Archive for the 'Charlie Crist' Category

March: Florida Bike Month

Critical Mass Miami- Photo by The Universal Dilettante

The past year has been a great year for cycling around the world. High oil prices, an increased interest in the environment and the success of bike sharing programs in Europe have been some of the highlights. Here in Florida, Governor Charlie Crist has proclaimed March as Florida’s Bike Month. This opportunity should not be missed to help increase awareness of biking, not only as a recreational activity, but also as an alternative means of transportation. There are many activities planned throughout all South Florida.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Last Saturday, a 75-mile bike ride took place from Tequesta to Oleta River Park in Miami.
  • Pledge to bike to work, March 24-30.
  • Critical Mass Miami has bike rides planned throughout the month on South Miami, Coral Gables, Florida City.

Many more events planned throughout South Florida. Check out the full calendar here and here

Pawning our roads for cash

Pawning our roads out to the highest bidder, increased gambling statewide, and cuts to police and fire services are just some of the adverse effects of our legislative efforts to reduce the state of Florida’s expenses. Is this really the price we’d like to pay in exchange for some barely noticeable tax decreases? The cuts are already taking its toll on cash strapped bedroom communities (incorporated neighborhoods who lack all the economical qualities of a sustainable city, typically lacking the commercial, agricultural, and industrial taxing districts which keep real municipalities afloat) and will continue to wreak havoc, if not totally bankrupt other municipalities in the coming years (which may not be such a bad thing, given the agglomeration identity crisis also underway.) Point of the matter is, this tax cut will hurt Floridians more than it helps us, instead shifting tax burdens onto sales tax receipts, increased tolls (which the state would only collect a portion of, if we lease them out to businesses,) and gambling.

Any company with the capital to lease a Florida toll road would be stupid to not jump at the opportunity, and we, the Floridians, would be even stupider if we relinquished control of such a powerful asset. See, like most of the US, Florida lacks a venerable option to the toll road given that our rail “network” is close to inexistent (an 11 hour ride on Amtrak to Jacksonville, doesn’t cut it.) The few billion we’ll reap now certainly won’t be used to institute and widespread changes and the company who buys them will be virtually guaranteed business.

Now, we’d like to reiterate that here at Transit Miami we aren’t in favor or against tax cuts; we’re behind more intelligent use of the economic resources we have now, before deciding what can be done to alter the budget (which clearly has not occurred.) We’re all for eliminating government waste in a well thought out manner that will help reduce our expenses while still providing our residents with the police, fire, and educational, and transit services they deserve…

Miami-Dade has Abysmal Cycling Record

Click on the image for an enlarged, clearer view

I was recently looking through some old reports I have, when I discovered some depressing data that illustrates just how bad cycling conditions in Miami-Dade are. In the above graphic, the county’s roads were graded A-F based on the presence (or lack thereof) of typical “bike-friendly”conditions. Of course, a grade of “A” indicates high-quality cycling conditions and “F” indicates the least favorable conditions.

Some main criteria:

  • Presence of a bike lane or paved shoulder
  • Proximity of the cyclist to vehicular traffic
  • Characteristics of the vehicular traffic
  • Pavement condition
According to the report:

“Of the over 1,500 miles analyzed, only 8.6 percent of roadway miles received an acceptable level of service score of “C” or better. Over 90 percent of the roadway miles received an unnacceptable LOS score of “D” or worse, with approximately 58 percent of all segments receiveing an LOS score of “E” and 5.7 percent an LOS of “F”.”

Within the defined bicycle network, the County currently has less than 12 miles of on-road bicycle lanes meeting FDOT criteria for a bicycle lane. While there have been minor improvements in the overall number of county bike lane miles since 2001, they haven’t even cracked the surface regarding necessary improvements.

I gathered this information from the Miami-Dade Bicycle Facilities Plan 2001. While there is some encouraging language in the document implying cycling is a legitimate, important form of urban transportation, little has come out of the report, as evidenced by similar cycling conditions six years later. If Charlie Crist is serious about being a “green” governor, he would mandate that by law all Florida municipalities must create bicycle master plans, as well as language requiring at least 40 percent of roadway miles to score an acceptable “C” grade or better within a specified time-frame. A measure like this would ensure cycling catapults to the forefront of transportation planning in every town and city in Florida, which is long overdue.