Miami-Dade’s Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to vote on legislative item 121569 this Thursday. (The meeting was postponed from September 4 to September 6.)
Four specific bike lanes come under attack in this legislative item. They’re meant to demonstrate examples of “state roads in Miami-Dade County that may not be particularly suitable for bicycle lanes”.
One of those four lanes is that located on the MacArthur Causeway. Its supposed lack of suitability is due to the fact that, on this particular state road, “the speed limit is 50 mph”.
The lane on the MacArthur Causeway can indeed be a dicey one to traverse, especially with all of the on-going Port of Miami Tunnel construction, the South Beach partiers driving back from their nights of inebriation, and the overall speeding automobile traffic.
Nevertheless, even at 50mph, the bike lane on the MacArthur functions.
Of course, it could function better — by making it wider, buffering it from automobiles, and some other possible retrofits — but it functions, nonetheless.
The people are hungry — not only for more bicycle facilities, but better bicycle facilities too. Please . . . feed us!
The article below is a repost. It was originaly posted on November 15, 2009. The FDOT has made some very small striping improvements since the article was originally published. Needless to say, it is not enough. The FDOT must do more.
Inspired by the recent Dangerous by Design report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America Transit Miami will begin documenting existing conditions that are dangerous and potentially deadly to pedestrians and bicyclists. In what will likely be an infinite collection of posts, the MacArthur Causeway will be the first roadway evaluated for Transit Miami’s very own Dangerous By Design exposé.
Although the MacArthur Causeway is actually designated as bicycle route, I don’t like to ride it because I fear for my life. The Venetian Causeway is a much safer alternative. This morning all bicyclists and pedestrians were forced to take the MacArthur Causeway because the eastern drawbridge on the Venetian Causeway was broken. Non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians had no other alternative to traverse the bay other than the MacArthur Causeway. I decided to make the most of my MacArthur Causeway crossing, so I took the opportunity to more closely inspect FDOT’s current resurfacing project on the MacArthur Causeway. Sadly, it seems like FDOT did not seriously consider pedestrians and bicyclists during the design phase of this resurfacing project.
My intention was to allow FDOT to finish the project before critiquing it, but that won’t be necessary, because what little work remains to be completed is mostly cosmetic (i.e. painting bicycle lanes and symbols). As one of only three arterial roads that connects Miami to Miami Beach, it is imperative that this wide, high speed, high capacity thoroughfare have safe pedestrian and bicycle provisions. FDOT’s current design consists of an unprotected bicycle lane that doubles as an emergency shoulder. Sorry, but anything less than a separated and protected multiuse path is unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists. For this reason the MacArthur Causeway is being regrettably recognized as Dangerous By Design. If FDOT were genuinely concerned about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists they would have designed a separated and protected multiuse path. Below are examples that should have been considered.
Below are a few photographs taken this morning of poor design standards on the MacArthur Causeway:
The Miami Herald is reporting that the FDOT Port of Miami tunnel project will break ground in June. FDOT currently has three megaprojects in the works in South Florida. Check out the FDOT video plugging the Port of Miami tunnel project. From the looks of it pedestrians and bicyclists were not considered in the design of the port tunnel/MacArthur Causeway.
- $1 billion Port of Miami tunnel project
- $1.7 billion Miami Intermodal Center near Miami International Airport
- $1.8 billion reconstruction of Interstate 595 in Broward County.
It’s sad to see that FDOT has money to spend on theses megaprojects, yet it can’t come up with money for bike lanes on Sunset Drive. This goes to show where their priorities lie.
In other news, the US Military is warning that by 2015 oil demand will outstrip supply bringing us one step closer to peak oil. Perhaps FDOT should spend their money more wisely on projects which do not depend on cheap oil.
For those of you that will be able to attend, please be sure to ask FDOT if they feel like the new bike lanes on the MacArthur Causeway are safe. Ask them if they would feel comfortable if their children rode in this bike lane. A completely unprotected bicycle lane on a major highway, that starts and ends abruptly, is not safe nor is it a very good idea. The minimum standard that was applied to the MacArthur Causeway bike lanes are better suited for a road that has a design speed of 25 mph, not 70 mph.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Six, will conduct a public information meeting about a roadway project on State Road (S.R.) A1A / 5th Street / MacArthur Causeway from West Avenue to Collins Avenue on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Miami Beach Police Athletic League, 999 11th Street, Miami Beach, FL.
The proposed scope of work includes: repaving of the road; replacement of damaged sidewalks, curbs and gutters; reconstruction of pedestrian ramps; median closure at Euclid Avenue to improve safety conditions; addition of bicycle lanes; minor signalization improvements; and new signs and pavement markings.
Graphic displays of the project will be showcased at this meeting and FDOT representatives will be available to discuss the project and answer questions. Please contact Marta Rodriguez, Public Information Specialist, if you have any questions about this project at 305-470-5203 or by email at email@example.com.
Friend of Transit Miami Dana Weinstein recently wrote an editorial for the Miami Herald to commemorate Bike Month. Although Dina commutes with her two children to school on bicycles, she does not suggest that inexperienced cyclists/parents follow her lead. She says, “It really takes someone with almost a death wish to walk or bike”.
Part of me agrees with Dina. Ever since Christophe Le Canne was killed on the Rickenbacker Causeway in January, I have come to view bicycling as a dangerous activity.
I love biking; it is part of who I am. I used to be fearless and after my stint in the Peace Corps I biked with 2 friends from Guatemala to Panama. Bicycling brings me great joy, but I no longer feel safe biking in Miami. What I feel is vulnerable. This is particularly true on our causeways, where bicycle lanes are placed next to cars which are moving at 45-75mph without any sort of hard or soft barrier to protect cyclists (i.e. Rickenbacker Causeway and MacArthur Causeway). When I do bike now, I choose roads where the design speed of the roadway does not exceed 25-30 mph. Even when bike lanes are present, such as the Coral Way bike lanes, I do not use them because cars are moving at 45-50mph. I prefer taking a side street were traffic moves slower.
Perhaps I am just getting old. Or perhaps now that I am married I am aware of the tremendous loss I would leave behind if I suffered the same fate as Christophe Le Canne. But the lack of proper bicycle infrastructure in Miami has been forcing me recently to drive my bicycle up to Oleta River State Park so that I may get the exercise I enjoy. I feel defeated that I have been relegated to biking in a park.
In the interest of full disclosure, I still ride my bike (in my suit) to work everyday. Although it is only about 6 blocks away I have way too many close calls on a regular basis.
Is this the way we must live? My hope is that we can develop streets for all users in South Florida.
Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists were visibly rejoicing today as the Venetian Causeway was reopened after a month long set of bridge repairs. While the County/FDOT proved to be rather obstreperous during our attempt to provide adequate and safe alternatives to the MacArthur, a note of commendation and thanks is due to County’s Public Works team who actually carried out this project. They kept it open an extra week in early May by shifting the order of repairs around and they also finished right on time. Good job.
A view from my handlebars at 8:30am this morning.
The Miami Herald ran a story today regarding the Venetian closure and the effects it will have on pedestrians and bicyclists. Featured in the story is Felipe Azenha, a regular Transit Miami reader and a dedicated bicycle activist. From the article:
But some cycling advocates don’t think that is enough. The MacArthur is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, they say.
‘I think it’s really an accident waiting to happen” said Felipe Azenha, who used to ride his bike over the Venetian daily to work. Azenha pointed to recent causeway calamities. In March, NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth ran over a pedestrian on the MacArthur, killing him. In August, a cab driver plowed into almost a dozen cyclists out on a leisurely ride on a Sunday morning. None of the bicyclists died.
‘They have to put safety barriers out on the MacArthur and make it more clear that there will be bicycles and pedestrians,’ said Azenha, who also suggested a lower speed limit on the MacArthur during the month of May.
Molins said he could not address the concerns because the causeway is a state road controlled by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Of course, we all know that FDOT has said the County can do something by working with the statewide agency to ensure safe passage between the two cities for bicyclists and pedestrians. Well, May 1 has come and nearly gone. There is no telling if action will be taken. Regardless, life goes on for the intrepid, as I saw four other bicyclists and two runners out on the MacArthur at 8:30 this morning. If the County and FDOT were wise, they would work together to figure out a solution before someone gets hurt.
If you do decide to head out there, please take extreme caution.
If you read or watched the news at all this weekend, then you know that Donte Stallworth, a NFL journeyman, struck and killed a man by the name of Mario Reyes. Reyes, 59, was crossing busy highway on Terminal Island from his place of employment to the bus stop. The Herald reports the light was red, which indicates negligent driving on the part of Stallworth.
The initial Herald story covered the accident yesterday, but mostly just Stallworth’s stalling NFL career via his stats and totally irrelevant personal information. To be fair, little might have been know about Reyes at that point, but since Stallworth is a professional sports player the news feature got as many words as possible, including a highlight about how many condos the guy owns.
The second story gives us a bit more information about Reyes and his family, yet still includes the pointless information Stallworth. One has to wonder if the situation were reversed, Reyes hit Stallworth, if we would be reading all about Reyes career, home, car, and lifestyle a part from the accident. Somehow, I doubt it.
No charges have been filed, and who knows if they will be. It’s very unlikely that Stallworth was trying to hit Reyes, yet the man should be held accountable for his negligence.
Our thoughts go out to the family of the victim.
11 Bicyclists were struck by a cab driver this morning while bicycling across the Macarthur Causeway. Although one remains listed in critical condition, fortunately no one was killed. The cab driver admitted to falling asleep, inadvertently sending 6 of the 11 bicyclists to the hospital.
Reactions to the accident have been mixed. What were bicyclists doing on the Macarthur? Why was a cab driver, likely working the graveyard shift, still on the road? Why won’t those damn bicyclists get on the sidewalks where they belong?
These are just some of the comments over at the Herald’s online news comments section. Normally, I can’t stomach the inanity of reader comments that follow most Herald articles, but this particular story and its attendant comments provide remarkable insight into several important issues.
1) The Macarthur Causeway is a limited access highway. In almost all cases, bicyclists are prevented from riding only these types of roads because of the elevated level of danger they present. Yet, the Macarthur is actually designated with signage as a Bicycle Route. Here in Miami, it seems we promote bicycling on only the most dangerous street for bicyclists and leave the safest ones unmarked. What a terribly backward twist on an already poor situation. Today’s accident is a case in point, and it is a wonder that more accidents do not occur. It is my opinion that the Macarthur needs to either be improved dramatically so that all users will be safe (including pedestrians) or the designated Bicycle Route sign needs to be removed, as its existence only promotes bicycling along an unsafe highway, that quite frankly, is not designed for bicycle safety where bicyclists need it the most. Save your own live, take the Venetian Causeway instead. It may leave your two blocks further north, but believe me it is worth it.
2) Motorist education is sorely needed. Now. Not tomorrow. Now. Most motorists seem relatively clueless about traffic laws here in Miami, let alone how to overtake bicyclists safely. Police must start enforcing traffic laws in this city, although perhaps they should learn to follow them first.
3) Bicycle safety education is needed as well. In this instance, it seems the bicyclists were not engaging in unsafe riding practices. However, as a daily commuter I can’t even count the amount of times I have seen fellow bicyclists take their own lives into their hands just to run a red light. Bicyclists and motorists must learn traffic safety laws and heed them.
4) Hostility toward bicyclists in this city is out of control. Ignorance to the benefits of bicycling comes in all forms here in Miami, but motorists must understand that not only do bicyclists have a right to the road, they are also out there lessening traffic congestion and pollution and promoting a livable city.
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