This article was first posted two years ago (Febuary 2, 2010) after Christophe Le Canne was killed on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Since then not a single one of our recommendations has been implemented. How many more lives must we lose on the Rickebacker Causeway before the County Public Works Department does something to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians? This is not rocket science. An unprotected bike lane adjacent to a highway with cars speeding in excess of 65mph is simply NOT a good idea.
The Rickenbacker Causeway is similar to Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive; everyday thousands of people descend upon our beautiful causeway for recreational purposes. This is particularly evident on Saturday and Sunday mornings when runners, walkers, rollerbladers, parents with strollers and bicyclists come in droves to exercise. The Rickenbacker Causeway recently completed a major resurfacing project. Unfortunately, this resurfacing project only really considered the needs of motorists.
The Rickenbacker Causeway/Key Biscayne already has several parks/attractions. These attractions include:
- Miami Seaquarium
- Crandon Park/Tennis Center
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
- Mast Academy
In addition, the Miami Marine Stadium is slated to be renovated and Virginia Key will be converted into a major urban park, which will also include several miles of mountain bike trails. We have an exhaustive inventory of attractions/parks in close proximity that requires safe connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Pedestrians (runners, walkers, rollerbladers, and parents with strollers) have been relegated to using a multiuse path that has many dangerous intersections. In addition, this multiuse path is often shared with bicyclists that do not feel comfortable riding in the bicycle lane. The bicyclists’ discomfort is justifiable; the bicycle lane is placed adjacent to the roadway without adequate protection from speeding cars.
Crosswalks on the Rickenbacker Causeway are poorly marked. If and when crosswalks do exist, they are dangerous to cross. Crossing a 6 lane highway is pretty tough to do if you are healthy person. Imagine if you are a parent with children, disabled or an elderly person trying to cross the Rickenbacker Causeway. You will need Lady Luck on your side.
Most would agree that something needs to be done to improve the safety for all users, including motorists, which often travel at high speeds.
There will be no cheap or easy fix for the Rickenbacker Causeway. Short term safety enhancements need to be made urgently, but at the same time we need to have a long term goal for the Rickenbacker Causeway. Below you will find the short and long term goals that Transit Miami will be advocating for.
Short Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
- Enforcement of the 45 mph speed limit
- Reduce speed limit to 35 mph
- Close the right lane of traffic in both directions on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00am.
- Better signage
- Motorist and bicyclist education campaign
Long Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
A major capital improvements project needs to happen and all users must be considered. Below are a few of the major improvements that need to occur:
- Paint bicycle lanes green (see below: intersections should include peg-a-traking and Chevron arrows)
- Create a 3 foot unprotected buffer between the roadway and the bicycle lane
- Major road diet. Narrowing of traffic lanes to discourage speeding (11 foot lane)
- Proper crosswalks, with stop lights, that can be activated by pedestrians.(see below: off-setting crosswalks)
- A separate path for pedestrians (pedestrians and bicyclist should not coexist)
- Consider physical separation as a feature in dangerous areas such as bridges and marked buffers along trajectory of bike lane
- Motorist and bicyclist education campaign
Our County Public Works Department has a real opportunity to show their residents that they value safe recreation for all users. It should begin with the most popular destination for pedestrians and bicyclists in South Florida.
If you believe that the design of the Rickenbacker Causeway needs to be improved please send Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email and ask for a safer Rickenbacker Causeway for all users. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Miami Today News is reporting that a new traffic circle will be placed at the problematic Brickell Bay Drive and South East 12th Street intersection. Lucky for every one that walks around Brickell the Sabadell Financial Center Landlord 1111 Brickell Office is investing $400,000 to insure the safety of the thousands of pedestrians that use this intersection every year. Maggie Kurtz, director of office brokerage for Cushman & Wakefield, which handles leasing for the Sabadell Center had this to say:
“It’s just natural, especially with all the apartment buildings and so forth, now that the Brickell is finally turning into a 24-7 city. The main goal is to make the intersection more pedestrian friendly.”
Thank you Ms. Kurtz! You are spot-on. Thank you!
This is great, but sad at the same time. Why is it that this initiative had to come from the private sector? Why does the private sector have to invest their dollars to calm traffic on a City of Miami street to assure the public’s wellbeing?
This idea should have come from the city, as well as the money to build the traffic circle. Before anyone tells me that the city is broke and can’t afford to build it, let me just say “bullshit”.
Mayor Regalado found $1.7 million to illegally build a ten-foot concrete wall, which cut off pedestrian access to the Coral Way community of Coral Gate. If City can find money to essentially privatize a community, I’m sure our elected officials can find funds to insure the safety of everyone that works, lives, and plays on Brickell. Sounds like we have our priorities in the wrong place. The cost of this traffic circle is a drop in the bucket compared to the illegal wall that was built using our tax dollars.
A couple of days ago I wrote about the fact that for 33 days the FDOT ignored all the broken pedestrians crosswalk signals which they accidently disabled while performing work at the Brickell Avenue and SE 13th Street intersection. Yesterday Transit Miami reader Craig brought yet another FDOT induced pedestrian hazard to our attention:
I was just walking on Brickell and with the recent construction, another crosswalk has been closed. There is now no actual, legitimate crossing from 8th street all the way to 13th street. An area so far you could actually take a bus from one stop to another and not pass a crosswalk.
Watching people cross with strollers is especially scary. The green turn arrows are like invitations to speed through a crosswalk. SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET KILLED.”
It is evident that FDOT did not consider the needs of pedestrians during the planning phase of this resurfacing project. They have closed the 10th Street crosswalk to pedestrians and have not provided a detour or temporary crosswalk for pedestrians to cross Brickell Avenue safely. Cars are still allowed to cross Brickell Avenue at 10th street, but people aren’t.
The 8th Street and 13th Street crosswalks are about 3/10 a mile apart. Does the FDOT actually expect people to walk a ¼ mile just to get to the other side of the street? A 1/4 mile is an unrealistic distance to expect people to walk just to cross the street. It’s either wishful thinking on their part or they just don’t give a crap. After observing all of the FDOT’s pedestrian shenanigans this past month, I’m more inclined to think they don’t care about the welfare of pedestrians.
If these pedestrian reindeer games continue for the next 12 months during this resurfacing project, someone will end up seriously injured or dead. It’s really just a matter of time. Very sad.
Note to the FDOT: You are not in the suburbs; you are in an urban environment with a very high population density. You must be sensitive to the needs of pedestrians, not just cars.
A Transit Miami Shout-out to the Miami Herald for publishing our letter to the Editor. You can also see our letter to the Editor below:
FDOT can do more to make Brickell pedestrian-friendly
The Brickell community deserves a round of applause. A coalition of residents, businesses, elected officials, advocates and civic groups rallied together to ask the Florida Department of Transportation to improve the walkability of Brickell Avenue. After months of lobbying our local elected officials, the Brickell Coalition can chalk up a small victory — FDOT officials conceded to a lower speed limit for a portion of the road and will add one new crosswalk. This is certainly a step in the right direction, but with so much more to be accomplished to make Brickell truly walkable, FDOT needs to do more.
Thirty-five miles per hour is not appropriate for a street with intense pedestrian activity. Just a few blocks north, Biscayne Boulevard has a posted speed of 30 mph — a clear precedent for low-posted speeds along U.S. 1 in the Central Business District.
While a complete redesign of the street would make the biggest impact on motorists’ speed, there are inexpensive traffic-calming measures that could easily be included in the current design, starting with an even greater reduction in speed, the use of raised crosswalks and prohibiting right turns on red.
FDOT also needs to do more than the bare minimum when providing crosswalks. In October, Transit Miami sent the city a list of more than 25 possible locations along Brickell that needed pedestrian crosswalks where none currently exist — yet FDOT has only agreed to add one new crosswalk.
Why does FDOT want to make it difficult for us to cross the street? FDOT can do more. Together, we will help the agency realize the original vision for Brickell Avenue as Miami’s grand pedestrian boulevard.”
Anthony Garcia, Felipe Azenha, Kathryn Reid Moore, Transit Miami, Miami
I’m not sure if they are hiring, but…
As many of our readers know, Brickell Avenue is due for some major work. FDOT will begin a drainage and resurfacing project in early 2011. This long overdue project is finally coming to fruition, however, the only improvements FDOT is considering for this project is the resurfacing and drainage upgrade. This would be a perfect opportunity for FDOT to consider reducing the high speed limit, adding crosswalks and including bicycle sharrows. Unfortunately, FDOT does not believe any of these upgrades are necessary.
We here at Transit Miami caught wind of this upcoming project and have been busy building a coalition of residents, businesses, and other organizations to reduce the speed limit on Brickell Avenue. A few weeks ago we met with Commissioner Sarnoff and Mayor Regalado. We are happy to report that both the Mayor and the Commissioner support a reduced speed limit. Unfortunately, they both informed us that there is not much they can do since Brickell Avenue is a state road; therefore the city of Miami has no jurisdiction over it.
Both Commissioner Sarnoff and Mayor Regalado suggested we speak to Representative Luis Garcia. So we went ahead and did so. Representative Garcia told us that he would do everything in his power to generate a response from FDOT. (Mr. Gus Pego, FDOT District 6 secretary, received our letter almost a month and a half ago but has not responded). Representative Garcia also suggested that we meet with Mayor Regalado and Commissioner Sarnoff about this issue. We kindly informed Representative Garcia that the reason we were meeting with him was because Mayor Regaldo and Commissioner Sarnoff asked us to do so.
We have reached out to all the stakeholders on Brickell Avenue and all agree with us that speeding is an issue on Brickell. We cannot get FDOT to respond to any of our emails. Last week, FDOT made this illogical PowerPoint presentation to the Brickell Homeowners Association. They essentially put the blame on the pedestrian for jaywalking. It doesn’t matter that crosswalks are few and far in between. During this presentation they explicitly stated they would not reduce the speed limit, add crosswalks or include sharrows within the scope if this project.
The following organizations support a lower speed limit and a more pedestrian-friendly environment on Brickell Avenue:
Miami Bicycle Action Committee
Although we have to beg our local officials to install proper Zebra crosswalks in Miami Dade County, it doesn’t hurt to dream a bit. Check out this idea from Korean designer Jae Min Lim.
He has the clever idea to turn crosswalks into J’s. By curving the typical Zebra crossing to take up a wider swath of road, you carve out a nice, safe path for pedestrians — one that reflects how they actually walk.”
Check out some other clever ideas from fastcodesign.com here.
Well folks, yours truly, is moving from Brickell to Belle Mead. I’ve just purchased a home with my wife and we should be moving into the neighborhood in a couple of weeks. So don’t be surprised to hear a lot more about issues affecting the Upper East Side on this blog.
I’ll start by saying this, “Biscayne Boulevard is a disaster”! There ain’t no two ways about it. The recent FDOT resurfacing project, for the most part, was designed solely to move cars faster. Pedestrians and cyclists were not given much consideration while designing this roadway. I consider myself an experienced cyclist, but even I will tell you to avoid riding your bike on Biscayne Boulevard. And if you are a pedestrian then forget about it, crosswalks are few and far in between and of poor quality. Biscayne Boulevard is extremely wide, making it difficult for anyone that is not in tip-top shape to cross the street.
Travel lanes are extremely wide, which encourages cars to speed. The speed limit is 35mph, but the design speed of the roadway is closer to 45-50mph. Needless to say, not pedestrian or cyclist friendly either.
That being said, we have a chance to ask FDOT to design a roadway at a more human scale.
FDOT is conducting a Pedestrian Mobility and Safety Study along Biscayne Boulevard at the request of area residents. The limits of the project extend from NE 77th Street to NE 87th Street.
Possible upgrade include the restriping of crosswalks for greater visibility, enhancing signals and adding traffic control devices to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the road.
A public information meeting is being held on Thursday, July 15, 2010 from 6-8 p.m at Legion Memorial Park, located at NE 7 Ave, Miami, FL for more information contact Gus Pego, District 6 Secretary”.
Hope to see you there!
We already know that pedestrians have a rough time in Miami, but it doesn’t help when we can’t even maintain our crosswalks properly striped. I guess we should feel lucky that we even have a barely recognizable crosswalk here. Many intersections in downtown and Brickell don’t have crosswalks. This picture was taken in front of the Brickell Metromover Station, perhaps one of the most utilized Metromover stops on Brickell Avenue and SE 14th Street.
For the past couple of weeks I have been eating, drinking, and biking my way through France. My wife and I spent a week honeymooning in Provence and another week in Paris.
We spent the first week of our honeymoon cycling through the heart of wine country in Provence. Our tour was organized by Headwater and was truly epic. When you travel on a bicycle you get to fully experience your surroundings. You smell the country side, you feel your environment and you interact with the locals. There is something about traveling on a bicycle; for those that have done it you know what I’m talking about. For those of you that haven’t, you should really consider it. You can find our itinerary here.
I can’t say enough about how wonderful this city is. Unlike Miami, most motorists actually yield to pedestrians. All intersections are clearly marked with wide zebra crosswalks. I also noticed that the pedestrian crosswalk signals are much lower than the pedestrian crosswalk signals here in the United States. Placing the pedestrian crosswalk signal closer to eye level makes it easier for both pedestrians and motorists to notice them. Also, traffic lights are placed before the crosswalk and not in the middle of intersections. By placing the traffic lights before the crosswalk it forces motorists to stop before the crosswalk, giving pedestrians the right of way they deserve. Another feature I also observed was the pedestrian fences. In areas where pedestrians should not cross the street, tasteful pedestrians fences have been erected to corral the pedestrians towards the large zebra crosswalk. Sidewalks, for the most part, are wide and inviting.
The Velib bicycle share system in Paris is absolutely spectacular. Because Paris is so walkable, I only used it once, but the system is very easy to use and is well connected to mass transit. I was amazed to see Parisians from all walks of life using the Velib bicycles. I saw stylish women and men using the bicycles, as well as businessmen, businesswomen and the elderly using the Velib.
Bicycles lane were clearly marked and in many areas were allowed to share the bus-only lanes. Buses are equipped with an electrical horn that sounds like a bicycle bell. Bus drivers use this electrical bicycle bell to politely warn cyclists and pedestrians that the bus is coming.
The metro and the bus system are easy to use. At the metro stations and bus stops there are electrical boards advising transit users when the next train or bus will arrive.
Most crosswalks have provisions for the blind and I even found a train station that had a textured path that could be felt with a walking cane.
Parks are scattered throughout Paris. The parks I entered were active and drew a wide array of people of different ages.
It’s been nearly 6 months since FDOT completed its auto-centric resurfacing project on Coral Way. Our readers may recall that I did a thorough analysis on the poor quality of the bike lanes which were striped on Coral Way. We were told that FDOT would go back and re-stripe the bike lanes correctly as they should have done in the first place. Well, it’s been 6 months and we’re still waiting…
Yesterday I was driving down this section of roadway and noticed all the cars overtaking me as they cruised in excess of 50 mph. This roadway has 14ft lanes which only encourages cars to speed. As I’m driving down the street I noticed a woman pushing her husband in a wheel chair while trying to cross Coral Way in front of the St. Sophia Church on Coral Way and SW 24th Road. Unfortunately, this vulnerable couple doesn’t have safe options to cross Coral Way. The closest crosswalk to them is one block away on SW 25th Street. The next closest crosswalk is 10 blocks away on SW 15th Street. To make matter worse, the crosswalk on SW 15th Street is on a treacherous curve, making it very dangerous for even a healthy individual like myself to cross.
This signature FDOT project is just another fine example of their auto-centric mantra. The time is now to begin designing complete streets for all users.
The first official Transit Miami “shout-out” goes to the Traffic Signals and Signs Division over at the CPWD. Mr. Robert Williams and his staff came through and fixed the broken pedestrian crosswalk signal below in a very timely manner. The Traffic Signals and Signs Division should be recognized for their commitment to making our streets safer for all pedestrians. According the Mr. Williams, if you contact their department @ email@example.com, problems such as these will be repaired ASAP, generally within a few hours, but may take up to a few days. This is a much better response then we received from 311 which informed us that it could take anywhere from 2-4 weeks for the repair.
Keep up the good work Traffic Signals and Signs Division!
Here’s your chance to speak to an FDOT representative about the recently released Dangerous by Design report that ranked the following four metropolitan areas within Florida as the most dangerous for pedestrians in the United States.
1. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
4. Jacksonville, FL
The MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee will hold their monthly meeting on Wednesday Dec. 16th on the 18th Floor (room 18-3) of the Government Center. This will be the first meeting since the Dangerous by Design report was released. Please come out and express your concerns to the FDOT representative that will be present. We need to work together with FDOT and encourage them to design complete streets that address the needs of all users and not only those of cars. We deserve better streets.
We have a little bit of good news to report; the pedestrian crosswalk signals at the South Miami Avenue and SE 13th Avenue intersection are working again after nearly a week since they stopped working.
Nevertheless things appeared to take a turn for the worse around lunch time today at this intersection. I went home for lunch to find the electrical contractors hard at work, but also found that all the traffic lights, in addition to the pedestrian crosswalk signals not working. Although the electrical contractors had placed 2 temporary stop signs on each side of South Miami Avenue, they did not place any temporary stop signs on SE 13th Avenue. The lack of a temporary 4 way stop created a hazardous situation for motorists and lunch time pedestrians. I observed as several pedestrians attempted to cross the street, only to sprint back to safety, as they realized they would not make it unharmed to the other side of the street. Drivers simply were not stopping because there wasn’t a mandatory stop sign for cars travelling on SE 13th Ave.
In all fairness, major work is taking place at this intersection. However, the process that was undertaken to make these improvements could have been done in a manner that did not put pedestrians in harm’s way. I fully understand and appreciate that work needs to be done at this intersection, but question how we are going about it and whether we are setting up the necessary temporary provisions to ensure the public’s safety. This is not a small job. The sidewalk on the NW corner of South Miami Avenue and SE 13th Avenue has been completely torn up.
When doing major work like this, the CPWD needs to think about the impact that their work will have on the welfare of pedestrians. This is especially true in areas with heavy foot traffic and where schools are present. Going forward the CPWD needs to be more mindful as to how they schedule their projects. Starting a project and taking three days off is no way to run a big job like this. This type of work needs to be completed as quickly as possible, in order to minimize the risks to the public. Regardless of the length of any project, appropriate temporary provisions need to be made to ensure the public’s safety.
To quickly recap, work began last Thursday, that same day the pedestrian crosswalk signals stopped working. The electrical contractors were on the job site on Friday, but then proceeded to take Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. They were back on the job Tuesday. Today (Wednesday) they got the pedestrian crosswalks signals working again. Work still remains to be completed, as the sidewalk is still under construction.
It seems like things are getting worse, not better, for those of us that live and work around Brickell. The traffic lights on Brickell Avenue and SE 14th Street were broken yet again today. Yesterday morning Public Service Aides were at this intersection directing traffic during morning rush hour, but today they were no where to be seen. Needless to say, traffic was a disaster. This seems to be a reoccurring problem since these very same traffic lights were broken on Friday as well and have yet to be fixed properly. For some reason the only time these traffic lights don’t work is during morning rush hour.
The problem with these traffic lights is that they remain green and never turn red for those traveling on Brickell Avenue. This forces the cars on SE 14th Street to run a red light when they deem appropriate, since it never turns green for them. Screwed are the pedestrians that get caught in the middle trying to sprint across the street to make it to the other side of the street safely.
Also worth mentioning is that there were electrical contractors working on this intersection last week.
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