Posts by: Rob Jordan
Last May, Miami-Dade Transit introduced a $19 unlimited ride pass good for seven days. Called the Visitor Passport, it was marketed toward out-of-town visitors, and sold in only a few tourist-heavy spots such as Miami’s airport. Why, some wondered, couldn’t there be other innovations to make getting around easier – for locals?

At the time, transit officials insisted they had plans underway to create various rider passes in addition to the existing $75 monthly pass. There was talk of something akin to New York’s per-ride Metro Card, coordination with transit systems in Broward and Palm Beach counties, free beer. Okay, maybe not free beer, but you get the point.

Granted, transit does offer discounted tokens and various price breaks on monthly passes for groups, seniors and college students. But still no easy-to-use, per-ride cards.

It’s been a year. The average person still has to fumble for exact change, carry a stash of tokens or commit to a monthly pass. No wonder people consider public transit impractical.

When is MDT going to wake up?

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I live next to a busy intersection in South Beach - Meridian Avenue and 13th Street. It’s the main entryway to Flamingo Park as well as the beach’s central avenue. It’s the only tree-shaded roadway around. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of traffic: cars, bikes and pedestrians.

Within the past few months, four-way stop signs went up at the intersection, making it significantly safer, or so I thought. One of the stop signs is all but hidden behind a tree. Cars blow past it all the time. This is doubly dangerous considering pedestrians now assume cars will stop at the intersection. There are people pushing baby strollers to the park, little kids going to shoot hoops, people walking their dogs.

I emailed the city to point out the problem. There had been small temporary stop signs in the middle of the road until recently, and I suggested they do something similar on a permanent basis or at least make the hidden stop sign more visible. Never heard back.

Walking home one night, I came across two Miami Beach motorcycle cops. They were there to run down cars that rolled through the stop sign. I told them people couldn’t see the sign, but they argued there is a warning sign farther back (small red octagon with arrow) and nothing that could be done. When I emphasized the inherent danger, one of the cops said pedestrians should be “alert” anyway.

So, I’ve contacted the county’s public works department. They tell me they’ll check it out. In the meantime, I have a strong feeling someone is going to get hurt or killed. I hope I’m wrong.

In a city as bicyclist-unfriendly as Miami, it seems ungrateful to critique any new two-wheel initiative. But what exactly is the point of a bike path that goes only two miles from essentially nowhere to nowhere?

The recently opened Kitty Roedel bike path extends from NW 87th Avenue to NW 107th Avenue. It parallels 836 to the south and CSX railroad tracks to the north. The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority built the 10-foot-wide asphalt path as part of a larger area beautification project. Certainly the landscaped bike path, which includes a wide, grassy right of way, is beauteous (except for the roar of traffic beyond the chain-link fence). Certainly it is a worthwhile addition for area residents out for a recreational ride or a gas-free trip to the Miami International Mall. MDX should be congratulated for taking the initiative on this project.

The path’s construction, however, seems to point up a Miami truism: bicycles are not considered a viable mode of transit. There are no plans to extend the path or link it to other roadways. The NW 107th Avenue access point involves jumping a curb if you’re coming off the avenue. The solution is easy, according to MDX spokeswoman, Maggie Kirkpatrick. “They have the sidewalk.”

Roedel, the path’s namesake, is a former MDX board member who apparently pushed for more “greenways” during her tenure.

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