Posts by: Felipe Azenha

Enough is enough. Cyclists in South Florida are sick and tired of FDOT’s antics. FDOT chooses not to include or even consider bicycle lanes in most of their resurfacing projects in District 6.  Last night about 35 cyclists attended an open house in which FDOT told the attendees that bicycle lanes would not be included in the Sunset Drive resurfacing project; so much for public participation.

Yesterday the newly energized South Florida Bicycle Coalition announced they would seek legal action if FDOT does not include bike lanes in the Sunset Drive resurfacing project without the required design exception, traffic and impact studies.

Well done South Florida Bicycle Coalition!  Keep up the great work!

Our expectation is that FDOT should design a complete street that includes sidewalks, bike lanes, narrower traffic lanes, lower speed limits and additional traffic calming devices. We will no longer tolerate shoddy FDOT workmanship such as the bike lanes on Coral Way and the MacArthur Causeway. FDOT has a responsibility to provide safe bicycle infrastructure that exceeds their abysmally low minimum design standards.

It should be noted that this is a MAJOR route for cyclists traveling east/west.  Trinity County Pineland Park and three elementary schools sit on Sunset Drive.  These attributes make this stretch of roadway the perfect candidate for a complete streets initiative by FDOT.

Today I received this email from Coral Gables Commissioner Ralph Cabrera that stated in part:

As far as the Citywide Bicycle Lane Master Plan completed in December of 2004 by Marlin Engineering, I plan on formally requesting that we start the first phase of it. If you recall, the first phase was re-stripping a number of existing roads. Stay tuned…”

This is the kind of leadership that we need. This is a good first step Commissioner Cabrera. Keep up the good work!

Until recently Miami had never really given bicycling much consideration. During the past year or so the bicycling movement has gained momentum here. The Miami Bicycle Master Plan was approved by the Miami commissioners, bicycle lanes are slowly popping up and we see more and more cyclists on the road everyday. This is certainly a good thing; however I’m a little concerned about the quality of some of our bicycle lanes on roads were the design speed of the roadway exceeds 40 mph.

For example, here in Miami we have had several bicycle lanes placed on roadways were the design speed of the roadway exceeds 40 mph and we can even find unprotected bicycles lanes placed adjacent to roadways were the design speed is closer to 50-65 mph. The probability of death or serious injury to a vulnerable cyclist increases substantially as motor vehicle speeds increase. Therefore before painting unprotected bicycle lanes, we need to make sure that the speed of traffic does not exceed 35-40 mph.

Source: peds.org/2009/01/

So this got me thinking, perhaps the best way to bring cycling into the mainstream in cities that are not accustomed to cycling would be to create a bicycle network which designates specific roads as high priority routes for cyclists. Cities would focus spending and market these high priority routes; they could be called Urban Bicycle Networks. Marketing is key and fundamental to the Urban Bicycles Network’s success; it would be seen as sexy and cool and would be a matter of pride for a city.

The high priority routes would serve as the backbone to a city’s Urban Bicycle Network. Once a city designates the high priority routes, speeding fines within it would double much like in a road construction work zone. Of course, there would need to be clear markers so that motorists and bicyclists are aware of the special conditions that prevail within the road they are traveling on. The Urban Bicycle Network would not be expensive to implement and 50% of the total fines from moving violations within it would be reallocated back in to the network to make improvements and for maintenance.

I’m not sure if what I am suggesting is legal, but I’m trying to think out of the box here. The doubling of speeding fines within the Urban Bicycle Network would quickly educate motorists about the cyclist’s right to be on the road, reduce the speed of traffic and cyclists would be encouraged to use those roads which are safest for them.

Mr. R.K Smith, 88, with his 1953 Schwinn Cruiser

In my never-ending quest to add a truly vintage bicycle to my collection, this morning I stopped by a garage sale in Coconut Grove while on my morning bike ride. There out of the corner of my eye I spotted a 1953 Schwinn cruiser owned by Mr. R.K. Smith. Mr. Smith, a World War II veteran, purchased this beauty in Coconut Grove that very same year. Mr. Smith informed me that he rides his Schwinn Cruiser everyday for about a mile and a half to the Coconut Grove Library; this Halloween he will be 89 years old.

Mr. Smith is an inspiration to me.  I sure hope that when I am 88 I am still healthy, enjoying life and riding a bicycle everyday. When designing bicycle infrastructure we need to consider all users. We would be a much healthier society if everyone who reaches the age of Mr. Smith were still on two wheels.

Mr. Smith told me that a lot of people have offered to purchase his bike. He won’t sell it; and rightfully so.  She’s been with him for the past 57 years. It’s a beautiful bike which needs to remain with its owner. Thank you for serving our country Sir and being an inspiration to all cyclists.

Leave your car at home and roll to school on two wheels. All the cool kids are doing it!

Tagged with:
 

Bus stop replaced again for the 4th time in the past year and a half

As reported a couple of weeks ago, the bus stop on Brickell and 15th Street was taken out for the 3rd or 4th time in the past year and a half by a speeding vehicle. Apparently the last accident involved a motorcycle which burned the bus stop to a crisp.  Last week the bus stop was replaced yet again.

Photo: http://twitpic.com/16yem5

Damaged bus stop on Brickell Avenue and 15th Street

Although we keep replacing the bus stop, the fundamental issue of speeding on Brickell Avenue isn’t being dealt with.  How many more times does this bus stop need to be flattened before the City of Miami addresses the underlying cause of these accidents? A short term solution would be to move the bus stop to a less dangerous location; the current location is on a very treacherous curve.

Given the history of the bus stop, it’s only a matter of time before this happens again. Hopefully no one will be injured when it does occur.

Photo: SFBC

Transit Miami’s very own Kathryn Moore has been appointed Executive Director of the South Florida Bicycle Coalition. Kathryn is an excellent choice for the Executive Director position. She was instrumental in coordinating Bike Miami Days and she was awarded the Young Professional of the Year by the Association of Pedestrian & Bicycle Professionals. Her experience and enthusiasm for cycling will undeniably be an asset for the SFBC.  The SFBC is in good hands with Kathryn. Congratulations Kathryn!

In other news, the SFBC coalition just returned from Washington D.C. where they attended the annual National Bike Summit. Kathryn along with SFBC President Jeffrey Lynne were in D.C. rubbing elbows with the who’s who in the cycling world.  You can rest assured that the SFBC is energized and ready to make South Florida safer for all cyclists.

Soon you will be able to join the SFBC as a member. Please check back with us for more details or check out the SFBC blog.  The word on the livable streets is that the SFBC will be a holding a fundraiser with plenty of alcohol! What can be better than talking about bikes over some booze?

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.

A special “thank you” to the County Public Works Department for relocating the Christophe Le Canne Ghost Bike.  The County Public Works Department has been working with the cycling community to find an appropriate place for the ghost bike. I think most will concur that they have found an agreeable location. Please send Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email to thank her. (ecalas@miamidade.gov)

Photo Courtesy: Miami Bike Scene

Photo Courtesy: Miami Bike Scene

Tagged with:
 

The Miami Dade Police Department has provided Transit Miami with their Rickenbacker Causeway enforcement statistics for 2009 and January 2010.  As you can see below the Miami Dade Police Department has been enforcing their jurisdiction on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  They are issuing approximately 7 hazardous moving violations per day to motorists. Enforcement is clearly present. What we need is a roadway that is designed to discourage people from speeding. Even with police enforcement motorists continue to speed on the Rickenbacker Causeway. More enforcement may help, but is not the ultimate solution. Designing a roadway for all users is the answer.

2009
Month Hazardous 1 Moving Violations Non-Hazardous2 Moving Violations Verbal Warnings Total
January 136 97 67 300
February 227 142 108 477
March 252 76 117 445
April 257 102 97 456
May 257 138 151 546
June 218 119 83 420
July 203 75 93 371
August 147 85 86 318
September 174 89 153 416
October 216 168 112 496
November 222 90 97 409
December 115 99 113 327
Total 2009 4,981
Total 2009 Hazardous Moving Violations 2,424
Average 2009 Hazardous Moving Violations Issued Per Day 6.64
2010
January 270 120 120 510
Average January 2010 Hazardous Moving Violations Issued Per Day 8.71
1. Hazardous violations are those which have the immediate potential for bodily injury
and property destruction; for example, running a red light or stop sign, or careless driving
2. Non-hazardous violations are those not likely to expose persons to injury or result in property damage;
for example, expired tag or defective equipment.

The Brickell Avenue bus stop between 14th and 15th Street burned to a crisp.

For what must be the 3rd or 4th time in the past year and a half the same Brickell bus stop on Brickell and 15th Street has been wiped out by a speeding car.  The problem here is that the bus stop is located on a dangerous curve and when cars come barreling down Brickell Avenue at night they head straight for the bus stop.  I’m pretty sure drunk driving has something to do with this problem, but speeding is certainly a major factor in these accidents.  The way Brickell Avenue is designed encourages speeding; we need to design this road to discourage speeding. Moving the bus stop should also be considered. Sooner or later someone waiting for the bus will get struck. If you are familiar with the area please feel free to suggest other improvements in the comments section below.

We have some good Rickenbacker Causeway news to report this week.

A Transit Miami Shout-Out goes to Commissioner Carlos Gimenez. Commissioner Gimenez has proposed a resolution to conduct an analysis of the current expenditure of toll revenue generated by the Rickenbacker Causeway and to develop a work plan to allocate 25 cents of every toll collected to projects promoting pedestrian and bicyclist safety along the Rickenbacker Causeway. This proposed resolution will go to the full County Commission next month.

This is a great fist step Commissioner Gimenez! Keep up the good work. Commissioners Jose Diaz, Sally Heyman, and Rebeca Sosa co-sponsored the resolution.  Please contact Commissioner Gimenez and thank him for his initiative.

The Miami Police Department also deserves a Transit Miami Shout-Out. Ever since the deadly accident on Bear Cut Bridge last month, the Miami Police Department has been noticeably present on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  They have stepped-up enforcement in a major way; increased enforcement plays an important role to ensure the safety of all users on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Thank you MPD!  Keep up the great work. Check out the pictures of the MPD in action on the Rickenbacker Causeway this morning

Officers from the Miami Police Department lined up to catch speeding motorists.

Slow down pretty girl in the Porsche Cayenne. What’s your rush?

The ghost bike which was placed on Bear Cut Bridge in memory of Christophe Le Canne has been removed.  We are not sure who removed it, but please return it to its rightful place.

Source: Miami Dade Corrections

According to the New Times Carlos Bertonatti is back in the slammer.  Apparently Betronatti lied about only having a Venezuelan passport. It seems he forgot to mention that he also posses an Argentinean and a Romanian passport. Based on his past history of not showing up to court dates, Judge David Miller deemed him a flight risk and revoked his bail. He was sent straight to jail. Judge Miller has set an initial trial date for Bertonatti on May 3.

Thanks to Tim Elfrin from the New Times for following up on this story.

Tagged with:
 

Come check out this free concert which is sponsored by the Miami Downtown Development Authority. Bring a blanket, a  bottle of wine and that special someone.

Tagged with:
 
This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.