As John Hopkins reported earlier this week, the City of Miami has chosen Collin Worth as its first Bicycle Coordinator-a much needed new position. Due to funding issues, Collin will work part-time as the coordinator. However, since his other job is within the Department of Public Works, he will have plenty of opportunities to wear both hats at the same time. TM caught with Collin for a quick interview about his new position.
TM: How did you get interested in bicycle and transportation issues?
CW: I’ve been interested in transportation issues for a long time and always admired cities that were able to have functional transit. I used to ride my bike a lot as a kid and but hadn’t really been involved in bicycle advocacy until a few years ago. My friend Adam Schachner started riding everywhere and getting excited about biking and it rubbed off. I got a bike and we started riding, shortly after that we started at the time the the Miami Critical Mass Meetup group, which started to grow and this compounded my personal interest. Working at the City I started thinking about infrastructure and incorporating bike lanes, shared use paths and the like into projects. Proximity to project development led me to discussions with the project managers convincing them that it was important. I think my badgering and persistence had an impact.
TM: What are the benefits of bicycling in Miami?
CW: Well it’s generally easy riding with a flat terrain. The benefit of the great weather helps a lot, except during rainy season. Depending on where you are going there are some great paths already, and over the next few years many more will pop up. Plus, there are many great bike groups and events here.
TM: How do you envision your new part-time role folding in to the larger effort of making Miami a more bicycle-friendly city?
CW: Well, it may be considered a part-time role, but a lot of my free time goes into bike efforts. I am also an employee of Capital Improvements and our projects also work into creating a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly city. Fortunately, I am in the right place to make requests for bicycle facilities throughCapital Improvement. Also, in the metaphorical sense of wearing different hats for different jobs, the bike coordinator stuff is more like a toupee that I wear hats over.
TM: What are some of the challenges ahead for the City and County?
CW: The future is always hard to predict, some problems I see are in dealing with FDOT and getting them to focus on D6 (Miami) needing bike facilities. As of now we have had really good working relations with the County, and I plan to work with neighboring municipalities.
I think the education campaign aspect of the Bicycle Action Plan will be a difficult process. One aspect needing to be addressed are cyclists often ride into oncoming traffic, and drivers think cyclists shouldn’t be on the road. Law enforcement doesn’t always know bicycle rules of the road, or in cases won’t enforce traffic behavior. So there is some work to be done there.
TM: What has been accomplished to date?
CW: Considering the Bicycle Action Plan was approved a short while ago, many projects are now being designed to include bike lanes. This alone is a big shift. Expansions on existing bike lanes are being planned to create continuous paths. In terms of community awareness Bike Miami Days has been well received and it’s one of my favorite events. I encourage everyone to come out on Sunday for that, and come out in February for the next event.The City of Miami is looking out for bicyclists right now, and have come to the realization that bicycles are part of an overall solution to fixing our transportation and environmental issues.
TM: What do you look forward to working on in your first year as coordinator?
CW: Ideally, I would like to see several miles of bicycle lanes designed and built, in addition to moving forward with the projects already ready to go. Working with the County and State to incorporate bike lanes on some of their roads would really help expand the network - I’ll be working on that a lot. Hopefully, sharrows will be accepted as a standard, which may happen this year, so expect to see a lot of sharrows in the future. I think we’ll see more bike racks in hotspots and municipal garages. I’d like to help set up commuter bike trains to facilitate organization for commuters to ride together. I think it is important to expand Bike Miami Days to extraordinary heights. I want to see all South Florida cyclists come out and ride. I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but a lot is planned. In the end, I want to help Miami join the League of American Bicyclists Gold Standard for bicycle friendly cities.
TM: How awesome is bicycling? (just kidding, sort of).
CW: I love it, ‘closest thing to flying.
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