Currently viewing the tag: "Infrastructure"

Today, we’d like to introduce a new feature we created to help track and identify unsafe intersections and roadways for pedestrians and cyclists. The 2010 Greater Miami Collision Database, provides us with a grim view of our local streets, depicting locations where cyclists and pedestrians have been struck-by vehicles over the past year. While the data is unpleasant, we’re hoping to call attention to problem locations over time (and through previous data sources, when made available).

It’s important to note, the markers on the map are not just waypoints, these are people. Lives lost or maimed because of poor infrastructure, careless drivers, or the likely combination of several variables - all of which contribute to the 40,000 people who die annually in vehicular collisions (Note: 5,000 cyclists and pedestrians are killed annually by vehicles). Enough is enough - we’re launching an aggressive campaign to reverse this trend.

This database is a collaborative process. We’d like to invite readers to submit (movemiami(at)gmail.com) information concerning any collision between a car and a pedestrian or cyclist. We’ll be updating the map soon (to a new platform) that will allow you all to participate more freely. And, as soon as we get our hands on some historical data, we’ll be sure to plot it out as soon as possible to illustrate some historical trends.

As the USDOT pares down the list of applicants to the final recipients for the $8 billion available for High Speed rail, we hope existing regional, and local connectivity plays a significant role in the final assessment – a decision which certainly wouldn’t bode well for Florida’s proposed Orlando-Tampa connection. The Transport Politic aptly notes the eastern terminus of the proposed Florida HSR is located in the southern exurbs or Orlando – far from the rapidly urbanizing downtown, far from the Lynx BRT, and far from any existing or planned transportation infrastructure. A suburban terminal for the Florida HSR, or any other HSR, would foster more experiences like the one profiled by NPR in this recent expose on one family’s Amtrak journey across North Carolina – stranded in a new city with few affordable mobility alternatives. While HSR could alleviate intraregional travel needs, it would just as easily prove ineffective without comprehensive transit infrastructure, linked to regional and local transit systems in order to make any significant impact on our daily routines.

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Shopping for transit via the Infrastructurist

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…South Florida, and especially Miami, would become better-connected: locally, regionally, and internationally. According to this front page Miami Herald article, that is exactly what Mayor Diaz has asked for in his portion of the US Conference of Mayors infrastructure plan wish list. The list, which comprises more than $10 billion worth of projects, is the organizations attempt at shaping Obama’s infrastructure/economic stimulus plan.

The impressive list of projects on both the master list, and Manny’s own, outlines a way to create thousands upon thousands of jobs, while also making our country, and this Magic City, more sustainable and livable. Manny seems to be betting that the Obama administration- who will likely create the country’s largest infrastructure investment since the Interstate Highway system-will be amendable to at least some of the ideas proposed.

Obama has said he wants to make job creation nationwide a priority, and city and county officials estimate that the 1,720 projects on the list would create more than 150,000 jobs.

‘The quickest way to get people back to work is through infrastructure projects that can be rolled out quickly,’ said Diaz, who thinks the port tunnel project alone will create 2,000 jobs.

The wish list is ambitious, but it might be more than just a pipe dream. Though some requests are probably farfetched, others — like much-needed transit improvements — seem to fall in line with Obama’s vision.

Read the article to find out which projects Manny wants to see done here in Miami and South Florida.

Last week, Transportation for America officially launched their plan to improve our nation’s infrastructure, reshape our economy, and wean Americans off foreign oil.  T4America is a grassroots network composed housing, environmental, public health, urban planning, transportation and other organizations.  Transit Miami will be actively working with T4America over the coming months to bring you the latest news from the congressional front lines.  Together with T4America, we can make a substantial change on national (and Local) transportation infrastructure policy.  We are committed to enacting sweeping changes in the upcoming 2009 Transportation Equity Act (TEA), a long-held bastion for highway lobbyists and insiders.

T4America’s 5 Step Plan:

BUILD TO COMPETE – We must catch and pass competitors in China and Europe, by modernizing and expanding our rail and transit networks to reduce oil dependence and connecting the metro regions that are the engines of the modern economy.

INVEST FOR A CLEAN, GREEN RECOVERY – Our nation’s clean-energy future will require cleaner vehicles and new fuels, but it also must include support for the cleanest forms of transportation – modern public transit, walking and biking – and for energy-efficient, sustainable development.

FIX WHAT’S BROKEN – Before building new roads, that will themselves have to be maintained, we must restore our crumbling highways, bridges and transit systems.

STOP WASTEFUL SPENDING – Re-evaluate projects currently in the pipeline to eliminate those with little economic return, that could deepen, rather than relieve, our oil dependence.

SAVE AMERICANS MONEY – Provide more travel and housing options that are affordable and efficient, while helping people to avoid high gas costs and traffic congestion. Save taxpayer dollars by asking the private developers who reap real estate rewards from new rail stations and transit lines to contribute toward that service.

The DARPA Urban Challenge is over, and the winners have been announced. Six out of 11 cars crossed the finish line, completely autonomous without a human driver anywhere. Why do we care about this? Because cars that drive themselves have the potential to be much safer and increase the capacity of existing highways. As long as Will Smith doesn’t switch his car over to manual control, that is.

The cars in the Urban Grand Challenge drove themselves without any changes to the highways or communication between each other. If they could do it without those two, adding them will only make fully automated cars that much closer to reality. Work is underway to develop infrastructure for highways to communicate with cars, in an initiative known as Vehicle Infrastructure Integration, or VII. It’s ostensibly for safety, which is good, but the other improvement is in efficiency, as the space between cars can be decreased and computers can precisely calculate times to let one car maneuver without slowing the others down.

The latest development with VII seems to be the opening of the Connected Vehicle Proving Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Michigan Department of Transportation seems to be making the most progress with VII, developing test beds such as that proving center to be used by the auto manufacturers. These developments could be worth paying attention to.

It is worth mentioning that improving flow on highways through automation will not come close to the capacity of mass transit (like the Metro). We wouldn’t have to worry about red light running, though.

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Pawning our roads out to the highest bidder, increased gambling statewide, and cuts to police and fire services are just some of the adverse effects of our legislative efforts to reduce the state of Florida’s expenses. Is this really the price we’d like to pay in exchange for some barely noticeable tax decreases? The cuts are already taking its toll on cash strapped bedroom communities (incorporated neighborhoods who lack all the economical qualities of a sustainable city, typically lacking the commercial, agricultural, and industrial taxing districts which keep real municipalities afloat) and will continue to wreak havoc, if not totally bankrupt other municipalities in the coming years (which may not be such a bad thing, given the agglomeration identity crisis also underway.) Point of the matter is, this tax cut will hurt Floridians more than it helps us, instead shifting tax burdens onto sales tax receipts, increased tolls (which the state would only collect a portion of, if we lease them out to businesses,) and gambling.

Any company with the capital to lease a Florida toll road would be stupid to not jump at the opportunity, and we, the Floridians, would be even stupider if we relinquished control of such a powerful asset. See, like most of the US, Florida lacks a venerable option to the toll road given that our rail “network” is close to inexistent (an 11 hour ride on Amtrak to Jacksonville, doesn’t cut it.) The few billion we’ll reap now certainly won’t be used to institute and widespread changes and the company who buys them will be virtually guaranteed business.

Now, we’d like to reiterate that here at Transit Miami we aren’t in favor or against tax cuts; we’re behind more intelligent use of the economic resources we have now, before deciding what can be done to alter the budget (which clearly has not occurred.) We’re all for eliminating government waste in a well thought out manner that will help reduce our expenses while still providing our residents with the police, fire, and educational, and transit services they deserve…

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