It seems like every time a cyclist or pedestrian is killed or seriously injured on the mean and incomplete streets of Miami the knee-jerk reaction by our politicians is more enforcement. This happened on the Rickenbacker Causeway after Christoph LeCanne was killed a year ago. Miami Dade Police enforcement increased significantly after cyclists pressured County Commissioner Gimenez to do more. Enforcement lasted about two months.
This same old sold song and dance also took place on Brickell Avenue a few months ago. After residents and business rallied for a more pedestrian-friendly Brickell Avenue, Commissioner Sarnoff was quick to ask for additional enforcement on Brickell Avenue in order to address speeding on this poorly designed road. The crackdown by the Miami Police Department lasted about a month. The FDOT paid lip service by reducing the speed limit by a paltry 5 mph; still excessive for a road that cuts through the heart of Florida’s most densely populated neighborhood. The combined actions of the FDOT and Commissioner Sarnoff seemed to calm some of the outrage, but the FDOT did nothing to address to actual design speed of the roadway. Even with a 5 mph reduction of the speed limit drivers will continue to speed until the actual design speed of Brickell Avenue is addressed. Enforcement is basically fruitless.
Sounds like our elected officials have a winning formula to address voter indignation when someone is killed or critically injured on South Florida streets-temporary enforcement. What a joke. This is slap in the face to everyone that accepts this expensive and infective remedy that politicians ram down our throats as the silver bullet that will change driver behavior. Enforcement is a temporary solution that doesn’t have a lasting effect. In order to change behavior we must change the design of our streets. In the short term redesigning our streets may be more expensive (they should have been designed properly in the first place), but in the long term we can prevent deaths and injuries with better designed roads. The impact will be felt immediately; less deaths, injuries and need for enforcement.
Enforcement is Unsustainable. Why must we pay police to enforce traffic laws when they have more productive things to do? This burden falls upon the taxpayers; we have to pay police overtime or hire more police to enforce crappy roadway design. This is preposterous. When we hire more police to enforce our traffic laws it becomes exponentially more expensive for our municipalities. We are forced to pay the long term costs associated with additional police pensions and healthcare, as well as equipment to enforce the traffic laws (uniforms, speed guns, weapons, patrol cars, motorcycles, gas, etc.). The list goes on. On the other hand, good design doesn’t require enforcement; a well-designed street polices itself.
Enforcement is Ineffective. Enforcement may temporarily change driver behavior, but motorists know where to expect enforcement and will regress to their bad driving behavior as long as poor roadway design encourages terrible driving manners. As long as we have roads that encourage speeding the “war” against bad driver behavior through the use of enforcement is futile. Theoretically enforcement could work if we had police at every intersection, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We all know that ain’t happening and it shouldn’t.
Our elected officials have to realize that we cannot police and enforce ourselves out of a poorly designed street. Our streets will only become safer if they are designed to accommodate all users (pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists). Commissioner Sarnoff, County Commissioner Gimenez, and Mayor Regalado are not doing enough to ensure our safety. It’s about time they deal with the fundamental problem; incomplete and autocentric streets. They need to force the County Public Works Department and the FDOT to design complete streets. Enforcement is deceitful at best. It gives the public the impression that our elected officials are acting in our behalf and interest. If they were sincere, our politicians would be lobbying for fundamental changes in the way we design our streets.
Our elected officials must be honest with the voting public. I do think some enforcement is better than no enforcement, particularly on the poorly designed streets in the urban core. But in order for it to be effective there needs to be a consistent (unsustainable) police presence. There must be a serious commitment of police resources until we get the FDOT to design a proper street. It can’t only be a two month crackdown. Currently we have no enforcement at all around Brickell and the area has become virtually lawless for motorists. This will certainly change once someone else dies or is critically injured. It’s just a matter of time. Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle with no end in sight. I challenge our elected officials to step-up to the plate. Will they accept this challenge? If we can put a man on the moon, we can design complete streets in our own backyard.
You can find our suggestions for improvements below. We will not be satisfied until these recommendations are implemented. Anything less, will be considered a failure.
Observe what happens when streets are poorly designed and there isn’t enforcement. Watch as the two ladies almost get hit by the red Cadillac around 20 seconds. This situation could be entirely avoided if we designed our streets with pedestrians in mind. Due to poor design we put pedestrians into a harms way, and then we create the false expectation that bad driver behavior can be addressed with enforcement. Through bad design we’ve essentially created a need for enforcement. We should not design our streets to be enforced. Good design discourages bad behavior and eliminates the need for enforcement almost entirely.
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
- New York City's Most Serious Pollution Continues to Plague its Residents April 23, 2014Imagine living high above Manhattan but unable to open your windows because of soot-laden smoke from surrounding buildings. Toxic emissions from burning dirty heating oil continues despite a 2011 law requiring conversion to a cleaner fuel.
- Meet the Creek that Splits the United States in Half April 23, 2014Move over Panama Canal, there’s another waterway that connects one side of the continent to the other. These waters part ways in Wyoming.
- The Who, What, Where, Why and How of Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare April 23, 2014Few transportation projects have transformed D.C. as thoroughly as Capital Bikeshare. From humble beginnings in 2010 with fewer than 50 stations, there are now over three hundred stations and 2500 bikes spread across the city.
- How will the Physical Urban Environment be Affected by Obamacare? April 23, 2014Los Angeles County planner Clement Lau discusses what the Affordable Care Act means for hospital construction, design, and expansion.
- A Brief History of Your Neighborhood April 23, 2014While some contend that our communities are sculpted by an unfettered free market, there are a variety of programs and policies that underwrite the costs of poorly planned development. "A Brief History of Your Neighborhood" examines a few.
- Which Cities Get to Work Early (or Late)? April 23, 2014According to new analysis by Nate Silver, New York City might be more aptly described as the city that sleeps in.
- Dallas Working to Streamline Approval Process for Sidewalk Cafés April 22, 2014A City Council committee got its first look at a proposed revision of the streetscape licensing process by which restaurants and cafés can acquire sidewalk seating. Councilmembers sent the plan back the drawing board again.
- A Primer on Zoning in Japan April 22, 2014An intrepid blogger digs into the differences between Japanese zoning regulations and those here in the United States.
- Golden State Warriors Drop Pier 30-32 Arena Plans April 22, 2014In what is surely a victory for opponents of waterfront development along the Embarcadero corridor in San Francisco, the Golden State Warriors have purchased a new site farther south, near AT&T Park and the UCSF Mission Bay campus, for a new arena.
- Seattle’s Capitol Hill Light Rail Attracting TOD Attention April 22, 2014Sound Transit released a request for qualifications to build a 100,000-square-foot mixed-use TOD at the forthcoming Capitol Hill light rail station. Fourteen interested developers responded.
- New York City's Most Serious Pollution Continues to Plague its Residents April 23, 2014