Sorry for the delay in my response folks. As you may know, we here at Transit Miami were unable to attend the Cycling Town Hall Meeting co-hosted by Commissioners Ralph Cabrera and Carlos Gimenez several months ago. We received a lot of feedback from those who attended and we have reviewed the recommendations for improvement which were presented to the public.

We are pleased that new safety improvements are being considered, as they are long overdue. However, it seems that there is no coherent plan for how these improvements will be implemented. Indeed, details regarding the improvements remain absent.

What we do know is that the Rickenbacker Causeway is the premier recreation destination in the City of Miami, if not all of Miami-Dade County. Thus, we must think of the entire corridor as a big linear park. The area hosts many parks and attractions. They include:

  • Miami Seaquarium
  • Crandon Park/Tennis Center
  • Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
  • Mast Academy
  • Alice Wainright Park
  • Hobie Beach

In addition, the Miami Marine Stadium is slated to be renovated and Virginia Key will be converted into a major urban park, which will also include several miles of mountain bike trails. With a plethora of attractions/parks in such close proximity, it is imperative to provide safe connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists.

With the diversity of users and the number of related destinations, a coherent Rickenbacker Causeway Master Plan should be developed in order to bring all the major stakeholders to the table, including the Village of Key Biscayne.  This would be an immensely important undertaking, and the County Public Works Department should not be solely responsible for making these improvements without the input of the public and the Village of Key Biscayne and City of Miami.

Ideally, the Rickenbacker Causeway Master Plan would specify the details of the proposed improvements and analyze the proposed phasing already associated with the list of improvements slated for the Causeway.

Below is the summary of projects slated to be implemented over a 5-year period.  The proposed projects listed below are all pedestrian/bicycle safety oriented improvements for the Causeway and would be funded through the use of the 25 cent allocation of every toll collected.  Below each project you will find my commentary in bold.

Summary of Projects:

FY 10-11

Hobie Island Signalized Pedestrian/Cyclist Crossing and Turnaround $630,000

Description: Design and install a cyclist/pedestrian traffic light crossing at Hobie Island (Windsurfer Beach). The installation of a traffic light, striping, and signage will allow cyclists to turn from Eastbound to Westbound prior to reaching the toll plaza.

Does this require bicyclists to dismount? How is the traffic light activated? Where will it be placed? We need more details.

Rickenbacker Speed Limit Study $ 5,000
Description: PWD will conduct and evaluate results of speed study in order to determine whether the speed limits need to be modified and implement necessary signage changes.

Reducing the posted speed limit is very important, but it will have little to no effect on the actual speed of traffic without reconfiguring the roadway for slower speeds (signal timing, narrowing vehicular lanes, etc.)

Permanent “Vehicle Speed” Information Sign $ 80,000
Description: Install permanent ”Your Speed” information signs/speed radar light boards along causeway, to alert vehicles to their traveling speeds.

Not a priority (these are very expensive) if you design a roadway with a design speed not to exceed 40 mph. Money could be better spent elsewhere.

Improvements to Roadways Leading into Toll Plaza Phase 1 $ 160,000
Description: Modify lanes leading into the toll plaza on SE 26 Road/Rickenbacker Causeway from Brickell Avenue through the toll facility to Hobie Island, to accommodate and improve access to bicycle lanes.

The entire intersection before the toll needs to be redesigned. Crosswalks also need to be dramatically improved. Do we have drawings?

Total expenditures: $875,000

FY 11-12
Improvements to Roadways Leading into Toll Plaza Phase 2 $376,000
Description: Modify lanes leading into the toll plaza on SE 26 Road from Brickell Avenue to South Miami Avenue, and on South Miami Avenue from US 1 to S 25 Road, to accommodate bicycle lanes.

See comments from above.

Crandon Boulevard Lane Modification Phase 1 $507,750

Description: Re-design width, and restripe Crandon Boulevard vehicle travel lanes, from the east end of Bear Cut Bridge to the Village limits, inbound and outbound (north/south side), widen existing width of the dedicated bike path.

What is the width of the proposed bike lane? More importantly, what is the new width of the travel lanes and will there be a soft or striped barrier between the bike lane and travel lanes?
Total expenditures: $883,750

FY 12-13
Crandon Boulevard Lane Modification Phase 2 $492,250
Description: (Continued) Re-design width, and restripe Crandon Boulevard vehicle travel lanes, from the east end of Bear Cut Bridge to the Village limits, inbound and outbound (north/south side), widen existing width of the dedicated bike path.

See comments above.

Bicycle/Pedestrian Lane Mod West Bridge to Brickell Avenue $400,338
Description: Re-design, widen, stripe, and sign the existing ped-path/bike lane beginning at the north side (outbound travel) of the West Bridge bike underpass (along condominium wall/I-95 north/south flyover ramp) to Brickell Avenue.

How wide will the path be? What about those users who are never going to use the path, those heading to points south and west of Brickell?

Total expenditure: $892,588

FY 13-14
Bicycle/Pedestrian Lane Mod West Bridge to Brickell Avenue $99,662
Description: (Continued) Re-design, widen, stripe, and sign the existing ped-path/bike lane beginning at the north side (outbound travel) of the West Bridge bike underpass (along condominium wall/I-95 north/south flyover ramp) to Brickell Avenue.
See above.

Multi-Use Path along North Side of Rickenbacker Causeway on Virginia Key $450,000
Description: Provide multi-use trail along north side of causeway from Bear Cut Bridge to William Powell Bridge. Cyclists can use Mast Academy signal to cross causeway, then use aforementioned path to reach Sewer Beach Road.

We welcome an extension of the multiuse path.  Although we would like to see drawings of the Mast Academy signal to cross the causeway.

Pedestrian/Bicycle Grade Separation across the Causeway $351,851
Description: Perform a study to evaluate the best location for a pedestrian/bicyclist grade separation from motor vehicles across the Causeway; Design and construct.

This is an expensive proposition that may be better spent getting roadway improvements for cyclists and pedestrians at grade, namely in signalization and improved crosswalks.

Total expenditure: $901,513

FY 14-15
Pedestrian/Bicycle Grade Separation across the Causeway $910,529
Description: (Continued) Perform a study to evaluate the best location for a pedestrian/bicyclist grade separation from motor vehicles across the Causeway; Design and construct.

See above.

Total expenditure: $910,529

We write this with great respect for the County Public Works Department, as this is a major project that is symbolic of a larger sea in recognizing the needs and rights of bicyclists and pedestrians. Unfortunately, there remain many missing details, including how we address safety on the bridges. Thus, we need a Rickenbacker Causeway Master Plan that looks comprehensively at the necessary improvements to furthering the success and safety of this recreational corridor. Going at it piecemeal is how we got into this mess in the first place. So, let’s not repeat the same mistake; let’s do it right for once and for all.

You can find more information about the proposed improvements here

One Response to Transit Miami Response to the Rickenbacker Causeway Improvements

  1. Its really good that they are doing something to help the bikers on the road. I brings lots of tourist to Key Biscayne and hopefully they won’t raise the toll too much more. I remember the days of 50 cents.

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