Looks like 2011 may be the year of the Complete Streets movement in Miami. Upper East Side residents and businesses from the historic MiMo district are organizing in an attempt to get FDOT to make Biscayne Boulevard more pedestrian-friendly. Residents have been asking FDOT to do more for pedestrians ever since a school-aged child was killed crossing Biscayne Boulevard near 64th Street about two years ago. Needless to say FDOT has done little since this tragic accident to make Biscayne Blvd. safer for pedestrians and cyclists. FDOT must recognize that proper road construction needs to take all users into account (pedestrians, cyclists and motorists). Only a few years ago FDOT completed a major roadway redesign on Biscayne Blvd. from 40th street to 79th street. Unfortunately, the roadway was designed with the sole purpose of moving cars faster through the MiMo Historic District.
The current speed limit in this area is 35mph; however the design speed of the roadway is closer to 45mph. The design speed of Biscayne Blvd. should not exceed 35mph (30mph would be ideal) and crosswalks should be placed at just about every intersection, not every 5 blocks and in some cases every 10 blocks (Bay Point area). Needless to say, there aren’t nearly enough crosswalks in the historic district. Parallel parking should have been included to support access to local retailers. Prior to FDOT’s most recent project parallel parking existed, unfortunately it was removed to move cars more quickly through the area. Lane widths should have been narrower to calm traffic. Also, bike sharrows/bike lane should have been included in FDOT’s design plans.
Unfortunately, none of these traffic calming features where incorporated in the current design. Instead we were given a business-unfriendly, high-speed arterial road that cuts through a beautiful historic district. FDOT has to become a willing participant in the economic development of our urban core. In their attempt to facilitate the movement of cars, they have made the area more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. At the same time have contributed to the decline of many businesses that depend on accessible on-street parking to attract customers. If FDOT continues to apply their current design standards within our cities economic development will suffer.
The MiMo Biscayne Association is leading the charge to make changes to the design of Biscayne Blvd in the MiMo Historic District. They have already met with Representative Luis Garcia and Senator Bill Nelson’s aide. Both appear to be very serious about helping to “convince” FDOT to look at the MiMo Streetscape Study, which was commissioned by the MiMo Business Improvement Committee, and completed by architects and planners from the University of Miami. I’ve been told that Mayor Regaldo has been very supportive. Transit Miami hopes to meet with Commissioner Sarnoff soon regarding this issue as well. Mayor Regalado, Commissioner Sarnoff, and Representative Luis Garcia were all instrumental in persuading FDOT to reduce the speed limit on Brickell.
FDOT needs to do the right thing here as well. The area has three schools (Morningside Elementary, Cushman School, Bertha Abess Children’s School), two large parks (Legion and Morningside) and the Lemon City Public Library. These facilities need safe access for pedestrians and cyclists, not just for cars.
Transit Miami will focus a lot of our energy on this complete streets campaign in 2011. In addition to working with our elected officials, we will be working with the following organizations:
We hope we can count on the following organizations for their support:
Belle Meade Homeowners Association
Morningside Homeowners Association
Bay Point Homeowners Association
Bertha Abess Children’s School
Hopefully, FDOT will show some initiative here. FDOT needs to become an active participant in the development of healthy and vibrant communities.
- Historic MiMo Bus Tour
- Motorcyclist collides with pedestrian on Biscayne Boulevard in MiMo
- Another Car Accident in MiMo
- FDOT to MiMo “Not enough pedestrian demand for crosswalks at every intersection; roadway safety is subjective and a matter of perception.”
- 14th Biscayne Boulevard Crash in MiMo During the Past Two Years. The FDOT Continues to Turn a Blind Eye.
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