Inspired by Daniel’s post, An informal Bike Count, I decided to conduct my very on spontaneous bike count while riding north on West Avenue a couple of weeks ago. My unscientific experiment was carried out around 7:00pm from 9th Street all the way up to Dade Blvd. The route is less than 1 mile and took me no more than 5 minutes to ride it. I counted 46 bicycles, of which most were locked up to anything but a bicycle rack. In all fairness there were about 7 bicycles that were locked up to the new bicycle racks at The Shops of West Avenue between 9th Street and 10th Street and another 4 bicycles locked up to a large “wave” bicycle rack in front of the Mirador. I must have seen about 4 other cyclists riding on West Avenue, and that left about 31 bicycles or so parked to trees, sign posts and garbage cans.
That’s quite a lot of bicycle activity. The city of Miami Beach must begin to proactively meet the needs bicyclists. South Beach is especially under-served in terms of bicycle infrastructure. I don’t believe that the city of Miami Beach seriously considers bicycles as actual transportation. Although they do have a Miami Beach bicycle master plan (Atlantic Greenway Master Planner), they do not have a bicycle coordinator to ensure its implementation. At one point the city of Miami Beach did have a bicycle coordinator, but they decided to do away with the position. This is a clear sign that they do not value the bicycle coordinator position or the implementation of the master plan.
I took the time to review the Atlantic Greenway Master Plan which was commissioned in 2007. Upon review, I discovered that nearly 100% of the bicycle facilities that were slated to be completed by 2009 on South Beach have not even been started. This is a dismal performance by the city of Miami Beach.
Although there has been talk about a bicycle share program, there has been no other sincere effort by the administration to promote cycling aside from purchasing new bicycle racks. The Miami Beach Bike Ways Committee seems to be ineffective as per Daniel’s Miami Beach Bike Ways Committee Update. I have attended this meeting on several occasions and I have to agree with Daniel’s assessment.
This is really a shame. Miami Beach, particularly South Beach, has the potential to become a truly great bicycling city. The demographics clearly support cycling. South Beach has an extremely high population density, distances are short, and parking is expensive and difficult to find. In addition, the topography is flat and the weather is beautiful. These are the reasons that bicycling is already flourishing on South Beach. Can you imagine how great cycling would be on South Beach if there was actual infrastructure to support safer cycling?
The city of Miami Beach should aggressively seek to promote cycling by building bicycle facilities that encourage more cycling. Bicycles must play a central role in Miami Beach’s transportation policy. The administration should be held accountable for not implementing the Atlantic Greenway Master Plan as was promised to its residents.
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