Looks like 2011 may be the year of the Complete Streets movement in Miami. Upper East Side residents and businesses from the historic MiMo district are organizing in an attempt to get FDOT to make Biscayne Boulevard more pedestrian-friendly.  Residents have been asking FDOT to do more for pedestrians ever since a school-aged child was killed crossing Biscayne Boulevard near 64th Street about two years ago.  Needless to say FDOT has done little since this tragic accident to make Biscayne Blvd. safer for pedestrians and cyclists.  FDOT must recognize that proper road construction needs to take all users into account (pedestrians, cyclists and motorists).  Only a few years ago FDOT completed a major roadway redesign on Biscayne Blvd.  from 40th street  to 79th street. Unfortunately, the roadway was designed with the sole purpose of moving cars faster through the MiMo Historic District.

The current speed limit in this area is 35mph; however the design speed of the roadway is closer to 45mph. The design speed of Biscayne Blvd. should not exceed 35mph (30mph would be ideal) and crosswalks should be placed at  just about every intersection, not every 5 blocks and in some cases every 10 blocks (Bay Point area). Needless to say, there aren’t nearly enough crosswalks in the historic district. Parallel parking should have been included to support access to local retailers. Prior to FDOT’s most recent project parallel parking existed, unfortunately it was removed to move cars more quickly through the area. Lane widths should have been narrower to calm traffic. Also, bike sharrows/bike lane should have been included in FDOT’s design plans.

Unfortunately, none of these traffic calming features where incorporated in the current design.  Instead we were given a business-unfriendly, high-speed arterial road that cuts through a beautiful historic district.  FDOT has to become a willing participant in the economic development of our urban core. In their attempt to facilitate the movement of cars, they have made the area more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. At the same time have contributed to the decline of many businesses that depend on accessible on-street parking to attract customers. If FDOT continues to apply their current design standards within our cities economic development will suffer.

The MiMo Biscayne Association is leading the charge to make changes to the design of Biscayne Blvd in the MiMo Historic District. They have already met with Representative Luis Garcia and Senator Bill Nelson’s aide. Both appear to be very serious about helping to “convince” FDOT to look at the MiMo Streetscape Study, which was commissioned by the MiMo Business Improvement Committee, and completed by architects and planners from the University of Miami. I’ve been told that Mayor Regaldo has been very supportive. Transit Miami hopes to meet with Commissioner Sarnoff soon regarding this issue as well.  Mayor Regalado, Commissioner Sarnoff, and Representative Luis Garcia were all instrumental in persuading FDOT to reduce the speed limit on Brickell.

FDOT needs to do the right thing here as well. The area has three schools (Morningside Elementary, Cushman School, Bertha Abess Children’s School), two large parks (Legion and Morningside) and the Lemon City Public Library.  These facilities need safe access for pedestrians and cyclists, not just for cars.

Transit Miami will focus a lot of our energy on this complete streets campaign in 2011.  In addition to working with our elected officials, we will be working with the following organizations:

The MiMo Biscayne Association

MiMo Business Improvement Committee

University of Miami/ School of Architecture

South Florida Bike Coalition

We hope we can count on the following organizations for their support:

Green Mobility Network

Center For Independent Living

Belle Meade Homeowners Association

Morningside Homeowners Association

Bay Point Homeowners Association

Morningside Elementary

Cushman School

Bertha Abess Children’s School

Hopefully, FDOT will show some initiative here. FDOT needs to become an active participant in the development of healthy and vibrant communities.

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8 Responses to FDOT, MiMo Historic District, and Complete Streets

  1. UpperEastsider says:

    Preach on! These changes need to happen, it’s a beautiful area ripe for the help.

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  2. I love Miami says:

    I was involved as a resident for years on that FDOT project and we fought for pedestrian friendliness and it was many businesses and residents that ferociously opposed it. Talk to Elvis Cruz in Morningside. He wanted no shade trees, but only palms. He spoke forcefully at one meeting against pedestrian friendliness. “How many of you walked here tonight?” How many of you are going to start walking?'” he barked at one meeting. The businesses didn’t want traffic calming, landscaped medians because they limit left turn access. They were part of the plan and were removed. Don’t blame FDOT, blame the Upper Eastsided neighbors. FDOT did largely what was asked of them.

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  3. MiamiBuzz says:

    I totally agree with “I Love Miami.” The area businesses fought the plan that was originally presented.

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  4. yes yes yes and more yes!!!!!!

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  5. I say just leave bad enough alone.
    http://swampstyle.blogspot.com/search/label/MiMo

    Endless road work drains billions in taxdollars just to prop up a car-crazy culture. The auto and petro industries externalize the true cost of an unsustainable lifestyle.

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  6. ruhappy says:

    Over and over, it is repeated that during those public meetings in the 90s the only choice FDOT gave the community was 10 continuous blocks of medians with no turn-ins OR nothing (no medians at all). One can’t expect a struggling business to count on customers driving 9 blocks out of the way & turning around to return. Likewise residents weren’t thrilled at the choice either - it was a lose-lose for the neighborhood. Missing was someone to suggest a solution rather than letting FDOT achieve their goal to MOVE TRAFFIC swiftly through the main street of a neighborhood.

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  7. miami says:

    It was not just FDOT, the city of miami also wanted excessive sidewalks over parallel parking. The city was clamoring for sidewalk cafes- The landscape was the result of a landscape architect trying to be modern and planting trees randomly. It was an atempt to mix with the modern district that went terribly arry. Where was the city’s transportation department suggesting bike lanes, suggesting shorter medians at every 2 blocks. Many of the city’s personnel are from FDOT and could suggest alternatives.

    All is not over- Felipe is correct; some easy alternatives could be done. medians could be added, even parellel parking could be added in some locations without disrupting drainage, pedestrian crossings could be added, additional landscape beds to organize the random pattern could be implemented.

    You need will, effort, political support, some money (BID?), and a city willing to go to bat for the area like the DDA did for Brickell. Are you ready???

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  8. Mike Moskos says:

    Maybe Rick Scott will eliminate the FDOT and do us all a favor. If each city had to pay for its own roads, we’d get the roads most appropriate to local conditions.

       0 likes

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