Today I was going to speak about Bicycle Boulevards - specifically how they can benefit Miami (or any city) and how they might be implemented. However, the guys from StreetFilms have already made a great video explaining the Bicycle Boulevard and its benefits.

As for Miami, I think Bicycle Boulevards are a very necessary component of the larger pedestrian/bicycle-oriented system that would make our city(ies) more livable.

Right off the top of my head, three good potential Bicycle Boulevards in Miami could be:

-SW 6th St between SW 4th Ave & SW 27th Ave
-Tigertail Ave between Sw17 Ave & Mary St
-N Federal Hwy/NE 4th Ct between NE 36th St and NE 79th St

SW 6th Street is the classic example of wasted street potential at the expense of maximizing automobile traffic flow. Despite on-street parking on both sides, this street is too wide for a one-way. Combined with traffic synchronization that allows the driver to speed through almost 20 blocks without a red light, traffic calming is definitely in order. However, SW 6th happens to run right through the heart of Little Havana, one of the densest neighborhoods in all of the SE United States and perhaps Miami’s most organic neighborhood. Due in large part to the density of this corridor, it has a fairly high number of pedestrians and cyclists in proportion to most other residential areas of the Greater Miami area. With the necessary traffic calming and addition of bicycle-oriented measures/infrastructure, I think this street has great potential for a Bicycle Boulevard.

Tigertail Avenue, officially holding “Scenic Transportation Corridor” status with the City of Miami, also has great potential as a Bicycle Boulevard. One thing is for sure: it is a lot more scenic by bike or by foot than it is by automobile. Unfortunately, Tigertail currently has no bike infrastructure of any kind, and several portions of the Avenue are even without sidewalks. Moreover, during rush hours Tigertail is turned into a bypass for thru-traffic avoiding US-1 or Bayshore Drive. It wouldn’t take much to make this into a Bicycle Boulevard, though. I don’t have official statistics, but from personal experience I would estimate that Coconut Grove has the greatest number of cyclists per capita in all of Greater Miami. I’m sure residents living along the Tigertail corridor would love to have fewer cars rumbling by their homes and making this historic street hostile to cyclists and pedestrians.

I think N. Federal Highway/NE 4th Ct has good potential as a Bicycle Boulevard for several reasons. First, it runs between NE 2nd Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard, and should not be reserved as another N/S arterial. Secondly, it would integrate very well with the Streetcar, allowing people to efficiently get from downtown to almost the City Line without ever driving. Hopefully, planners would incorporate bicycle infrastructure into proposed make-over projects for 79th Street - even having the vision to connect it over the causeway to North Beach. Also, the NE 4th Ct section is already in pretty good shape physically, having narrower streets, slower speed limits, and shade trees. However, the N. Federal Highway segment from NE 36th Street to NE 55th Street definitely needs a makeover. Designating it a Bicycle Boulevard affords the perfect opportunity for planners to remodel this currently insipid, hostile road into a high quality urban street that is the backbone for several emerging neighborhoods.

In closing, I must note that a very necessary component of these Bicycle Boulevards would be their integration with a larger system of Bicycle infrastructure. We don’t want to have these Boulevards originating and/or terminating in hostile places for cyclists. This is why it is critical for planners to develop a comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan for the City and County that recognizes cycling as a legitimate transportation alternative, not just a recreational pursuit.

2 Responses to The Case for Bicycle Boulevards

  1. Eddie Suarez says:

    I second that. I would also add Sunset Rd to your list. It’s already being used by many cyclists as a route into the grove, key biscayne, and downtown.

    Also agree that the bike routes need to lead somewhere. A 2 block bike lane that starts no where and ends no where is worthless.

    The MAN wants us to use public transportation but don’t provide us safe ways to get there by foot or bike. They don’t realize that it’s all integrated. I would bike to work if I had a safe way to get there.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Today Surfside, Florida has elected officials who talk green but who are beholden and controlled by the overdevelopment crowd, the special interests. Just another place with skewed priorities and lies told to taxpayers and homeowners. It used to be different, when Surfside was an example of doing things RIGHT.

    Surfside, Florida emerged as a leading community in serving the public interest rather than special interests. Courageous, honest, and productive leadership was the hallmark of the Town of Surfside from 1992 - 2004. During that time, Mayor Paul Novack and the then serving Town Commission unanimously enact budget corrections and fiscally responsible policies and every year for 12 years the town operated under balanced, stable and efficient budgets, with production of increased levels of town services, and numerous capital projects undertaken and completed that upgraded the parks, playgrounds, streets, drainage system, business district, Veterans Park, Town Hall, and much more, all with no debt, no bonds, and with the building of significant town surplus funds to serve the town’s present and future. The town attracted a new Publix and many new restaurants and shops for the business district and made improvements and expansions to town parking facilities. Plans were made for a new town library and hi-tech information center to go on newly acquired property on the west side of Collins Avenue. The town was internationally recognized as a model community, and in 2003 Novack was honored as the state-wide “Community Steward of the Year” in Tallahassee.

    Paul Novack received the Community Steward Award for his steadfast advocacy for effective growth management in Surfside. In 1992, Surfside residents overwhelmingly supported a referendum to prevent a twenty-story beachfront condominium. For more than a decade after then, Novack has served as mayor of this small Dade County community for the grand fee of one dollar per year. Throughout his tenure, Novack and the town’s commissioners have consistently denied any requests for height and density variances, maintaining heights at twelve stories east of Collins Avenue, and five stories to the west. Nominators wrote that, thanks to Mayor Novack, “the town’s zoning code has been consistently, fairly and effectively enforced.” Besides that, Novack has maintained a balanced budget without raising property taxes, there is a one-minute emergency police response time, and garbage is picked up six days a week for a nominal fee. During the selection process, 1000 Friends was impressed with Mayor Novack’s steadfast determination to uphold the planning and development standards needed to maintain Surfside’s distinctive character and scale, noted Pattison. “With his dynamic leadership abilities, commitment to sound planning, and concern for the residents of Surfside, Mayor Novack exemplifies the qualities of a true community steward.”

    Mayor Novack was elected by the voters six times to serve as mayor, not one variance for height or density or setbacks or uses were ever approved during his tenure, and he retired from office in 2004 with official tributes from the Florida House of Representatives, the Governor of Florida, Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and an official entry into the United States Congressional Record, and honors and thanks from many others from throughout the world.

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