This morning I joined our friends from the Green Mobility Network for a bike ride on the M-Path to see the improvements which Miami-Dade Transit has been working on for the past two months. Although some improvements have been made, they have left much to be desired. From what I experienced, the improvements are mostly cosmetic and have no real impact on the real problems of the M-Path. Repairs to the asphalt are being done where there is tree-root damage to the path. In some sections, the path has been widened by a few inches as well.  Aside from these improvements, not much else has been done. So why am I not satisfied?

I am unsure that the M-Path merits the designation of a “path”.  Usually a “path” has as a main characteristic some level of connectivity, and unfortunately the M-Path does not. There is no clear designation or markings for one to follow the M-Path.

Miami Dade Transit has budgeted $700,000 to make these improvements.  From what I have seen, there has not been $700,000 worth of work done to the path so far. Although the improvements certainly help, the more pressing safety issues that the M-Path has have not been given priority.

Rather then looking at the M-Path as a whole, Miami-Dade Transit is fixing the problem with a piecemeal strategy.  This strategy is wholly flawed and wasteful, as some of the work that is being completed today, will have to be undone in the future when a more comprehensive project to fix the M-Path is undertaken.  Safety should take precedence.  Below is a list of priorities for the M-Path.

Intersections:  Safety issues at street intersections must be addressed. How can we possibly call a path a path, if we cannot safely cross at intersections?  This is baffling to me. Initial funding should have been allocated to the intersections, not fixing potholes.

Path Route and Width: The route of the M-Path dangerously meanders near US 1 at times without any protection for the bicyclists from cars. Several of the curves are hazardously blind which happens to place cyclists riding in opposite directions in a precarious situation.  This is further exacerbated by the fact that the path is not wide enough, nor does it have any lane markings. The current path route is not always the safest for bicyclists, and needs to be rerouted in certain areas. Wherever possible, the path should follow the straightest, most direct route.

Lighting and Signage:  The M-Path becomes very dangerous after sunset. Currently, there is no lighting whatsoever on the M-Path. In addition, clear path signage and mile markers should be placed along the M-Path.  First time users of the M-Path will get lost.

Below are a few pictures I took this morning with some commentary:

Concrete dries within 24 hours.  I can assure you that it has been more then 24 hours that this concrete was poured. It is unacceptable to have sections of M-Path interrupted for days.

Concrete dries within 24 hours. I can assure you that it has been more than 24 hours that this concrete was poured. It is unacceptable to have sections of M-Path interrupted for days.

Repair work was done, but no cleanup? Loose gravel is extremely dangerous for bicyclists.

Repair work was done, but no cleanup? Loose gravel is extremely dangerous for bicyclists.

Please remove the drain from the middle of the M-Path and the fire hydrant should be moved to the right.

Please remove the drain from the middle of the M-Path and the fire hydrant should be moved to the right.

11 Responses to Transit Miami Eye on the M-Path

  1. Juan Navarro says:

    Your so right on some parts there, but even though concrete does take 24 hours to Harden, in construction especially side walks that have a lot of rules for letting 48 to 72 hours, a sort of “just-in-case” rule. With Asphalt it’s the same.

    Moving a drain is going to be a bitch, for sure. That takes engineers, piping, time and lots of money. In Hialeah, it cost around 14-17 thousand dollars to move a drain 4 feet (and that with the use of some of the old pipes, which is a no-no) so that maybe a hard battle.

    Best thing that can happen, and I hate to say this, is that somebody get hurt going over that grid, and then sues, forcing the county/city to move it. If you propose this as a safety issue, the county will move it,but it may take a long time, because it take a lot for inspections to do so.

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  2. Felipe Azenha says:

    Juan,
    Unfortunately, I think you’re right. Someone will need to get hurt(and sue) for the repair to be made. This is regrettable; it appears that the modus operandi for a few departments in the County is reactive rather than proactive. A lawsuit is going to make the 20k drain job look very cheap. It’s only really a matter of time before it happens. Very sad.
    Thanks for giving me the “heads-up” on the 48-72 hour dry time for concrete and asphalt. I was not aware of the “just-in-case” rule.

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  3. Juan Navarro says:

    Yeah it’s crap I know. I have family that does city work, one cousin of mine does jungle gyms for a municipality and if you saw the amount of cautions and rules just to lay concrete it’s ridiculous.
    Again, if this issue of the grate was brought up to the board as a Safety issue, stating it in a letter and such you wold get some headway with at least the county thinking about moving it. At least it would present a dangerous precedent if somebody did get help and even find the county liable. Then people would notice.

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  4. recreational cyclist says:

    In a time of economic peril, Transit Miami and bicycle supporters should be praising the county for spending money on an underutilized trail. We should be grateful for these repairs as money is super tight. Bicyclists have been overlooked for years and the trail has not seen repairs since the 80′s when it was built. Stop whining about gravel and being too close to US 1. I thought bikes were traffic and wanted to be on the road. Your lucky this path is even there. Miami Dade Transit is not building a path under the new MIC extension probably because of articles like this- Why build it if your just going to b–ch anyway. I think the M-path is great, It connect South Miami, UM, Merrick Park, Museum of Science, Brickell… I run on the trail, I bike on it, I used it at all hours of the night during my days and nights at UM- Remember bikes should have a light at night. Its a great path and I hope the county will build more along canals, large right of ways, expressways, and transit facilties.

    Thank-you Miami Dade County for doing something for the people!

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  5. Felipe Azenha says:

    Please do not take my comments out of context. I am grateful for the repairs, but don’t feel the the strategy is cost effective. The mpath provides excellent connectivity, but is underutilized as you say, because it is unsafe. I will be grateful when the repairs actually improve safety. Sorry, but I choose not to accept mediocrity. Praise will be given when it is earned. As for whinning about the gravel, I am only passing on observations made by other bicyclists on Saturday’s ride. Articles like this are meant to raise awarness.

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  6. Juan Navarro says:

    I’m sorry “recreational cyclist” but your comment smells of disingenuous pride and lack of credibility.
    No one was putting down the path way, but only seeing how it can be improved and how certain oversights were rather dubious. We have to have discussions like this so that a clear picture can be made for future products and ideas are wielded right. Sure applause should be made for any effort, I agree with you on that end, and it should not only come from citizens but form Media outlets like local News and Media too.
    Hence we should applaud Transit Miami for bringing this to our attention unlike those media outlets.
    To say this is whining would be a stretch, and it seem they are certain areas there of you comment, especially since it was made anonymously, that make me wonder if you have a MDT badge somewhere.

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  7. Agatha says:

    You want to see great bike path planning. Take a look at what is going on in Boulder, CO at http://www.infrastructureusa.org/contra-flow-bike-lane-%E2%80%93-boulder-co/.

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  8. Tony Garcia says:

    Sorry ‘Recreational cyclist’, but the point of this site is to promote best practices and encourage a modal shift in Dade county. Your assertion that we stop ‘wining’ and be happy with shoddy public works projects is unacceptable. The reason the trail is underused (in your opinion) is because of the shoddy work Felipe describes above.

    You go on to say “Miami Dade Transit is not building a path under the new MIC extension probably because of articles like this- Why build it if your just going to b–ch anyway.” Why wouldn’t they just build it right in the first place? MDT is not doing anyone any favors by providing cycling facilities, it’s simply doing what it should be doing. This is yet another reason why MDT needs to be totally restructured and wrestled away from the inept hands of the county bureaucracy.

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  9. Felipe Azenha says:

    700k is a sustantial amount of money an a Loy should be accomplished with it. To put things in perspective Portland,Oregon spends 10mm a year on its bicycle infrastructure for the entire city. MDT is spending the equivalant of 7% of what Portland spends on the entire M Path. I am following this very closely. Once the 700k is spent, I will request an itemized expense list. I want to see where the money is being spent. I have a feeling that MDT could be doing a lot more than just fixing potholes.

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  10. [...] I rode the M-Path for the first time in about a month since my last post about the progress of the M-Path.  I was hoping to give our readers a positive update, but unfortunately here we are nearly 4 [...]

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  11. [...] The M-Path is, without a doubt, one of Miami’s top bicycle amenities. Officially called the Metropath, the corridor was recently acknowledged by FDOT consultant Steward Robinson as, “the most connected, non-motorized path in Miami-Dade County.” The path has been the subject of numerous Transit Miami posts over the years, where we have advocated for both long and short-term changes that will improve connectivity along the path, including better crosswalks, repaving and straightening. [...]

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