Currently viewing the category: "Accident"

By: Harry Emilio Gottlieb 

How many more cyclists need to be sliced and diced on
cheese grater surface before FDOT is motivated
to improve safety with nonslip bike lane?

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So you wake up this morning and decide to great the day with an enjoyable and healthy bike ride. You determine today’s destination and plot your rout. It will to take you over the Miami River and Intercoastal. There is light traffic, the wind is in your favor and there is enough cloud coverage to make it comfortable. You have ridden across that drawbridge many times before. But this time it will be just a little different. A few hours ago there was dew in the air or perhaps a drizzle of rain. The moisture has mixed with the fuel residue from cars, trucks and boats. The surface of the metal grate at the crest of the drawbridge is now covered in a slippery film that may be a challenge to most cyclists, especially those on Road and TriBikes, out for a bit of exercise. All of a sudden you sense something is very wrong. Your bike is sliding and perhaps even fishtailing. Your priority is now to keep calm, your deal with the new tense situation, adrenaline is kicking in. Your immediate goal is to avoid falling on the “Cheese Grater”. You pray there is no car, truck or bus behind you and will somehow safely reach the solid road ASAP.

Needless to say some cyclists have not been so lucky. They were unable to control the slippery surface and crashed upon the metal grate. Some have received the worst road rash of their bike riding lives and others have experienced fractured ribs, wrists and collarbones. Rising up from the terrible fall one tends to quickly inventory the quantity of healthy fingers remaining in one piece.

There have been numerous cases of cyclists slipping and falling on our drawbridges. Many have been seriously hurt, endured pain, suffering, costly medical bills and damaged or totaled bikes.

So you may ask…
Why hasn’t FDOT taken steps to make drawbridges safer for all cyclists?
Why have they not installed designated bike lanes?
Why have they not installed a no-slip surface?
Why is there not a sign that advises bridge users of whom to contact when an issue arises?

FDOT has not seen a need to do so, because they claim they have no record of anyone reporting a drawbridge cycling accident. The fact is that many cyclists just pick themselves up, go home or seek medical treatment on their own. Unless the accident is very serious in which case the paramedics will be called and a report is filed.

Transit Miami inquired with its readers about their drawbridge concerns and suggested solutions. These include the use of anti-slip metal plates or the filling in of the space with solid material (weight considerations will certainly be an issue). This information was shared with Broward and Miami New Times and they also championed the issue.

Now it is up to the local FDOT office to recognize the need to “Do The Right Thing” and improve the safety of our drawbridges. Its sister office in Broward has previously installed a smaller diameter metal grate in a designated bike lane on the A1A drawbridge just north of Commercial Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale as have other agencies around the country.

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Photos courtesy of Yamile Castella. 

Another solution would be to designate a bike lane with paint and fill in the dangerous grates with concrete or rubber.

Your help is required to help improve drawbridge safety. Share your concerns and suggestion with TransitMiami in the comments below and while you’re at it, let FDOT personnel know what you think of their inaction. Just as important, report serious accidents to police so that FDOT can no longer claim that they are unaware of doing the right thing, which should be utterly uncontroversial.

Ride safely, especially over drawbridges.

 

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Last night County Commissioners voted in favor of Vision Zero 305. Much like NYC’s Vision Zero NYC, Vision Zero 305 is a set of comprehensive policies developed in Sweden and aimed at a future in which no one is killed or seriously injured by traffic.

Miami is the 3rd most deadly metropolitan area in the nation for cyclists and pedestrians. Vision Zero 305 will be based on the refusal to accept that human death or lifelong suffering from injury is an acceptable result of road traffic. In order to achieve this vision, our traffic systems must be designed with the understanding that people make mistakes and that traffic crashes cannot be avoided completely. Roads should be designed so that when crashes do occur, they do not result in serious injury or death.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez had this to say:

“My fellow commissioners and I have finally come to recognize that Miami is about 2 decades behind other so-called “world class cities” when it comes to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. We have a public safety crisis unfolding on our streets and we need to make our streets safer for everyone; we need to design our streets for people, not cars. There clearly has been no leadership or vision from anyone on the County Commission when it comes to preventing traffic deaths, but that is about to change. We will no longer strive to become the deadliest metropolitan area in the nation for cyclists and pedestrians.  Instead we will strive to have the safest streets in the country.”

According to Commissioner Xavier Suarez, “the County will implement a complete streets policy and we will hold police accountable when it comes to doing their job; we actually expect them to enforce traffic laws.”

This is a big step in the right direction.  Let’s just hope this is just not the same old political posturing that we’re tired of hearing.

 
Driver hit cyclists from behind.  Notice the windshield. How fast was the driver going?

Driver hit cyclists from behind. Notice the windshield. How fast was the driver going?

I’m really tired of writing this same old story. On Friday morning another cyclist was critically injured on Bear Cut Bridge, the very same bridge where Chistopher Lecanne was killed nearly 4 years ago when a driver hit him from behind.

Crashes like these are preventable if only our elected officials could get their act together and address the public safety crisis that is happening in front of their very own eyes.

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The Rickenbacker Causeway is a microcosm for the greater ills of the county. Case in point: In the past 7 years at least 3 cyclists have been killed and countless other have been critically injured, yet the existing conditions on the Rickenbacker Causeway are getting more dangerous (i.e. Bear Cut Bridge), not safer.  Virtually nothing has been done to make the Rickenbacker less dangerous.  How many people need to die before something is done?

Miami Dade County is the 3rd most dangerous metropolitan area in the country for pedestrian and cyclists, yet our elected officials are dragging their feet when it comes to making our streets safer.  All I hear is political grandstanding that changes are coming and in the meantime pedestrians and cyclists continue to be slaughtered on our streets. The entire situation is disgraceful and shameful and collectively Miami Dade County elected officials need to be held accountable.

Click here to send an email to all of our County Commissioners and Mayor Gimenez and let them know what an awful job they are doing when it comes to pedestrian and cyclist safety throughout the County.  This is not just a Rickenbacker Causeway issue, this is a county wide problem that has turned into a public safety crises.

The situation has reached a point that is beyond embarrassing.
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

 

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 . . .

While riding her bicycle for her basic transportation needs, Emily Peters had a run-in with a car door. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

While riding her bicycle for her basic transportation needs, Emily Peters had a run-in with a car door. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

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.

How exactly did this happen? Who knows, just another day in the auto-centric prison we've built for ourselves. Source: Martin County, FL Sheriff Office.

How exactly did this happen? Who knows, just another day in the auto-centric geography we’ve created for ourselves. Source: Martin County, FL Sheriff Office.

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. . . .

Emily was a recent victim of a painful dooring accident. These sorts of accidents mark an immature multi-modal transportation landscape. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Emily was a recent victim of a painful dooring accident. These sorts of accidents mark an immature, underdeveloped multi-modal transportation landscape. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

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.

Depending on the speed, intensity of impact, angle, and degree of propulsion, getting doored can be fatal. Image source: City of Milwalkee (http://city.milwaukee.gov/).

Depending on the speed, intensity of impact, angle, and degree of propulsion, getting doored can be fatal. Image source: City of Milwalkee (http://city.milwaukee.gov/).

Photography by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Photography by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

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?

Motorists and bicyclists both have a responsibility for practicing proper roadway behaviors and etiquette.

Motorists and bicyclists both have a responsibility for practicing proper roadway behaviors and etiquette.

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?

Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

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.

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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

impact-of-speed2 (1)

 

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.

 

texting-and-driving-jesusAs of tomorrow, October 1, it will be illegal to text while driving. Advocates for safer streets have been lobbying for this for years (nod to Florida Bicycle Association, CommuteOrlando), but we’ve only now joined the 41 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgina Islands to make it illegal. There are still some glaring loopholes that set us apart.

In Florida, texting while driving is only a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement can’t pull you over solely for the action. The ticket itself is only $30, but multiple offenses become moving violations and add points to your license/ raise your insurance premiums.

In Florida, it remains just fine to text or drop an email when you’re at a red light – which sounds okay until you realize that motorists are obliged to check for people still in crosswalks as well as green lights. It’s also fine to take calls, change your Pandora station or use Google Maps.

If you’re like most people, you think you’re better than the average driver and don’t know you’re four times more likely to get into a serious collision (re: hurt yourself, not just your car) when you reach for the phone. Be careful out there. And please, put the phone down.

More fun infographics here.

 

 

 

 

 

Biscayne Boulevard and 53rd Street  Crash occurred  on Saturday night on August 24. As of two days ago the light pole was still on the ground a week after the crash.

Biscayne Boulevard and 53rd Street. Light pole still remains on the sidewalk after nearly two weeks.

There is something seriously wrong with our local government. It’s been nearly two weeks since this light pole was knocked down in a car crash. As of last night the light pole was still on the sidewalk. This is unacceptable. And we are a world class city right?

You can read about the 22 crashes that have occurred in Biscayne Boulevard over the past three years by clicking here.

 

 

During the past three years I have documented at least 22 crashes along Biscayne Boulevard from 36th Street to 79th Street.  The majority of the crashes have resulted in cars riding up on the sidewalk and at least three innocent pedestrians have been seriously injured. The reality is that with so many crashes there is no explanation as to why more pedestrians are not injured or killed in these crashes. The dangerous speed in which these drivers are traveling is clearly evidenced by the numbers of light poles, bus shelters and signs that have been knocked down (the majority of these crashes have been photographed and posted on this blog).

Biscayne Boulevard and 53rd Street  Crash occurred  on Saturday night on August 24. As of two days ago the light pole was still on the ground a week after the crash.

Biscayne Boulevard and 53rd Street. Crash occurred on Saturday night on August 24. As of two days ago the light pole was still on the ground a week after the crash. Where’s the cleanup crew?

Twenty-two crashes in 36 months along a 43-block stretch of one road isn’t an acceptable safety standard. Clearly there is something innately unsafe in the design speed of this road. Yet the FDOT continues to ignore the fact that their very own design standards enable and encourage motorists to move as quickly as possible.  Everyone loses with Biscayne Boulevard’s design, especially pedestrians and the businesses that operate along Biscayne Boulevard.

Two weeks ago an SUV drove off of Biscayne Boulevard onto the sidewalk and into the INS building.  These are the damaged bushes.

Two weeks ago an SUV drove off of Biscayne Boulevard onto the sidewalk and into the INS building. These are the damaged bushes. Luckily no one was injured.

We have a serious safety problem and the FDOT, the county and the city are collectively ignoring this issue that not only affects Biscayne Boulevard, but all of Florida. This is evidenced by the fact that Florida leads the nation as the deadliest state for pedestrians and cyclists.  I think its fair to say that FDOT deserves most of the blame for this bleek honor due to their faulty design standards that emphasize “level of service”, rather than “safety for all road users”. At the county and city level the complacency has earned Miami Dade County the #4 spot in the nation for pedestrian and cyclists fatalities.

Four weeks ago I was told that a pedestrian was hit in the "FDOT Death Walk" on 85th and Biscayne Boulevard. Putting a crosswalk on an urban highway with a design speed of 40+mph is irresponsible. I use these crosswalks daily and drivers more often than not don't yield to pedestrians.

Four weeks ago I was told that a pedestrian was hit in the “FDOT Death Walk” on 85th and Biscayne Boulevard. Putting a crosswalk on an urban highway with a design speed of 40+mph is irresponsible. I use these crosswalks daily and drivers more often than not don’t yield to pedestrians.

The combination of lack of leadership in Miami Dade County with FDOT’s inability to make streets safer for all users has created the perfect disastrous storm for pedestrians and cyclists. If the FDOT and our local elected officials don’t begin to change their ways, Florida and Miami Dade County will continue to lead the nation in pedestrian and cycling fatalities.  In Miami we can virtually guarantee more pedestrian fatalities along Biscayne Boulevard as new residential and commercial development bring more density to the neighborhood.

Unprotected narrow sidewalks and cars moving at 45mph is a recipe for disaster. It's beyond my comprehension how the FDOT actually believes this to be perfectly safe.

Unprotected narrow sidewalks and cars moving at 45mph is a recipe for disaster. It’s beyond my comprehension how the FDOT actually believes this to be perfectly safe.

Sadly, none of our local elected officials seems to want to do anything to make Biscayne Boulevard safer for pedestrians and cyclists, nor does FDOT.  The County and City are now pointing the finger at Senator Gwen Margolis; apparently only Senator Margolis has leverage with the FDOT. The County and City always seem to claim they have no leverage with the FDOT.  Apparently the FDOT can do as they please and don’t have to really answer to our local elected officials, or residents for that matter.

We don’t want to let anyone of the hook.  So please click here to send an email to the following people to hold them accountable to make Biscayne Boulevard more business and pedestrian-friendly:

FDOT District Six Secretary Gus Pego
Senator Gwen Margolis
Mayor Regalado
County Mayor Gimenez
County Commissioner Edmonson
Commissioner Sarnoff

Here are two other crashes that occurred in the past month:

In the past 5 months 2 other light poles have been knocked down: Biscayne and 37th Street and Biscayne and 54th Street.

 

 
Cartoon designed by Juan Navarro www.FWACATA.com

Cartoon designed by Juan Navarro www.FWACATA.com

The very naughty Cone Fairy has done it again. Last night she mischievously placed 7 orange traffic cones down the center of NE 76 Street in an attempt to calm traffic to protect children, parents with strollers, cyclists and pets from speeding drivers.

For the past 5 months my neighbors and I have been trying to get the city and county to do something about the reckless drivers that come barreling down our street everyday. Unfortunately, true to form, neither the county nor city has acknowledged that the fundamental problem with this road, as with the majority of our streets in South Florida, is the actual design of our roads that encourages speeding. It shouldn’t take five months to find a solution to this problem; this isn’t rocket science, it just requires a little common sense.

Operation Belle Meade Storm: To liberate Belle Meade residents from the oppression of speeding cars

Operation Belle Meade Storm: To liberate Belle Meade residents from the oppression of speeding cars

Last I heard, the only thing the county is willing to do  is add a crosswalk and erect one of these signs on 76th Street.

A crosswalk and this sign is the best the County can do calm traffic.

A crosswalk and this sign is the best the County can do calm traffic.

This silly sign won’t do anything to calm traffic. If this is the only solution the county can come up with, I have a feeling we may see a whole lot more of the very sassy and sexy Cone Fairy. It’s worth mentioning that all of Transit Miami’s recommendations to calm traffic on this street have been rebuffed by the county. In the meantime, cars continue to speed down my street and it’s just a matter of time before someone is struck by a speeding car.

impact-of-speed2

By the way- we don’t know the true identity of the Cone Fairy and we cannot condone this type of behavior. So remember…

urbanism

 

 

 

ped safety little havana

Everyone knows that Miami has a serious problem with pedestrian injuries and fatalities; not a week goes by without reading an article about another pedestrian struck by a car. Miami is the 4th most dangerous city for pedestrians and cyclists in the Country right now.

This must change!

We live in one of the most beautiful, perfect climates in the world, yet stepping out our doors for a walk can be fatal. With Emerge Miami, I began organizing walks for pedestrian safety last year in response to this ongoing crisis. The concept is simple, during the time that pedestrians are legally allowed to enter the crosswalk, we have people with educational signs and statistics about pedestrians injuries and fatalities walk back and forth through the crosswalk. We also have educational materials to hand drivers and pedestrians.

Our next walk is in Little Havana on June 29th, a lovely neighborhood that should be safe and walkable, yet speeding cars and infrequent crosswalks make it a extremely dangerous for walkers, especially the many more elderly residents who live there.

As part of our walk we are asking that pedestrians who have been injured, and their families, to come out and join our walk to help put a personal face on this epidemic of injury and death.

For more information or to get involved please contact Elsa Roberts at eroberts@mtu.edu. To RSVP to the event go to Meetup or Facebook.

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6th crash in three years at the same exact location. Brickell Avenue and 15th Road

6th crash in three years at the same exact location. Brickell Avenue and 15th Road

Here we go again… A few weeks ago there was another crash on Brickell Avenue and SW 15th Road.  This is the sixth incident in about 3 years that I have seen debris from crashes at the exact same location.  I’m not sure what FDOT and the city of Miami are waiting for, but apparently nothing will be done here until someone is killed. Sadly this will likely happen within the next three years.

Looks like the bench was launched about 50 feet.

Looks like the bench was launched about 50 feet.

The Echo Brickell project has just been announced and construction will begin soon at the very 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 should expect a nasty accident 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 is evident that we have a problem here.

 

National news continues to cover the tragic death of four local men killed in the Doral parking garage collapse. International news, Twitter and the campaign trails of both Presidential candidates keep returning to the tragic killing of four Americans in Benghazi.

Where is the outcry over continuous deaths of men, women and children who die on Miami roads all the time?

In just the last few days, at least 5 people have lost their lives on Miami’s roads and sidewalks. Speed has been blamed in all three incidents:

A police officer in an unmarked car crashed into a young couple’s SUV at a Hialeah intersection, killing a college student.

A driver cut off another in Miami Gardens, clipping a third car and careening into a group of people sitting at a bus stop, killing at least one of the 5 maimed or otherwise critically injured by the speeding driver.

A third speeding driver killed his passenger as well as a boy and his father in a separate vehicle on Saturday morning.

Five people killed in Miami in three days. Where is the outcry?

A 29 year old man, also waiting for a bus, was killed by a man trying escape the scene of a separate, relatively minor rear-end collision in West Miami. This actually happened two weeks ago but apparently made news when The Miami Herald determined the driver was an icon of Miami’s culinary scene. No charges – not a traffic ticket – have been filed for leaving the scene or killing a pedestrian on a sidewalk in that case.

These are not “accidents.” These are not “cars” killing our neighbors, our friends, innocent people. This is a culture, particular to South Florida, that makes it unsurprising to be passed dangerously close by a car, often an off-duty* police car, on all kinds of streets. Here in South Florida, we don’t expect cars to stop before the crosswalk at intersections – pedestrians are lucky when all the cars stop on the red light. Do you disagree?

The lack of truly pedestrian and bicycle-friendly infrastructure is part of the problem. The fact that our streets are notoriously Dangerous by Design is another critical part. But the piece most easy to dismiss is just as important- enforcement.

The City of Miami Police Department employs around 1,400 people. 17 of them are in Traffic Enforcement. Given the City and County’s exceptional fatality rate in traffic, isn’t about time we do more to enforce our laws?

Who Wants More Traffic Tickets?

Not the Police. No one wants more traffic tickets, your local police department, most of all. See, several years ago, Florida state legislators got ‘tough’ on traffic-related crimes, raising the fines for all kinds of infractions. Unfortunately for our safety as a state, this backfired, because your local cops already have it hard when it comes to giving tickets. 1) It’s more dangerous than Special Ops and far less sexy. No one’s family wants them to be the guy pulling over Joe with a gun.** 2) Police are average people, too. They don’t really enjoy hearing your sob story about how this $250 ticket will keep you from making rent and make your kids homeless. 3) Okay, maybe one or two don’t mind that part, but they hate going to court only to have a Judge fall for said sob story and throw out the case.

Not Politicians. So, Dr. So-and-so gets a ticket, gets upset, calls our Commissioner and threatens all kinds of drama. It’s a hassle. Plus, there aren’t statistics on how many people were not stopped by an officer and then immediately killed someone’s child or dog (that really would get on the news!). In other words, it doesn’t win sound bites or votes.

Not the Public. Most people seem to think traffic tickets are just some excuse for your local politicians and police to make easy money. It’s not ‘easy’ money**.

And yet, hardly anyone speeds in the Village of Pinecrest! That’s not because the lanes are narrower (no) or because there are fewer texting-calling-children wrangling-pompous drivers (no). It’s because everyone knows you’ll get a ticket. New to the area? Everyone else is abiding the law so chances are, you will, too.

If you really want to live in a safer place, where businesses benefit from local traffic and your neighbors and tourists don’t get killed waiting for the bus, then all of us need to drive more safely, follow the speed limit, put down the phone. Always change lanes to give those pulled over a full lane of space. Do the same for people on bicycles, too.

Call your commissioners and PDs and tell them you WANT more traffic enforcement. Do it today. Call 311, give them your address and they can tell you how to reach your elected officials. Do it.

Because your life depends on it.

====

*You know they are off duty when the car says Bal Harbour and you are on I-95, for example.

**In the last decade, nationwide, more police were killed in cars or by cars than were shot or killed by terrorist attacks, combined.

Hey, at least we’re not Texas!

 

This is not a bad joke, but an actual Miami Herald headline from this morning. Let’s put aside this insensitive headline.

I’m working on the assumption that the “dead man that is blocking traffic” was a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle.  The Herald is reporting that Northeast 79th Street from Biscayne Boulevard to Miami Avenue has been blocked off.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with 79th Street it is another classic FDOT road that is designed to move cars as quickly as possible without considering the safety of pedestrians or cyclists-an urban highway if you will. Case in point: 79th Street has three lanes going west to east and one lane going east to west.  Needless to say, west to east traffic is moving in excess of 50 mph through the middle of our city! This is not an acceptable safety standard; never has and never will be.

There are approximately 10 blocks between Biscayne Boulevard and Miami Avenue; however we only find crosswalks at three intersections within these 10 blocks. This is also not an acceptable safety standard for pedestrians either; we need crosswalks at just about every one of these intersections. Does the FDOT expect pedestrians to walk six blocks out of their way just to get across the street? It’s no coincidence that Florida has the highest pedestrian fatality rate when you have streets designed like NE 79th Street.

The Miami Herald later updated the article and headline “Person in wheelchair hit by car and killed on Miami street”. Clearly this road is not suitable for a person in a wheel chair.

Please send an email to the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and Commissioner Sarnoff and let them know that this street is not suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. Click here to send an email to both gentlemen.

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