Among the more notable and praiseworthy highlights of this past Saturday’s Transportation Summit Community Forum was the commentary made by Mr. Adam Old.
A councilperson for the small Miami-Dade County municipality of the Village of El Portal, and an active member of the recently formed Transit Action Committee (TrAC), Mr. Old was perhaps the only municipal representative at the forum.
He was also one of only a handful of people who sought to redirect the focus of the meeting away from the relatively minor gripes of the transit-riding population regarding issues like rude bus drivers and poorly maintained bus interiors toward the more systemic issues plaguing our poorly coordinated mobility networks.
Some highlights from Mr. Old’s comments:
“[What the public] is measuring [the Transportation Trust's] performance on is more mass transit lines. So, I applaud you on the airport link, but we have not seen nearly enough progress on rail. . . . Heavy rail, light rail. . . . Get it going. Get it going. Where are our commissioners? If there’s not money in the plan, pull it from the municipalities.”
[. . .]
“There should be a line to the beach 10 years ago. There should be a line to the beach 20 years ago.”
[. . .]
“Nobody’s saying ‘Hey! Transit in Miami sucks! And we need it to be better!’ That’s what we want. We want more money, and we want you guys [the Transportation Trust] to hold our commissioners’ feet to the fire for that [half-penny sales] tax. If you have to pull it from road widening projects, then pull it. That’s what we want.”
Well said, Mr. Old.
The South Florida Community Development Coalition will be hosting a discussion on
Complete Streets in Miami
Thursday, March 6
The speaker line-up for the event should make for some good, substantive discussion. They’ve got:
- Jose (“Pepe”) Diaz, Miami-Dade County Commissioner,
- Cesar Garcia-Pons, Sr. Manager, Planning + Design at Miami Downtown Development Authority,
- Tony Garcia, Principal at the Street Plans Collaborate and former TransitMiami.com Editor,
- Joseph Kohl, Principal at Dover, Kohl & Partners, and
- Marta Viciedo, Transportation Action Committee (TrAC) Chairperson
There is a fee ($20 in advance, $25 at the door) to attend, but the SFCDC will be using those proceeds for streetscape improvement projects, including tree planting and bike rack installation, on the 79th Street Corridor — a worthwhile investment of your Andrew Jackson.
February 22, 2014 @ 10:00am
Miami-Dade Main Library Auditorium
101 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33130
From the CITT website:
A Listening Session
The Transportation Summit Community Forum features the Report on Proceedings, which details the outcome of the 2013 Transportation Summit. The purpose of this gathering is to solicit comments from the public on the Report and the future of public transportation in Miami-Dade County.
Join Miami-Dade County and its citizens in continuing the momentum for a comprehensive and coordinated public transportation system.
>>See the Transportation Summit Community Forum agenda.
For additional information call 305-375-1357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking transit to the meeting? Visit www.miamidade.gov/transit or call 305-770-3131 for route information.
For additional information call 305-375-1357 or email email@example.com.
Miamians are taking to the streets on bicycles as they once did prior to the automobile era. Our street spaces and corresponding roadway culture aren’t changing as quickly as they should. This contradiction, marking the growing pains of an evolving transportation culture, will continue to result in unnecessary frustration, violence, and misery. . . . All the more reason to ride more: to make the change come faster.
TransitMiami would like to introduce you to our friend Emily. We wish it were under better circumstances though . . .
You see, Emily is one of those intrepid Miamians who — like an increasing number of Miamians across every neighborhood in the metro region — prefers the invigorating freedom of the bicycle to move around the city. Cycling is Emily’s transportation mode of choice.
That’s great news, of course; something to be celebrated.
Apart from her significantly reduced carbon footprint and her heightened physical and mental well-being, Emily’s choice to use her bicycle as her primary means of transport is also advancing a gradual transformation of our roadway culture.
As a practitioner of regular active transportation, Emily is helping to re-humanize an auto-centric Miami whose residents exploit the relative anonymity of their motorized metal boxes to manifest road rage and recklessness with virtual impunity. She’s contributing to the much-needed, yet ever-so-gradual, cultural transformation toward a shared, safer, more just roadway reality.
The more cyclists take to the streets for everyday transportation, the more motorists become accustomed to modifying their behaviors to honor cyclists’ incontrovertible and equal rights to the road. Likewise, the more cycling becomes a preferred mode of intra-urban transport, and a regular, everyday feature of social life, the more cyclists become conscious of and practice the behaviors expected of legitimate co-occupants of the road.
Indeed, it takes two to do the transportation tango.
And, of course, the more experience motorists and cyclists have occupying the same, or adjacent, public street space, the more they will learn how to operate their respective legal street vehicles in ways that minimize the incessant collisions, casualties, destruction, and death that have somehow morphed into ordinary conditions on our streets.
This cultural shift is one that will take place over several years. Just how many, though, is up to us.
It’s no secret: Miami has a long way to go before a truly multi-modal transportation ethos becomes the norm.
Any delay in the inevitable metamorphosis is due partially to the rate of change in Miami’s physical environment (i.e., its land-use configurations, street layouts, diversity of infrastructural forms, etc.) being slower than the speed with which Miamians themselves are demanding that change.
So what happens when some of the population starts to use its environment in more progressive ways than the environment (and others who occupy it) are currently conditioned for? Well, bad things can sometimes happen. The community as a whole suffers from growing pains.
Take our friend Emily, for example. . . .
On a beautiful Miami afternoon a week and a half ago, Emily was riding her bike through Little Haiti (near NW 2nd Ave and 54th Street), near Miami’s Upper Eastside. She was on her way from a business meeting to another appointment.
A regular cyclist-for-transportation, Emily knows the rules of the road. She was riding on the right side of the right-most lane. She is confident riding alongside motor vehicle traffic and understands the importance of also riding as traffic.
Emily’s knowledge still wasn’t enough for her to avoid what is among every urban cyclist’s worst fears: getting doored by a parked car.
In Emily’s own words:
I was riding at a leisurely pace and enjoying the beauties of the day and the neighborhood.
I suddenly notice the car door to my right begin to open, so I swerved and said, “Whoa!” to vocalize my presence in hopes that the person behind that door would stop opening their door.
For a split second I thought I was beyond danger of impact, but the door kept opening and it hit my bike pedal. I knew I was going down, and I had the strangest feeling of full acceptance of the moment. In the next split second I saw the white line of paint on the road up close in my left eye.
My cheek hit the pitted pavement with a disgusting, sliding scrape and my sternum impacted on my handlebars which had been torqued all the way backwards. My body rolled in front of my bike and my instincts brought me upright.
The time-warp of the crash stopped; my surroundings started to come into perspective and as I vocalized my trauma. The wind was knocked out of me, but I hadn’t yet figured out that my sternum had been impacted.
I was literally singing a strange song of keening for the sorrow my body felt from this violation and at the same time singing for the glory and gratitude of survival and consciousness.
In all fairness, one could argue that Emily committed one of Transportation Alternatives nine “rookie mistakes” by allowing herself to get doored. She should have kept a greater distance from the cars parked alongside the road, the argument goes. A truly experienced urban cyclist doesn’t make such careless and self-damaging mistakes.
Perhaps . . . but we cannot overlook the errors of the inadvertent door-assaulter either. . . . There was clearly a lack of attentiveness and proper protocol on the driver’s part too.
Who parks a car on a major arterial road just outside the urban core without first checking around for on-coming traffic prior to swinging open the door?
It’s hard to really to lay blame here. And my point is that it is pointless at this stage to even try.
The whole blaming-the-motorist-versus-the-cyclist discourse only exacerbates the animosity that is so easily agitated between the cycling and car-driving communities. The irony is that they’re really the same community. Cyclists are drivers too, and vice versa.
At this stage in Miami’s development trajectory, our efforts should be focused on pushing our leaders to ask one question: How can we change the transportation environment in ways that will minimize troubling encounters like this?
We can start by creating physical street conditions that encourage more cyclists onto the streets, where they belong, operating as standard street vehicles.
Show me a city where the monopoly of the automobile has been dismantled and I’ll show you a city where everybody’s transportation consciousness is elevated.
Best wishes on your recovery, Emily.
We’ll see you out there in our city (slowly, and sometimes painfully) advancing a more just transportation culture by riding on our streets as you should, even if the streets themselves aren’t quite ready for us.
To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will offer free exhibition tours featuring the theme of social justice at 11am and 2pm. The tours are led by trained museum guides and last 45 minutes.
Visitors who arrive to PAMM by Metromover on January 20 will receive FREE museum admission. A PAMM visitors services staff member will be at Museum Park Station with museum passes, good for Monday, January 20, only.
We’re supposed to have a sunny and cool (72 degree F) day.
Go out, honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and contributions to civil rights and social justice, and visit our city’s spectacular new art museum on a gorgeous January day.
Open Transit: Transit Design for Urban Living
By studying transit landmarks like Grand Central Terminal, visited by 750,000 commuters, diners, and shoppers daily, and Rockefeller Plaza, essentially a large subway transit concourse, guest speaker Peter Cavaluzzi shares his Key Principles of Open Transit.
- Learn what’s essential to successful contemporary urban design and redevelopment.
- What makes successful iconic urban spaces and discover how to apply these principles to any building development.
- Leverage and position transit facilities and infrastructure to create iconic designs without dominating the view.
ETERNITY IS OVERRATED, THE USES OF TIME IN ARCHITECTURE
Date: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Architecture critic, writer, and curator, ROWAN MOORE addresses how buildings are not fixed objects but exist in time, connecting the thoughts and actions of the people who make them to those of the people who inhabit them. All architects, said Philip Johnson, want to be immortal. Look through standard architectural histories, and you’ll see pyramids, temples, tombs and churches -–buildings dedicated to eternity. Yet architecture is always in a state of change. It weathers, ages, decays, and is renewed. It is adapted and extended; how it is perceived is altered, such that the monstrosities of one generation become the cherished heritage of the next. Rowan Moore describes works that are smart in their use of time, from the High Line in New York to the work of the great Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. We talk of “buildings”, he says, because they are part of a continuous process – we don’t call them “builts”. Rowan Moore is architecture critic for the Observer (London), and author of Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture (2013). Free.
Do you live on the high-water line? You know, those blocks in your neighborhood that’ll soon be underwater.
That’s right, don’t be shy. . . . You know its happening. . . . You’ve known its happening. We’ve all known its happening — forget your politics and denial (and forget your politics of denial).
If it hasn’t already, sea-level rise is coming to a South Florida neighborhood near you, and faster than most of us realize.
Our community is the most at-risk city for sea-level rise in the entire United States, and we’re going to have to start making some serious decisions about the fate of our beloved Miami. We’ll have to embark on some collective South Florida soul-searching as we all face down and come to terms with our coming Water World.
The first three questions that probably come to mind are:
- How much water is rising?
- Where is the water rising?
- When is the water rising?
While the answers to some of these questions are less unclear than for others, uncertainty, confusion, and denial persist.
But just because the bulk of those among our citizenry elected to represent us in office remain for the most part muted on the subject, we, the people on the ground, need not follow their non-existent lead.
Rather, we can embrace head-on the fourth and most important question we’ve got to ask:
- What are we going to do about it?
A good place to start is by coming out to make history at the unprecedented High Water Line (HWL) | Miami’s Bicycle Ride for Resiliency!
Put on the very bluest outfit you’ve got, saddle-up, and head-out
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17
Magic City Bike Collective
1100 N Miami Avenue
729 SW 1st Street
Riders will be physically demarcating the high water lines of mainland Miami so that we can take a good look at ourselves and start asking the big question and all it carries with: How will we adapt to this fundamental shift in our relations at the human-water-land nexus as seas continue to rise?
Go out, ride your bike, and make a statement:
SEA LEVEL RISE IS HAPPENING. WE SEEK A RESILIENT MIAMI. WE ARE A RESILIENT MIAMI
A 10-Year Vision
The Transit Development Plan represents a 10-year strategic vision for Miami-Dade Transit to promote the operation of an efficient, responsive and financially sustainable transit system. Major components of the Transit Development Plan include:
- Annual Performance
- Service Operations
- Capital Program
Transit Development Plan Facts at a Glance
The Transit Development Plan process provides an opportunity for Miami-Dade County citizens to identify mobility needs and transportation issues. Your input is valuable and needed to facilitate public concensus and provide direction for the development of the Transit Development Plan.
You can participate by attending one of the many outreach forums throughout the community. Ideas, suggestions and comments related to the Transit Development Plan can also be submitted to Miami-Dade Transit at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ideas, suggestions and comments will be accepted through August 17, 2013.
It’s no secret that TransitMiami is opposed to the expansion of highways in our community.
Still, we like to understand how they work, and the applied engineering science that goes into measuring their structural performance.
Florida International University produced a fascinating video describing the work of some of its faculty and students from the Lehman Center for Transportation Research.
FIU professors and graduate students talk about their efforts to monitor MDX’s under-construction 836 (Dolphin) / 826 (Palmetto) highway interchange with specially-designed sensors measuring the shrinkage and strain on the concrete over time.
Just imagine if we invested the same kind of money and science into expanding and improving our public transportation rail network!
From our community’s superb historical museum, HistoryMiami, comes a new exhibit: Opa-Locka: Mirage City
June 28, 2013 – September 08, 2013
Opa-locka: Mirage City explores one of South Florida’s most unique architectural communities. Based on stories and names of characters from the Arabian Tales, Opa-locka presents itself as both eccentric dream; an exotic Middle-eastern urban oasis in a subtropical paradise, and tourist’s kitsch; an architectural conceit more akin to a Hollywood film set. Founded in the 1920s in an undeveloped area of northwest Miami-Dade, the city is a highly romanticized interpretation of an exotic cultural milieu popularized by Hollywood films and archeological discoveries of its time. The exhibition presents original drawings and architectural models that reintroduce the original fabled vision, aiming to rouse interest in the city’s iconic structural design and encourage efforts to preserve its endangered architectural heritage.
Curated by Jose R. Vazquez, Associate Professor of Architecture at Miami Dade College. Presented in conjunction with the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at Miami Dade College and the University of Miami Libraries, Special Collections.
Sponsored by by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners.
The decisive role of the highways in determining the fate of Overtown a half century ago is not lost upon City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.
The southern part of Ms. Spence-Jones’ District #5 (marked in pink the map below) covers Overtown, and she’s clearly had a history lesson or two on the role of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in her historic, predominantly black, socio-economically disadvantaged, yet eager-to-reemerge district.
As we’ve extensively noted over the past few days, Resolution #13-00581 (as originally written) would have transferred control of Brickell Avenue from FDOT to the City of Miami.
Referring to Brickell as the “Park Avenue of Miami”, Sarnoff made a compelling case for the resolution, further emphasizing the potential for better speed control and safety provisions on the financial business district’s most critical artery. He continued:
Now we have the opportunity to own Brickell. This is a very, very big piece for the City of Miami — to take ownership and control of its own Park Avenue. And I just don’t want this opportunity to slip.
On these points, TransitMiami couldn’t agree more with Sarnoff.
Critical to understand, though, is that (in its original form) Resolution #13-00581 would have required the City of Miami to give up control of a handful of important streets in the Historic Overtown / Downtown Miami District. In fact, FDOT was actually trying to take more roadway length than it was actually relinquishing.
Fortunately, FDOT’s desperate grab for Overtown’s historic streets met with a ferocious defense from Commissioner Spence-Jones, demonstrating her thorough understanding of the agency’s highway history in Overtown.
Read closely — this one’s a classic!
Unfortunately, FDOT gets an ‘F’ for our community in Overtown.
They have been responsible for not only destroying a very prevalent African-American community, but also displacing many of them, many of the people that live there. [...]
I am very uncomfortable with giving up any anything in Overtown — in any way — until they handle what they promised they’d handle. There’s things that FDOT has said that they’re going to do [...]. They say one thing, and then it’s a totally different thing.
They haven’t done anything that they committed to do. So, you know, for me to give up something or allow them to take one thing over the other and not have them live up to their responsibility to the residents of Overtown — I have an issue and a concern with it.
So all I asked was for [City of Miami Assistant Manager Alice Bravo] and [City of Miami Manager Johnny Martinez] to set-up a meeting with FDOT and let’s go through all these items that the residents of Overtown have asked for that they have not complied with. [...]
It’s amazing that in the midst of getting [Resolution #13-00581] negotiated, my district [District #5] was considered in it without even having a discussion with me . . . because I would have told you then, that anything that FDOT is doing in Overtown — we got issues! [...]
And then, not only that; beyond that: They promised that they would not take anybody’s property. The next thing I know, they’re taking people’s property!
Then I’m hearing again — without us even having a conversation — you know, the properties that we’re building in Overtown, or trying to create in Overtown . . . now they want to take that side of 14th Street and 3rd Avenue from the businesses that we just put money into . . . so — I got issues with FDOT!
It don’t have anything to do with Brickell [...]. [...]
So all I’m asking is that I would like to have a meeting with FDOT to make sure that our issues get resolved. [...]
If you’re talking about giving them something in OT — Yes! The District 5 Commissioner has a big issue and big problem with it. I’m not saying you can’t get [the transfer of Brickell to the City of Miami done ...]
But Overtown — when it comes to I-95, roadways, highways, anything that sounds like that — it’s a problem for us in Overtown.
It destroyed a community. [...]
TransitMiami has one word for Comissioner Spence-Jones: Righteous!
Resolution #13-00581 was ultimately passed (3 commissioners in favor; 0 opposed) at the most recent Commission meeting on June 13. Fortunately, though, the Resolution was amended to exclude at least parts of the streets in the Overtown / Historic Downtown Miami District. TransitMiami will follow-up with more details soon.
As for now, though, just try to bask in a bit of the glory of Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones’ passionate words in defense of her district and the people of Overtown, and our community at-large. Kudos to you, Commissioner Spence-Jones!
Our local public radio station, WLRN, published a fantastic, must-hear/must-see piece this morning on “How I-95 Shattered the World of Miami’s Early Overtown Residents”.
In it, reporter Nadege Green of WLRN / The Miami Herald makes some excellent inquiries into the glorious past that was once thriving Colored Town.
As narrated in the radio piece:
Overtown was known as the Harlem of the South. [Jazz legends] Cab Calloway, Nat King Cole, and Billie Holiday performed in Miami Beach. But because of segregation, they weren’t allowed to stay there. They’d stay in Overtown . . . at hotels like the Sir John and the Mary Elizabeth. And they jammed late into the night with locals.
As decried by 70 year-old, long-time Overtown resident, General White:
Well there’s nothing but a big overpass now!
He’s referring to Interstates 95 and 395, which Nadege Green explains were built in the 1960s. After that:
Overtown was never the same. [Mr. General White] and thousands of other people here were forced out to make room for the highway.
Be sure to listen and read that eye-opening WLRN piece on the tragic history of the once glorious heart of Miami called Overtown, and the role of the highway in tearing it out.
The City of Miami’s Office of Communications released yesterday a short video on the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust’s (CITT) 2013 Miami-Dade Transportation Summit.
The elevator music and 1980′s electric guitar riff can be a little hard to endure, but it’s nonetheless interesting to have a glimpse at the City’s perspective on the Summit.
Featured in the video are the City’s Assistant Manager, Alice Bravo, who describes the role and responsibility of the CITT. Also featured is the City’s Special Project Assistant, Thomas Rodrigues, who talks about the City’s Trolley(-bus) routes.
Take a gander!
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