A friend of Transit Miami passed this gem of a quote on to us by FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego. This is what he had to say earlier today at the MPO meeting (Metropolitan Planning Organization).

“Just as you wouldn’t go to a supermarket for brain surgery, you’ve got to trust that the engineers know what they are doing”

-With regard to the value of installing the flashing crosswalks instead of implementing real traffic calming measures in the MiMo District on Biscayne Boulevard.

You can personally send your reply via email to Mr. Pego: gus.pego@dot.state.fl.us

Please watch the below interview with an actual FDOT engineer.



16 Responses to FDOT, Brain Surgeons, Engineers and Trust

  1. JM Palacios says:

    He’s right. Engineers are supposed to be the experts. So are doctors and they used to bleed people to cure a fever.

    The expert is only as good as the training they have received and the state of the practice. I graduated in 2006 and my training at the top engineering school in Florida, and one of the best in the nation, was purely car centric. I took the Professional Engineer licensure Exam two months ago and they’re still expecting you to calculate pedestrian Level of Service based on how many people per square foot. (So an empty 4′ sidewalk next to a six lane 45 mph road is given an “A.”) That particular service measure was updated to account for more practical factors in the 2010 Highway Capacity Manual, but I have yet to see anyone use it. And that’s just one drop in the bucket. Don’t get me started on the engineer’s “bible,” the AASHTO Greenbook. That’s what all Florida transportation standards are based on and it is all about the car.


  2. Brandt says:

    I’m positive FDOT knows what they’re doing…I mean seriously - I’m afraid to walk down Biscayne, espcially approaching the Intracoastal shops and Aventura Mall, or east on NE 163rd Street approaching the beach. Oh and crossing? That’s beyond a nightmare. If I value my life, I’ll be standing there for an eternity waiting for a non-existing safe time to cross. As a cyclist? Forget about it. Yep, I think FDOT is doing a great job.


  3. Craig Chester says:

    JM - Thanks for the first-hand account of the inner sanctums. It’s so sad, so offensive, so destructive, that the traffic ‘engineers’ seem to have a greater understanding for the ideal habitat of cars then they do for the ideal habitat of HUMAN BEINGS.


  4. Craig Chester says:

    Can we have an AASHTO book-burining? That would make for some good press.


  5. M says:

    JM, perhaps maybe you can comment on this. I try to educate my friends and coworkers about issues when they come up like the Brickell project, Miami 21, the FEC commuter rail and they think I’m crazy. That got me thinking, what does FDOT think of people who read this blog and comment on it? I would think that TransitMiami readers probably seem like left wing crazies. If that’s the case, FDOT most likely don’t care what we have to say and approaches projects and public meetings with that attitude.


  6. Ben says:

    Well on the doctor quote maybe we are currently in the engineering time period equivalent to the 40s and 50s.

    Look what our doctors where saying back then



  7. Tony Garcia says:

    Exactly. They do not take us seriously. Its pretty comical actually.


  8. I’m currently a student at FIU studying traffic engineering and my professor became very defensive when I tried to explain to him about how FDOT cater to cars. I tried to explain to him that Miami Dade needs to adopt a county law that would allow all future street improvements to include urban standards. Miami Dade is in the process of becoming a major urban county, something that similar to New York City. They don’t realize that doing it now would save money in the long run. For example, in my opinion, The Biscayne corridor should have been design as a pair of 3 lane one way roads from 54thst to I-395 with Biscayne blvd becoming all northbound and NE 2nd street all sound bound. Both streets would have all pedestrian amenities with on street parking on both sides, Bike lanes on both streets, wide sidewalks, and a traffic light at every intersection. In my opinion, I believe this would make it a more pedestrian friendly corridor. I all so believe that this would allow developers to design more buildings along this route that caters to foot traffic. Miami Is growing and FDOT needs to start using commend sense.


  9. Malcolm, that’s a really good idea. 2nd avenue and Biscayne are very close to each other in that area, although I would push the limit further south to 36th street. The distance between Biscayne and 2nd Ave at 54th street is a bit much.


  10. Craig Chester says:

    Malcom, I’m not sold on the one-way street idea. It’s the same design that killed Calle Ocho/Little Havana. What used to be a vibrant, pedestrian friendly two-way street is now a one-way three-lane speedway. The worst part about this is, for the AM rush hour, when most people are headed downtown, people do not stop at businesses. It’s the drive home that often warrants the stops for a drink, pick up something for dinner, etc. And if you use Calle Ocho as your main route, your return route is 7th street - virtually all residential. So Calle Ochco businesses miss out on the entire traffic flow of people returning home from work. Litrlw Havana has been reduced to a than traffic corridor now, and the Calle Ocho is perpetually held back from becoming a pedestrian-friendly area. Three lane roads are not appropriate in an urban context and one-way roads should be very limited. In many cases, street parking is more valuable than a bike lane if there is limited right-of-way. When you park a car you become a pedestrian. It also creates a buffer between the moving traffic and sidewalk, making pedestrians feel safer.

    I do think it’s great that you challenged your professor!


  11. Tony Garcia says:

    Malcom: great for challenging the prevailing academic standards - they are totally flawed.

    That being said the one way pair idea is the opposite of what we are trying to do. We are trying to undo one way pairs across the county (8th and 7th street, Flagler/1st street..etc) they create high speed conditions that degrade the surrounding context - not good. Keep them two way and traffic calm Biscayne - that is the answer. a one way Biscayne would just become a highway.


  12. I still stand by my opinion on it. I think that, when implemented correctly, it won’t be like a highway. Biscayne as it is right now in the aforementioned stretch is a little cramped for a place that is pedestrian-oriented with on-street parking (and no bike facilities). Doing a two-way between 36th and flagler would allow for much more room for pedestrians and bikes. Keep the car traffic moving slow by adding buffers, and reducing lane width.


  13. Brandt says:

    I did a rough sketch of what could be done if Malcolm’s idea would be implemented, and used 2nd Avenue as an example (the link is below). I’ve included on-street parking, bike lanes on both sides (in between the sidewalk and the parking), and bike boxes at intersections to prevent right-hooks. I didn’t include mid-block crossings, but that can definitely be added where it’s needed. So in the end, you have two car lanes, a street designed for 30 mph, plenty of room for pedestrians, benches, and restaurant seating, and a bike lane protected from car traffic. Bus stops could be added in as gaps in the on-street parking.

    Here’s the link: http://web.eng.fiu.edu/babso001/2ndaveonewaydesign.png


  14. Daniel says:

    The retail in downtown should start to comeback with the area’s revival; then Flagler street should be turned into a pedestrian road.


  15. Felipe Azenha says:

    Streets are not meant just to move traffic. The manner in which streets are designed affects the economic development of the neighborhoods they go through. A one-way street is not good for the businesses that reside on that street. Two way streets bring commerce, people, and eyes to the area in the morning and afternoon.


  16. JM Palacios says:

    M, I do know a few issues have gotten the attention of folks at FDOT.

    Malcolm and Brandt,

    If you could actually get two lane or fewer one way pairs, then it might be a decent compromise between moving traffic and providing a wider pedestrian realm. The problem is engineers would want 3 or even 4 lanes, and then it gets too good at moving cars. I suggested a one way pair in a Value Engineering study on a project in Boca Raton, thinking 3 lane one way pairs would be better than the proposed 6 lane widening, but the end proposal once my fellow engineers evaluated it was to provide 4 lane pairs. Crossing 4 lanes at one time is worse than crossing 3 lanes at one time in a 6 lane divided roadway.


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