The article below is a repost.  It was originaly posted on November 15, 2009. The FDOT has made some very small striping improvements since the article was originally published.  Needless to say, it is not enough. The FDOT must do more.

Inspired by the recent Dangerous by Design report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America Transit Miami will begin documenting existing conditions that are dangerous and potentially deadly to pedestrians and bicyclists. In what will likely be an infinite collection of posts, the MacArthur Causeway will be the first roadway evaluated for Transit Miami’s very own Dangerous By Design exposé.

Although the MacArthur Causeway is actually designated as bicycle route, I don’t like to ride it because I fear for my life.  The Venetian Causeway is a much safer alternative.  This morning all bicyclists and pedestrians were forced to take the MacArthur Causeway because the eastern drawbridge on the Venetian Causeway was broken.  Non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians had no other alternative to traverse the bay other than the MacArthur Causeway. I decided to make the most of my MacArthur Causeway crossing, so I took the opportunity to more closely inspect FDOT’s current resurfacing project on the MacArthur Causeway.  Sadly, it seems like FDOT did not seriously consider pedestrians and bicyclists during the design phase of this resurfacing project.

My intention was to allow FDOT to finish the project before critiquing it, but that won’t be necessary, because what little work remains to be completed is mostly cosmetic (i.e. painting bicycle lanes and symbols). As one of only three arterial roads that connects Miami to Miami Beach, it is imperative that this wide, high speed, high capacity thoroughfare have safe pedestrian and bicycle provisions. FDOT’s current design consists of an unprotected bicycle lane that doubles as an emergency shoulder.  Sorry, but anything less than a separated and protected multiuse path is unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists.  For this reason the MacArthur Causeway is being regrettably recognized as Dangerous By Design. If FDOT were genuinely concerned about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists they would have designed a separated and protected multiuse path.  Below are examples that should have been considered.

Wilson Bridge Bike Path. Photo courtsey of http://joeholthaus.com/id69.html

Wilson Bridge Bike Path. Photo courtesy of http://joeholthaus.com/id69.html

Burrard Bike Lane, Vancouver Canada. Photo courtesy of www.news1130.com

Burrard Bike Lane, Vancouver Canada. Photo courtesy of www.news1130.com

Below are a few photographs taken this morning of poor design standards on the MacArthur Causeway:

The bus stop needs to be protected; a pedestrian could have easily been killed here.

Bus stops on a three lane highway need to be protected; a pedestrian could have easily been killed here while waiting for the bus.

The bike lane/shoulder becomes bus stop. Please note that the bike lane/shoulder/bus stop ends.

The bike lane/shoulder becomes a bus stop. Please note that the bike lane/shoulder/bus stop ends without warning.

Bicyclists are forced into travel lane as soon as the bike lane/shoulder ends. It is not a coincidence that a taxi cab driver struck 11 bicyclists last year at this location.  This is a major design flaw.

Bicyclists are then forced into the travel lane as soon as the bike lane/shoulder ends. It is not a coincidence that a taxi cab driver struck 11 bicyclists last year at this location. This is a major design flaw, a similar design flaw contributed to the death a bicyclist on the Rickenbacker Causeway a few years ago.

Where are the temporary provisions for pedestrians, the handicap, and parents with strollers?

Where are the temporary provisions for pedestrians, the handicap, and parents with strollers?

A temporary solution needs to be found.

A temporary solution needs to be found. Access is very difficult for pedestrians.

14 Responses to Reposted: Dangerous By Design: The MacArthur Causeway

  1. Prem says:

    I’ve ridden up and down the MacArthur Causeway about three times now (usually use Venetian) and never realized that the shoulder was supposed to be a bike lane.
    Is there any signage?

    With this knowledge it somewhat changes how I feel about this Causeway.

    Without taking this into account I generally (aside from the horribly dangerous bottlenecks where bicyclists are forced into traffic to get back to the shoulder) like the MacArthur because it has a large shoulder. The shoulder is bigger than the bike lane is on the Venetian, and unlike the Venetian I don’t usually see cars parked in the shoulder/bike lane. (I’ve considered keying those cars as I pass them by)
    The big shoulder is very enjoyable to me because I can ride in the middle, which puts me a good distance from both side walk to my right and traffic on my left.

    That being said, if these are supposed to be bike lanes they are pathetic. The road quality is horrendous. I can’t imagine traversing on a road bike, it must be bumpy and rough.

       0 likes

  2. Vincent says:

    MacArthur Causeway is a DEATH TRAP….11% chance that you’ll get killed…. No thanks….The concrete dividers look like a temporary protection alternative anywhere you need it!

       0 likes

  3. Felipe Azenha says:

    Vincent,

    The concrete dividers that I am proposing are not meant to be temporary, but a permanent solution to protect bicyclists and pedestrians. The MacArthur Causeway provides some spectacular views of our city, and if designed properly, has the potential to become a magnificent greenway connecting Miami to Miami Beach. Check out this alternative too:

    http://home.comcast.net/~zuckermann/News/Bike_lane/bike_path_westbound.jpg

    The point is we need to make it safer to encourage use. A permanent protective divider is fundamental for a successful MacArthur bike/ped path.

       1 likes

  4. Unfortunately, all the bridges going to the beach in Miami are quite dangerous. The only bridges I bike across are the Bal-harbor causeway and the Venetian causeway which have slightly less traffic due to the tolls…without the tolls those roads would be a free4all….

       0 likes

  5. Felipe Azenha says:

    Agreed Myles,
    FDOT needs to consider the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists on all bridges. This is something that they do not do properly, and needs to move up on their priority list. Bridges are the trunk lines that carry all forms of transportation. Therefore, FDOT needs to consider bicyclists and pedestrians when designing and upgrading bridges and causeways. This is not optional.

       0 likes

  6. prem says:

    paulina, tisk tisk

       0 likes

  7. [...] volunteers and it was a pleasure to catch up with him, as always. Daniel talked to me about the bike lane fiasco that is the MacArthur Causeway, (Let’s hope this post serves as a nudge to get him and Yvette to blog their harrowing [...]

       0 likes

  8. Liz says:

    TAKE THE JULIA TUTTLE! GOD!

       0 likes

  9. Felipe Azenha says:

    Liz,
    Technically it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the Julia Tuttle. Also, the Julia Tuttle is as dangerous if not more dangerous than the MacArthur. Every single causeway in this county ought to have a safe connection for pedestrians and cyclists. This is not option any longer.

    p.s imagine I don’t own a car, and only have a bicycle to get to work. I live downtown and I work on ocean and fifth street. I should not have to take the Julia Tuttle to get to work. How about we make all the cars going to ocean and 5th take the Julia Tuttle too? Some people don’t have the luxury of being able to afford a car I ride a bicycle not for recreation but out of necessity.

       0 likes

  10. Prem says:

    I didn’t realize it was illegal to bike on the Julia Tuttle. Save the bridge closest to south beach, i don’t mind the ride that much.
    Big shoulder, unfortunately with lots of debris, but otherwise easily traversed. And the view from the bridge closest to downtown is breathtaking.

       0 likes

  11. Anonymous says:

    the vienitian is a total mess right now i take it everyday and its always full of debri construction and lane closuers when will it all end yall

    does the city hates us

    is their hope in 2k11

       0 likes

  12. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Miami will NEVER be one of the most bicycle friendly cities in America. It’s a far too hot and humid most of the year ’round for most to even think about cycling as an alternative — even part-time. Also, the city’s full of incredibly shallow, materialistic people who are too attached to their Lexus’ and Infinity’s. Miami will always put the cyclists last. That’s why I’m getting the f*ck out of this nasty sh*thole.

       1 likes

  13. Mike S says:

    FDOT actually has requirements in the bridge structures manual for protected barriers for pedestrians and bicyclists; however since we want to “share the road” bikes are vehicles and need to have a barrier between them and the pedestrians. Two rows of f-stop barriers for a couple of miles are expensive, and you can get a variance with signed and sealed traffic data (that proves bikes don’t use the causeway, because the causeway is too dangerous for bikes, hence bikes don’t use the causeway. . .)

    The real solution would be to classify vehicles by power levels and require protection levels

       0 likes

  14. Thrillogy says:

    As a person who loves to bike ride would agree that we need to have a permanent solution such as having separate divider for pedestrians, bike riders, and even automobiles. I don’t mean a line, I mean a concrete barrier. 100% agree with if this barrier is designed right then this might be a greener alternative. Plus people in these economic times would safe allot of money by biking across the bridge and also the scenery overlooking Biscayne bay is gorgeous.

       1 likes

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