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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.
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Coral Gables Bike Day

 

City of Miami Office of Transportation and the Metropolitan Planning Organization are currently undertaking a study to look at safety and mobility for bicyclists and pedestrians traversing and within the Overtown and Wynwood neighborhoods.  There will be a public meeting to get your thoughts and ideas this coming Monday August 19th, 5pm at  404 NW 26th St Miami, FL 33142
Please spread the word, an additional public meeting will be held at Henderson Park in Overtown in early September.  As well as an online survey to get additional input.  

OvertownWynwood Bike Ped Flyer 081913

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This article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Better! Cities & Towns. It was reprinted on TransitMiami.com with expressed written consent from the Author and the Editor of Better! Cities & Towns. 

Miami Beach takes Infrastructure Beyond Gray

Claudia Kousoulas, Better! Cities & Towns

When cities invest in infrastructure, it’s often the gray stuff like roads and bridges. Or it’s hidden away like water and sewer pipes. Not to say that infrastructure isn’t interesting and vital to a city’s success, but it’s hard to get excited about.

But in Miami Beach, where everything seems to be more colorful and dramatic than most American cities, the latest round of infrastructure investments combine flamboyance and function. The city’s parking garages are featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lebron James is a fan of its bikeshare system, and the expanding network of streetscape and trail improvements weave the city together, from beach to bay.

“It is a coordinated effort,” says Richard Lorber, acting planning director. “Decobike has become a part of the city and we’ve incorporated it into our transportation thinking.” Likewise with streetscape improvements; despite initial concern about losing on-street parking spaces, residents recognize that the curb bump-outs, streetscaping, and landscaping add value to their properties.

High-style parking garages

Miami Beach has gotten the most press coverage for its public and private parking garages and in fact has set a new standard for not only garage design, but their integration with streets and city life. Architects whose names are usually attached to symphony halls and art museums are undertaking what used to be a pretty dull commission.

Zaha Hadid’s proposed parking garage with swooping overhang atop a pedestrian space typifies Miami Beach’s stylish and fun approach to infrastructure

Herzog and deMeuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road garage functions equally as a party space, a retail anchor, and parking garage. Enrique Norten’s refined Park @420 pulls Lincoln Road’s retail activity around the corner, while Arquitectonica’s Purdy Avenue garage is also a retail anchor for Sunset Harbor, an emerging mixed-use neighborhood. Frank Gehry’s public garage, sheathed in steel mesh recalling his signature chain link, is lit to drift through a color palette that mirrors Miami sunsets. Zaha Hadid is proposing a structure that will swoop over a street and create a pedestrian plaza.

The trend toward high style garages began in 1995 with Arquitectonica’s Ballet Valet garage. The client, developer Tony Goldman who would go on to develop the Wynwood Arts District, spotted an opportunity on this neglected stretch of Collins Avenue. One block in from the beach and surrounded by clubs and hotels, the garage’s retail base kick-started redevelopment. Popularly known as the Chia Pet garage, Arquitectonica’s screen of plants became a local landmark.

Ballet Valet garage, designed by Arquitectonica

Unlike the usual approach to garage design, which seeks to hide parking behind a liner building or false front, newer garages celebrate their position in our lives and communities. Most use texture, color, and pattern to create visual elegance. Herzog and De Meuron’s garage uses the drama of space and movement. Views shift and drop; every floor creates a different experience. From the outside, the blade-edged concrete slabs hover over dramatic skies and palm trees. Hadid’s proposed design is a modernist approach to the experience of moving through space.

Roger Howie of Hadid’s office says, “A simple premise of how to bring the street into the building guided our initial studies which then progressed into an expressed, continuous vehicular circulation path which provides a unique, even fun, experience for the user.”

But the designs also mediate between the car and the pedestrian. From an urban point of view, their relationship to the street is most important. Some, like Park@420, rely on a simple retail base, others like 1111 draw pedestrians in to experience the space. As well as retail, Hadid’s design includes an urban plaza and features stairs to create a gateway along the Collins Park axis. This sounds more like urban design than transportation engineering.

As well as experiments with screen and structure, the function of these garages is part of their design and economics. They are not places you would park and leave. You could spend the whole evening at 1111—from a sunset drink at the rooftop restaurant, on to dinner, then shopping and people watching in the plaza. Likewise, Arquitectonica’s Purdy Avenue seeks to combine design and function to transcend typical parking garage. “The idea was to create a hub of activity for residents and locals, a place to eat, exercise, and shop—with parking,” says Wendy Chernin of the Scott Robins Companies who worked with the city in a public-private partnership to build the project.

The varying floor heights, almost invisible steel cable fencing, and concrete slabs of 1111 Lincoln Road upend the notion of the parking garage as something to be hidden.

Decobike Cruises In

Miami Beach has added 2,741 new spaces with these garages, but the city’s approach is also multi-modal. Decobike has been operating in the city since 2011. In 2012 it expanded north to the Town of Surfside and is poised to cross the Biscayne Bay causeways into the City of Miami. On the beach, Decobike has achieved the best bike-to-resident ratio in North America, with the highest station distribution per square mile nationally. Each of the 1,000 bikes is used four to five times a day, one of the highest use rates in the country.

Decobike founders Colby Reese and Bonifacio Diaz first experienced bikeshare in Paris and Barcelona.
“We were amazed by the amount of usage on the systems. From there, it became a “green business concept that we fell in love with,” said Reese.

When the City of Miami Beach issued a request for proposals, Decobike responded with proposed locations based on their business model and use estimates. Lorber says that the city worked with them to approve the proposed locations or find appropriate alternatives.  He points out that the system was initially approved without advertising on the bikes or docks, but Decobike has since requested to place ads.

“We’re not thrilled with the ads, but worked with them again to find appropriate locations,” says Lorber. “Decobike is so well loved and so important, we want them to have a healthy financial viability.”

There were initial reservations about use. Why would anyone use this service if they already owned a bicycle? But as Reese points out, with bikeshare there are no worries about theft or maintenance. And a well-distributed and stocked bike dock network makes Decobike convenient. Reese notes that once the docks were installed, they also adjusted rental and membership options to meet the demands of residents and visitors.

There was also some concern about turning over on-street parking spaces to bike docks, but the popularity of the system and a slew of new parking garages calmed those concerns. As Reese notes, using a parking space for 20 bikes that turn over four to five times a day is a more efficient use of public space.

Reese and Diaz recount these sensible planner answers, but neglect to mention just how much fun Decobike can be. Miami Beach is a flat city, with great weather and ocean views. A grid street pattern provides plenty of routes for commuting or sightseeing.

And just as the parking garages are a system designed to provide access, so is Decobike. Its expansion north into Surfside was the next step in expanding farther north to Haulover Park and west into the Town of Bay Harbor Islands. Duncan Tavares, planner for the Town of Surfside, says residents and businesses supported bikeshare from the start, and after smoothing some concerns about liability and location, so did elected officials.

Expanding Streetscape and Trails

Even within its street grid, the city is upgrading its network of trails and street paths for efficiency, safety, and pleasure. The city’s 2007 Atlantic Greenway Network Plan strived to establish routes that make local and regional bicycle and walking connections. Now that the State of Florida no longer allows wooden structures on the beach, each redevelopment or capital improvement completes another link. The overall effort re-engineers walking and cycling into car-oriented streets and public spaces.

The Atlantic Greenway Network path runs north-south along the beach as a poured concrete path with a trademark wave pattern paving, providing recreation and transportation connections.

While the Atlantic Greenway Network Plan makes beach to bay connections and runs along the beachfront, the City also considers neighborhood function and aesthetics in its streetscape improvements. The South Pointe Master Plan identifies 13 neighborhoods for a planned progress program of streetscape improvements. The plan works from eight typologies that include curb bump-outs, tree grates, lighting, shade trees, and what everyone wants to see when they come to Miami—palm trees.

As the city works its way through each neighborhood, citizens help develop a “basis of design” report that identifies designs and applications unique to each neighborhood. The resulting improvements, says Lorber, encourage people to walk by creating safe and comfortable streets for pedestrians and by corralling cars, but also include stormwater and drainage improvements.

The blocks south of Fifth Street now include a mix of housing, from single-family to high-rise, fronting walkable streets made pedestrian-friendly with landscaping, paving, curb bumpouts, and crosswalks.

While many of these designs take on a particular tropical style, they are also lessons for other communities. Garages that become landmarks and destinations, a continuing commitment to transportation alternatives and trail connections, and streetscape that adds value on every corner don’t need palm trees to be successful.

Claudia Kousoulas is a freelance writer and an urban planner with the Montgomery County Maryland Planning Department, where she blogs on The Straight Line.

 

May is National Bike Month. Biking is seeing a nationwide resurgence due to aggressive policies aimed to promote cycling, and as cities and towns in South Florida join the fold by increasing bike infrastructure, now is a particularly good time to bike in the Miami area. If you have a bike that needs a tune up or have been thinking about buying a two-wheeler for a while May is the perfect month to do so!

The bike is up there with man’s greatest inventions. It extends the range one can travel considerably, all while burning no fuel and providing excellent cardiovascular and exercise benefits. In urban traffic conditions, the bike is comparable with cars and public transportation on short/medium trips. One can usually bike around 5 miles in half an hour, which compares quite well with driving that distance under normal traffic conditions, and certainly with taking public transportation (particularly when having to walk to and wait for the bus).

All buses in Miami Dade and Broward County are outfitted with bike extensions. This opens up the possibility of using the bicycle as part of a multimodal trip. If you take multiple rides on your commute, consider biking to replace part of the trip, saving time, money, and enjoying the many exercise benefits of riding.

Of course, going from theory to practice can take some work, so here are some things to consider before hitting the road.

Things you’ll need to bike on the road:

A helmet: it’s not required for those older than 16, it’s usually not comfortable, but it is worth it. Most serious injuries and bike fatalities can be prevented by the simple use of a helmet.

Lights: White for the front, red for the back. Try to get removable ones so they don’t get stolen.

Bell: A loud bell will come in handy, particularly if you are biking on a mixture of roads and sidewalks.

In most places, these common sense accessories are legally required.

If you have never biked in traffic there are easy ways to ease into it. Always stay on the right side of the road. While riding your bike you are legally considered a car and need to obey all traffic laws, stop signs, and lights. Take advantage of the grid and bike down calmer less trafficked streets where possible. Familiarize yourself with the areas in which you want to bike and test out different routes.

One of the frustrating things about biking in the area is that most good bike lanes come to an end at major thoroughfares or ends of towns. But, with a few exceptions, most municipalities in South Florida allow for biking on the sidewalk. Google maps now has an option for bike directions, and smartphone users can use maps to figure out where they are and see which minor trafficked and low speed-limit streets they can take to reach their destinations.

If you don’t have a bike, you can take advantage of low-cost subscriptions to cycle hires like DecoBike in Miami Beach, and B-cycles in Broward County. I would still suggest taking a helmet with you if you plan to use one on the road. These bike systems also make use of smartphone GSP apps, with the deco bike app allowing you to see where you can rent/return bikes. The beauty of this is the short utility trip to the grocery store or other quick stop that would be too short for a car trip but a bit too far to walk. The bike serves as a great equalizer between walking and transit. So if you have been thinking of exercising, cutting down on car/transportation costs, and see the bike as an option I highly suggest giving it a try during this National Bike Month.

Ride safe!

 

The following post comes to us from TransitMiami reader Emily Eisennhauer.  Emily is  a PhD Candidate in the Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University. She is working on her dissertation titled “The Construction of Socio-Ecological Vulnerability to Climate Change in South Florida”, which is examining how governance networks and residents are thinking about Miami’s future under the threat of climate change, particularly sea level rise. Emily writes her own self-titled blog on the sociology of sustainability and climate change in Southeast Florida, where the following was originally posted.

In the first part of this post I highlighted Census data released last fall which shows that Miami Beach is the 10th city in the nation for biking to work. Approximately 7% of workers regularly use a bicycle for the longest part of their commute. That’s about 3,000 people in our city biking regularly to work, and I was curious – who are they?
MBpiechart_EmilyEisenhauer
With Miami’s bike scene growing like crazy lately– thousands showing up for Critical Massnew bike facilities in the works for Downtown, etc.– it would be easy to assume that these bicyclists-to-work are bicycle activists, young urban professionals, or the like. But the data indicate something else.
On Miami Beach those most likely to bike to work are service industry workers with median annual earnings of about $21,000 per year, well below the citywide average of $32,597. Here are the top 10 industries:
commutingMB1_cropped
While I was at it, I decided to look at those who walk to work too, and found much the same thing. Fifty-three percent of those who walk to their jobs work in accommodation, food service, arts or entertainment, and median annual earnings are $14,622. And while three-quarters of commuters have at least one vehicle available, less than half of those who walk or bike do.
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This isn’t a surprise really, since there are a lot of low paying jobs in the tourism and hospitality industries which dominate Miami Beach’s economy. But it does make Miami Beach unique, especially among walking cities. For walking to work Miami Beach ranks 10th in the nation among cities with at least 65,000 residents, which is especially remarkable because Miami Beach is the highest ranking non-university city on the list. If you take out the places with colleges, we’d be number 1.
commutingMB3_cropped
In order to have people walking to work, you need a few things. People have to live close enough to walk, and the streets have to be pedestrian friendly. Miami Beach accomplishes this through preserving the residential, urban character of historic sections of South Beach and North Beach which were built in the early 20th century with walking in mind. Maintaining a supply of housing affordable for those who work in the nearby service industry jobs is more challenging in desirable areas, but the Miami Beach Community Development Corporationhas been able to restore and preserve nearly two dozen buildings since 1981 for affordable housing programs. The organization’s chair, Jack Johnson, said at a recent planning meeting for the upcoming Sustainable and Authentic Florida meeting to be hosted by Miami Beach, that the MBCDC “has worked to maintain a mix of income levels by using historic buildings in their ‘native habitat’.” In doing so it has accomplished a key tenet of New Urbanism that otherwise frequently gets overlooked when it comes to those in low wage jobs.In a very real way the availability of affordable housing in Miami Beach takes cars off the streets, reduces the city’s pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes to a better quality of life for everyone.
One other interesting fact: those who walk or bike to work are much more likely to leave home in the evening, anywhere between 4pm and midnight. 21% of walkers and 17% of bicycle/motorcycle/taxicabbers leave for work during that time, compared with only 9% of all commuters. All the more reason for safe, separated, lighted pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians to be part of every infrastructure and transportation plan.

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The Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is studying the feasibility of establishing a “Bike Center” facility in downtown Miami.

It would provide secure bike parking, showers and a locker room, bike repair, and retail. As recognized by the DDA, “Other cities across the nation have built these bike hubs to help those seeking an alternative to driving.”

Sound appealing? It does to us! Please take the Miami DDA’s Bike Center Survey as soon as possible to let them know how you too think a downtown Miami Bike Center would be great for our city!

Here are a couple pics of bike centers in Chicago and Washington DC.

Chicago's McDonald's Cycle Center. Credit: Triposo.com

Chicago’s McDonald’s Cycle Center. Credit: Triposo.com

washington-dc-bike-transit-center

Washington DC’s Bike Station

Here’s a quick factsheet the DDA put together describing what bike commuter stations are, as well as a few of the many benefits they bring.

MiamiDDA_BikeCenterFactSheet_2013

Don’t forget to take the survey, especially all the folks who live and/or work in downtown.

http://urbanhp.wufoo.com/forms/downtown-miami-bicycle-center-survey/

 

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As has been reported in multiple local news sources, including The Miami Herald and Huffington Post, travel lanes on the Bear Cut Bridge are being closed.

The Bear Cut Bridge connects the island Village of Key Biscayne to the Miami mainland via the Rickenbacker Causeway.

A graphic of the Bear Cut Bridge by Miami Herald staff artist Marco Ruiz. Source: Miami Herald

A graphic of the Bear Cut Bridge by Miami Herald staff artist Marco Ruiz. Source: Miami Herald

The following public message just came to TransitMiami from Jimmy Martincak, the Road & Bridge Maintenance Superintendent for Miami-Dade County’s Department of Public Works & Waste Management:

Good Afternoon,

Emergency lane restrictions have been implemented on the Bear Cut Bridge along the Rickenbacker Causeway. The Public Works and Waste Management Department is routing vehicular traffic in a counter flow manner on two lanes of the current eastbound portion of the bridge (toward Key Biscayne).

One lane will be used for eastbound vehicular traffic and the other will be used for westbound vehicular traffic (leaving Key Biscayne). This will reduce traffic flow to one vehicular lane in each direction over the Bear Cut Bridge.

Eastbound bicyclists in the bike lane are being directed onto the off road path. Westbound bicyclists in the westbound bike lane are unaffected [emphasis added].

Should you have any questions or concerns, kindly contact our office.

Thank You, Jimmy

James Martincak, Road & Bridge Maintenance Superintendent

Miami-Dade County – Public Works And Waste Management

4299 Rickenbacker Causeway,  Key Biscayne,  Florida  – 33149

305-361-2833 Phone  305-361-5338 Fax   305-979-3470 Cellular

Be sure to contact Mr. Martincak with your thoughts on the matter.

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While many paid money to be stuck in motor traffic in smelly, vomit-ridden taxis, this handsome chap chose to cruise to his New Year’s celebration with the fresh ocean breeze blowing in his perfectly groomed hair.

He chose to travel the smart way: by riding a bicycle . . . all while oozing style, no less.

The spiffiest man in the city on New Years? . . . absolutely.

We know nothing more about him . . . All we know is that he was the classiest New Year’s reveler on Miami Beach . . .

Ride on, my friend . . . ride on . . .

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Will 2012 be regarded as the year Critical Mass penetrated Miami’s mainstream culture?

Miami Critical Mass December 2012 — riders convene at Government Center transit station.

There’s no denying it, ladies and gentlemen: The monthly assemblage of what is now consistently 1000-2000 cyclists for Miami’s Critical Mass has hit, or is at least beginning to hit, the mainstream.

Yes, of course, we have the brouhaha generated by certain celebrity athletes’ participation at recent rides. If you’ve missed it, here’s just one tiny sample of the coverage of recent Critical Mass appearances by the likes of basketball idols Dwayne Wade and Lebron James.

As with all cities, but with Miami in particular, the presence of high-profile figures makes things buzz just a bit more loudly and brightly. Their presence has undeniably elevated the event’s public profile in a positive way. Thank you, basketball superheros!

As a quick aside, though, in the opinion of this humble author, if we wish to see these guys at future rides — which would be great for the Miami biking community — we should probably not hound them with fanatical human-worshiping behavior. Let them embrace the ride in its raw, unadulterated-by-celebrity-fixation glory like any other Miamian.

Twenty-twelve was critical for Critical Mass in ways that go beyond the mere presence of famous athletes, though. Most importantly, the past year saw a virtually exponential increase in ridership.

Last week’s route took riders through downtown Coral Gables’ main thoroughfare: historic Miracle Mile, where classy (and want-to-be classy) Gables’ folk were elated to encounter the reclamation of the streets by 1000-1500 cyclists.

I don’t have any solid data (does anyone?), but there’s a distinct impression that the number of riders averaged around 500 in 2011 while averaging around 1000 in 2012 (plus or minus a few hundred, depending on the month, weather, and maybe even the alignment of the planets — who knows!?)

What’s important to understand, though, is that Critical Mass reached a certain threshold in 2012. Throughout the course of the past year, word has spread farther and wider than ever before on the wonders and excitement of this cherished celebration of cycling and community.

It’s penetrated beyond the sub-cultural circles of fixie-riding hipsters; latex-wearing roadies; cruiser-riding beach bums; blinged-out, low-riding gangsters; your grandma and grandpa; and all other bicycle geek squads of various sorts (including nerdy blog writers).

Indeed, it’s now even reached the radars of Miami’s basketball legends-in-the-making.

Miami Basket-Ballers (left to right): LeBron James, Mario Chalmers, Dwayne Wade. Even Miami’s athlete elite enjoy Miami’s Critical Mass.
Photo Credit: Craig Chester. Source: StreetsBlog.org

The point, however, is that Critical Mass brought D-Wade and King James; they didn’t bring Critical Mass.

Dare I also go so far as to posit that in 2012 Critical Mass even served diplomatic purposes by further consolidating bilateral relations between the United States and at least one of its European allies?

We all remember the epic April 2012 Go Dutch! Orange Bike-In Festival!, celebrating Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) and sponsored by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

The April 2012 Go Dutch! Orange Bike-In Festival was definitely a highlight of the past year. It also certainly added a heightened degree of validity and credibility to the growing stature of Miami Critical Mass as a trans-cultural community event. Hell, it was partially sponsored by Queen Beatrix and Dutch tax-payers. It doesn’t get more legit than that!

As with all Miami Critical Mass rides, this righteous event was unofficially organized by the The Miami Bike Scene (at least to the extent that such an inherently organic and self-regulating event can even be ‘organized’ at all).

There are also other qualities marking the Critical Mass rides of 2012 from all previous years. In the preceding years, and even in early 2012, Critical Massers would convene directly beneath the Metrorail and Metromover tracks at the Government Center transit station, where the administrative offices of Miami-Dade County are located.

Now, however, the rendezvous point has reached, well, a critical mass. We now regularly occupy not only the ground floor of Government Center station, but also nearly all of NW 1st Street from NW 1st to 2nd Avenues, with pockets of riders filling other adjacent areas as well. The meeting spot has now become the meeting block.

Critical Mass riders no longer fit in the limited public space beneath Government Center . . . we’ve taken over nearly the entire street block.

The city’s public safety crews are now much more sympathetic and cooperative with the event too. I personally remember my earliest masses when I would hear rumors floating through the crowds that cops were vigilantly ‘giving citations’ and that riders needed to ‘watch out for cops’.

Such hearsay, whether legitimate or not, cast a sort of perceived antagonism between cops and mass cyclists. These days, though, I don’t hear any of that nonsense, and I’m glad for it too! In fact, the only interaction I witnessed between the cyclists and cops at this past weekend’s ride was quite heartening: patrol cars waited patiently for 10-15 minutes for the bulk of the mass to get through.

The officer in this City of Miami  police car recognizes that Critical Mass is now a regular monthly phenomenon that should be respected and celebrated. S/he waited just like all the other cars . . . probably wishing that s/he could join us!

Also, as was recently reported on an extremely prestigious, high-profile news source, our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man was seen protecting Critical Mass riders as they made their way through the city.

With public defenders like Spidey (or at least a cool firefighter dude dressed-up like him) climbing street-lamps to demonstrate their good-will toward cyclists, one finds it difficult to deny that Critical Mass has indeed made it to the big leagues of Miami’s collective consciousness.

Critical Mass has been ending at The Filling Station, among Miami’s best dive bars, for the past several months. Even the final intersection we’ve been stopping at is more mainstream, bringing the cyclist traffic of the mass into the heart of downtown automobile traffic — a very appropriate ending, if you ask me.

 

These days, Critical Mass ends at the intersection of SE 2nd Street and SE 1st Avenue, at a great Miami dive bar, The Filling Station.

So, our dearly beloved readers, we ask you to give us your reflections on the past year of Critical Mass . . .

Will you remember 2012 as the year Miami’s Critical Mass went mainstream?

Whatever the case, while 2012 was unquestionably a great year for Miami Critical Mass, I’m pretty sure it’s only going to get better in 2013.

Happy New Year, Miami!

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Are you a beginning cyclist and think Critical Mass is only for hard-core riders?

If so, you’re absolutely wrong. Critical Mass is for riders of all skill-levels and all ages. There is no club or organization that runs the show. There are no membership fees or special invitations required. In fact, if you’re looking for an invitation, here it is: You are invited!

We meet the last Friday of every month at Government Center Metrorail station — you won’t miss us. Arrive between 6:45 and 7:00pm. We leave at 7:15pm. Check out The Miami Bike Scene for details on the monthly ride.

There is, however, one group who we strongly advise NOT to attend Critical Mass: super villains and bad guys!

That’s right, you read it correctly, all you crime-seeking punks! Want to test your luck? Ha! Well, I’d give it a second thought if I were you.

‘Why’, you ask? I’ll tell you why! As a matter of fact, I’ll show you why!

Spider-Man shows love to Critical Mass riders and protects us from bad guys! Thank you City of Miami firefighters for showing solidarity with Critical Mass!

A firefighter from the City of Miami suited up and gave the December 2012 Critical Massers a fun show to keep the crowd lively! All of this while the fire truck in the station blared its siren and flashed its lights. Public safety officials (cops and firefighters) show their solidarity with the burgeoning Miami Critical Mass movement.

Any questions?!

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Dear City of Coral Gables,

I love you. You truly are the City Beautiful, a title and reputation well deserved and well maintained. (Well, at least when you’re not knocking out your own teeth by forfeiting precious building space for a parking lot).

Despite my deep affection for you, you lovely gem of a greater Miami municipality, you disappointed me today.

I love riding along your M-Path curves, but I will not tolerate one of your very own Public Works Department employees coming between us like this.

On my bicycle sprint along the M-Path, the last thing I expect or want to encounter is a City vehicle blocking the multi-use (bicycle/pedestrian/etc.) path.

If this is going to work out, you’ll have to promise that you’ll never again allow one of your city employees to violate our relationship. I better not encounter a motor vehicle on the M-Path ever again, especially not one bearing your city seal and colors.

I strongly doubt you’d allow one of these guys to block one of your motor vehicle lanes. Who do you think you are allowing them to block a multi-use path?!

Sincerely,

Broken-Hearted Biker

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As reported earlier this month by our friends over at Curbed Miami, the long-anticipated, long-stalled Brickell Flatiron Park has finally materialized.

Curbed Miami has extensive coverage of the park, with multiple images provided by Transit Miami’s own Craig Chester.

Here are a few more shots of the newly materialized public space. This section of Brickell now has a nice little wedge of accessible park space from which to peacefully gaze and reflect upon the dynamic urban morphology surrounding it.

Cyclist on the bike lane, downtown explorers on the Metromover, Cars2Go waiting for savvy intra-city travelers . . . and a new, sweet park waiting to be fully discovered and enjoyed by Brickellites and other downtown denizens.

The weekly farmers’ market should help draw attention to this much needed downtown park oasis.

All this street signage for active transportation (walking, biking) is great, but municipal workers need better guidelines on where to install the signs. It’s a bit contradictory to have a ‘pedestrian’ sign obstructing part of the sidewalk, and a ‘bike lane’ sign obstructing the other part of the sidewalk, requiring walkers to zig-zag along their path.  All street signs and street furniture should be as far out of the pedestrian thoroughfare as possible. Hopefully that ‘men at work / construction’ sign won’t be up for too long either.

Some new trees to help revive our sparse and frail urban forest canopy, along with plenty of limestone benches on which to sit back and take-in the city — it’s getting better everyday.

With the incipient rise of Brickell CitiCenter just to the north of Mary Brickell Village, this northwest section of the Brickell neighborhood is truly becoming the new hallmark of Miami urbanism.

Now all that’s left is making sure Brickellite yuppies — for so long bereft of such an open public space to call their own — know what to do with their new neighborhood amenity.

Transit Miami’s advice: just sit back and enjoy the growing spectacle your city has to offer.

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So LeBron James biking to work on the reg is making national news which is terrific. Though while reading through some of the coverage, a particular comment caught my attention, reading, ‘It’s great to see LeBron biking to work just like an average Joe.

@KingJames crossing the Brickell bridge on the way to practice. (Via Kingbarchan on Instagram)

Now wait a second. Since when do ‘average Joes’ bike to work here? That’s exactly the problem. ‘Average Joes’ don’t bike to work. ‘Average Joes’ drive alone, sit in traffic and wonder why they are overweight and unhappy.

Don’t be an ‘average Joe’. Be a LeBron.

LBJ rolling out at November’s Miami Critical Mass. (Photo by Ian Forrester)

Art Basel by bicycle.

The art world has descended upon Miami this week.  Last year, 50,000 people attended Miami’s Art Basel event, a four-day contomperary arts fair showcasing Miami’s growing cultural scene.  Not surprisingly, this wonderful event, which makes Miami buzz, is held in the most walkable neighborhoods in  Florida: South BeachWynwood, the Design District, and Midtown.  With the exception of buses, there is no public transit connecting these neighborhoods (there isn’t a no-transfer option connecting Wynwood/Midtown with SoBe). So the vast majority of those attending Art Basel must drive to the various exhibits.  The effects of Miami-Dade County’s unwillingness to take public transit serious once again rears it’s ugly head.  Traffic comes to a standstill.

The Trolley-bus is a temporary solution cobbled together by good intentions from the City of Miami and the DDA. But the truth is, providing meaningful, reliable transportation to these neighborhoods shouldn’t be a local affair, Miami Dade Transit, our regional transit provider should be equipped to handle such a meaningful event. Moreover, the regular service in the area shouldn’t be such an abomination to begin with!

The lack of connectivity and the traffic woes between, Wynwood, the Design District, and Midtown have not gone unnoticed by the cycling community. This year the Green Mobility Network is setting up of a free bicycle valet service at O Cinema.  With demand for safe, secure bike parking outstripping supply, the Green Mobility Network has found an opportunity to provide a much needed service.  Hopefully, this will encourage more people to ride to Art Basel if there is a secure place to park their bicycle.

ARTcycle is an art event created to raise awareness for riders and drivers by promoting wellness and safer streets through an active lifestyle and the arts. ARTcycle’s first event will work with renowned sponsored artists who will use 15 bicycless as their canvas. Bikes will then be auctioned to raise funds and support Green Mobility Network’s Safe Streets Miami program. Both initiatives are co-sponsored by StreetEasy.

DecoBike has also gotten into the mix and they have put up temporary bike stations in Wynwood, Midtown, and the Design District. The distance between Midtown and Wywood is too far to walk for many people, but comfortable enough to bike to. Deco Bike clearly understands that there is a demand for short-haul transit during Art Basel in this neighborhood and are capitalizing on Miami Dade Transit’s inability to provide quality public transit in the this booming neighborhood. Decobike also has a partnership with Heineken.  You can find out more about the Heineken Mural Project at themiamibikescene.com

A temporary DecoBike station in Wynwood in front of Wood Tavern.

Regardless of all the efforts by these various modal groups; Midtown, Design District, and Miami Beach are ripe for longer-term, meaningful transportation. The elephant in the paragraphs above, Miami-Dade Transit, is visibly absent and seemingly ill-equipped to address the needs of these burgeoning neighborhoods (Note: the eerie silence of MDT’s news feed; you can’t tell us the most recent transit update is a 3x weekly service from 8-5 in Cutler Bay, a local service not unlike Miami’s Trolley, mind you). What Art Basel long ago realized and what Miami fails to see for 51 weeks of the year, is that the “sexiness” of these neighborhoods is derived from the urban settings and spaces which comprise them.

For more information about ArtCycle and events related to biking during Art Basel please see below:

ARTcycle art bikes will be exhibited during Art Basel days, December 7-9, 2012 in 11 locations throughout Wynwood. Visitors may see all the art bikes any day, all day long or they may enjoy a bicycle ARTcycle bike tour sponsored by and departing from Fountain Art Fair – 2505 N. Miami Ave December 7th, 8th, and 9th at noon.

ARTcycle Exhibiting Artists + locations:

Johanna Boccardo + Erwin Georgi at Wood Tavern
Mariano Costa-Peuser at Cafeina | Wynwood Exhibition Center
Giselle Delgado Buraye at Kayu | Respondé
Elio Diaz Jr. (Elito) at Wood Tavern sponsored by Mack Cycle
Katy Stalfus at Fountain
Astolfo Funes at Elemental
Katiuska Gonzalez at Fountain
Lucinda Linderman at Miami’s Independent Thinkers | Armory
Nancy Martini at Gab Studios sponsored by All4Cycling
Janet Mueller at 004 Connec | Graffe Cafe
Maximiliano Pecce at Cafeina | Wynwood Exhibition Center
Sri Prabha at Giraffas Brazilian Steaks & Burgers
Gioconda Rojas at O Cinema
Aida Tejada at O Cinema

EVENTS:

Thursday, December 6th: Happy Hour at Wood Tavern 5-9pm

Art Bike: Elio Diaz Jr. (Elito),  sponsored by Mack Cycle
Art Bike: Johanna Boccardo + Erwin Georgi

Friday, December 7th: ARTcycle Bike Tour 12 noon

Visit all the 15 Art Bikes
Register at Fountain Art Fair Green Lounge
Bike Support by ALL4Cycling, Miami Pace and 305 Green
Refreshments and snacks by ZICO and Kind Bars

Saturday, December 8th: Tour de Wynwood (Bike Basel) 11am
Graffiti bicycle tour with Street.Art.Cycle and The Miami Bike Scene
Visit new murals and installations around Wynwood and hear brief descriptions about some of the artists and their pieces. http://www.themiamibikescene.com/2012/12/tour-de-wynwood-art-basel.html

Saturday, December 8th: ARTcycle Bike Tour 12 noon

Visit all the 15 Art Bikes + Wynwood walls
Register at Fountain Art Fair Green Lounge
Bike Support by ALL4Cycling, Miami Pace and 305 Green
Refreshments and snacks by ZICO and Kind Bars

Sunday, December 9th: ARTcycle Bike Tour 12 noon

Visit all the 15 Art Bikes
Register at Fountain Art Fair Green Lounge
Bike Support by ALL4Cycling, Miami Pace and 305 Green
Refreshments and snacks by ZICO and Kind Bars

December 7th, 8th & 9th: Bicycle Valet parking by Green Mobility Network

at O Cinema 9am-6pm
90 Northwest 29th Street
leave your bike & enjoy the art scene!

 
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