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Yesterday’s Miami-Dade County Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting was filled with interesting news. As Spokes n’ Folks reported, much attention was given to a couple of urban infill projects in Coral Gables, located adjacent to the M-Path.

Dadeland Station developer Jeff Berkowitz is moving forward with plans to redevelop the Deel Ford parcel, the larger of the two parcels outlined in orange below.

Due to high traffic volumes on S. Dixie Highway, Berkowitz’s current plans seek to bisect the M-Path on the north side of the site with an easement allowing motor vehicle access to the development’s parking garage.  BPAC members have previously asked the developer to include several safety measures in the site design to mitigate the effects of  of motor vehicle traffic. Yet, the “sketchy” drawings presented yesterday did not detail the required safety measures, which caused BPAC to table the approval.

Additionally, a proposed 30,000 square foot office development is slated for an old Shell station located at nearby, at the corner of S. Dixie Highway and LeJeune Road (small parcel, above). The developer of that property has also asked for an easement that would bisect the M-Path.

While the BPAC is right to ask for safety measures, they are setting a very dangerous precedent. After all, the M-Path is already compromised by numerous heavily trafficked streets without any commensurate design or safety measures to help pedestrians and bicyclists through the intersections.  Allowing two more easements will further interrupt the Path’s function, and could plant the seed for future development to follow suit.

Ultimately, Miami-Dade Transit  (MDT) will have to approve the easements, with the mitigations suggested by the BPAC.  If you ride  or walk/run the M-Path consistently, you know this directly threatens you. Please call and write MDT, Coral Gables City  Commissioners, and Miami-Dade County Commissioners to let them know that safety upgrades or not, these developments do not need easements into the M-Path, but rather a little more creative site design.


In related BPAC news, an FDOT representative announced plans for bicycle lanes along the MacArthur Causeway. Yes, you read that correctly.

My initial reaction to this proclamation was that the encouragement of bicycling on what is effectively a high-speed highway, where bicycles are normally not allowed for good reason, is sheer lunacy — unless commensurate redesign of the roadway would significantly reduce lane width and motor vehicle speed. Well, it seems the lanes will be shrunk to 11′ from 14′, which will indeed slow motorists down and provide ample room for bicycle lanes.

Full plans have not been reaveled, however. As always, the devil will lie in the details. How will the proposed lanes work with the Biscayne Boulevard on-ramps and off-ramps? Will these lanes be physically protected with bollards or curbs? How far will FDOT go in calming one of the most heavily trafficked roads in South Florida?

We’ll be tracking this one.

We turn our attention once again today to the East Kendall Homeowners (Association? Organization? Federation? Coalition of the willing?) to discuss the initial purpose of the group’s existence. The EKHO was formed in June 2005 in opposition to the former Dadeland Breezes development, slated for N Kendall Dr. and 77th Ave. An excerpt from their site:

“A massive development called “Dadeland Breeze” is being proposed for our neighborhood. This development will demolish the 3 story apartment buildings at N. Kendall Drive & S.W. 77 Ave. in order to construct a complex of 8 condominium towers up to 8 stories high with nearly a 100% increase in the density of the existing buildings. This proposed construction project is clearly incompatible with the low-rise scale of our “East Kendall” residential neighborhood…”

I’d like to speak to the person who reasoned that an 8 story building was “out of character” with the neighborhood, but the Palmetto expressway, expansive parking lots of Dadeland Mall, or the gargantuan 6 lanes of Kendall drive just blended in seamlessly with the surroundings. The fact that most East Kendall residents don’t likely walk to their local Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, or Mall is the most alarming part of this discussion. Furthermore, I find it kind of hypocritical when a group speaks out against a project of greater density because of “increased traffic” but yet also goes against measures to bring public transit to their neighborhood. Is it the development that East Kendall fears or is it a change in the way of life?

“…It will worsen our already bad traffic, further burden our over-capacity schools, and have a negative impact on the quality of life of our families.”

Yahtzee! “Impact on the quality of life” Now, what impact precisely is anyones guess, but a change that will have us living a more vertical, sustainable, and likely healthier life doesn’t sound so bad, that is, unless you like idling in traffic along US-1 or Kendall bouncing around from parking lots to fast-food drive-throughs.

What many Miami residents, organizations, etc. fail to realize is that change and progress are a way of life. Had such powerful opposition existed in the early 1900’s, much of our prized downtown Brickell land could still look much like it did in 1915:

Imagine that? The Four Seasons was once a 2 story bungalow. By now we surely would have paved clear across the everglades and into Naples had someone not decided to build vertical…

Try explaining that and the benefits of sustainable growth to these folks, the EKHO, a group of citizens obviously set in their ways and accustomed to the lousy quality of suburban life:

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