Yesterday I received the following email from Mr. Gus Pego, FDOT District 6 Secretary:
As you know, at the public information meeting on March 30th for the resurfacing project on Sunset Drive from SW 84th Place to 69 Avenue, the department received numerous inquiries and requests regarding the configuration of the roadway to address the needs of bicyclists.
The design presented at that meeting reflected a minor pavement widening into the roadway median and a reduction in lane width of the inside travel lane in order to implement a wide outside lane in each direction (14 feet in width) to provide a bicycle facility along the corridor. A wide outside lane is one in which the motorist and bicyclist travel in the outside lane together. This meets the requirements of a bicycle facility per the department’s standards.
At the public meeting, the bicycle community requested that the District evaluate an option that would provide a delineated lane for bicyclists.
The department evaluated two different options:
- Implementation of 4 foot undesignated bike lane in each direction
- Implementation of a 5 foot designated bike lane in each direction.
Each of these options would require the addition of significant amounts of pavement to the corridor. As such, new drainage facilities would be needed to treat the additional stormwater runoff resulting from the new pavement areas. Normally french drains would be used for this purpose and environmental permits would be required. Given the project’s close proximity to the South Wellfield protection area, the department’s research indicates that this type of drainage system is not feasible or permittable in this area, although any existing exfiltration trenches or slab covered trenches are “grandfathered-in. Only dry systems for treatment and attenuation (swales or ponds) which would not fit in the corridor without ROW acquisition could be permitted in this area. The additional pavement area would also require the implementation of concrete curb and gutter along the roadway edges due to the proximity to fixed objects along the roadway.
The current project budget is $3.5 Million. The two options cited above are estimated to cost $9.9 Million and $10.1 Million, respectively.
Due to the increased cost and probable drainage permitting issues cited above, the department is not able to implement a 4 foot undesignated bike lane or 5 foot designated bike lane as part of this project. Therefore, the current design of a 14 foot wide outside lane will be maintained; however the department will explore the possibility of installing signing to inform motorists that they need to provide a 3 foot clearance to bicycles and will also explore utilization of special pavement markings.”
Today I received this email from Coral Gables Commissioner Ralph Cabrera that stated in part:
As far as the Citywide Bicycle Lane Master Plan completed in December of 2004 by Marlin Engineering, I plan on formally requesting that we start the first phase of it. If you recall, the first phase was re-stripping a number of existing roads. Stay tuned…”
This is the kind of leadership that we need. This is a good first step Commissioner Cabrera. Keep up the good work!
Until recently Miami had never really given bicycling much consideration. During the past year or so the bicycling movement has gained momentum here. The Miami Bicycle Master Plan was approved by the Miami commissioners, bicycle lanes are slowly popping up and we see more and more cyclists on the road everyday. This is certainly a good thing; however I’m a little concerned about the quality of some of our bicycle lanes on roads were the design speed of the roadway exceeds 40 mph.
For example, here in Miami we have had several bicycle lanes placed on roadways were the design speed of the roadway exceeds 40 mph and we can even find unprotected bicycles lanes placed adjacent to roadways were the design speed is closer to 50-65 mph. The probability of death or serious injury to a vulnerable cyclist increases substantially as motor vehicle speeds increase. Therefore before painting unprotected bicycle lanes, we need to make sure that the speed of traffic does not exceed 35-40 mph.
So this got me thinking, perhaps the best way to bring cycling into the mainstream in cities that are not accustomed to cycling would be to create a bicycle network which designates specific roads as high priority routes for cyclists. Cities would focus spending and market these high priority routes; they could be called Urban Bicycle Networks. Marketing is key and fundamental to the Urban Bicycles Network’s success; it would be seen as sexy and cool and would be a matter of pride for a city.
The high priority routes would serve as the backbone to a city’s Urban Bicycle Network. Once a city designates the high priority routes, speeding fines within it would double much like in a road construction work zone. Of course, there would need to be clear markers so that motorists and bicyclists are aware of the special conditions that prevail within the road they are traveling on. The Urban Bicycle Network would not be expensive to implement and 50% of the total fines from moving violations within it would be reallocated back in to the network to make improvements and for maintenance.
I’m not sure if what I am suggesting is legal, but I’m trying to think out of the box here. The doubling of speeding fines within the Urban Bicycle Network would quickly educate motorists about the cyclist’s right to be on the road, reduce the speed of traffic and cyclists would be encouraged to use those roads which are safest for them.
Commissioner Carollo wants you to know that he supports Bike Miami Days. At today’s meeting of the City Commission, Mayor Regalado presented a statement to commissioners on the scheduled April 25 event. Before he could move on to his next point, Commissioner Carollo asked to put on the record,
I was at the first Bike Miami Days and I will be there on April 25… Every once in a while, it’s good to leave your car at home and go for a bike ride.
The Mayor and Commissioner went on to comment that they both have sons who like to bicycle and that the new City Manager, Carlos A. Migoya, is a cyclist, as well. At this point, we can only hope that this means that Carollo will support bicyclists on the road, as well as on the record. As reported here earlier this week, the Commissioner has put all bicycle projects in his district on hold. This concerns residents and local business owners for a number of reasons. The SW 32nd Road project, which had already started, would connect the Vizcaya Metrorail Station/M-Path to Coral Way and its bike lanes. The project represents a significant connector route for cyclists and transit users, and promotes local businesses by connecting shops and restaurants with the highly residential neighborhoods of Coconut Grove, the Roads and anyone who lives along the M-Path.
Last but not least, it is one of the first benchmark projects of the City’s Bicycle Master Plan. With this bicycle route up for reconsideration, what will that mean for the other projects cyclists are waiting for in District 3, such as SW 3rd Ave or Flagler to 5th? We encourage you to direct these questions yourself to the Commissioner and his Chief of Staff, Jude Faerron, and let us know if you get a response. If there is ever proof that they are listening to you, this is it.
You can watch the video from the Commission meeting on the City’s website here. The conversation took place around 11:40am.
At this week’s Bicycle Action Committee meeting, the regular updates given on the status of the Bicycle Master Plan were missing a few crucial projects, all of which are in Commissioner Frank Carollo’s district. I asked the Bicycle Coordinator, Collin Worth, what happened? Ever the diplomat, he informed us that they had been put on hold by the new Commissioner. “Does the Commissioner not understand that these projects are of crucial importance to the connectivity of our bicycle routes“, we asked.”…the safety of cyclists who use them to bypass busier streets and access the restaurants and shops of Coral Way?”
Mr. Worth would not speak for the Commissioner, who had sent no representation of his own to the meeting so… what can we do? Rumors (so far, just rumors) suggest Carollo is no fan of the Bicycle Master Plan (yet), that he thinks car parking is more important than bringing cyclists and pedestrians to stores, or that he simply doesn’t realize how important these projects are to us, the residents of Miami.
Of course, we cannot expect the new Commissioner to automatically support everything started in his district before he took office. We understand that it can take time to look at each project and that even if it is nearly completed, he will be held responsible if it is completed under his watch. So, we have reached out to the Commissioner and hope that you will, too. Let him know that you support road improvements that support the City’s Complete Streets Policy and/or Bicycle Master Plan and/or whatever you feel is important.
Each City of Miami Commissioner controls the dollars spent on capital improvements (including road projects) in his district. Have you emailed or called your commissioner to introduce yourself yet? He needs to hear from you. If you do not live in the City, you can still reach out to the commissioner of the district where you work, do your shopping or otherwise visit.
TransitMiami.com encourages our readers to engage with their local government and support moving Miami better.
Askmen.com just released its Top 10 bicycle-friendly cities in the world and Miami did not make the list. Hopefully this will change soon. The Miami Bicycle Master Plan was created last year, now we need to implement it.
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
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.
The City of Miami commission was busy this week. This morning I received a press release highlighting their recent sustainable initiatives, including:
- The Bicycle Masterplan. “a map of over 285 miles of inter-connected bicycle routes to be implemented in the City by 2030. These bicycle routes include bicycle lanes, greenways and innovative new bicycle facilities. The Plan also introduces bicycle parking standards and calls for the implementation of bicycle parking racks, shelters or lockers at nearly 1,000 new locations throughout our city.”
- A Green Job Training Program: “following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s grant to help train City residents for jobs assessing, remediating and redeveloping brownfield sites.”
- A zoning Bicycle Parking requirement for large developments.
- A new landscaping ordinance. This one is just ok. While I appreciate the effort at supporting the Tree Master Plan, and encouraging drought tolerant species, the ordinance has very little mention of native plants, or minimum requirements. This was a great opportunity to require property owners to plant a certain minimum percentage of native plants (I would say 60%) - helping the overall goal of greening the city and restoring vital habitat connections. A win-win.
Ironic that the city would tout all of these great initiatives (I say sincerely), while simultaneously completely cutting the Department of Sustainable Initiatives (the brainchild of many green initiatives that have generated millions of dollars in grant funding and cost savings). Too bad. It seems in this town we are always moving two steps forward and three steps back.
PS. They also put off a vote on the Virginia Key Masterplan. A victory for environmentalists who have been fighting for less development and more environmental restoration. Interestingly, Commissioner Sarnoff seemed to hint that the island would not be off-limits to development, only that the plan needed further study. He made some excellent points about the existing surface parking, and the potential future of the Marine Stadium. (Even hinting that the future visitors of the stadium might not be younger generations, but more of the ‘Viagra crowd’. Awesome.)
In a separate victory for cyclists, the commission did vote to move forward with the BMX and off-road coarse in the North Point area. Kudos Collin Worth and others who helped convince the Commissioners that this was an important and worthwhile amenity.
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