Adventures of a Pedestrian on Brickell

Friend of Transit Miami, Olga Ramos, lives on Brickell Avenue and wanted to share her daily commuting to work experience with our readers.

Every day I make a choice; a small choice, but an important one none the less. I choose to walk to work. Even though my company pays for a much coveted covered parking spot in one of the most prestigious pieces of real estate in Miami, I leave the transponder in my car parked in our apartment building and I choose to use what nature gave me to get to the office. My primary motivation comes from my belief that it is important to do the little things in order to reduce my carbon footprint, and because frankly that quarter of mile of movement allows me to transform myself into the focused business women my colleagues know.  I also walk to my gym (which is exactly 1.04 miles from our home thank you map quest) even though at that gym I receive free valet parking. I consider it my cardio warm up.

I think that the biggest change in most Americans lives over the last 40 years is that we have stopped walking. The little trips to the library, post office or corner store has been replaced with jumping into gas guzzling SUV’s to go just half a mile. In most cities the reason is because suburban sprawl and poor urban planning have made these locations far from were people live. But in Miami most people don’t walk because it is dangerous. During my walk every day, I play a sort of human frogger that affords me at minimum 3 near death experiences a week. As an adventuresome girl I could deal with that, however; what really irks me is how rude people are. I have been crossing Coral Way and Brickell, the crosswalk will be clearly signaling my right of way and drivers will still regularly yell obscenities in whatever native language is theirs or just use hand signals to communicate their disgust. I must admit that the road rage I encounter does make me dream of the day that I walk to work with rotten eggs in my hands so that when I encounter these drivers that have turned to the dark side I can leave a memorable impression.

But what I really want are two simple things. I want for all of the crosswalk lights to work (something I haven’t experienced since July) and I would like for some signage to go up on the traffic signals that states “Yield to Pedestrians”. The crosswalks lights that aren’t functioning are located on the NE side of Brickell Ave and 14th Street as well as the crosswalk lights on NE side of Brickell and 13ts Street. These are small things, but they would make a world of difference to this urbanite and her fellow pedestrian walkers.

And I promise that if I get what I want, that I won’t consider the rotten egg retaliation again.”

Although I don’t recommend rotten egg retaliation, I understand her frustration. Drivers need to respect the rights of pedestrians and the city also needs to do a much better job of enforcing their rights. The City of Miami must educate the driving public by putting up more “Yield to Pedestrian” signs throughout Brickell and Downtown. There is enough density and pedestrian activity to consider a “No Turn on Red” ordinance for Brickell and Downtown. Such an ordinance would make walking safer and would slow down traffic in these heavily populated areas.

no-right-on-red-outl

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12 Responses to “Adventures of a Pedestrian on Brickell”


  1. 1 Nathan

    For such a dense area, you’d think walking around Brickell would be a breeze, but au contraire, it’s always a task, and many cross lights don’t work. I believe Brickell Avenue is due to be redone, and I’m hoping new crosswalks, new crosslights, no turn on red signs, etc will all be part of the new upgrades, because Brickell needs it very badly.

  2. 2 Adam

    I feel like the Yield to Pedestrians sign would be better than a No Turn on Red. It is rarely the pedestrian crossing perpendicular to the (original direction of the) turning driver that gets hit, it’s the pedestrian crossing parallel (with the light) that the driver fails to see when starting the turn.

  3. 3 Felipe Azenha

    Adam,
    The problem is that cars don’t yield to pedestrians even with the signs. NYC does not allow a right hand turns on red, and it seems to work very well there. By making it illegal to turn on red, cars will be discouraged from making the customary rolling stop at red lights; rather they’ll be forced to make a full stop, this makes the situation much safer for the pedestrians, and slows down traffic too.

  4. 4 Collin

    At the last BPAC meeting the FDOT representative mentioned that improvements are being studied now for a Brickell Ave project from SE 4th St to SE 26th Road.
    There is a pedestrian and bicycle mobility master plan the DDA is beginning to develop. So lots of opportunity for improvements.

  5. 5 kathryn

    Very nice piece, Olga. Thank you for sharing your pedestrian experience. Is it too much to hope we’ll hear your voice more often here?

  6. 6 Brad K.

    Great Idea. This is an enormous problem for pedestrians in Miami. At the corner of NE 1st ave and NE 6th street it is almost impossible to cross the street due to the continual traffic of trucks and cars turning right that don NOT stop at the light before turning right. Last week the DDA approved around $180K for consultants to study signage in the Downntonw Area and it is estimated that $1 million that will be spent on replacing and insallijng signs from this project. Maybe a no turn onred should be part of the scope of this project.

  7. 7 Adam O.

    To me it seems that it creates a situation where all the turning will be done on green, which is a much more dangerous situation than when it is red. Maybe a Yield to Peds isn’t the right answer either, but I imagine it will be followed about as well as carefully as a No Turn on Red will be.

  8. 8 mr jones

    Yeah, I think those no-turn-on-red signs really only benefit pedestrians if the walk sign lights up before the green light.

    I’m a big fan of those yield to pedestrians, good portion of drivers seem to adhere to them. Kind of sad though, what’s next, signs explaining green, yellow, and red lights means :P

  1. 1 Streetsblog New York City » In Miami, a Step Forward for Pedestrians
  2. 2 Streetsblog Los Angeles » In Miami, a Step Forward for Pedestrians
  3. 3 Streetsblog San Francisco » In Miami, a Step Forward for Pedestrians
  4. 4 Streetsblog Capitol Hill » In Miami, a Step Forward for Pedestrians

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