We report, you decide: Here’s the email thread:

Dear Mr. Hodgkins,

Natalia Zea from CBS spoke with you yesterday regarding the MacArthur Causeway. It is my understanding that the FDOT is currently designing a bicycle facility for the MacArthur Causeway.

On behalf of Transit Miami and the South Florida Bike Coalition I would like to better understand what the FDOT is proposing. The existing conditions on the MacArthur Causeway are extremely dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. The FDOT has designated the MacArthur Causeway a “bike route “, but I fail to see how the safety of cyclists can be assured when the unprotected “bike route” is adjacent to a highway with a design speed of 60+ mph.

I look forward to hearing about the FDOT’s proposed bicycle facility.

Best regards,
Felipe Azenha

Here’s the FDOT’s response:

Dear Mr. Azenha:

Your questions concerning bicycle use on the MacArthur Causeway was routed to me for response.

Bicyclists are permitted to travel on all roadways except those roadways classified as limited access facilities.  State Road A1A/MacArthur Causeway is not classified as a limited access roadway from the Biscayne Bay Bridge (between the City of Miami and Watson Island) to Miami Beach.

Consistent with state law, we assume that bicyclists will operate on-road on all of our non-limited access roadway facilities.  As a result, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) does not maintain designated specific roadways as bicycle routes.  We strive to provide bicycle facilities on all of our non-limited access facilities where feasible.  Please note that the Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization has identified the MacArthur Causeway as part of the bicycle network per the “2001 Bicycle Facilities Plan.”  The existing bicycle lanes between Watson Island and Terminal Isle also meet FDOT design requirements for bicycle facilities and future on-road bicycle lanes are currently being considered as part of the ongoing Port of Miami Tunnel project.

A person riding a bicycle has the same rights as any driver regardless if bicycle facilities (on-road or shared-use path) are present.  Similarly, a pedestrian is permitted to walk within the roadway shoulder when sidewalks do not exist such as the portion of the MacArthur Causeway between Watson Island and Terminal Isle.

The safety of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians remain the Department’s highest priority. In addition to integrating safety features in the design of roads and bridges, the Department actively involves the community through a network of local Community Traffic Safety Teams.  These teams, consisting of volunteers as well as law enforcement agencies, help implement the Department’s safety mandate.

The Department welcomes and appreciates your interest in this issue.   Please do not hesitate to contact me for this or any other concerns.

Thank you.

Kenneth Jeffries

Transportation Planner

Florida Department of Transportation

District Six

Sounds like the FDOT believes that the design standards they used on the MacArthur Causeway are safe enough for cyclists.  What a joke. On what planet is it safe to put an unprotected bike lane adjacent to a highway with a design speed of 60+ mph? What is even sadder is the load of B.S. that was fed to me in an obvious cut-and-paste-job at the end of the email.

“The safety of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians remain the Department’s highest priority.”

If the FDOT were serious about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists they wouldn’t put an unprotected bike lane next to a freeway. The FDOT’s priority is to move cars faster, not the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. This is glaringly obvious as the tunnel project is already underway and it appears that the FDOT is only now beginning to consider bicycle lanes as part of the ongoing Port of Miami Project. Protected bicycle lanes should have been considered at the very beginning of this project; it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Moreover, has the FDOT’s so-called “Community Traffic Safety Team” reached out to Transit Miami, South Florida Bike Coalition, the Green Mobility Network, the City of Miami, or the City of Miami Beach for input on a bicycle facility?  Nope. They also failed to properly reach out to the Brickell community before starting the current resurfacing project through the most densely populated corridor in Florida. This is the FDOT’s standard operating procedure.

I’d like to invite District 6 Secretary Mr. Gus Pego and his family to ride the MacArthur Causeway. I’d like him and his family to tell me that the MacArthur Causeway is a family-friendly place to ride a bike.


10 Responses to FDOT: “MacArthur Causeway is safe for cyclists”

  1. brock says:

    Useless FDOT yet again. They only care about cars. How many pedestrians and bicyclists need to literally die before FDOT does something about the huge dangers of walking and cycling in our state and city.

    This is not BFE Florida, this is a highly urbanized, dense city, where thousands walk and bike everyday, WAKE UP FDOT! Serve the people, not the car!


  2. Karen Gordon says:

    As the City of Miami Beach works to make bikes a more viable means of transportation it would be nice if the state supported the efforts.

    District 6 Ped-Bike Coordinator
    Ken Jeffries


  3. Brandt says:

    Any street *designed* for speeds of 40 mph or more should include some kind of protection/barrier, even if these barriers are small (http://www.flickr.com/photos/39250829@N05/5617079894/in/faves-10770590@N03/). Standard bike lanes are okay for streets designed for speeds of 35 mph or less. If FDOT really had road users’ safety as their number one priority, this would be in their guidelines. However, it’s very apparent what their #1 priority is.

    Most of our streets are designed for speeds that almost always surpass the posted speed limit, and that has to change.


  4. Craig Chester says:

    The simple premise is - would Mr. Jeffries or Mr. Pego want their wives or daughters riding a bicycle over the MacArthur causeway as is?

    The simple answer is no. Their safety is not ensured and neither is ours. It would not, and should not, be tolerated. We don’t have to see another senseless tragedy to be convinced otherwise.


  5. M says:

    Here’s my question…. What happens when a cyclist leaves Miami Beach and travels westbound on A1A/MacArthur Causeway and realizes that the bike lane ends near Watson Island? That person is forced to turn around because from that point A1A/MacArthur Causeway is limited access. However, that person cannot go back the way he/she came because of the directional arrows for the bike lane, and yet that person cannot cross the street to ride in the correct direction back to Miami Beach.

    Due to the design of the road, in which it becomes limited access on the western end, it cannot legally be used by cyclists to commute between Miami Beach and Miami. It seems that by not providing safe biking/pedestrian facilities on the non-limited access portion of A1A/MacArthur Causeway, FDOT is actually helping us. They are making it an unsafe and unappealing option to use A1A/MacArthur Causeway. Our only choice is to get into the safe confines of our cars and travel the road in the way in which it was actually designed.

    I applaud FDOT and hope they make all of our future transportation choices as easy as this one.


  6. Rima says:

    Is this a joke or what? let’s invite Mr. Jeffries for a ride-out one of these days. I’ll be happy to ride with him across this “non-limited access facility”. let’s see whether he still feels this should be considered non-limited access for bicyclists afterwards. If he survives, that is.


  7. Felipe Azenha says:

    I’m gonna assume you are being facetious. The FDOT clearly stated in their email that the MacArthur is non-limited access highway. It is incumbent upon them the provide safe access for cyclists and pedestrians. They are clearly not doing this. It is not priority for them.

    I agree 100% with you. The County Public Work Department is also guilty. Just look at the Rickenbacker Causeway, bike lane adjacent to a highway with a design speed of 55+mph.

    Thank you all for your comments!


  8. A says:

    This is an advanced roadway- not for the faint of heart but I’m for one impressed that FDOT finally striped and signed the roadway for bikes. Could it be let’s say 40mph? YES.


  9. Felipe Azenha says:

    An advanced roadway? Sounds like engineer jargon to me.
    My degree is irrelevant to this discussion. You don’t need to be rocket scientist to understand the putting an unprotected bike lane next to a highway with cars whizzing by at 65mph is a terrible idea. Common sense dictates that this is NOT a good idea.
    FIght for the next street, the next city and get off the soapbox??? Are you serious? If we here at transit miami didn’t fight for complete streets The FDOT would blindly continue to design crappy streets. We are not trying to earn political points, we are just trying to make our streets safer. We will continue to fight for the MacArthur Causeway and for Miami Dade County. The FDOT should proactively look to work with us rather than try to discredit us. We aren’t going away anytime soon, and the fdot’s projects will continue to be scrutinized by us.


  10. Tony Garcia says:

    hey A, we know you work for FDOT!….dont like getting called out on your own bs….this is not an ‘advanced roadway’. this is not some engineering problem, it is a real life roadway that should not be an obstacle course for cyclists….i deleted the rest of the attack on felipe as it was not relevant to this discussion….if you dont like reading Felipe’s posts - dont!


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