Currently viewing the tag: "Activists"

Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Oregonian Congressman Earl Blumenaur is one of this country’s strongest advocates for mass transit and active transportation. This week, the Honorable Representative writes a brief but strong op-ed for Politico.com in which he espouses his support for pro-rail legislation as a defense against climate change.

TransitMiami.com encourages you to engage your representatives locally, in Tallahassee and DC. Inform yourself on what legislation is presented and advocate for what matters to you. (Transportation!!)

Still have questions? Write to us or click on the links below for more information.

Who is my Congressman? How is s/he really voting?

What is the best way to lobby my representative?

Of course, there are lots of resources available online, and we appreciate your recommendations!

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This Sunday at 2pm, cyclists will ride once again for Christophe Le Canne - this time in solidarity with New York City cyclists and non-profit TIME’S UP!, who have organized a ride of their own at the same time in Brooklyn. Local cyclist and TM friend Eddy is organizing this ride to start at Government Center and stop at both Le Canne’s memorial site and that of cyclist Omar Otaola, who died on the Rickenbacker in 2006. You can see the route here and RSVP on Facebook here.

As MiamiBikeScene’s Rydel points out, this is an opportunity for those of us who missed the last ride to take part.  We’ll update this space with any new information.

Hit and Run driver Carlos Bertonatti is set to go to court on Monday at 8:30am.  Undoubtedly, he will be surrounded by both fans and cyclists. Bertonatti will face Judge David Miller at the Justice Building (1351 NW 12th Street) in Room 3-2.

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There is a growing movement to reduce the speed on the Rickenbacker Causeway and a formal petition is set to be submitted to local leaders today. The petition reads as follows:

PETITION TO IMPROVE SAFETY ON THE RICKENBACKER CAUSEWAY
To improve safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, the undersigned petitions Miami-Dade County, the
Board of County Commissioners, to implement a policy that would:
1. Enforce a Safe Speed Limit, not to exceed 35 mph, on the Rickenbacker Causeway (from the Toll Plaza to the Village of Key Biscayne), with visible police presence throughout peak hours to guarantee strict compliance with the speed limit and sobriety laws.
2. Dispatch the nearest emergency/rescue vehicles and personnel to the scene of an injury accident, regardless
of municipal / jurisdictional boundaries.
Signature: ___________________________________________   Date:_______________
Full Name: ___________________________________________    Age: _______________
[Print Legibly]
Address: _____________________________________________________________________
City, State, Zip: _____________________________________________________________________

Telephone No.: _____________________________________________________________________
E-mail address: _____________________________________________________________________
Mail Signed Original  to: Zensah Team Lifeline, 201 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1330, Miami, FL 33131
Fax copy to: 305 377 9937   or    Email copy to: SafeSpeedLimit@Yahoo.com

The cyclists who put together this petition are asking that anyone interested please fax or email it to them TODAY and then mail the original, as well. You can also email them for a PDF version.

There are lots of methods available to local planners, engineers and politicians to improve safety along our causeways and the easiest one is to reduce speed. Another, simple measure - just narrowing the lane a foot or two, causes motorists to ease up on the gas, and would also leave room to widen the heavily used bicycle lane along each side.

Thousands of cyclists came out last Sunday to remember Christophe Lecanne and pay tribute to all cyclists killed on our roads while riding safely and legally. Momentum is growing to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again.

TransitMiami.com encourages you to get involved in our community and be proactive in sharing your ideas with policymakers.

TransitMiami.com continues to reach out to local leaders for a response to Sunday’s fatal hit and run incident on the County’s Rickenbacker Causeway. City of Miami Regalado has yet to return our call but City of Miami Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff has issued the following statement:

“First of all, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a man made the decision to allegedly stay out all night drinking and then get into his car to recklessly drive home. There are far too many unanswered question from the tragic aftermath of this incident, but we can all agree that Carlos Bertonatti should face the fullest and most severe punishment allowed if he is in fact found guilty in the death of Christopher Lecanne. It appears to be a total breakdown by county dispatchers who should have immediately called in rescue teams from the City of Miami and Key Biscayne. According to our Fire Chief Maurice Kemp, Miami dispatchers called County to make sure they were aware of crash on a county road. Our dispatchers were told the County was aware. Twice during that conversation, City dispatchers asked the County if they need our crews to respond and told no. This is on tape and absolutely unacceptable. I know our Mayor is working with the County to find out exactly what went wrong and then take all necessary steps immediately.

This tragedy highlights the dangers our cyclists and runners face each day on our roads from careless and drunk drivers. Next Thursday, Jan 28th at 5pm, the City Commission will decide whether or not to extend the hours alcohol in local bars from 3am to 5am. I’ve already received hundreds of emails from local cyclists warning of the danger, since so many rides on the Rickenbacker originate in Coconut Grove. This was even before the tragedy with Mr. Lecanne. I urge anyone with concerns to attend this important meeting to ensure their voice is heard by Commissioners. It is our duty to keep our roads safe.”

Readers: Please let us know if you have been successful in reaching out to your local leaders. We hope to see you this Sunday for the Key Biscayne Memorial Ride at 9am.

Miami is a community of communities, and nowhere is that more true than among our cycling and walking advocates. South Florida is home to hundreds of walking groups, racing teams, transit advocates and mobility activists… the list goes on. The horrible death of Mr. Christophe Lacanne, witnessed by hundreds of people traveling along the county’s Rickenbacker Causeway last week, has united our groups with the desire to make a statement and prevent accidents like this in the future.

There is a lot to be angry about.

  • All County residents should be concerned by the jurisdictional confusion that left Mr. Lacanne lying in the street for nearly half an hour while a Fire-Rescue truck sat less than 5 miles away.
  • Anyone who uses our roadways should be shocked by the number of comments on the Miami Herald website illustrating a basic lack of familiarity with road rules and DMV guidelines.
  • Cyclists want to know why our county designed a roadway where cars are encouraged to speed (by design) directly alongside a bicycle lane where speeds are typically 15-25mph.
  • Lastly, how does a young man with over 40 traffic violations, a violent criminal record and a public persona that celebrated poor driving habits and no valid driver’s license still be able to drive his own car?

Thanks to those who responded in words and deeds, writing and calling our leaders to share these concerns, our politicians are responding.

Today, at 5pm, County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez will have a public meeting in his Downtown Miami Office to meet with constituents.

Mayor Alvarez has not issued a statement but his staff says that he is working with the Fire-Rescue department to address these issues.

In the City of Miami: Calls to Mayor Regalado’s office have not been returned. Commissioner Sarnoff is out of town on business, but we anticipate his response upon his return tomorrow.

Have you reached out to your local leaders or FDOT? We want to hear what feedback you have received. Please share your comments by clicking on the title of this posting and then scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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As details begin to pour in about the hit and run incident that killed South Miami cyclist and family man, Christoper Lecanne yesterday morning, TransitMiami.com obtained the following statement from the motorist’s publicist:

This has been a terrible tragedy that resulted from this accident and both Carlos and his family are devastated. Lives were changed forever and two families are grieving and going through an extremely difficult time. Carlos’ wish at this time is for everyone’s thoughts and prayers to be with the victim and his family. He is profusely saddened and shocked with what has happened and his hopes are that we all reach out to help the family at this time for their loss. Him and his entire family extend their deepest condolences and pray that God accompany both families in such a devastating time. I thank you for being so respectful in your message and understanding this is a hard time for everyone involved.

Best Regards, Patty Rodriguez, The Rosemine Group

In sharp contrast to the hit and run death of fellow cyclist Rodolfo Rojo just a few months ago, this tragic incident and its aftermath was witnessed by hundreds of people and has elicited an outpouring of response from both the cycling community and media. More information is coming out about the victim, and leaders in our community - from former City of Miami Manny Diaz to Miami Bicycle Coordinator Collin Worth - are stepping up to offer their support for the Lecanne family and friends. If you would like to be more involved, please leave us a comment below. Follow TransitMiami.com for details of upcoming memorial rides and events and please, write to your representatives and ask them what they are doing to improve safety on our roadways.

The Miami Open Streets Team (formerly Bike Miami Days) regular meeting will be held tomorrow at The Wallflower Gallery at 6pm. The free and family-friendly meeting will be immediately followed by a discussion of this tragedy and you are welcome to attend.

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Disclaimer: The following post, you’ll find, has little to do with Transit or recent development, but I’d like to take the time to address the apathetic attitude of our locals when it comes down to our city’s culture, history, and identity by discussing the re-branding of our local brand Burdines to Macy’s.

On June 1, the behemoth corporation known as Federated Department Stores will officially become Macy’s Inc., a move which further unifies but isolates the national retailer in the eyes of many. Federated Department Stores, which itself only acquired Macy’s in the mid 90’s, was responsible for the re-branding of local retailers across the country including our very own Burdines stores (acquired by Federated in 1956.) Other local regional retailers affected by the name games include: Bon Marche (Washington), Goldsmith’s (Tennessee), Lazarus (Cincinnati), Kauffman’s (Pittsburgh), Filene’s (Boston), Foley’s (Houston), L.S. Ayers (Indianapolis), Hecht’s (Maryland), and Marshall Field’s (Chicago) among others. In 2005, Federated Department stores completed the renaming of these and several other department stores nationwide.

Part of me can’t blame Federated for making a move to create a national brand image for their department stores. However, another part of me longs for the unique qualities of each retailer, the names, the history, and the traditions they instilled in the communities which fostered their growth.

It’s the removal of a crucial piece of local history- and the public reaction since which really strikes a chord within me. In early 2004, when Burdines became Burdines-Macy’s I encountered many people who shared my same displeasure with the new moniker. I, like many people, had always associated the Macy’s name with New York, the Thanksgiving Day parade, and iconic store in Herald Square. Likewise, we had always associated Burdines with our hometown, the Downtown Christmas display (for those old enough to remember it), the tacky plastic palm trees, or the Art Deco Marquee on Meridan Avenue. Simply put, to see the two names combined was appalling if not downright confusing. What shocked me most (which with 20/20 hindsight really shouldn’t have) was the passive response of locals. It irked me to see the work of William M. Burdine, a pioneer in our community in 1898, just two years after Flagler’s FEC arrived, wash away so easily under a corporate renaming scheme. The History which built Burdines into “The Florida Store,” is nearly repeated and identical when looking at all the other stores listed above. Each city had its own distinctive flagship store located downtown and started by an entrepreneur in the mid to late 1800’s.

Like Burdines, many of the department stores went down without major local opposition. There is one key exception, however: Marshall Fields. The citizens of Chicago have organized in opposition of the Macy’s re-branding in an effort to revert the Chicago Icon to its former glory and if not, at least preserve the history that Federated has consciously tried to erase. The Marshall Fields Supporters have held rallies, gathered thousands of signatures on petitions, and have been boycotting Macy’s since it removed the Chicago name. So far, it’s working. Macy’s sales at the once flagship store have dropped considerably. Federated’s sales are down nationwide and the chain missed analyst’s expectations. The same effect can be seen in the Ohio area where the Lazarus stores were re-branded and in Seattle where Bon-Marsh once thrived. As this article is careful to point out, sales have dropped nearly nationwide, except Miami:

MIAMI
At Burdines, another market where Macy’s has been around for two decades, the renaming appeared to have little effect. Of those shoppers surveyed, 47 percent said they shopped at Macy’s in 2006, unchanged from the 47 percent in 2004 that shopped at Burdines-Macy’s. In 2002, 57 percent surveyed shopped at either Burdines or Macy’s. When asked to break it out, 51 percent of shoppers frequented Burdines and 24 percent visited Macy’s.

Coincidence? I think not, it seems like more of a lack of local identity to me…

Former flagship Lazarus Department store in downtown Cincinnati compared to the bland, characterless new store introduced under the Macy’s name (Via Wikipedia)…

Here is an interesting piece of information I just discovered. The site of the “iconic” Sears Tower, integrated with the struggling Carnival Center, was originally a Burdines store before Sears bought the land next door, built the tower, and bought them out…

  • Thanks to Magic City on SSC for the Historical Pictures…
  • This article was written in part due to an e-mail sent to me by the South Beach Hoosier, thanks for the contribution David…

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