or, “Run Pedestrian, Run.”

 

Miami Beach has become a city that is no longer accessible to pedestrians. This might not come as a suprise since Florida is one of the deadliest states for pedestrians as a whole. However, Miami Beach claims that is “is in High-Gear with Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety” and has “a bicycle and pedestrian safety initiative currently underway, with the goal of reducing the number of accidents between motor vehicles and cyclists/pedestrians through education and enforcement.” (Source: Bike Month Press Release, City of Miami Beach).

Unfortunately, as a pedestrian walking the streets of Miami Beach everyday, I cannot confirm any of the above. On the contrary, conditions worsen evey day, to the point where I can now confidently say that Miami Beach is not safe for pedestrians. Here are just a few of instances where pedestrians cannot at all or just barely cross streets without having to fear for their life or running across.

1. The intersection of West Ave & Lincoln Rd

There is no pedestrian crossing light at all on one side. Why? Is that too expensive to install? Wasn’t Lincoln Rd intended for pedestrians as per Lapidus’ design? So if I wanted to walk to that new restaurant setting up shop, what would I do, since I cannot cross here? Cross West, cross Lincoln, cross West again…or just drive?

Lincoln Road Pedestrian Safety

2. The pedestrian light on West & 16th has been taped shut.

Cross at your own risk.

You cannot cross here walking. Only cars can.

You cannot cross here walking. Only cars can.

3. The pedestrian light on Alton Rd & 10th has been taped shut.

The Whole Foods supermarket is now unreachable for pedestrians coming from the East side of Alton Rd.

No walking to Whole Foods.

No walking to Whole Foods. Pedestrian on the left staunchily ignoring that the Sidewalk is closed.

4. The pedestrian light on Alton Rd & 14th has been taped shut.

The bank of America on one side and the CVS store as well the the shopping mall on the other side are now unreachable for pedestrians on Alton Rd.

20140924_090211

5. The entrance to Lincoln Road on Alton has been blocked off for pedestrians.

Just a tiny whole in the blockade is open to pedestrians. When they get green, cars also turn into their passage. It’s so unsafe it’s ridiculous. Look at these tourists trying to cross, staring in disbelief at the oncoming traffic.

20140924_090602

Lincoln Road blockade

Yup, that is a green light for peds.

Run pedestrian, run.

Run pedestrian, run.

To add insult to inury, the Greater Miami Conventions and Visitor’s Bureau launched a taxpayer-funded advertisement campaing including posters and a website (http://discoveraltonroad.com/) “in an effort to improve access to the businesses along Alton Road and West Avenue during the FDOT construction”. The Bureau gets funded yearly $5 million from the City. Couldn’t we get a few of the broken stop lights mentioned above fixed for that price? The only result of this effort, as far as I can tell, was the installation of the free trolley looping on Alton Rd and West Ave. This trolley, of course, doesn’t help pedestrians one bit as it gets stuck in traffic just like all other vehicles and just adds to the total amount of pollution.

Alton Road trolley stuck in traffic like everyone else. No pedestrians in sight - I wonder why?

Alton Road trolley stuck in traffic like everyone else. No pedestrians in sight - I wonder why?

 

What the City wants you to think Alton Road looks like

Alton Road Miami Beach

What Alton Road really looks like

Alton Road Miami Beach

 

Given the above, you can imagine my astonishment when the City of Miami Beach’s Director of Transportation, Jose Gonzalez, whom I contacted regarding the lack of pedestrian safety, writes to me that “please be assured that the City and FDOT are working collaboratively to help improve livability during this difficult construction period. ” And just what, Jose, are FDOT and the City doing? Because, I’m not seeing any of it, when I run past those taped traffic lights, you know.

The current situation also means that pedestrians cannot access businesses on Alton Rd. The businesses, which are already suffering from a loss of customer base since the FDOT Alton Rd project, are thus further losing clientele. The complete list of businesses killed by the FDOT project is a subject of a future post.

I’d like to close by reminding our government that “The car never bought anything” -Morris Lapidus. A city that cannot be navigated by foot, is a dead city as far as I am concerned. No people - no children - just cars (and trolleys), pollution, traffic jams, and broken traffic lights? Welcome to Miami Beach.

 

4 Responses to Miami Beach is a pedestrian’s nightmare

  1. B says:

    To be fair, it is mostly due to the construction on Alon Road which should end later this year. This is NOT representative of conditions in Miami Beach in general! (Although Collins between 5th and 10th and in the high 20’s/low 30’s has also had it’s fair share of pedestrian safety neglect with the construction there.) The person to contact is the MB head of transportation Saul Frances, at SaulFrances@miamibeachfl.gov. Apart from making sure every intersection has working cross signals when this is all finished (which it probably won’t…), two easy things I think MB can do to improve things are to 1.) program the crosswalk signals to give pedestrians a 5 second head start, and 2.) count down how long the signal will be “do not cross.” If enough people ask the City for this, perhaps it can happen at least at some intersections.

       0 likes

  2. Ioannis Suarez says:

    Pedestrian is not the priority for the city of Miami Beach or Miami. Many things could be done but there is no interest. Finding solutions is not the challenge. Many many cities in Europe are years ahead on this. We could copy their models. Beside the fact that we are keep being injured and killed by cars, nobody knows the long term effects of cars pollution in our children.
    Not sure if it is ignorance, stupidity, incompetence or corruption. The fact is that our politicians and a good percentage of the people has no serious interest on making the pedestrian and bicycles the priority on our roads.

       0 likes

  3. John Konzal says:

    The pedestrian situation is worse than described in this article. If you want to experience how bad it really is, walk down Bay Road between Lincoln and 14th and try crossing the street at a couple of intersections. You are sure to be in a danger of being hit. There are NO stop signs on this long stretch of road (no stops signs going north-south on Bay). The scum bags that live in the Flamingo with their M3s and other cars they barely can afford speed at double the speed limit. The police do nothing. All it would take is to put 3-way or 4 way stops at a couple of intersections (like 16th and Bay). But then again, the Beach is influence by the best of Latin America, which is the very worst by American standards. Yes, walking here is better than Rio, Sao Paulo, or Caracas. But are this third world hell holes what we want to strive to be?

       3 likes

  4. Daniel C says:

    Here’s the solution:

    Stop crying, for when the tears dry, you will be able to see both ways before you cross.

       0 likes

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