Currently viewing the category: "Pedestrians"
NE 2nd Avenue in Buena Vista

NE 2nd Avenue in Buena Vista

The reindeer games continue between the County and City and as usual the taxpayer ends up getting cheated and we are all left with a really dangerous street, which apparently the County and City both find acceptable.

Here’s an email I received from Transit Miami friend Wendy Stephan.

Hi Felipe

I’m writing to you about a problem here in Buena Vista East/Design District.  I’ve attached a letter I sent below about the problem.  After residents sent about 100 letters, the City of Miami (particularly the Mayor’s office) was responsive, but our understanding is that the County is in charge of the project.  The latest twist is that the County says they handed the project off to the City at some point (?!).  It seems the project just stalled out halfway done.  I am sure you’ve noticed how dangerous NE 2nd Avenue is these days – potholes, angled light poles, and no street markings!!  This seems to be a good issue for your blog. Thanks.

Wendy

Here’s the email sent to city, county neighbors, etc., on June 10:

 

Dear Commissioner Edmonson,

I would like to add my voice to the chorus of District 3 residents and business owners concerned about the unsafe situation and lack of progress on the street improvements on NE 2nd Avenue in the Buena Vista/Design District area.  Because the street improvement project seems to be stalled with work halfway done — old lighting removed, street surface damaged, striping not visible — the situation that currently exists is very dangerous, and one young woman was killed crossing the street on a dark night in March.

This area has recently seen the wonderful development of several businesses, some owned by residents, that cater to our broader community.  These businesses have generated both car and pedestrian traffic along this corridor.  County buses pick up passengers along this road.  Students have been crossing this street daily on their way to DASH, Miami Arts Charter and Archbishop Curley Notre Dame schools.  We need the long-promised improvements to the street completed to improve safety, functionality and the appearance of this street.  The project, already funded and initiated, includes multiple safety features, including:· Adequate sidewalks
· Curbs
· Drainage
· Parking lanes
· Bike lanes
· Clear street striping
· Functional street lighting
· Maintenance for the large swale trees, additional trees/green where possible.

What happened to this project?  We demand answers and a clear timeline for its completion.  Residents and patrons of our businesses should not be placed at such high risk.  Thank you for your prompt response.

Wendy

What a disgrace.

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Are Miami’s proliferating pedestrian overpasses transforming the city into a hamster’s paradise?

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The more we bow our heads in submission to the automobile, the more we lose our city … the more we lose our humanity.
[TransitMiami is hugely grateful to the incredibly talented Mr. Juan Navarro for contributing his artwork to this piece. Thank you, Juan!]

Cities should be built for people, not cars. It’s an irrefutable, almost cliché maxim that still, despite the seeming consensus around the notion, somehow gets lost in the city design and development process.

Greater Miami is a city whose incipient design and development occurred during the apex of the automobile era, an era which is slowly, but surely, dissipating. Our city’s auto-centric legacy thus predisposes planners and engineers to maintain that eroding model of spatial form and function.

The underlying fallacy comes from their failure to recognize the dynamism moving through the city, the revolutionary societal forces changing the way Miamians and metro-dwellers across the planet wish to live in, and interact with, their urban habitats.

Rather, these designers of dystopia look to the increasingly obsolete conditions of the past and — instead of embracing the change around them with innovative design solutions — seek to merely perpetuate the already expired status quo.

To our collective detriment, this status quo expresses itself with bipedal human beings relegated to the bottom of the mobility food chain. In Miami, and with a bit of irony, this demotion often manifests itself upward, where people wishing to get around on their own two feet are forced to ascend up to and move through so-called pedestrian overpasses.

In essence, though, these overpasses are really nothing short of hamster tunnels designed to accommodate and un-impede the movement of cars at the expense of people.

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You may pass, you pedestrian peon, but only after ascending to the tunnel above, traversing through the cage, and descending yet again. Then, and only then, may you cross the street.

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This wasteful, massive piece of infrastructure makes sense only after you’ve been indoctrinated by the dogma that cars take precedent over people. Pedestrian overpass at US-1 and Douglas Road (SW 37th Avenue), between the City of Miami and City of Coral Gables.

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Is this the sense of “security” we wish to give to our children? In order to simply cross a street, young child, you must seek refuge in the cage above the unbridled auto traffic below!

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Inside the pedestrian/hamster cage at US-1 and Douglas Road (SW 37th Avenue), between the City of Miami and City of Coral Gables, on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

These overpasses reify the misguided mid-20th century notion that the automobile reigns supreme. All other modes of transport must make way for, and bow their heads to, the tyrannical king of the road.

Through these pedestrian overpasses, the built environment is effectively screaming at people who choose to use their own energy to get around the city: Step aside, petty pedestrians! Out of the way, bumbling bicyclists! The automobile is coming through!

A relatively complex pedestrian overpass (Coral Way / SW 24th Street & the Palmetto / 826 Highway). In addition to human-sized hamsters, maximum security prisoners would feel right at home.

Apart from the monstrosities in the City of Hialeah, this is one of the more complex hamster tunnels in unincorporated Miami-Dade County (Coral Way & the SR 826 Highway). It evokes scenes from the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.

Up, up, up, little hamster! Up  and around, around and up, across and over, down and around, down and around! You made it!

Up, up, up, little hamster! Up and around, around and up, across and over, down and around, down and around! You made it!

These are not the messages we should be physically inscribing into the nature of our city. This is not the infrastructure needed to support a socially, economically, and ecologically thriving urban geography.

The overpass at Vizcaya is one of the few warranted ones. A collective sigh of sympathy is nonetheless breathed for that poor cleaning woman tasked with cleaning this hamster path.

The overpass at Vizcaya is one of the few warranted ones. A collective sigh of sympathy is nonetheless breathed for that poor cleaning woman tasked with cleaning this hamster path.

Through the tunnel you go, little hamsters. While this particular tunnel actually makes sense (because it crosses the point where US-1 turns into I-95, at Vizcaya Metrorail Station), these ped overpasses should be very few and far between.

Through the tunnel you go, little hamsters. While this particular tunnel actually makes sense — because it crosses the point where US-1 turns into I-95 at Vizcaya, where a street level crossing would be particularly difficult to engineer — these ped overpasses should be very few and far between.

The caged view from the overpass at Vizcaya. While this is one of the warranted pedestrian overpasses in Miami, the entire notion of such a bridge should be used extremely sparingly.

The caged view from the overpass at Vizcaya. While this is one of the warranted pedestrian overpasses in Miami, the entire notion of such a bridge should be used extremely sparingly.

As our children and grandchildren inherit from us this little bit of Earth called Miami, they’ll be far more grateful to gain a livable place where they can enjoy the pleasures of the city on their own two feet at the ground level, rather than surrendering to the oppression of the automobile by scurrying through elevated mazes and tunnels.

You want to keep the streets safe for pedestrians? There’s only one real solution: Make the streets safe for pedestrians!

Be on the look-out for a follow-up article where TransitMiami looks at some of the broader social implications of building the proposed pedestrian overpass at US-1 and Mariposa in Coral Gables. Also, be sure to read TransitMiami’s previous piece on that particular proposal, written by TM writer and professional architect Jennifer Garcia.

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ped safety little havana

Everyone knows that Miami has a serious problem with pedestrian injuries and fatalities; not a week goes by without reading an article about another pedestrian struck by a car. Miami is the 4th most dangerous city for pedestrians and cyclists in the Country right now.

This must change!

We live in one of the most beautiful, perfect climates in the world, yet stepping out our doors for a walk can be fatal. With Emerge Miami, I began organizing walks for pedestrian safety last year in response to this ongoing crisis. The concept is simple, during the time that pedestrians are legally allowed to enter the crosswalk, we have people with educational signs and statistics about pedestrians injuries and fatalities walk back and forth through the crosswalk. We also have educational materials to hand drivers and pedestrians.

Our next walk is in Little Havana on June 29th, a lovely neighborhood that should be safe and walkable, yet speeding cars and infrequent crosswalks make it a extremely dangerous for walkers, especially the many more elderly residents who live there.

As part of our walk we are asking that pedestrians who have been injured, and their families, to come out and join our walk to help put a personal face on this epidemic of injury and death.

For more information or to get involved please contact Elsa Roberts at eroberts@mtu.edu. To RSVP to the event go to Meetup or Facebook.

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They say a picture speaks a thousand words. This particular photo speaks to the state of pedestrian safety in Miami — beat-up and run-down!

Location: Brickell Bay Drive & 12 Street. Thanks to TransitMiami reader Keith Lawler for sending this one in!

Location: Brickell Bay Drive & 12 Street.
Thanks to TransitMiami reader Keith Lawler for sending this one in!

According to Keith Lawler, the Brickell denizen who submitted this photo, this well-intended, yet seemingly ineffective, pedestrian safety signage is now, as of May 29, gone completely . . .

Something’s got to give . . .

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A pedestrian bridge above US-1 at the University MetroRail station was recently approved by Miami-Dade County and is currently moving closer to an agreement. Though a state and federally funded project of $6 million, the University Centre mall owner has raised some concerns and is refusing to allow the county to build the bridge on its property. The bridge to channel university students, middle school students, metrorail riders, and others to the popular strip mall has been in the works for several years, joining the other existing US-1 overpasses. The Pedestrian Safety Access Committee formed with the long-term goal to build the pedestrian bridge in direct response to 3 student fatalities at the intersection since 1990, along with several accidents.

Proposed Pedestrian Bridge - Rendering courtesy Miami-Dade County

Proposed Pedestrian Bridge at US-1 and University MetroRail Station: Note the bicyclist hugging the curb… (Rendering courtesy Miami-Dade County)

Looking at this situation at face value, this project makes perfect sense: people are dying on the intersection, so take the people off the intersection. But I challenge you to stand back and examine the bigger picture of crossing US-1 at this intersection and every other one in Coral Gables, South Miami, and beyond. Is the problem uniquely at this intersection, or along the entire stretch of the fast-moving, 6-lane highway? Due to very high speeds, awkward street-level pedestrian crossings, unbuffered and narrow sidewalks, and poor street lighting, I think we can agree that this stretch is hostile to non-motorists. Michelle Simmon, public involvement coordinator for Miami-Dade Transit stated back in 2007 that ‘the main purpose of the long-term bridge project is to encourage pedestrian safety while making the Coral Gables community more “walkable.” Yes, ‘channeling’ pedestrians into a bridge does have the potential of keeping pedestrians safe, but does it encourage walkability?

Pedestrian Convenience. A walkable community is possible when the built environment is convenient to the pedestrian, bicyclist, student, parent with baby stroller, etc. Making decisions that inhibit pedestrian convenience such as narrowing sidewalks, reducing crosswalks, ‘forcing’ people to go up and over a street - then these decisions make the built environment inconvenient and therefore, less walkable. But if we redesign the street to discourage speeding, add wider sidewalks buffered from vehicular traffic, pedestrian street lighting, and common-sense street-level crossings (and using a lot less than the $6 million) we could achieve both safety and walkability for all road users.

Neighborhood Unity. Instead of creating a street that welcomes its neighbors, we are making decisions (like numerous pedestrian bridges) that add up toward creating an automobile sewer. This is the root of the problem, and the reason for these vehicular deaths in the first place - we are literally trying to put a highway into the middle of a community. Why are we surprised that pedestrians, students, children are trying to cross the street in their own neighborhood? Instead of encouraging to further dissect this area, we need to consider the potential to transform this massive right-of-way into the safe neighborhood center the university, middle school, and residents deserve.

Traffic Priorities. The problem in this dangerous intersection is not the pedestrians, but the unobservant drivers. But who are we punishing? the pedestrians. And who are we prioritizing for dominion over the street even more? the drivers, observant or not. A walkable neighborhood is not void of cars, drivers, and traffic, but rather re-prioritizes its road space to accommodate a full range of transportation choices. Slowing traffic down does not guarantee more congestion either. In fact, some of the most efficient roads in the world are in slow-speed, walkable environments. By humanizing the thoroughfare with better street-level crossings, lighting, wider sidewalks, street trees, narrower traffic lanes, and even on-street parking, we can effectively slow traffic, and persuade drivers to be more alert, attentive, and vigilant, fostering a safer atmosphere for all.

If building this University Station pedestrian bridge could save just one life, then yes, its construction is more than worth it. But what’s next in encouraging safety and walkability? Are we going to continue constructing pedestrian bridges at every intersection over Dixie Highway - and with whose funds? And does that leave the people who will still cross at street level with a more dangerous thoroughfare? I challenge this community, the Pedestrian Safety Access Committee, Miami-Dade County, FDOT, and others involved to improve the pedestrian experience on the street level. In many ways the easiest solution is to build the pedestrian bridge. However, six million dollars can provide a lot of funding for this community if our residents and leaders are brave enough to tackle the root of the problem. We should not take these deaths lightly, but we do need to consider the full range of options to improve the safety, convenience, and value of the US-1 corridor. Just as Michelle Simmon from Miami-Dade Transit stated, “A livable community has to be a safe community.” By humanizing this dangerous, dissecting thoroughfare, we can not only save lives, but also our community.

This article by Adam Schachner originally appeared in the February issue of The Biscayne Times

A show of pedestrian force in Brickell. Photo by Philip Picaza.

A show of pedestrian force in Brickell. Photo by Philip Picaza.

The Foot Soldiers: Pedestrian Activists Reclaiming Miami’s Crosswalks, One Intersection at a Time
By Adam Schachner

Miamians rarely find common ground on most topics. Even more rare are public demonstrations of any kind. Collectively speaking, we’d much rather spend our time at the mall or the beach. Which makes what recently happened at a Brickell intersection all the more powerful.

Responding to an outcry for proper roadway conduct, on Monday, January 21, no fewer than 25 concerned locals declared the crosswalks at Brickell Avenue and SE 15th Road a “pedestrian safety walk zone.” Marchers occupied the crosswalks and demanded increased civility from motorists. They even distributed booklets on Florida’s traffic laws to drivers, many of whom, because they lack civility, simply flung the booklets back at the activists with a curse and a rude gesture.

Still, the walkers asserted their rights to safety, braved hostile stares and abuse, and celebrated the motorists who gave approving honks and thumbs-up.

The takeaway? Conscientious drivers, concerned about who might be hurt by their carelessness, do exist in Miami, but they are in the minority, spread thin through the ranks of traffic, and pressured to keep moving by honking tailgaters.

Read the rest of the story here via The Biscayne Times.

 

This just in from a very reliable Transit Miami tipster:

Just tried to cross here and had to dodge 2 cop cars blocking crosswalks and ramps. Strollers did not have a chance. Typical horrifying scenario but made worse by the police. There looked to be a minor fender bender north of 9th. No need for any crosswalks to be blocked especially at this already hectic area.

There was an officer near and I pointed out a stroller trying to maneuver the curb and cop car scenario and suggested it was dangerous to have a car there. Maybe they could move off the ramp area or help strollers and elderly by directing traffic since there seemed to be an inordinate number of officers there. I counted at least 9. She proceeded to scream at me. Calling me stupid at one point even. I calmly walked away and she continued to berate me. Asking my age for some reason and threatening to arrest me for interfering with her investigation. Ridiculous. Her info is below. I took pics but wished I had filmed the officer go nuts.  It would go viral I am sure. Not sure if you can or should do anything with this info but here it is. http://cops.heraldtribune.com/Officer/Details/52406

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Here is a link with all the info: http://emergemiami.com/walkforpedsafety2/

 

This post was submitted to us this morning by Patricia Peña.

Dadeland mall is probably one of the biggest landmarks that Miami has, right next to South Beach and the Triple A (well, at least in my opinion). When it first opened in the 80s, it was the beginning of Miami’s eternal love with suburban sprawl, which has resulted in Kendall, a place that most Miamians have a love/hate relationship with. You can’t wait to get out of Kendall, but you’ll rep it until the day you die, in true Miami style! Sunset Knights, wha what?! Sorry, that was a momentary lapse…

Back to Dadeland. In the last few years, they have tried to revitalize the area, rebrand it as Downtown Dadeland (it’s unincorporated Miami-Dade, let’s not kid ourselves) and try to make it into a small, bustling metropolis with multi-use buildings, restaurants and shops. And try as they might, it just isn’t happening. When my husband and I moved to the area about five years ago, we did so because my job at the time offered me a free monthly pass to the Metro-Rail, so we became a one car family and I was thrilled with the idea that I could walk to Target or Publix to get what we needed whenever he was away at work with the car. I got one of those little carts that you see old people walking around with. A lady at work offered to bedazzle it. It was fabulous, don’t judge me. So here I go, all excited to get my groceries. And then…. BAM!! I encountered Kendall Drive. Now, for those of you that are not familiar with this lovely thoroughfare, it’s a pedestrian’s worst nightmare. Think of George in the episode of Seinfeld when he gets the Frogger machine.

The Dadeland area has the potential of being a truly amazing area to live, work and play in. It’s flanked by two, count ‘em: two, Metro Rail stops. There are apartments galore, some that are still mostly empty, the mall is currently undergoing a massive renovation to add more restaurants. And yet, you can’t get anywhere walking without saying five Hail Mary’s, two Our Father’s and crossing yourself the entire time. I’ve seen old ladies, moms with strollers, dad’s dragging kids and tourists all trying to cross unscathed. As expected, this is a three-lane road, that feeds into the Palmetto (don’t even get me started on that disaster!) and speeding is not only rampant, it’s expected! Now, we all know that reducing the number of lanes will in turn reduce the speed, increase walkability, and increase traffic into stores, etcetera. But, I’m a simple woman, I don’t ask for much. I know that that probably won’t happen in my lifetime. So I’m asking for smaller things. You know what I would like? I would like a crossing light that lasts more than 10 seconds. I can’t even get halfway before the flashing hand stops! I would like the streetlights to be synchronized in a way that makes sense, so people can feel safe crossing from their hotel to the mall. I know if it makes sense, we don’t do it here in Miami-Dade County. But once, just once, can we try? South Miami did it, and look how great it’s working out for them. I would just like to be able to go the Target at the Dadeland station, without fearing for my life and getting honked at every five seconds (which is more to do with the fabulous drivers we have here, but that’s another topic for another time). Seriously, I’m not asking for much, just some good old fashioned common sense and to think of the people that are outside of the metal boxes, who are worth just as much as the ones inside. That and world peace. Oh, and some Louboutins!

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As reported earlier this month by our friends over at Curbed Miami, the long-anticipated, long-stalled Brickell Flatiron Park has finally materialized.

Curbed Miami has extensive coverage of the park, with multiple images provided by Transit Miami’s own Craig Chester.

Here are a few more shots of the newly materialized public space. This section of Brickell now has a nice little wedge of accessible park space from which to peacefully gaze and reflect upon the dynamic urban morphology surrounding it.

Cyclist on the bike lane, downtown explorers on the Metromover, Cars2Go waiting for savvy intra-city travelers . . . and a new, sweet park waiting to be fully discovered and enjoyed by Brickellites and other downtown denizens.

The weekly farmers’ market should help draw attention to this much needed downtown park oasis.

All this street signage for active transportation (walking, biking) is great, but municipal workers need better guidelines on where to install the signs. It’s a bit contradictory to have a ‘pedestrian’ sign obstructing part of the sidewalk, and a ‘bike lane’ sign obstructing the other part of the sidewalk, requiring walkers to zig-zag along their path.  All street signs and street furniture should be as far out of the pedestrian thoroughfare as possible. Hopefully that ‘men at work / construction’ sign won’t be up for too long either.

Some new trees to help revive our sparse and frail urban forest canopy, along with plenty of limestone benches on which to sit back and take-in the city — it’s getting better everyday.

With the incipient rise of Brickell CitiCenter just to the north of Mary Brickell Village, this northwest section of the Brickell neighborhood is truly becoming the new hallmark of Miami urbanism.

Now all that’s left is making sure Brickellite yuppies — for so long bereft of such an open public space to call their own — know what to do with their new neighborhood amenity.

Transit Miami’s advice: just sit back and enjoy the growing spectacle your city has to offer.

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On October 30th, a dramatic crash caused by a careless motorist sent a parked SUV flying 30 feet and onto the sidewalk, seriously injuring the ankle and leg of Monica Larcada, a female jogger that lives in the neighborhood.

Transit Miami has obtained a complete copy of the police report from the Miami Police Department regarding this crash.

Click the link in the above paragraph for the full police report.

The driver of the vehicle causing the crash was Dr. Amy Buchman, 60, of Brickell Key. She was cited for careless driving - failure to maintain control of vehicle.

Dr. Amy Buchman, 60, of Brickell Key (pictured on left)

What is bewildering is that the police report says her estimated speed was 25 miles per hour, though multiple witnesses to Transit Miami report she was moving closer to 40-50 mph in the 30mph zone. The parked Nissan Murano SUV that Buchman smashed into traveled about 30 feet, indicating a much higher speed than 25 mph.

Felipe Larcada, Monica’s father, wrote the below note to us in November. If you have any information on this crash, please contact him. The area has been the scene of eerily similar crashes over the past few years.

Monica is doing better every day and hopefully will have her stitches removed this week and a cast placed on her leg. Thank you all for your concern and prayers.

I have a request. The authorities are receiving conflicting stories on how this event happened. If anybody reading this blog actually witnessed the event as it happened or right before it happened, please contact me. We really need your help. My email again is flarcada@me.com. Thank you.

Felipe Larcada

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Armando Garcia, a Transit Miami reader from Oakland, CA took the time to write this excellent response following the Wynwood Arts District Association rejection of the idea for a ‘open streets’ event during Second Saturday’s ArtWalk.

I’m glad you guys are making progress. I want to write a detailed comment in your support.

The suggestion made by Mr. Lujambio that closing off the street for Art Walk will cause confusion for motorists is questionable. I admit to being native but not local to Miami, and I have not attended Art Walk. But in my new home of Oakland, CA, we have a similar event called Art Murmur.

Art Murmur has grown astoundingly from a night for neighborhood gallery openings, to a humongous monthly event closing several city blocks, hosting over twenty mobile food vendors and several DJs and bands performing. The fact is that before streets were closed, the sidewalks were becoming VERY overcrowded. Walking up the sidewalk felt like pushing your way through the crowd at a Crystal Castles show. Pedestrians sporadically spilling onto the major avenue that flanked the event created accident risks for themselves and motorists, and major confusion was caused for any motorists trying to make their way through the smaller downtown streets. The swarm of pedestrians jaywalking was very difficult to navigate.

I believe the initial response was to close off one block or two, but I know as the event grew, their response was to close several streets to motorists, and provide temporary traffic controls (police officers, flaggers, parking attendants, cones, clear signage, etc) to appropriately guide motor traffic through and around the event and control the flow of pedestrians.

A typical Art Walk experience.

My point is that as attendance grew, closing streets and controlling motor traffic helped PREVENT confusion and provide clear traffic routes, not the opposite. It was before they closed streets that driving through this event was a confusing nightmare. The WADA needs to watch their event closely as attendance grows, and recognize that if attendance continues to grow, they will be forced to eventually consider closing streets. It will be the only way to provide maximum safety for Art Walkers on foot, and minimum frustration for motorists.

The benefits of open street space shouldn’t be ignored, either. Our event in Oakland now hosts large art projects and art cars in the streets, as well as many more local merchants and mobile food vendors. Closing the streets allowed the event to grow into a diverse and intense representation of Oakland’s culture. You can imagine that the economic benefits of managing and stimulating the event’s growth haven’t been condemned by anyone.

Miami is a city that needs more outlets for its rich culture and I want to see it one day. I hope that the vision for Art Walk is as big and exciting as Miami’s true potential is.

Armando Garcia

Thanks Armando for your letter.

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Felipe Larcada, the father of Monica Larcada, the jogger injured while on the sidewalk after a dramatic crash sent a parked SUV flying 30 feet and onto the sidewalk, is seeking witnnesses from the incident on October 30th.

Monica is doing better every day and hopefully will have her stitches removed this week and a cast placed on her leg. Thank you all for your concern and prayers.

I have a request. The authorities are receiving conflicting stories on how this event happened. If anybody reading this blog actually witnessed the event as it happened or right before it happened, please contact me. We really need your help. My email again is flarcada@me.com. Thank you.

Felipe Larcada

I’ve spoken with Felipe and we are in the process of obtaining the police report from the crash. Monica has a serious ankle injury from the tire of the parked SUV that hurtled onto the sidewalk. We have some information about the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash, but will wait until we have the police report to post about it.

Stay tuned for more updates and we wish Monica a quick recovery.

Scene of the crash on Brickell Bay Drive on October 30th.

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Back in July, Transit Miami began building a coalition of individuals and local businesses to explore the possibility of transforming Wynwood’s monthly second Saturday ArtWalk into an open street event free of motorized vehicles in the core of the action on NW 2nd Avenue. (Put the Walk into Wynwood’s ArtWalk) Behind the scenes, we have been meeting with the Wynwood Arts District Association to bring our ideas forward and seek their endorsement. Though there are varying levels of support from local business owners (and coverage in the Miami New Times, Wynwood Radio my piece in the Biscayne Times and more here and here.) the WADA board recently voted ‘no’ on the idea. Since that vote, we’ve continued to press for better pedestrian conditions during the event, with some of our recommendations referenced in the response letter from the WADA below.

Hi Craig,

Although we certainly appreciate your efforts and interest in the well-being and improvement of this neighborhood, the Board of Directors of the Wynwood Arts District Association has made the decision that at this point there is no interest in a street closure along NW 2nd Ave. I can assure you that the Association is well aware of the need to improve the current pedestrian and cyclist conditions on the avenue, particularly during Second Saturdays. Thus the appearance of Code Enforcement on the last few Art Walks, and the shared bike lane signage along NW 2nd Ave. We are also working closely with the NET Office to get Noise Waiver fees waived so that the musicians and/or DJs can feel free to play on the streets.

The Association very much supports street performances and other impromptu Art happenings on the sidewalks and public spaces along NW 2nd Ave. What the Association does not support are illegal vendors setting up and making business on the sidewalks and streets of Wynwood, disrupting the flow on the right of way and increasing waste.

The Association is also currently working with the City of Miami and Miami Biennale for other solutions to improve the current pedestrian conditions in Wynwood, such as crosswalks and more (and better) cyclist infrastructure.

We are also working on establishing more control on vehicular traffic along the thoroughfares in Wynwood, but the local developers and various business-owners understand that, by closing a portion of NW 2nd, many visitors will be lost on how to access the neighborhood and it will be more of a problem than an actual benefit. They believe that cars and people can cohabit peacefully, very much like they do in Ocean Dr, 5th Ave or Broadway in NYC (just to name a few examples) and do not believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. The Association also understands that some of these have struggled with not enough pedestrian space for years and have recently adopted different programs and initiatives that enhance the pedestrian experience, such as Broadway which, as you mentioned, has adopted an innovative program that turned 3 vehicle lanes into a pedestrian plaza and cycle track. These are all great initiatives, and we look at these as models to follow.

Your suggestion of removing the 2 lanes of on-street parking on NW 2nd Ave during Second Saturdays to create an extended sidewalk where people can move about safely has been raised at our meetings and we have considered implementing it on the future. I would like to assure you that the pedestrian experience in Wynwood is one of our many priorities and one that we are diligently addressing at the moment through several initiatives and projects that we have on the works. Lastly, I would like to kindly request to you and the Transit Miami followers to please address these conditions (as visitors of Wynwood) to our Mayor, local Commissioners, and other Administrators.

Best Regards,
Jose Nava Lujambio
WADA [Wynwood Arts District Association]

You can see some of our recommendations included removing the on-street parking along NW 2nd Avenue during the event, and allow pedestrians to use the reclaimed space. While the WADA cites ‘no interest’ in an open streets evening, that seems to conflict with the overwhelming support we’ve received from the people that actually attend and support this event.

We’ll see what goes down this Saturday.

The reality of walking during an event called ‘ArtWalk’.

 

The following is an article from Elsa Roberts from Emerge Miami.

“What are you doing?”
“Thanks.”
“I almost get hit every time I cross the street with my daughter.”
“Get a job!”
“Thank you for doing this.”

These are just a few of the comments we heard in 40 minutes walking the crosswalk for pedestrian safety in Coral Gables on October 20. One older gentleman complained that he doesn’t feel safe crossing the street and said that he couldn’t sprint out of a car’s way anymore - he is 77. Another woman crossing with her children thanked us and proceeded to explain to her daughter why we were demonstrating for safer streets.

Motorist reactions were mixed. There were many instances of driver misbehavior and disrespect. Several drivers illegally blocked the intersection trying to turn left after their green arrow was gone and many making right turns came within inches of our legs; angrily demanding with their vehicles that we yield our space. The strangest comment we received was from a woman in an SUV trying to make a right turn while we were lawfully crossing the street, she rolled down her window, stared into our faces and our signs urging drivers to take care and reminding them that we are all pedestrians, and shouted angrily, “Why don’t you get a job!” Three of us looked at her and simply stated, “We have jobs.” “In fact, we’re here on a Saturday, raising awareness about an issue that kills and injures hundreds of people in Miami every year.”

Unfortunately, too many people care more about getting to a destination a little quicker than they do about looking both ways and yielding to pedestrians, and that is why Miami is the 4th most dangerous city in the U.S. for pedestrians and cyclists; a dishonor shared by three other metropolitan areas, all located in Florida (the Orlando-Kissimmee area is 1st, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater 2nd, and Jacksonville is 3rd). Our cities are not designed to facilitate safe travel for pedestrians, an issue that has repeatedly been brought before the FDOT multiple times (see TransitMiami’s archive), but which they are reluctant to acknowledge as a problem.

This is an issue that will only be solved by repeatedly bringing it into the public eye. Each time a pedestrian or cyclist is injured or killed, the public must cry out and encourage media coverage. We must continue with walks like this to engage the community in Miami; together we can raise awareness and make our streets safer. We will be planning another Walk for Safety in December. Stay tuned to details!

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