Posts by: Felipe Azenha

A Transit Miami shout-out to the Village of Miami Shores and the Miami Shores Police Department. Everyday should be bike to school day if only the County and the FDOT could get their act together and design streets that are safe for children to ride on.  Unfortunately, they only way to ride safely is with a police escort.

 

 

A white BMW hit a cyclist going out of Key Biscayne at Bear Cut Bridge this morning. The driver didn’t stop. Fortunately, the cyclist was not seriously injured. This is the sixth cyclist in a week that has been hit on the Rickebacker Causeway.

Click here to send Mayor Carlos Gimenez an email and let him know that the Rickenbacker Causeway needs to be made safer for everyone.

Here are our recommendations to improve safety on the Rickebacker Causeway:

Short Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
• Enforcement of the 45 mph speed limit and regular DUI checkpoints
• Reduce speed limit to 35 mph
• Close the right lane of traffic in both directions on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00am.
• Better signage
• Motorist and bicyclist education campaign

Long Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
A major capital improvements project needs to happen and all users must be considered. Below are a few of the major improvements that need to occur:
• Paint bicycle lanes green (see below: intersections should include peg-a-traking and Chevron arrows)
• Create a 3 foot unprotected buffer between the roadway and the bicycle lane
• Major road diet. Narrowing of traffic lanes to discourage speeding (11 foot lane)
• Proper crosswalks, with stop lights, that can be activated by pedestrians.
• A separate path for pedestrians (pedestrians and bicyclist should not coexist)
• Consider physical separation as a feature in dangerous areas such as bridges and marked buffers along trajectory of bike lane
• Motorist and bicyclist education campaign

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A total of five cyclists were injured in two separate incidents on December 31-both incidents involved cyclists being struck by cars.

Before we go any further the buck stops with MAYOR CARLOS JIMENEZ- we are holding him accountable for the existing unsafe cycling conditions on the Rickenbacker Causeway. There have been too many broken promises by the County and he needs to be held responsible.

The first incident occurred on the William Powell Bridge at 6:05 am . A group of about 20 cyclists were riding up the bridge when a drunk driver struck 4 of the cyclists from behind. Luckily no one was killed, however one of the cyclist suffered two broken ribs. The driver admitted to drinking and driving and was arrested at the scene. He was so drunk that he was throwing up at the scene. See picture below.

Driver was drunk and throwing up.

Driver was drunk and throwing up.

About two hours later another cyclist was struck in front of Mast Academy according to CBS4. Fire Rescue took the cyclist to the hospital and there is no word on the cyclist’s condition. The driver stayed on the scene.

As many of you know, we have been advocating for safer cycling condition on the Rickenbacker Causeway for the better part of half a decade and the County has done virtually nothing to make it safer. There have been at least 3 deaths on the Rickenbacker Causeway and countless other serious injuries that have not garnered any media attention whatsoever, such as this incident involving the drunk driver.

Every time someone is killed on the Rickenbacker, the County comes up with some half-baked idea (i.e. placing mile markers, rumple strips) in a failed attempt to say they have done something to make this urban highway safer; all  the so-called “safety improvements” have proven to be a  complete failure. Quite frankly, I’m tired of all political grandstanding that happens every time a cyclist is killed. I don’t want more bike summits, meetings and broken promises of improvements to come.  How many more cyclists need to be killed before Mayor Gimenez does something to make the Rickenacker Causeway safer for everyone?

Once again, here are our recommendations. They were made nearly 4 years ago:

Short Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
• Enforcement of the 45 mph speed limit and regular DUI checkpoints
• Reduce speed limit to 35 mph
• Close the right lane of traffic in both directions on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00am.
• Better signage
• Motorist and bicyclist education campaign

Long Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
A major capital improvements project needs to happen and all users must be considered. Below are a few of the major improvements that need to occur:
• Paint bicycle lanes green (see below: intersections should include peg-a-traking and Chevron arrows)
• Create a 3 foot unprotected buffer between the roadway and the bicycle lane
• Major road diet. Narrowing of traffic lanes to discourage speeding (11 foot lane)
• Proper crosswalks, with stop lights, that can be activated by pedestrians.
• A separate path for pedestrians (pedestrians and bicyclist should not coexist)
• Consider physical separation as a feature in dangerous areas such as bridges and marked buffers along trajectory of bike lane
• Motorist and bicyclist education campaign

Speeding is clearly an issue that has not been adequately addressed by the County as is clearly demonstrated by this video:

As long as the design speed of the Rickenbacker Causeway exceeds 35 mph we can expect many more deaths and injuries.

impact-of-speed2

btw: Several months ago friend of Transit Miami, June Savage,  invited both Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Commissioner Xavier Suarez to join her for a bike ride after she met with them because she was nearly run over on Bear Cut Bridge and threatened to sue. Both agreed to ride, but so far have not.  I double-dog dare them to ride and I would invite them to bring their children and grandchildren to join them. After the ride, I’d like to see them to tell the cycling community that the Rickenbacker Causeway is safe for biking and that they would encourage parent’s to bring their children along with them. As an experienced cyclist, husband and father, I no longer ride the Rickenbacker Causeway because I feel it’s too dangerous.

Miami Dade County is  the 3rd most dangerous metropolitan area in the US for pedestrians and cyclists and our elected officials are doing virtually nothing to make conditions safer;  in fact the County is doing the opposite-they are doing an excellent job of discouraging even seasoned cyclists like myself from riding. The whole situation is just embarrassing. There is no leadership at the County level when is comes to making our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

My last suggestion:  Call former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  He just launched an urban consulting firm, Bloomberg Associates, which will dish out free advise to communities looking to make their streets safer. We can use all the help we can get.

According to the NYT:

“The organization, to be called Bloomberg Associates, will act as an urban SWAT team, deployed at the invitation of local governments to solve knotty, long-term challenges, like turning a blighted waterfront into a gleaming public space, or building subway-friendly residential neighborhoods.”

 

Click here to send Mayor Carlos Gimenez an email and let him know that the Rickenbacker Causeway needs to be made safer for everyone.

 

 

 

Although no pedestrians have died or been critically injured on the Brickell Avenue “Death Curve”, it’s just a matter of time before someone is.  These pictures and commentary come via a Transit Miami reader. The crash happened several weeks ago. I’ve lost count on the number of crashes that have occurred here, but there have been at least 7 crashes in the past 4 three and a half years.

“Yet another one last night or early today. The new streetlight in front of Echo site was hit straight on and is very damaged, also lots of smaller car parts littered immediate area today.

Also there was one large fender piece in median in front of St Jude’s

PS: as of last night that light pole does NOT work, so corner is now dark”

 

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The Echo Brickell project has recently been announced and construction will begin soon at the exact location where all these crashes have occurred.  This project will have 175 units with retail on the ground floor.  If the design of the road remains the same, we can expect a nasty crash with a lot of injuries once the project is completed. FDOT and the city of Miami have been put on notice. If nothing is done immediately both will have blood on their hands.

You can also send an email to FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff to see if they plan to do anything to address the design speed on Brickell Avenue.  I think it’ pretty evident that we have a problem here.

 

Click here to register.

YL Toro Toro Notice 12.12

 

This video is great. Please forward this video to Mayor Regalado and County Mayor Gimenez. There is no reason why we can’t do this in the 305, all we need is a little leadership and vision.  I’ll pay for the paint.

 

 

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Via Andrew Frey from the Townhouse Center:

You are invited to a presentation of free plans for a Miami building prototype on Tue, Nov 19 from 6 to 8 PM at Mansini’s Pizza House in Little Havana.  The goal is to help small property owners and builders imagine how they can profit from a small site, and save money on design costs.  The plans are by award-winning architecture firm ISA (in collaboration with Townhouse Center and supported by the Knight Foundation) and will be presented by ISA founder Brian Phillips.  The brief presentation will be followed by a panel — featuring Fernando Arencibia of RE/MAX, Jeanette Blanch of Continental Bank, Hernando Carrillo of HacArchitects, and Gavin McKenzie of McKenzie Construction - and audience Q&A to discuss the plans and opportunities and challenges of small projects.  The plans can be downloaded at http://hiresmiami.tumblr.com/

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The free event is open to the public, especially non-developers, but please register in advance by email to LHMAmiami@gmail.com 

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Weird

Sunday, November 10th
11am- 3pm 
Please arrive no later than 10:45am
Tickets are $25 each
Click HERE for tickets


PickUp/DropOff:
BFI #BuildingsForInfill
100 Northeast 11th Street
Miami, FL 33132
DIRECTIONS

BFI invites you to its periodical WEIRD MIAMI bus tour, on Sunday, November 10th from 11 AM to 2 PM.  This WEIRD MIAMI installment will visit exemplary (but often overlooked) Miami urban neighborhoods, led by urbanists Jason Chandler and Andrew Frey.

BFI invites you to its periodical WEIRD MIAMI bus tour, on Sunday, November 10th from 11 AM to 2 PM.  This WEIRD MIAMI installment will visit exemplary (but often overlooked) Miami urban neighborhoods, led by urbanists Jason Chandler and Andrew Frey.

The tour complements URBAN_VARIANTS, an exhibit at BFI of new designs for Miami urban buildings, which runs from November 1st to November 24th. The exhibit includes new prototype sketches, drawings, renderings, and models, as well as studies of existing prototypes in Miami and Savannah.  The exhibit is the result of a studio course at FIU Architecture led by professor Jason Chandler in collaboration with Townhouse Center, a not-for profit that promotes urban neighborhood development, and sponsored by the Knight Foundation.

This past semester, students visited and documented existing small buildings in downtown Miami and Savannah, Georgia. During the visits, students experienced how small-scale infill buildings create resilient urban environments. The Savannah visit took students far out of the studio, to places and buildings most had never seen before. Then each student designed a new, small, adaptable prototype for Miami, resulting in over 100 designs, which have been curated for the BFI exhibit

The course, exhibit, and bus tour are all part of a larger collaboration to raise awareness of the fact that Miami has built to the sky and horizon — towers and subdivisions — but lacks neighborhoods of a middle scale. In other cities such urban neighborhoods are often the most vibrant, like Boston’s North End or New York’s West Village. To help Miami start developing these neighborhoods, FIU Architecture offered a studio course about the urban neighborhood fundamental building block: small, adaptable buildings.

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BFI

 

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URBAN_VARIANTS
November 1st - November 24th
Opening reception:
Friday, November 1st, 2013
6pm - 9pm
BFI is located at:
100 NE 11th Street
Miami, FL 33132

For more information click here 

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Please click here to register:

Click here to view a list of attendees.

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From The Atlantic:

The Atlantic, The Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies will host the upcoming summit “CityLab: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges,” taking place October 6-8, 2013, in New York City. The event will bring together 300 global city leaders—more than 30 mayors, plus urban theorists, city planners, scholars, architects, and artists—for a series of conversations about urban ideas that are shaping the world’s metro centers.

The summit will feature conversations on economic development; the environment and sustainability; cultural investment; big data; and the intersection of public safety, privacy, and technology; as well as smaller breakout sessions exploring topics like redevelopment, urban infrastructure, transportation, urban expansion, and the creation of the next tech city.

Please select the player below to watch all main stage programming and select breakout session (see below for an agenda of live sessions). And join the conversation on Twitter by using #CityLab and following @Atlantic_LIVE,@AspenInstitute, and @BloombergDotOrg.

CityLab-Miso

 

MiMo Old

MIMO BISCAYNE ASSOCIATION PRESENTS :

A BUS TOUR OF THE HISTORIC MIMO DISTRICT AND A LITTLE BEYOND

SATURDAY MORNING  NOVEMBER 23, 2013    10AM – 1PM

PROGRAM:

  1. MEET AND PARK AT SOYKA’S/ 55 ST. STATION – INTRODUCTION TO THE MIMO DISTRICT- PRESENTATION BY JOHN BACHAY MIMO TOUR GUIDE AND PRESENTATION BY MARK SOYKA-DEVELOPER OF 55 ST. STATION
  2. LEGION PARK – PRESENTATION BY JOHN BACHAY ON THE HISTORY OF THE PARK
  3. VAGABOND HOTEL – PRESENTATION BY AVRA JAIN- DEVELOPER OF THE HOTEL – COMMENTARY ON COPPERTONE GIRL SIGNAGE – JOHN BACHAY
  4. MANATEE BEND PARK – PRESENTATION BY SKIP VAN CEL – FORMER OWNER OF THE PROPERTY
  5. LITTLE HAITI CULTURAL CENTER- PRESENTATION BY CENTER STAFF
  6. DISCUSSION ON GOALS AND ISSUES IN THE MIMO DISTRICT – MEET WITH SOME OF THE MIMO BISCAYNE ASSOCIATION’S BOARD MEMBERS.THIS IS AN UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY,ARCHITECTURE,AND CURRENT ISSUES IN THE MIMO DISTRICT AS WELL TO HEAR PRESENTATIONS FROM PROMINENT OWNERS AND DEVELOPERS IN THE AREA.

SPECIAL THANKS TO MIAMI MAYOR TOMAS REGALADO FOR FUNDING THE TRANSPORTATION PART OF THIS TOUR.

INFORMATION: JBACHAY@AOL.COM

$25 PER PERSON     RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED:

SEND PAYMENT TO: MIMO BISCAYNE ASSOCIATION

ATTN. : JOHN BACHAY

9328 NE 9 AVENUE MIAMI SHORES, FL 33138

SEATING IS LIMITED TO THE FIRST 25 PAID PERSONS

 
Taxi cabs drivers waiting for a fare at Miami International Airport: Source: Miami Herald

Taxi cabs drivers waiting for a fare at Miami International Airport: Source: Miami Herald

Written by Leah Weston

If you follow local headlines at all, you may have noticed that Miami’s taxi system has been under intense scrutiny for the last few months. The media has cited a litany of complaints from residents and tourists alike about the conditions of cars, poor customer service, and the lack of credit card machines in taxis. At present, the Miami-Dade County Commission has several reform proposals on the table that would significantly change the for-hire transportation market. These changes include among them mandated credit card machines in all cabs servicing Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami, a sweeping reform program called “Ambassador Cabs” for those same two areas supported by Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and an overhaul of the limousine ordinance to make way for digital dispatch services like Uber to operate in Miami. Proponents of these ordinances argue that these are necessary reforms to bring Miami’s taxis into the 21st century.

What has been consistently absent from the coverage on this issue, however, is the voice of taxi drivers. Since the beginning of this summer, I have been a legal intern with the Community Justice Project of Florida Legal Services, which provides legal support to grassroots community organizations in Miami’s low-income communities.  My work here has exposed me to the incredible struggles of Miami’s taxi drivers, who are largely low-income immigrant workers, many of whom have families to support. Without meaningful improvements to the working conditions of taxi drivers, we cannot even begin to contemplate a 21st century taxi system in Miami.

In order to fully grasp the difficulties facing taxi drivers, it is important to understand how the industry actually functions. Our taxi system runs on a “medallion” system. A medallion is a for-hire license, which is required by the county in order to operate a taxi. Miami-Dade County sets a limited number of medallions in order to restrict the number of taxis that are on the streets at a given time. The County issues through a lottery a limited number of medallions based on population size for $25,000 each, though the price at which the County has sold these medallions has differed over the years. In addition, medallions may also be sold on the secondary market, which drives their value up tens of thousands of dollars higher. Due to limited supply, medallions have sold for as high as $400,000 on the secondary market. While some drivers own medallions, the majority are owned by absentee third party investors who have nothing to do with the taxi industry.

Passenger Service Companies (PSCs), or taxi companies—what we all know as Yellow Cab, Super Yellow, etc.—serve as the intermediary between drivers and medallion owners. Drivers are required to contract with PSCs in order to buy insurance. Most drivers must also lease a medallion through PSCs. While Miami-Dade County caps the fare a taxi driver may charge a passenger, state law prevents the County from regulating the amount PSCs can charge drivers to lease the medallions. As a result, drivers pay $500-$700 per week—a whopping $30,000 per year—to PSCs while sometimes making only a few dollars per hour. In addition to paying these exorbitant lease prices, drivers must purchase their cars and pay for gas, repairs and upgrades. Many have to work 16-hour days just to break even. When $30,000 per year goes to a Passenger Service Company, however, there is little left over for even basic necessities.

With that background in mind, it is crucial to consider how proposed changes to the taxi industry will affect drivers, who are already squeezed by Miami-Dade’s unfair regulatory framework. Consider, for example, the proposal to require a credit card machine in all taxis. As written, the proposed ordinance is silent on who bears the cost of installation and maintenance. The proposal also regulates the type of credit card machine all taxis must have—and, of course, it requires one of the most expensive kinds: a back-of-the-seat credit card machine. In addition, drivers will be barred from passing on credit card processing fees to passengers, which effectively lowers the fare they collect whenever passengers use their credit cards.

Mayor Gimenez’s proposal, sponsored by County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, creating the “Ambassador Cabs” program is even more onerous on drivers. In addition to requiring a credit card machine, GPS, a Sun Pass, and a digital security camera, this program would require all taxis serving Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami to comply with strict vehicle requirements. Effectively, every taxi driver who serves the airport or seaport—the most important areas of business for taxis in Miami—would be forced to purchase a new car in order to be eligible for the program. Drivers are concerned that with the large sums they already are paying to taxi companies, they will not be able to afford the vehicle and technology upgrades required by this program, essentially giving an advantage to those individuals or entities who can afford such upgrades—medallion owners and taxi company owners—to operate in the most active hubs of taxicab business in Miami.

In the end, there is nothing wrong with having a more modern fleet of taxicabs. I welcome the convenience that credit card machines and other modern technologies offer. But the conversation about creating a 21st century transportation system must begin by eradicating medieval working conditions for drivers and taking into account the realities of the way the taxi industry works in Miami.

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Coral Gables Bike Day

 
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