Believe it or not, but the most densely populated and arguably most walkable city in Florida does not have a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. Actually, please let me clarify- the City of Miami Beach had a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, but decided to eliminate this position two years ago when the position became vacant.  Yep, you read that correctly. Miami Beach, a city where people walk and bike everywhere does not consider cyclists and pedestrians seriously enough to merit a full-time position.  This is truly amazing to me. Well, I guess it just goes to show where the city’s priorities are.

Sources close to Transit Miami informed us that about two years ago the Budget Advisory Committee that is comprised of residents appointed by commissioners and the mayor (as well as a CPA and Financial Advisor) voted against keeping this position. I believe the funds for the position where shifted to create a position in the Public Works Department. Shameful.

South Beach in particular, desperately needs a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. Now that Deco Bike, the city’s new bike share program is in full swing, they city should prioritize the expansion of its almost non-existent bicycle infrastructure. So what do you say Miami Beach?  Are you gonna step-up and deliver?

There is a lot of work to be done on Miami Beach to ensure the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.  If and when the city does hire a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, the first step would be to commission a proper Miami Beach Bicycle Master Plan. I remember reviewing the city’s current bicycle master plan a couple of years ago and saying “Wow, this is really awful.”  You can find more information about the Miami Beach Bicycle Program here.

Please email City Manager Jorge Gonzalez and let him know that Miami Beach needs a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.

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9 Responses to Miami Beach Needs a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Urgently

  1. Oh man, you don’t know the half of it. At this last Bikeways Committee meeting the Mayor showed up, first time in 5 years, and all but said she hates bikes. If there were no bikes on South Beach she would be one happy lady. I swear, it took all I had to keep a straight face.

    Christine Bettin, who was once the Bicycle Coord for MB and was then moved to Public Works, is leaving her job and the city, so there goes the one person that had any kind of continuity to that position.

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  2. brock says:

    Although I don’t know the inner workings of Miami Beach politics, they did manage to get DecoBike up and running which is huge for our city. Waiting for it to expand into Downtown and Brickell, and watch it really take off…

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  3. DecoBike happened almost in spite of the Miami Beach city government, actually. DecoBike is a private company that won a profit-sharing contract with the city, thus it always has been in their best interest to get the program up and running ASAP. Thanks to the city government, the launch of DecoBike was delayed for about a year, and could’ve been delayed more had it not been for some last minute pushing and shoving of the bureaucratic monster.

    As much as I love DecoBike for Miami Beach, I want them to expand so they can actually succeed on their overall mission, because aside from those of us in the Bikeways Committee, DecoBike is only liked due to it being the cause celeb of the moment. And you know how quickly fads change here in SoBe.

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  4. Rima says:

    Unfortunately, I agree 100% with this post.
    Having a “Bicycle Coordinator” would not change a thing. It would add one more overpaid bureaucrat to the system, waiting for his or her pension plan to kick in.
    The truth is that we need to elect officials that care for the causes we care for. Didn’t Gabrielle Redfern actually run for commissioner? Let’s elect her for Mayor, and you will see changes happening.

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  5. Mike Moskos says:

    The population of Miami Beach that bikes and rides transit could easily determine every single election. All it takes is for a small group of people to consistently show up at candidate meetings/debates and continue to ask about transit to shift the paradigm to what candidates will do for biking, walking, and transit.

    Metrorail riders alone could determine who becomes the Miami Dade mayor.

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  6. Felipe Azenha says:

    Hi Rima,

    I think you meant to say you disagreed with me. In many ways you are correct, government probably should be leaner. Unfortunately, the city took away this position and created another position. They could probably easily reverse course and bring back the bike/ped coordinator position. I’m sure they can cut a bit of fat from somewhere else.

    I also agree with you that having a leader that understands the value of more bicycles and more walking is needed. Mayor Bower has clearly demonstrated that she does not understand the importance of bicycles in the transportation mix. We only have to look at Miami. Once Mayor Diaz left office the support for cycling came to a grinding halt. Miami has not had a proper Bike Miami Days since Regalado took office. At least Miami has a part-time bike coordinator that is trying to get things done, even without much support from Miami’s leadership. Bike Miami Days was canceled again this past week.

    A bike/ped coordinator is needed on the beach. Miami Beach desperately needs someone on staff advocating for better bike/ped infrastructure. Perhaps this individual could help enlighten Mayor Bower.

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  7. Rima says:

    I did mean to disagree :)
    Felipe, just because there is a position created with a title does not mean that person actually does his or her job. This is city government. It’s not the most qualified candidate who gets the job. In my personal opinion, a requirement for this kind of job would be someone who actually biked to City Hall every day. No, instead the job will be awarded to a friend of the friend of some commissioners, or some other administrative level person. Felipe, people from the Miami Beach Building Department are in jail currently for corruption. Really, what do you expect from these people? Once they get their cozy, overpaid jobs, their responsibility ends. They are not accountable to anyone! Look at the Miami Dade Transit Director stepping down! Who cares if he did no good, and lost money, and us citizens end up with no transit system and no bike lanes to speak of. Certainly not him. And it will be the same with any other position filled by a bureaucrat. The only ones that care a little are the ones that need to get elected into office, and only for that reason. Everyone else is just there for a free ride.
    It is up to us, the citizens, to show up at each and every election and make our voices heard. Let’s see, who do we pick for Miami Dade Mayor? My choice is Carlos Gimenez at this point.

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  8. Felipe Azenha says:

    You are absolutely right Rima, the nepotism needs to end. I am well aware of the shenanigans that go on within all levels of government in Miami Dade County. It’s disgraceful. We need to start hiring people based on their qualifications and not because they are related to Tio Pablo or Abuela Maria.

    How about if Miami Beach hired a qualified bike/ped coordinator that biked to work and understood the needs of cyclists and pedestrians? Could you support that Rima? Perhaps it is just wishful thinking on my part…

    We here at Transit Miami don’t endorse candidates.

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  9. Rima says:

    Ah, that’s too bad. Why don’t you endorse candidates? You have such massive leverage.

    Hehe if that candidate comes around I will support him or her all the way. Just look at Seattle. I wish we had a Mayor who biked, or even just occasionally walked, to work.

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