Here’s your chance to speak to an FDOT representative about the recently released Dangerous by Design report that ranked the following four metropolitan areas within Florida as the most dangerous for pedestrians in the United States.
1. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
4. Jacksonville, FL
The MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee will hold their monthly meeting on Wednesday Dec. 16th on the 18th Floor (room 18-3) of the Government Center. This will be the first meeting since the Dangerous by Design report was released. Please come out and express your concerns to the FDOT representative that will be present. We need to work together with FDOT and encourage them to design complete streets that address the needs of all users and not only those of cars. We deserve better streets.
We have a little bit of good news to report; the pedestrian crosswalk signals at the South Miami Avenue and SE 13th Avenue intersection are working again after nearly a week since they stopped working.
Nevertheless things appeared to take a turn for the worse around lunch time today at this intersection. I went home for lunch to find the electrical contractors hard at work, but also found that all the traffic lights, in addition to the pedestrian crosswalk signals not working. Although the electrical contractors had placed 2 temporary stop signs on each side of South Miami Avenue, they did not place any temporary stop signs on SE 13th Avenue. The lack of a temporary 4 way stop created a hazardous situation for motorists and lunch time pedestrians. I observed as several pedestrians attempted to cross the street, only to sprint back to safety, as they realized they would not make it unharmed to the other side of the street. Drivers simply were not stopping because there wasn’t a mandatory stop sign for cars travelling on SE 13th Ave.
In all fairness, major work is taking place at this intersection. However, the process that was undertaken to make these improvements could have been done in a manner that did not put pedestrians in harm’s way. I fully understand and appreciate that work needs to be done at this intersection, but question how we are going about it and whether we are setting up the necessary temporary provisions to ensure the public’s safety. This is not a small job. The sidewalk on the NW corner of South Miami Avenue and SE 13th Avenue has been completely torn up.
When doing major work like this, the CPWD needs to think about the impact that their work will have on the welfare of pedestrians. This is especially true in areas with heavy foot traffic and where schools are present. Going forward the CPWD needs to be more mindful as to how they schedule their projects. Starting a project and taking three days off is no way to run a big job like this. This type of work needs to be completed as quickly as possible, in order to minimize the risks to the public. Regardless of the length of any project, appropriate temporary provisions need to be made to ensure the public’s safety.
To quickly recap, work began last Thursday, that same day the pedestrian crosswalk signals stopped working. The electrical contractors were on the job site on Friday, but then proceeded to take Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. They were back on the job Tuesday. Today (Wednesday) they got the pedestrian crosswalks signals working again. Work still remains to be completed, as the sidewalk is still under construction.
It seems like things are getting worse, not better, for those of us that live and work around Brickell. The traffic lights on Brickell Avenue and SE 14th Street were broken yet again today. Yesterday morning Public Service Aides were at this intersection directing traffic during morning rush hour, but today they were no where to be seen. Needless to say, traffic was a disaster. This seems to be a reoccurring problem since these very same traffic lights were broken on Friday as well and have yet to be fixed properly. For some reason the only time these traffic lights don’t work is during morning rush hour.
The problem with these traffic lights is that they remain green and never turn red for those traveling on Brickell Avenue. This forces the cars on SE 14th Street to run a red light when they deem appropriate, since it never turns green for them. Screwed are the pedestrians that get caught in the middle trying to sprint across the street to make it to the other side of the street safely.
Also worth mentioning is that there were electrical contractors working on this intersection last week.
It’s been 24 hours since I dialed 311 to report that all the pedestrian crosswalk signals at the SE 13th Street and South Miami Avenue intersection were not working. This morning, I took the time to witness several parents trying to cross the street here with their young children on the way to South Side Elementary School. It was not an easy task for them or any of the other countless pedestrians that attempted to traverse at this very busy intersection during rush hour. Everyone had to wait and try to time exactly when it was safe to dart across.
I was optimistic that the problem was going to be fixed today. At 8:10am the electrical contractors were already on the scene as you can see below.
At around 12:30pm I headed home for lunch and for my daily 15 minute siesta. I was surprised to see that the pedestrian signals were still not working, but I had high hopes that the problem would be fixed today. The electrical contractors were still busy at work as you can see below.
I left work this afternoon around 5:30pm feeling pretty good that the crosswalks signals would be working, but to my chagrin they were not.
Yesterday I posted a blog regarding the lack of crosswalks in Downtown. I took it upon myself during lunchtime today to count the number of pedestrians that crossed the street on SE 3rd Avenue and SE 1st St. were a crosswalk currently does not exist. If there was ever any doubt whether a crosswalk is needed, today’s results overwhelmingly favor pedestrian demand for a crosswalk. Within a 5 minute time span, 60 pedestrians crossed the street where there isn’t a crosswalk! If a pedestrian were to get hit here, some would blame the jaywalker. I wouldn’t, I’d hold those that designed this intersection responsible.
FDOT just recently repaved a section of Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown. I’m not sure why, but several major intersections were left without a pedestrian crosswalk. I really can’t think of a reason as to why FDOT did not take this opportunity to include 4 crosswalks at every intersection. There is enough density and pedestrian activity to justify 4 crosswalks at every intersection. Aside from helping pedestrians cross three lanes of fast moving traffic, crosswalks serve as traffic calming devices as well.
To make matters even worse, the intersection on Biscayne Blvd and NE 4th street had an existing crosswalk and crosswalk signal, but not anymore, FDOT decided to remove them. Check out the old crosswalk and signal right here: View Larger Map
Here are just a few examples of intersections without crosswalks:
These pictures were taken yesterday in front of the 200 South Biscayne Boulevard building. Cars have always parked here illegally to pickup passengers. So in order to accommodate the cars, approximately 4 feet of sidewalk has been taken away from pedestrians. Pedestrians are now only left with about 4 feet of sidewalk.
Sorry, but I want the sidewalk back. One of the most used Metro Mover stations is less than a block away. There is enough density in this area to justify an 8 foot sidewalk.
How was this approved?
Dear Governor Crist,
As you may know a recent report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America has shown that the following four metropolitan areas within Florida are the most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the United States.
1. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
4. Jacksonville, FL
The report titled “Dangerous By Design” concludes that Florida roads are dangerous for pedestrians because they have generally been designed to speed up -not slow down-traffic.
As residents of Miami Dade County, this comes as no surprise to us. However what does surprise us is that Florida has managed to take the top 4 spots nationally; this clearly is not a great achievement. The common denominator for all 4 metropolitan areas is the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) which is responsible for designing most of the roads within these urban environments. We believe that (FDOT) should be held accountable for poorly designed roads within our state that results in hundreds of preventable pedestrian deaths each year.
The decades of auto-centric culture within FDOT needs to come to an end. A major paradigm shift has to occur within FDOT from designing roads for cars to designing them for people. There is no simple solution and it will take a leader who is capable of changing an organization whose sole focus seems to be moving more cars faster, rather then considering pedestrians and bicyclists. Florida happens to be the most deadly state for bicyclists as well.
With so many retirees and an economy that is heavily dependent on tourism, we hope that FDOT can reinvent itself and begin designing safer roads for future generations in Florida. This pedestrian epidemic needs to come to an end now and it begins with a progressive and proactive FDOT which is capable of designing complete streets for everyone.
Its official folks, Miami has officially been ranked the 3rd most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians. Dangerous by Design, a report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America has concluded that:
The Miami metropolitan area is one of the nation’s most dangerous for pedestrians because the roads here generally have been designed to speed up — not slow down – traffic”.
Although the blame needs to be shared with the County Public Works Department (i.e. broken pedestrian signals), FDOT deserves an honorable mention for this shameful award. If they keep designing roadways, crosswalks and bike lanes like the recently completed Coral Way resurfacing project, Miami should be able to clinch #1 spot in a few years. This is pathetic at best and should be of no surprise to anyone.
You can find the full report here.
Since Olga Ramos shared her story about walking to work on Brickell, the Transit Miami Eye has been on the lookout for working crosswalk signals. We have some bad news to report, it’s been three weeks and the pedestrian crosswalk signals are still broken. The evidence is below. Who’s responsible for fixing this?
Friend of Transit Miami, Olga Ramos, lives on Brickell Avenue and wanted to share her daily commuting to work experience with our readers.
Every day I make a choice; a small choice, but an important one none the less. I choose to walk to work. Even though my company pays for a much coveted covered parking spot in one of the most prestigious pieces of real estate in Miami, I leave the transponder in my car parked in our apartment building and I choose to use what nature gave me to get to the office. My primary motivation comes from my belief that it is important to do the little things in order to reduce my carbon footprint, and because frankly that quarter of mile of movement allows me to transform myself into the focused business women my colleagues know. I also walk to my gym (which is exactly 1.04 miles from our home thank you map quest) even though at that gym I receive free valet parking. I consider it my cardio warm up.
I think that the biggest change in most Americans lives over the last 40 years is that we have stopped walking. The little trips to the library, post office or corner store has been replaced with jumping into gas guzzling SUV’s to go just half a mile. In most cities the reason is because suburban sprawl and poor urban planning have made these locations far from were people live. But in Miami most people don’t walk because it is dangerous. During my walk every day, I play a sort of human frogger that affords me at minimum 3 near death experiences a week. As an adventuresome girl I could deal with that, however; what really irks me is how rude people are. I have been crossing Coral Way and Brickell, the crosswalk will be clearly signaling my right of way and drivers will still regularly yell obscenities in whatever native language is theirs or just use hand signals to communicate their disgust. I must admit that the road rage I encounter does make me dream of the day that I walk to work with rotten eggs in my hands so that when I encounter these drivers that have turned to the dark side I can leave a memorable impression.
But what I really want are two simple things. I want for all of the crosswalk lights to work (something I haven’t experienced since July) and I would like for some signage to go up on the traffic signals that states “Yield to Pedestrians”. The crosswalks lights that aren’t functioning are located on the NE side of Brickell Ave and 14th Street as well as the crosswalk lights on NE side of Brickell and 13ts Street. These are small things, but they would make a world of difference to this urbanite and her fellow pedestrian walkers.
And I promise that if I get what I want, that I won’t consider the rotten egg retaliation again.”
Although I don’t recommend rotten egg retaliation, I understand her frustration. Drivers need to respect the rights of pedestrians and the city also needs to do a much better job of enforcing their rights. The City of Miami must educate the driving public by putting up more “Yield to Pedestrian” signs throughout Brickell and Downtown. There is enough density and pedestrian activity to consider a “No Turn on Red” ordinance for Brickell and Downtown. Such an ordinance would make walking safer and would slow down traffic in these heavily populated areas.
Today’s quote comes from a phenomenal short video put together by our friends over at Street Films and the Project for Public Spaces on the vibrancy and quality of life of the streets of Havana. Although we agree Havana is not the ideal city to emulate, we could learn a lot from the beautiful urban streets, clearly designed for social interaction rather than vehicular dominance. Each narrow street of Old Havana is bustling with life as every ground level structure is opened up to the pedestrian realm. Meanwhile, the wide boulevards provide ample park space, recreational space, and plenty of foliage. The film clearly shows how this type of construction, for people rather than vehicles, promotes neighborhood and societal values, something we should be certainly promoting across Miami. To watch the whole film, click here…
“If children playing in the streets is an indicator of the success of a city, then
’s streets may be some of the most successful in the world.” Havana
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