Miami Beach is already a relatively bicycle-friendly city. It’s dense urban pattern, limited geographic area, mixture of uses, and many well-scaled streets -  prerequisites for urban bicycling — certainly give it a leg up on all other South Florida municipalities.

However, these qualities alone do not a great bicycle city make.

As demonstrated in cities like Portland, Davis and Boulder — the platinum standard in this country — a well-connected, easily identifiable network of bicycle infrastructure must be put in place if any city is to meet latent demands. Otherwise, as a mode of transportation,  bicycling will achieve only a fraction of its potential. It seems this lesson is starting to take hold in Miami Beach, which I believe has the potential to surpass the previously mentioned cities as America’s most bicycle-friendly (I’ll explain how in a future article).

New bicycle racks are being installed on Alton Road.

Within the past few years the city has striped bicycle lanes on portions of 16th Street, Prairie Avenue, the Venetian Causeway, Royal Palm Avenue, and 47th Street.  Attractive and recognizable bicycle racks continue to be installed along the cities commercial corridors, including Alton Road, Lincoln Road, and Washington Avenue. Additionally, attractive way-finding signs have been installed which help bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists alike navigate their way efficiently around the Beach.

Yet, according to the latest edition of Miami Beach Magazine, a quarterly publication distributed to all MB residents,  a bonanza of additional bicycle improvements are on the way.

Alton Road, South Pointe Drive, Ocean Drive, and West Avenue are all slated for new bicycle lanes. Additionally, a new “bike path” (not sure if they actually mean lane here) will appear on Dade Boulevard, and hundreds of new racks will continue to be installed along the city’s main corridors and eventually within the neighborhoods. And finally, as we reported earlier this month, a 500 bicycle-sharing system may be implemented as soon as this fall. With the glut of tourists who arrive in Miami Beach every week, and only one other American city with such an amenity, this project may be the most transformative.

Many of the above projects are still in the design stage, and the article did not include a timetable for their completion. Given that I am still waiting for the pilot “sharrows” to be painted along Washington Avenue, I will not hold my breath.

Regardless, these long overdue projects bode will certainly enhance mobility, but most importantly improve accessibility to points and destinations all over Miami Beach. Ultimately, it will also further the city’s reputation as one committed to sustainable transportation.

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