It is an important day for cycling in the City of Miami - let your voice be heard!

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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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This morning I joined our friends from the Green Mobility Network for a bike ride on the M-Path to see the improvements which Miami-Dade Transit has been working on for the past two months. Although some improvements have been made, they have left much to be desired. From what I experienced, the improvements are mostly cosmetic and have no real impact on the real problems of the M-Path. Repairs to the asphalt are being done where there is tree-root damage to the path. In some sections, the path has been widened by a few inches as well.  Aside from these improvements, not much else has been done. So why am I not satisfied?

I am unsure that the M-Path merits the designation of a “path”.  Usually a “path” has as a main characteristic some level of connectivity, and unfortunately the M-Path does not. There is no clear designation or markings for one to follow the M-Path.

Miami Dade Transit has budgeted $700,000 to make these improvements.  From what I have seen, there has not been $700,000 worth of work done to the path so far. Although the improvements certainly help, the more pressing safety issues that the M-Path has have not been given priority.

Rather then looking at the M-Path as a whole, Miami-Dade Transit is fixing the problem with a piecemeal strategy.  This strategy is wholly flawed and wasteful, as some of the work that is being completed today, will have to be undone in the future when a more comprehensive project to fix the M-Path is undertaken.  Safety should take precedence.  Below is a list of priorities for the M-Path.

Intersections:  Safety issues at street intersections must be addressed. How can we possibly call a path a path, if we cannot safely cross at intersections?  This is baffling to me. Initial funding should have been allocated to the intersections, not fixing potholes.

Path Route and Width: The route of the M-Path dangerously meanders near US 1 at times without any protection for the bicyclists from cars. Several of the curves are hazardously blind which happens to place cyclists riding in opposite directions in a precarious situation.  This is further exacerbated by the fact that the path is not wide enough, nor does it have any lane markings. The current path route is not always the safest for bicyclists, and needs to be rerouted in certain areas. Wherever possible, the path should follow the straightest, most direct route.

Lighting and Signage:  The M-Path becomes very dangerous after sunset. Currently, there is no lighting whatsoever on the M-Path. In addition, clear path signage and mile markers should be placed along the M-Path.  First time users of the M-Path will get lost.

Below are a few pictures I took this morning with some commentary:

Concrete dries within 24 hours.  I can assure you that it has been more then 24 hours that this concrete was poured. It is unacceptable to have sections of M-Path interrupted for days.

Concrete dries within 24 hours. I can assure you that it has been more than 24 hours that this concrete was poured. It is unacceptable to have sections of M-Path interrupted for days.

Repair work was done, but no cleanup? Loose gravel is extremely dangerous for bicyclists.

Repair work was done, but no cleanup? Loose gravel is extremely dangerous for bicyclists.

Please remove the drain from the middle of the M-Path and the fire hydrant should be moved to the right.

Please remove the drain from the middle of the M-Path and the fire hydrant should be moved to the right.

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.

Scientific American is reporting that that best lead indicator for bikeability are women riders. Jan Garrard, a senior lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, says,

If you want to know if an urban environment supports cycling, you can forget about all the detailed ‘bikeability indexes’—just measure the proportion of cyclists who are female.”

Apparently, women are more averse to risk then men; therefore they are considered an “indicator species”.  So how does this influence or hinder women from riding a bicycle?  Well, risk aversion translates into increased demand for safe bicycle infrastructure as a precondition for riding. Perhaps it is because they are smarter then men too, but women tend to avoid busy streets when riding, and often choose the safer, less direct route to their destination.

So please, let’s make bicycling safer for women. Not for my sake, but for their sake. Well, perhaps for my sake too…there’s just something about a woman on a bicycle.  It’s hot.

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Work is moving ahead very slowly on the M-path. Too slowly actually. This work in progress has become a hazard for bicyclists. I’m not sure who is in charge of the M-Path project, but I know they can do better.  Someone may get hurt out there. Please use caution when using the M-Path.  The Transit Miami eye is watching the M-Path project very closely…

Beware of obstacles and the uneven roadway

Beware of obstacles and the uneven roadway

Caution Work in Progress

Caution Work in Progress

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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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If you manage to achieve a little self control on Saturday night, and are not out until last call, please join us this Sunday August 23rd at 8:30am for the third Bike Miami Ride. This escorted bicycle ride with volunteers and City of Miami Police officers is a leisurely,  non-competitive bike ride. It is completely free and you will learn how to become a better, safer, more confident cyclist through some of Miami’s neighborhoods. Meet at Mary Brickell Village (in the open space between S. Miami Avenue and SE 1st Avenue, behind Starbucks & Balans). Bring your bike, helmet, and a bottle of water for the ride through Little Havana, Brickell and the Roads neighborhoods.  And even if you were out until last call, breaking a sweat will do wonders for a hangover.

We hope to see you out there bright eyed and bushy tailed!!!

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While another bicyclist is on life support today after being hit by a car on Davie Blvd., cyclists in Boca Raton took matters into their own hands. Apparently the driver of a Lexus passed them too closely, so they attacked him and damaged his car when they caught up to him at the light. Read and watch a great one-sided story over at the Sun-Sentinel, where they apparently only interviewed the motorist and the cops who arrested one of the cyclists. What is clear from the article is that the motorist honked at them as he approached and then passed them too closely (presumably in violation of Florida’s three foot passing law) and probably even hit one of the bicyclists. Now, even though I have had many incidents with motorists where I felt like punching them in the face, I don’t approve of the bicyclists’ actions here. Neither do I approve of the police taking the side of the motorist against a group of eyewitness cyclists and ignoring the witness reports that a cyclist was hit. At the very minimum, Barish, the “victim” motorist, should be charged with violating the three foot passing law. However, I have spoken with police before about a motorist who passed me too closely; and they refuse to do anything unless they saw it.

I think an issue that this brings up is how useless the three foot passing law is. As long as police refuse to enforce it and motorists don’t know anything about it, what good does it do? I believe we need both motorist education and a change in police policy and practice regarding this and other bicycling related laws. If you have any ideas, share them in the comments.

Anyone a fan of X-Men? Apparently we have some cyclists who believe this is a war and want to strike back. Perhaps they can form the Brotherhood of Cyclists? Others, like myself, want peace between motorists and bicyclists.  Shall we form a group of Wheelmen?

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The Miami Herald finally caught up with Brad Knoefler’s Park West/Overtown greenway plan. The article explains the red tape facing Knoefler and his newly anointed Guerilla Urban Planner group. While the general plans are nothing but excellent for the area, figuring out funding, ownership, and maintenance has proven to be a tricky endeavor.

And while some critics  agree that the tracks need to be cleaned up, some have expressed concern that it should be done for a Tri-Rail system that actually connects South Florida’s urban centers. To that I say, there is no reason the supposed Rail-to-Trail project couldn’t become a Rail and Trail project where the rails remain, but the path remains alongside the 100 foot right-of-way. Indeed, I believe that is the way it has been designed, as the FEC tracks are still to be used once a year for the circus.

Please do your part and voice support for this important project. Brad and co. have a lot of energy, but they need as much support as they can get in order to make this a reality!

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