25 people showed up to the public meeting Tuesday night at the Miami Beach Regional Library. It was an open format, with the project laid out on two long tables and key personnel available to answer questions and take comments.
One table featured a visual summary of the crash data, and one table showed the proposal from a bird’s eye view.
Mayor Matti Bower thanked everyone for coming, even if, “they [FDOT] never do anything I ask.”
There were several members of Miami Beach City Staff there: two engineers from Public Works, Rick Saltrick and Diane Fernandez. Fred Beckman, the Public Works Director was there, as well as Assistant City Manager Duncan Ballantyne and Community Outreach maven Lynn Birnstein.
Beckman, Bernstein and Ballantyne were there mainly to facilitate the participation of Marlo Courtney of Goldman Properties and Michael Comras, of the Comras Company, two prominent developers, who along with Realtor Lyle Stern and other property owners in the area have formed the Collins Avenue Improvement Association, (CIA).
CIA in turn, has hired engineering consultant Ramon Castella of C3TS in Coral Gables. It is heartwarming to see civic leaders like these gentlemen take such an active role in making our streets better. I, for one, am grateful for their efforts.
The CIA is working with the City Managers’ office, who has pledged to use quality of life funds to enhance the project. This extra cash will amp up a once vanilla RRR (Road Resurfacing and Reconstruction) project into a “mini mod” with new sidewalks, new curbs, landscaped bump outs and an additional amount of drainage.
Oh yes, and the addition of the 10 foot left turn lane. But I digress.
As merchants, the CIA are really focused on sidewalks. The sidewalks along this corridor are not only old and broken, but are really small. Between 5 and 6.5′. Add to that the massive amount of regulatory and way-finding signs, street furniture and café seating plus the large numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists, and it doesn’t take the other CIA to figure out Collins Avenue needs more sidewalks.
FDOT, happily, is committed to making the sidewalks as wide as possible, without moving the curbs. This means they will have to aggressively pursue encroachments. We wish them well. On Miami Beach, we sometimes loose 5-6 feet of public right of way on any given corridor to private landscaping or even hard construction due to these types of encroachments. The CMB policy, for the most part, has been one of “Don’t ask, don’t take.” This works well to quell the fear of construction for adjacent property owners, but does little to enhance transportation.
Unfortunately, CIA is so focused on picking out streetlamps and placing parking stations, trashcans and benches, that they have lost sight of the big picture. Addressing the congestion on Collins Avenue that makes the entire experience of being there unpleasant and unsafe for everyone.
FDOT is addressing the unsafe conditions – at least for cars. In the July 2011 Safety Study done by CH Perez and Associates, they document how unsafe Collins Avenue is for cars. They looked at reported crash data for a three-year period, (2007-2009). 1,152 crashes in three years gets you on FDOT’s High Crash List. 84% were property-damage only crashes. 29% of crashes were rear end, 23% sideswipe and 18% involved a park car. 6% of all crashes involved a pedestrian (2/3) or bicycle, (1/3) and of those 67 crashes, 85% resulted in injuries.
Good news is there were no fatalities during the study period. Bad news is we know how under reported bicycle-car accidents are.
The report names aggressive driving as the number one probable cause for the crashes, and believes the lack of a left turn lane is to blame.
And so, the hardworking and dedicated engineers, project managers and safety specialists who are working on this project use the extra ten-feet (gained by narrowing the parking lane and travel lanes) to add an extra lane of traffic.
In reality, the added travel lane will only make the problem worse by adding to the congestion of Collins Avenue, which will ramp up the aggression, which will cause more accidents.
Anyone who has ever been on Collins Avenue knows the score, especially at unsignalized intersections. Cars wait in the travel lane to make that left-hand turn. And wait and wait because of the congestion. Cars two and three behind them whiz around on the right when then can, often grazing the parked cars, shouting expletives and showing the finger. The driver waiting to make the turn finally sees an opening and makes a dash, only to be stopped short by the pedestrian or bicyclist he did not see because he was so focused on the cars coming at him in speeds that range from the posted 30 to 35 MPH. When the waiting driver makes his move, either a pedestrian or bicyclist gets hit or a chain reaction of rear-end collisions happen behind him. (As an aside, this craziness of the modulating posted speed limit should be addressed immediately, bringing the posted speed limit to 30 throughout the corridor. I would like to see 25, but that’s just me.)
The left turn lane allows traffic to continually move through the corridor while allowing three cars to stack up waiting to make that elusive left turn.
This will induce latent demand and add capacity – and traffic – to the roadway. More cars on Collins Avenue are not the answer. More pedestrians are key to restoring the economic preeminence of this retail district. You do that by making the sidewalks safer by moving the bicycles into a dedicated lane.
Additionally, the bike lane will help encourage users of Collins Avenue who are not in cars. More people biking and walking equals more choices for people to get around.
The best part is that in 20 years when we get a wholesale reconstruction of the corridor, we will have shifted the travel mode from 90% percent cars to 20% cars. Justifying removing the turn lane and extending the sidewalks and adding landscaping.
Adding bike lanes now is the seed required to achieve that future. Unfortunately none of the project managers ride a bicycle. I have invited them all to try it: on Collins now. Or ride the sharrows on Washington Avenue and see how that feels. They need to see there is more than one way to solve the problem they have defined, and there is a better solution is to deal with the root cause, not just add too it.
Please send an email to the man in charge, Harold Desdunes at email@example.com. He assured me he would have the engineers take another look at the study, but they need to put their bike helmets on to do it. Send an email asking for their support. My City Manager, Jorge Gonzalez said he direct staff to ask for the bike lane. It’s a start, but the Department is rushing to complete the plans. Time is of the essence!
All is not lost, but your help is needed to prod FDOT in the right direction.
- FDOT Public Meeting October 25 in Miami Beach Regarding Collins Avenue
- No Bike Lanes Planned For Collins; Extra ROW Used for A New Left Turn Lane
- MacArthur Causeway Project Public Information Meeting
- FDOT Public Information Meeting Regarding Brickell Avenue On Tuesday
- Recap: Brickell Avenue Press Conference: More improvements to come?
Subscribe via Email
Find us on Facebook
- Mike Moskos on Event: Donald Shoup-The Godfather of Eliminating Required Parking
- Matthew Toro on ‘Mixed’ Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- Adam Old on ‘Mixed’ Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- Mike arias on County Announces New Vision for Pedestrians and Cyclists: Vision Zero 305
- Matthew Toro on Commercial Land-Use in Miami-Dade
- ivo on County Announces New Vision for Pedestrians and Cyclists: Vision Zero 305
CategoriesAccident Architecture bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Downtown Miami FDOT High Speed Rail Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Planning Real Estate Development Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Development Boundary Urban Growth Urban Planning Walkability
- Which Way, Dallas? April 20, 2014Architecture critic Mark Lamster describes Dallas as a city at a defining moment in its history. He poses the following questions: “What are our goals, and how do we achieve them? What exactly do we want Dallas to be?”
- Ranking the Most Resilient Cities April 20, 2014Resilience has entered into the planning and urbanism lexicon as a large challenge for all places pursuing prosperous, sustainable futures. A new study examines the world’s leading cities for lessons in resilience.
- Biking Boom Takes to the Sidewalks April 20, 2014The city of Santiago, Chile offers a cautionary tale for cities amidst a biking boom that don’t rethink the mode balance on their streets: there’s nowhere for bikers to go except the sidewalk.
- Finding Authenticity April 20, 2014The coveted creative class is in search of neighborhoods and communities with lots of character. Why are such places so hard to find? Maybe it is because we are trying too hard.
- Billboards, Big Money, and (Political) Blight April 20, 2014Planners typically pay attention to the Supreme Court when a Fifth Amendment case, like Kelo v. New London, comes along. The recent McCutcheon decision is a case in which the court could have paid attention to planners.
- Study: Active Commutes Correlate to Positive Public Health Outcomes April 20, 2014The Alliance for Biking and Walking’s 2014 Benchmarking report found a strong correlation between active commuting rates and health outcomes like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
- The Urban Reordering: Can the United States Make it Stick? April 20, 2014The trend toward the urban has been documented from every possible angle, but a recent op-ed wonders whether it will be possible for the federal government to make a course correction that ceases the endless subsidies for the suburbs.
- Seattle’s Cap on Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar Rescinded by Referendum April 19, 2014After Seattle Citizens to Repeal Ordinance 124441 acquired twice the necessary number of signatures necessary to send a March ordinance capping the number of Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar drivers in the city, the mayor will negotiate with the companies.
- The Economics Behind Crude by Rail April 19, 2014Sure, it costs more than moving by pipeline—double or triple the price per barrel. But look at the speed: five days versus 40. A new rail terminal in Beaumont, Texas sheds light on the economics that make CBR attractive to shippers and refineries.
- Enough with the Parking Garages: Baltimore's Inner Harbor Redo Criticized April 19, 2014The first step in the transformation of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a proposed renovation of Rash Field. But one commentator sees the subterranean parking garage included in conceptual plans as more of the same car-domination.
- Which Way, Dallas? April 20, 2014