Currently viewing the category: "Brickell"

This picture was taken this morning on South Miami Avenue and 11th Street in Brickell - the same intersection I reported on previously on November 23rd.

I did not personally witness the crash, but given the significant damage to the car and the way the debris was scattered, it’s safe to assume a high rate of speed was a factor.

Brickell’s new ‘Triangle Park’ is under construction just to the right of the picture. Let’s add some basic traffic calming measures around the park so we can all enjoy it without having to dodge flying shards of plastic, glass and metal on our way there.

Share

Additional Traffic Calming Needed ahead of Park Opening

Over the past few weeks, Miami-Dade County Public Works has begun to upgrade the streetscape on South Miami Avenue through the heart of Brickell, specifically from Broadway to SW 8th St. As reported earlier on TransitMiami, these upgrades include ‘zebra’ crosswalks, additional signage and lane striping.

Recently, a bicycle lane and ‘sharrows’ were added to South Miami Avenue on this segment, as well as ‘sharrows’ on Brickell Plaza and through Mary Brickell Village.  Additionally, the chaotic and confusing intersection at SW 12th St. and S. Miami Avenue has been slightly reconfigured with bollards to prevent ‘soft left’ turns.

Re-configured intersection at SW 12th st. and S. Miami Ave. The bollards prevent the 'soft left' turn that was the scene of numerous crashes.

 

Newly striped bike lane headed south on S. Miami Ave. through Brickell

As the new Triangle Park nears it’s completion, a need for additional traffic calming in the area is painfully obvious to allow residents a safe way to access the park. Presently, with a green light at the intersection of SW 13th Street and S. Miami Avenue, it is possible for a motorist to continue unimpeded from the Broadway roundabout all the way to SW 10th street. Such a long stretch with no stop signs allows motorists to gain unsafe rates of speed through Brickell. There are no traffic calming mechanisms  (raised crosswalks, stop signs, sidewalk bulb-outs, etc.) to alert drivers that they are entering an area with dense pedestrian traffic and speeds of 45mph+ are dangerous and unacceptable.

Just a block down S. Miami Ave from the park, in Mary Brickell Village, no mid-block crosswalk exists to connect the two sides of the street. Understandably, pedestrians frequently weave through parked (and moving) cars to cross the street. The need for a safely marked midblock crossing is so obvious it’s almost comical that it does not exist.

I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Brickell’s new ‘Flatiron Park’ in October. During Commissioner Sarnoff’s speech, cars were flying down S.  Miami Avenue at ridiculous speeds, completely inappropriate for a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood. No motorists were yielding to pedestrians. Mothers with strollers, people walking their pets, individuals in wheelchairs were all having difficulty crossing the street. Watching SUV’s hurl themselves at the intersection outside Baru Urbano and aggressively brake just in time for the crosswalk was unnerving. Unfortunately, this is an everyday occurrence.

This hazardous situation could be mitigated with a stop sign at SW 11th street, pictured below. As reported earlier on TransitMiami, the manager of Rosinella has personally witnessed an average of 5 accidents a year at this intersection.

How will we get to the park? Need to slow the cars down here.

This only scratches the surface of the improvements to make the area truly ‘pedestrian-friendly’. A walk down SE 1st Avenue by the busy MetroRail and bus stations will show you that. (No pavement marking, no crosswalks, no stop signs - only speeding vehicles) Currently, there is a plan for a complete streetscape overhaul of South Miami Ave. that is scheduled for 2014.

How many more accidents and close calls will we see before then?

Share

This afternoon I witnessed a pedestrian get hit on Brickell Avenue and SW 14th Street.  As I was crossing with about 10 other pedestrians (we had the right of way with crosswalk signaling “Walk”) from the East to West side of Brickell Avenue in the south crosswalk.  A driver was attempting to turn left (south) onto Brickell from SW 14th Street. I watched in disbelief as the she turned and hit a pedestrian about 5 feet in front of me. She literally tried to “thread the needle” between the sea of pedestrians that were trying to cross the street.

I instinctively kicked her door in an attempt to warn her that she had just hit a pedestrian (I wasn’t sure if she realized she had just hit someone).  I admittedly lost my temper and started yelling at her as well.  I was in complete disbelief that she did not yield. I’m not sure how she could have missed all the pedestrians that were crossing. The guy she hit was about 6’2” and luckily for him he was OK. Here’s were the story gets interesting…

About 10 seconds after the pedestrian was hit a City of Miami Police officer (will remain nameless) pulls up and asks me for my ID and he told me I could be arrested because I was causing a disturbance. I told the officer that a car had just hit a pedestrian and then he proceeds to ask the pedestrian that was hit for his ID. I don’t think he ever asked the driver for her ID.

The pedestrian that was hit said he was OK and did not want to file an accident report. I asked the officer if he would issue a ticket for “failure to yield to a pedestrian” and he said, “No, I didn’t witness the accident.” I pointed out to him that there were 5 witnesses still at the scene, but he refused and he proceeded to threaten to charge me with Road Rage. There is clearly no will to enforce “failure to yield to pedestrian violations” even when there are witnesses. Very sad.

Did I overreact?  Probably, but at the end of the day there is no enforcement on Brickell Avenue for this type of infraction and I’m kind of tired of it. I see this crap day in and day out and nothing is being done to make things safer for pedestrians. This officer had no desire to investigate the accident any further or to file an accident report.

You can see video from this very same intersection which I posted a few months ago where hours before a cyclist was hit by a car. It’s just a matter of time before someone else gets hit here.

Share
 

Yesterday morning the construction zone at the intersection of SE 13th Street and Brickell Avenue was a pedestrian’s nightmare.  Pedestrians can’t see the crossing signal therefore they don’t know when they should cross. Once they do cross they are forced out of the crosswalk, around the construction zone and into traffic coming from three different directions. Really? This is the best we can do?

Click to enlarge: SE 13th Street and Brickell Avenue

Please send an email to Commissioner Mark Sarnoff and the FDOT district 6 Secretary Gus Pego and ask them and their families to join Transit Miami for lunch on Brickell Avenue. We will be happy to walk them through the pedestrian experience of the area.  Lunch is on us.

Share
 

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the lack of initiative the CPWD showed during a recent resurfacing project on South Miami Avenue from SW 14th Street to SE 13th Street. After the CPWD finished resurfacing the intersection on SW14th Street they only replaced the one and only existing crosswalk instead of painting all 4 crosswalks at this intersection.  County Public Works Department Director Esther Calas responded to Transit Miami:

The Miami-Dade Public Works Department (PWD) had an ongoing drainage, milling and resurfacing and striping and signage project on South Miami Avenue, which was interrupted at the request of the neighborhood merchants with the City’s concurrence due to the Florida Department of Transportation reconstructing Brickell Avenue North of SE 15 Road. Although both projects had non-overlapping maintenance of traffic vehicular routing, the merchants were concerned with the combined traffic impacts.

When we halted our drainage project, only one block was completed, between S 13 Street/Coral Way and S 14 Street. The project began on that block because it had the worst roadway drainage conditions. As a part of work stoppage, the contractor only replaced the single crosswalk at 14 Street that was originally present. The City has offered to continue the drainage work on Miami Avenue in coordination with their drainage project for the intersecting neighborhood streets.

We agree that additional crosswalks will improve Miami Avenue. Therefore, in the interim before drainage work is reinitiated on Miami Avenue, we will resume our effort to stripe crosswalks, stopbars, bicycle lanes and shared use “Sharrow” markings along this corridor between S 15 Road and S 6 Street without further delay.

We appreciate your bringing these concerns to our attention.

We are happy to report that the CPWD not only painted three additional crosswalks at the South Miami Avenue and SW14 Street intersection, but also in the process added bike lanes on South Miami Avenue from SW 13th Street up to SW 15th Street.  The CPWD has also taken the extra step to add crosswalks at other intersections on South Miami Avenue. Needless to say we are extremely pleased, but there is still room for improvement. Please see the below photographs for our praise, critiques and suggestions for improvement.

Sweet!

Awesome!

Kick Ass!

Nice bike lane!

 

The SW 12th Street/SE1st Avenue/ South Miami Avenue intersection a complete clusterfuck (Pardon my French). Serious attention needs to be given here.

New zebra crosswak on SW 12th Street South Miami Avenue. I love zebra crosswalks. Every crosswalk in the urban core should be a zebra crosswalk.

The SW 12th Street/SE1st Avenue/ South Miami Avenue intersection gets a new zebra crosswalk. Did I mention how much I love zebra crosswalks?

The boys at the CPWD hard at work. Thank you gentlemen!

SE 11th Street and S. Miami Avenue. Not sure if CPWD is finished here, but this intersection must have four crosswalks. Let's give the CPWD the benefit of the doubt.

SE 11th Street and S. Miami Avenue. The new stop bar must extend the entire width of SE 11th Street. A second stop sign must also go up. The manager at Rosinella told me today that he has been managing this restaurant since 1998 and sees on average 5 accidents per year at this intersection. More must bee done to calm traffic on South Miami Avenue. Too many idiots speed down S. Miami Avenue on this stretch. Enforcement isn't the solution. We must design a complete street that discourages speeding.

 

SE 10th Avenue and S. Miami Ave. Looks like the CPWD is putting zebra crosswalks here too. I think the rain stopped them from finishing the job.

 

Mary Brickell Village. Is a raised mid-block zebra crosswalk to much to ask for? Probably. We can only dream.

SW 9th and S. Miami Ave. Hopefully the CPWD will put zebra crosswalks here as well. Please give them the benefit of the doubt, I don't think they're done yet!

Well done Ms. Calas and CPWD!  Your department singly handedly just made the Brickell area safer for those of us that walk and bike in the area.  Let’s make it even safer!

You can find the Bicycle/Pedestrian Mobility Plan For the Miami Downtown Development Authority Area here: http://bit.ly/rsVYEb. There are plenty of great ideas in this document. The Miami DDA has also developed a streetscape plan for South Miami Avenue. You can find the study here:http://www.miamidda.com/pdf/South%20Miami%20Avenue%20Master%20Plan%20FINAL%209-17-10.pdf

Please send Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email thanking her and her department for their effort thus far. (ecalas@miamidade.gov). 

Share

The below article come from the spring issue of the Brickell Homeowners Association newsletter:

Residents and business owners who have heard of plans to close the left turn from Brickell Avenue to Southeast Sixth Street are not pleased with the notion. FDOT is steadfast in their intent to close the median, despite the objections raised by many who live and work in the area. Residents of 500 Brickell already have problems with motorists cutting through their valet area under their building to make a quick exit from Brickell and head west. For those at 600 Brickell, the proposed median closure at Southeast Sixth Street looks disastrous.

No one has been successful at influencing this FDOT decision — and no one has authority over FDOT locally —despite citizens’ objections and support from our local officials.

“Our position continues to be that FDOT has to listen to residents on closing Sixth Street,” Commissioner Marc Sarnoff said. FDOT representatives reported in June, however, that after studying potential alternatives and conferring with their Central office, the recommendation for the median remains unchanged. Those outside of FDOT had not seen the traffic studies leading to that decision; FDOT agreed to make the studies public.

Ever since the Brickell Avenue construction project began, Downtown Development Authority has been facilitating regular meetings with Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade County and City officials and other interested parties to discuss construction issues. The goal of the meetings is to bring the different government entities around the table regularly since the roads have overlapping authorities. Each agency has their own construction and rehab projects going on in the area, but there was no coordinating body.

Stakeholders asked FDOT about the potential impact to Fifth Street as a result of the median closure. FDOT said it was not in their jurisdiction or part of the project scope to consider or study that, however, they said they would “consider” the request. The only concession by FDOT was that their plan to lengthen the Brickell median cut in for left turns at Fifth Street was scrapped. The plan had created a public uproar as they were planning to remove a mahogany tree, considered a Brickell landmark.

For now, commencement of these Phase II changes is on hold, targeted for December 2012.“Clearly differences of opinion remain, such as the closure of the median onto Sixth Street, that may have to be resolved by other means,” said Javier Betancourt, deputy director of the DDA.“We did get FDOT to agree to provide their traffic studies to all interested parties, and to continue to work with our agency in resolving obstacles to the DDA-funded decorative crosswalks all along Brickell Avenue.” BHA will continue to follow the progress of these projects and report on the latest developments.

Share
 

Two weeks ago, Miami Today News quoted Brickell Area Association President Mr. Randy Olen as saying:

“Most Recently the Brickell Area Association joined the crusade to reduce the speed limit on Brickell Avenue.  Partially as a result of its joint efforts with the DDA and Commissioner Sarnoff’s office, the FDOT agreed to permanently lower the speed limit from 40 to 35 mph along the southern end of Brickell Avenue.”

In addition the transportation department conceded to the addition of crosswalks at several intersections as well as sharrow markings to encourage road sharing with cyclists.

Lastly, the department agreed that all of Brickell Avenue will now get modern fixtures that compliment the architecture of the neighborhood.”

 

We submitted the below response to the Editor of Miami News Today, unfortunately our letter was not published. So here you have it…

Dear Editor,

In last week’s article “Brickell Area Assoication events to look behind the headlines”, Mr. Brickell Area Association President Randy Olen correctly mentioned “the BAA joined the crusade to reduce the speed limit on Brickell Avenue partially as a result of its joint venture with the DDA and Commissioner Sarnoff’s office.” Although the concessions which were made by FDOT could not have been made possible without the support of the DDA and Commissioner Sarnoff, we think it is important to note that the “crusade” to reduce the speed limit and calm traffic on Brickell Avenue was initiated by Transit Miami and not the DDA or Commissioner Sarnoff’s office.

When Transit Miami caught wind of the resurfacing project in late July 2010 we took the initiative to meet with representatives from the FDOT to discuss the project. After discovering that the FDOT did not have any plans to improve safety for pedestrians or cyclists, Transit Miami began a grassroots campaign to make Brickell safer for everyone that lives, works and plays on Brickell. Working with the South Florida Bike Coalition and the Green Mobility Network we organized a coalition of stakeholders that included the Brickell Homeowners Association, the Brickell Area Association, Mayor Regaldo, Commissioner Sarnoff, the Miami DDA, and State Representative Luis Garcia. Thanks to the Transit Miami-led coalition, a conversation about pedestrian safety on Brickell Avenue has finally begun – but more can and should be done.

The FDOT is not doing nearly enough to promote a safer - and more beautiful - Brickell Avenue. Reducing the speed limit alone will not have the desired effect of speed reduction unless the roadway is designed to discourage speeding. In addition, while we applaud FDOT for adding 7 additional crosswalks to the project, this effort falls far short of the nearly twenty crossings that Transit Miami identified as currently missing from the one and a half mile stretch of roadway. Absent from the plans are any pedestrian crossings between SW 26 Road and 17 Road, while the median along the entire avenue is devoid of pedestrian amenity despite heavy pedestrian volumes and one of the highest residential population densities in the county.

Brickell Avenue is one of our premier streets – isn’t it time that we designed it that way?

Felipe Azenha

Writer, Transit Miami

Vice President South Florida Bike Coalition

 

Tony Garcia

Publisher, Transit Miami

Board of Directors, Green Mobility Network

Share
 

The FDOT is in the midst of making improvements to the sidewalk on the SW corner of Brickell and SE 13th Street. This intersection is dangerous enough for pedestrians when it’s not under construction, but today the FDOT tried their hardest to make it as difficult as possible for those that walk on Brickell to cross the street safely. Not only did they simply close the sidewalk to pedestrians, the actually had the audacity to put up a “sidewalk closed, cross here” sign where there isn’t a crosswalk!

Cross Here? But there is no crosswalk...

The closest crosswalk on the north-west side of this intersection is three blocks away on SE 10th Street. Pedestrians should not have to walk 6 blocks in the hot, blistering sun just to get to the other side of the street. This is an embarrassment. There was no thought given to the needs of pedestrians during the planning stages of the project. None whatsoever.

Share
 

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.

Brickell Avenue

Rickenbacker Causeway

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.

Share

As we reported last week, a man on a bicycle was nearly killed while crossing Brickell Avenue at 14th and eyewitnesses suggested he had the right-of-way. However, three eyewitnesses with whom we did not discuss the crash told police that the motorist had a green light. While the nature of driving a car lends itself much more to not paying attention than does bicycling, the evidence in this case does suggest the cyclist was the one who failed to yield.

The cyclist had just entered the crosswalk - so any motorist focused on the road ahead and traveling at 40mph would not be expected to anticipate the cyclist or be able to stop in time. Of course, this supports our campaign to reduce the posted and design speeds on Brickell Avenue but at any speed, it seems clear that the motorist had the right-of-way. The motorist was ticketed for an expired license and failure to have his registration but not fault in the collision. He very well may be a terrible driver but he had a green light and the cyclist was not behaving predictably, safely or legally, if reports are accurate.

I regret not posting this on Friday as soon as the Police gave us the full report- it’s a sad day for our community and this brings up the issues that are even more complicated than common sense design. All we know about the victim was that he was riding a 20 year old cruiser, was wearing no helmet, lived in a non-affluent section of Little Havana and was hispanic. Question: where or how did this person learn to ride a bicycle in traffic?

The bicycling and pedestrian advocacy movement feels almost segregated. There are many strong, bilingual advocates but the ‘critical mass’ is disproportionately white and/or young. The super rich or truly poor who cycle don’t step up the way Emerge Miami, Green Mobility Network, the MIAFixed crowd do. As more people bicycle, that will change - but for everyone? The South Florida Bike Coalition was successful at getting a large pro-bicycling billboard up in Miami, facing Little Havana. We had no say where it would go and the wonderful image was clear in itself, but it begged the question of whether a spanish-language message would have been better.

If more people rode bicycles (safely, predictably), Miami would be a cleaner, more human place to live, work and visit. More and more people are riding, which I hope reminds those of us who have been riding longer to ride responsibly and take the time to talk safety with the ‘new’ people we see on rides.

The only place where I ride that I am surrounded by more bikes than in Overtown is Critical Mass. I’ve spoken to some leaders within Overtown and promoting safe, legal bicycling just isn’t a priority. Interestingly, this is also the neighborhood where I feel most safe riding in traffic. The number of bicyclists and pedestrians being more than cars, motorists rarely speed through here, in my experience. Second only to that is Little Haiti - where I find that motorists speed but they always seem to see me.

Forgive me for what is really just some random thoughts but you all deserve the update. I hope to read your responses and will work on something more coherent. Ride Safely.

Share
 

Brickell Avenue seems like the Wild West these days, citizens take their lives into their own hands by crossing the street -  except instead of cowboys wreaking havoc on city streets, we have aggressive drivers and poor road design to blame. People will continue to be injured and killed here until our leaders and institutions do their job. How many more people must be injured before action is taken? Please see the video below - this unfortunate situation plays out hundreds of times every day. Every day - it is only a matter of time before more people get hurt.

This 30-second video was shot yesterday afternoon at the exact same location where a cyclist was critically injured earlier in the day. Watch as two women were nearly hit by a red Cadillac (20 seconds). They must flail their arms in order to get the Cadillac to yield. Also, observe as 5 vehicles fail to yield to the pedestrians that are in the crosswalk.

Last year Transit Miami led a coalition of parters who see this tragedy play out too often demand safer conditions on Brickell. Lip service was paid by FDOT and elected officials, but no real change took place. The speed limit was lowered, but drivers still speed along the thoroughfare. Drivers turning (as shown in the video) are yet another hazard to pedestrians.

I found this from the FDOT website describing one of FDOT’s missions as one of safety for all users (what a joke):

Safety Office Goals: Decrease the frequency, rate, and severity of, and potential for, crashes involving motor vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles on public roads in Florida through the implementation of comprehensive safety programs involving engineering, enforcement, education and/or emergency services.

Where is FDOT’s safety mandate on Brickell now? FDOT along with City staff, continue to design Brickell as a highway and not the pedestrian corridor it is.  This latest accident proves that the current design of Brickell is a failure.

The fight on Brickell is not between the drivers and pedestrians - it is between the outdated engineering methods of the State DOT and the people who live, work and play on Brickell. It is embarrassing that the agency responsible for making our roads safe is doing exactly the opposite.

Once again, we call on FDOT, the City of Miami staff, the DDA and our City and County leaders to wake up and implement a redesign of Brickell that acknowledges what we already know: Brickell is a pedestrian corridor NOT a highway.

Transit Miami has been vocal since the beggining about the need to redesign the road and step up enforcement. Here once again are our 3 recommendations for the redesign of Brickell Ave.

1.We want 10′ lanes to force drivers to actually go the speed limit. Imagine that. If you design the road for people to go 40-50 mph -it shouldn’t be a surprise that people go 40-50 mph.

2. Add more crosswalks (across Brickell). Last year Transit Miami sent the City of Miami and FDOT a comprehensive list crosswalks that were missing from the corridor - these need to be added NOW. We want raised crosswalks at intersections and at mid-block locations where people are crossing anyway.

3. No left or right turn without an arrow. There should be no right on red along Brickell (at all), and no left turn without a green arrow. The conflict shown in the video results from people waiting to turn left as oncoming traffic permits. Left turning traffic should get one chance to turn (before pedestrians are allowed to cross), after the green arrow they should get a red light and wait for the next turn.

FDOT will say, “Well, these recommendations will make motorists go slow and reduce Level of Service along Brickell.”  Well, yeah that’s the point. Add 5 minutes to someone’s car trip so that the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists that inhabit this great street have a chance at survival.

The Brickell community is waiting and we are losing our patience…

Share
 

Around 11:00am this morning a cyclist was hit on Brickell Avenue. The cyclist is currently in the trauma center with a broken leg and pelvis, his injuries are considered to be life treating.   I spoke with two witnesses and this is what I believed happened:

The cyclist was traveling east on SE 14th street.  I’m not sure if the cyclist was riding on the road or on the sidewalk, but apparently he was attempting to cross to the east side of Brickell Avenue.  One of the witnesses I interviewed, a pedestrian, said she was crossing Brickell Avenue on the north side of SE 14th Street intersection from east to west.  She confirmed that the “walk” signal had just changed; indicating pedestrians had the right of way.  The other witness I spoke to claims the Ford Explorer was traveling west on SE 14th Street and was making a left turn onto Brickell Avenue heading south when he struck the cyclist. I also overheard the driver saying he had a green light. If these are the facts, then the driver failed to yield to the cyclist while making a left turn. If my assessment is correct, the Miami Police Department should have issued a ticket for failure to “yield to pedestrian”.

This afternoon I decided to shoot some video at the exact location where this accident occurred. (Brickell Avenue and SE 14th Street). As I was filming this 30-second video two women were nearly hit by a red Cadillac (20 seconds). They must flail their arms in order to get the Cadillac to yield. Also, watch as 5 vehicles fail to yield to the pedestrians that are in the crosswalk.  This happens every single day.  Again, there is no enforcement.  The City of Miami could probably balance their budget in a week if they started handing out “Yield to Pedestrian” tickets.

 

When are our elected officials and the FDOT going to acknowledge that we have a serious problem on Brickell Avenue? How many more people need to be critically injured or must die before they act? Where is our enforcement? How many “yield to pedestrian” tickets have been issued in the past two years around Brickell? My guess is none.

We are still anxiously waiting for Commissioner Sarnoff, Mayor Regalado, County Commissioner Gimenez and the FDOT to announce more safety improvements as was promised during a recent press conference on Brickell Avenue. The FDOT is quick to make safety improvements for motor vehicles, but in the process they are actually creating more dangerous conditions for pedestrians. During the past year I am personally aware of at least a half dozen accidents around Brickell Avenue. This entire situation is utterly disgraceful. As the Brickell population continues to grow ,and our streets maintain an antiquated and autocentric design, the situation will only get worse. Deaths and injuries are certain to increase exponentially if nothing is done.

We hope the cyclist makes a quick recovery.

Please find links to all the accidents which have been documented below:

http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/another-pedestrian-hit-on-brickell-avenue

http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/pedestrian-hit-near-brickell-avenue-mayor-regalado-and-commisioner-gimenez-support-ped-friendly-streets-fdot-still-says-no

http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/fdot-continues-to-play-pedestrian-russian-roulette-on-brickell-avenue

 

 

Share
 

Today’s quote of the day comes from Transit Miami reader Keith.  Keith made the following observation regarding the FDOT-Brickell resurfacing project:

Who regulates/monitors/chooses construction companies working on sidewalks? 2 days in row now I have watched a crew tear up the southbound side sidewalk near the 1800 block of Brickell Ave and put up a bunch of signs that simply say “Sidewalk Closed” and leave no way to get through even through the grassy area as their equipment or piles of concrete are in the way. Today a poor woman with a stroller had to go back probably 1/2 mile in order to find a safe place to cross The crew sat there in the shade eating lunch while they watched her struggle……just ridiculous.

Here’s a Transit Miami request: Arm thyself with your smartphone and either send or post pictures on our Facebook page of all the craziness you witness during this resurfacing project.  Once construction is completed we will create an album and revisit “The FDOT’s Worst Practices.”  This is a team effort folks, there is no “I” in team, so we need your help.

Share
 

We all already know that the County is underserved by public transit, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but the very least MDT could do is treat its underserved customer base with a bit of dignity. The Brickell Station is a MAJOR transfer hub between our metrorail and bus systems; therefore MDT should treat it as such.

Three small bus shelters for hundreds of people every morning is dismal. How does MDT expect to increase ridership if they don’t make their service desirable to use?  The very least they could do is protect their customers from the harsh South Florida elements.  Passengers should not be relegated to standing in the hot sun and tropical rainstorms while waiting for a bus to arrive.

Here’s an idea: Place a large bus shelter to protect customers from the elements (see below).  This isn’t rocket science; it’s basic customer service.

Source: City of McAllen, Texas

While MDT is at it, perhaps they could work with the City of Miami to install proper crosswalks, and introduce traffic calming, across SW 1st Avenue so their customers can get across the street safely.  Perhaps I’m asking for too much. (sigh)

Share
 

Miami Today News is reporting that a new traffic circle will be placed at the problematic Brickell Bay Drive and South East 12th Street intersection. Lucky for every one that walks around Brickell the Sabadell Financial Center Landlord 1111 Brickell Office is investing $400,000 to insure the safety of the thousands of pedestrians that use this intersection every year. Maggie Kurtz, director of office brokerage for Cushman & Wakefield, which handles leasing for the Sabadell Center had this to say:

“It’s just natural, especially with all the apartment buildings and so forth, now that the Brickell is finally turning into a 24-7 city. The main goal is to make the intersection more pedestrian friendly.”

Wide intersection, with no traffic calming, makes it dangerous for pedestrians to cross.

Thank you Ms. Kurtz! You are spot-on.  Thank you!

This is great, but sad at the same time.  Why is it that this initiative had to come from the private sector?  Why does the private sector have to invest their dollars to calm traffic on a City of Miami street to assure the public’s wellbeing?

This idea should have come from the city, as well as the money to build the traffic circle.  Before anyone tells me that the city is broke and can’t afford to build it, let me just say “bullshit”.

Mayor Regalado found $1.7 million to illegally build a ten-foot concrete wall, which cut off pedestrian access to the Coral Way community of Coral Gate. If City can find money to essentially privatize a community, I’m sure our elected officials can find funds to insure the safety of everyone that works, lives, and plays on Brickell. Sounds like we have our priorities in the wrong place. The cost of this traffic circle is a drop in the bucket compared to the illegal wall that was built using our tax dollars.

Share
Tagged with: