This past July, we celebrated the 20 year anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) which among other things prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability. A major component of the ADA mandated paratransit service to help mobility-impaired and disabled Americans get from one place to another. The ADA act is focused on inclusion - adopting standard practices in urban design that make our buildings, streets, and transit more universally designed to accommodate all. A component of the ADA act requires sidewalks to be at least 3 feet wide to accommodate wheelchairs.
Naturally, I was shocked when I came across the following site a few weeks ago when I was near Merrick Park in Coral Gables.
This is the site of a recent FDOT project aimed at resurfacing Bird Road from 57th Avenue to 38th Avenue. In this image I’m standing at the Southeast corner of Ponce De Leon and Bird Road, looking north. I didn’t have the time to measure the distance between the curb and the concrete electric pole, but in person the distance certainly appeared to be less than 3 feet wide. Here is how the FDOT describes this improvement:
This project is repaving and restriping the roadway. Work also includes widening the bridge and road shoulder; building a new sidewalk on the north side of Bird Road; upgrading sidewalks and curb ramps; installing drainage materials to alleviate water build-up in the swale area; performing root pruning and trimming; removing landscaping; upgrading the lighting and installing new traffic and pedestrian signs and signals; removing existing guardrail and installing new guardrail at various locations and installing a pedestrian bridge.
Miami’s walkability level, already fairly dismal because of our autocentric growth, only deteriorates further when we litter and obstruct sidewalks with other urban clutter. Electric poles, bus stops, lights, trees, benches, and trash receptacles all have a place and a role in our urban environments; sidewalks shouldn’t sacrifice their limited alloted space within the right-of-ways to accommodate these fixtures.
We’re going to reach out to our friends at FDOT and the City of Coral Gables to see what can be done to enhance the pedestrian realm rather than simply “beautifying” and accentuating existing barriers. And, while its probably too late to have any significant impact on this project as it was slated for completion in October 2010 - we hope we can help affect change on any future improvements to the pedestrian environment throughout South Florida.
Everyone has seen ugly high-voltage power lines FPL wants to bring these down US 1 from Pinecrest to Brickell, and while we all agree underground power lines are the best option, the impact of the above ground lines can be mitigiated by making the poles more attractive and thoughtfully designed.
Image Courtesy of Dezeen.
Additionally, any negotiations to place FPL poles along US1 should mandate that FPL upgrade the M-path as outlined in the County’s M-path Master Plan.
What are your thoughts???
- Daniel Shoer Roth interviews a tril-rail rider about his views on FPL executives commuting via helicopter:
Edward Quiles, production manager of a company that produces bulletproof vests, commutes from Doral to Deerfield Beach. His wife drops him at Miami International Airport’s Tri-Rail station. An hour and a half later he walks from the Deerfield station to his workplace.
“I’m upset because I’m paying for his luxuries while I depend on public transportation,” said Quiles, whose monthly electric bill amounts to about $110. (Herald)
- Two Marion County residents are waging their own battle against sprawl using the ‘demonstrated need’ test. Now it’s up to Governor Christ and the Cabinet to reject the new 500 unit subdivision. (Herald)
- Woohoo: American oil consumption hit its peak in 2007. We may never reach 400 million gpd again. (Barrons)
- Conflict of interest: County lobbying firm and attorney Greenberg Taurig is requesting a waiver of conflict of interest regulations that prevent it from representing the county and another client in the same case. Duh. Why do we even have conflict of interest laws if the commission is just going to ignore them?? (Miami-Dade)
- The obvious headline story today is Miami-Dade County’s decision to purchase 136 new rail cars for metrorail due to MDT’s prior negligence in maintaining the existing fleet (WTG Roosevelt! I’m so proud of that name clearing hearing the County held in your honor.) Larry Lebowitz wrote a phenomenal Herald watchdog report covering nearly every aspect of this story. Aside from the obvious maintenance issues, we’re disappointed to see that the PTP will be raided again to fix issues which should have been resolved with other funds. The County commissioners have repeatedly abused the intended purpose of the PTP and have all but rendered the CITT useless. At the current rate, the PTP will be milked to fix past screw ups, provide free transit use for veterans, and various other road (vehicular) projects which have passed under the radar. Doesn’t anyone care?
- Meanwhile, the metromover will be receiving its own new vehicles sometime over the next year at a cost of $26 Million PTP dollars. That’s another $26 Million less for new rail projects in case you are wondering. Bombardier will be building the 12 new cars and is slated to be asked to build an additional 17 cars for another $34 Million. Note: should the county back out of the additional 17 cars by July, taxpayers will pay Bombardier $1 million. Who negotiates these contracts? This must be like taking candy from a baby for the Bombardier Sales team.
- Turkey Point is one step closer to receiving another nuclear reactor.
- The “plan” to continue fragmenting the County into more bureaucratic layers of fat is progressing nicely with Palmetto Bay’s desire to annex the Falls neighborhood.
- We’re #1! Forbes magazine has named Miami America’s cleanest City. I highly doubt the achievement is a result of any of our own doing but rather the result of Florida’s flat geography. In any case, our air is clean, whatever that means.
- New Bike Lockers are appearing on Tri-Rail, making eco-commuting an easy alternative…
- Museum park gets a new, cheaper design and finally wins city commission approval…
- Miami-Forum covers the Downtown Foam fest caused by a Sony production commercial shoot…
- For those of you who haven’t visited the site in a while due to the convenience of the automatic daily e-mails, you may not have noticed the addition of James Wilkins to the Transit Miami staff (more to come soon, too.) James will be primarily writing about architecture and Urban Design here on a weekly basis. His first post appeared on Monday and discussed what could/should be Miami’s most prominent waterfront structures at Museum Park. As always, if you have any news, stories, or general feedback for any of us three, please drop us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org…
- The site will be temporarily out of commission for part of the weekend, sorry for any inconvenience which this may cause…
- New Sidebar Miami Blogs: Hallandale Beach Blog, South Beach Hoosier
- Broward Commissioners approved a new 8,000 ft. south runway for Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday night before a crowd of over 1,000 (mostly opponents) at the Convention Center. The new runway will allow FLL to meet expected demand over the next few decades and will provide the airport with another runway capable of handling most domestic aircraft. The $600 Million runway will likely require the purchase or soundproofing of 2,500 nearby residences and will be elevated over US-1, similar to Atlanta’s runway, pictured below…
- Meanwhile, the state denied FPL’s most recent bid to build a “clean” coal power plant in Glades County. “…the company lost its bid to build the coal plant, in part, due to risks the facility would contribute to Everglades and other environmental pollution…” (Via CM)
- If you build it, they will come…Now, can we just start doing it properly?
- I’ve accidentally neglected TM’s Friend Rebbecca Carter of GreenerMiami for too long. Back in May she covered the Commuter Challenge, which this year featured two Mercy Hospital employees “racing” from SW 152 ST. The commuter who used the busway and metrorail won by 19 minutes! Here is her take on the I-95 HOT lanes too…
- The 836 West extension opens next month and with that, more tolls! Rick says its best: “One More Reason Not To Live In Kendall…” but I find that hard to swallow coming from a Pembroke Pines Suburbanite… In any case, the West extension from the Turnpike to 137th Avenue will be available to SunPass users only…
- India’s Richest Man builds 60 story home…You know, because you need a place to house your family of 6, plus a full time staff of 600…
- PlanNYC 2030…I don’t think Miami has a plan for tomorrow, how can we even begin to contemplate where we’ll be 20 years down the line…
- District Should Welcome Walkers, Not Ticket Them…I agree, for the most part…
- Google Transit 2.0…
- Make Driving less Desirable and alternatives more appealing…”This approach, however, will be effective only if there are good alternatives to driving alone.”
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