YOU spoke and FDOT listened! In what may be the first instance of FDOT actually listening to a group of concerned citizens, the Miami Herald is reporting a series of concessions made by FDOT on Brickell in response to the overwhelming support for  the Transit Miami/ South Florida Bicycle Coalition Brickell campaign.

 Among their concessions, they plan to lower the speed to 35 mph (not the 25-30 mph appropriate for a neighborhood street), add ONE crosswalk on the 1400 block, add sharrows to the outside lane, and complete existing intersections that only have 3 crosswalks.

Our partners at the SFBC had this to say:

The South Florida Bike Coalition will continue to seek an appropriate posted speed limitfor the full length of Brickell Avenue that meets Florida state standards for residential/business districts (25-30mph) despite the recent concession from FDOT to reduce the 40mph to 35mph.

We agree 35 mph is still not appropriate for a pedestrian-friendly street like Brickell- but it is better than 40 mph. As many TM readers have pointed out, a redesign of the street would make the biggest impact on motorist speed, but our efforts came too late in the project timeline to go back and change the design. That being said, we will look into the latest traffic studies conducted by FDOT and let you know what we find.  There are basic traffic calming measures that could easily be included in the current design such as raised crosswalks, and prohibiting right turn on red.

We also want to see abundant crosswalks - lots of them. (See below) Unfortunately, when it comes to crosswalks, FDOT still does not understand that doing the bare minimum is not good enough for a safe pedestrian experience. They only agreed to finish all 3-sided intersections (a no brainer) and will install ONE new additional crosswalk at 14th Street. LAME. Transit Miami planners sent the City a list of over 25 locations along Brickell that needed pedestrian crosswalks where none currently exist. Why does FDOT want to make it so hard for us to cross the street?

 Here is our comprehensive list of potential locations that NEED crosswalks, including mid-block locations where clearly marked crossings (both on the street and in the median) will make a huge difference for pedestrian safety and access: SE 14 Street, SE 13 Street, SE 15 Road, SE 14 Terr, SE 11 st, SE 12 st, SE 10 st, between 10 St and 11 street at least 1 crossing, between 10 and 8 St - at least one crossing (but 2 crossings evenly spaced would be best), SE 5 St, SE 6 St, SE 7 St. Then from 15 Road to the Rickenbacker you should follow the existing breaks in the median (19 Rd, b/n 18 Rd  and 17 Rd, @ 16 Rd, b/n 19 Rd and 18 terr, 21 Rd),  and coordinate with existing bus stop locations ( 18 Rd, 20 Rd, 22 Rd). Also, pay special attention to the intersection right after 25 Rd.

We strongly support the inclusion of bike sharrows and increased ‘share the road’ signage. This is a big link in the bicycle network being formed throughout Miami - but for people to be safe and comfortable the speed still needs to be lower. Not to mention that the outside lanes are being widened to allow for sharrows, a point of discussion amongst bicycle planners, who feel that narrower streets calm traffic. FDOT should not widen the street; it’s actually counterproductive to traffic calming and encourages motorists to speed.

Lastly, isn’t it sad that we hear about these improvements from the Miami Herald? This is indicative of how disconnected FDOT is from the community - the FDOT project manager should have informed the residents and business-owners directly of these improvements considering the multiple ways FDOT can communicate with folks. They can do better - and together with you we are going to help them! We look forward to working with FDOT on this project; there is still more that needs to be done.  The Transit Miami Eye is watching … we want real complete streets!

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11 Responses to FDOT is listening; Brickell to see improvements, but are they enough?

  1. Eddy Stevens-Torrealba says:

    Can’t wait for you guys to get your hands on those FDOT studies.

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  2. Kenneth G. says:

    Widening lanes to add sharrows is like narrowing sidewalks to attract pedestrians.

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  3. Tony Garcia says:

    nice, Kenneth. lol

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  4. Eli says:

    Great works, guys! Considering FDOT’s initial opposition to do anything beyond maintaining the status quo on Brickell, we should consider this a victory. Let’s not lose sight of how far we’ve come. If you’d told me 6 months ago that we’d have a 35 mph speed limit on Brickell, I would have been pleased. If you’d told me we’d also have sharrows, “Share the Road” signs, and improvements to the crosswalks, I’d have said you’re lying. Let’s continue to work with FDOT to keep the momentum going.

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  5. @ Kenneth - Don’t understand your response. And I also appreciate people who post giving their full name so that they don’t hide behind their words. Offer a solution, not a criticism.

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  6. Gerry Garcia says:

    As a second class citizen, one that walks and rides a bicycle, I am thankful for any scraps the almighty FDOT throws our way. It is a small step, but a step in the right direction. Let us just keep up the pressure for more crosswalks and some traffic calming.

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  7. Tony Garcia says:

    Jeffrey, Kenneth is not hiding behind his words- and really the beauty of this blog is that anyone can post a response with the need to incriminate themselves.

    To your question, widening a lane with sharrows will only speed traffic and cause cyclists not to use the sharrow. If we want people to use it, the design speed of the road needs to match the posted speed. (hopefully at a lower 30 mph)

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  8. @ Tony

    Agreed. But lane width and design speed are different than posted speed and enforcement of same. Anecdotally, I can tell you that riding on A1A in Palm Beach County, before the bike lanes were striped, was safer than after they were striped. A car, in my own opinion and experience, is more likely to “share the road” with a cyclist when the motorist doesn’t feel “impeded” by the cyclists. Reality doesn’t matter; it’s all a matter of perception.

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  9. Kenneth G. says:

    @Jeffrey

    Yes, perception is everything. The whole point of sharrows is to indicate to the motorist that the cyclist has the right to be there, and encourage cyclists to ride in the lane. This works best when the traffic, by design, is going slow. This way, the motor vehicle traffic is not too annoyed by the cyclists being there, and the cyclists are not in fear of being run over. Widening the lane is counter productive, because a wider lane encourages traffic to go faster by giving the perception that there’s more room and is therefore safe to go faster. Incidentally this same perception can happen even with bike lanes, because the road will seem wider. This could be the reason why your commute in Palm Beach seemed safer before the bike lanes. It’s also the big advantage of properly designed sharrows, because you get a safe route for cyclists AND you slow down motor vehicle traffic by maintaining a narrow road.

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  10. Upon reflection, I agree. However, I think that the motoring public in South Florida is not yet acclimated to multi-modal transportation equality and anything “impeding” their forward progress will cause problems politically (i.e., a powerful condo association complaining to their Commissioner that bicycles are blocking the road). Not saying it’s “right”, just saying that we have to accept, at least in the short term, that we remain an auto-cratic community.

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  11. […] and include shared-use arrow (sharrow) markings on the outside lane for cyclists - but more still needs to be done.  We are not going to stop until FDOT designs the street to take into account all users, and more […]

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