The article comes to us via the South Florida Bike Coalition and was written by Markus Wagner.
Miami-Dade County is facing a tricky situation on Bear Cut Bridge. Predictably and sadly, it is choosing to prioritize motorized traffic at the expense of the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. This much became clear at the January 2013 BPAC meeting. Given current plans, it will almost be inevitable that the bridge be close to pedestrian and cycling traffic during construction (except for those cyclists going with traffic, which they are allowed to do).
As many may have heard, parts of the Bear Cut Bridge have become so dilapidated that they have to be replaced. This is not the time or place to go into details why it is that such a situation suddenly springs upon the County – blame is already being passed around. More news reports here, here and here.
The County Public Works and Waste Management Department has gone through several iterations of planning. The latest approach – and the most detrimental to safety for pedestrians and cyclists wishing to enjoy Crandon Park or other destinations on the Key – is to take away the pedestrian and bike path heading east to create more throughput for cars and trucks. The current plans call for re-routing pedestrians and cyclists to the north side of the bridge via a signalized crosswalk by UM’s Rostenstiel campus, where cyclists and pedestrians going both ways are supposed to share the space. Then, should you desire to return to the south side, you would use the marked crosswalk where pedestrians and cyclists have been constantly ignored by drivers in the past.
If you are now scratching your head, you are not alone. The reaction of BPAC members appeared to be rather unanimous: it was negative. The entire operation does not appear to be well thought out regarding the treatment of pedestrians and cyclists. And that is an understatement. There are so many things wrong with the current plans that it is difficult to figure out where to start. It is unclear how separation between fast and slow cyclists, runners and walkers going in two directions is supposed to be managed. According to the Miami Herald, the County even considers closing the roadway for cyclists and pedestrians entirely. According to Interim County Engineer Antonio Cotarelo the county “would have to figure out if there’s any impact, and how bad it is with traffic, and take whatever necessary action to adjust it or close it if necessary — meaning closing the bridge to all pedestrians and cyclists.” It is apparently perfectly fine for the County to close down the only access for pedestrians and recreational cyclists to Crandon Park entirely while vehicle traffic to and from Key Biscayne is allowed to flow through four lanes, just as before.
What county personnel did not state clearly and were rather guarded about is the following: if current lane usage is to be maintained (two lanes in each direction) and with the existing ped / bike path removed, it will be impossible to maintain the ped / bike path on the northern side once construction begins. It is hardly conceivable that the county – having decided to close down the footpath at this point – will restrict motorized vehicle access once construction begins for purposes of reinstating the foot path.
There was talk of more law enforcement, but when pressed on whether the Miami-Dade Police Department would actually enforce the rules on the unsignalized cross-walk on the east side of the Bear Cut Bridge, the officer present seemed to be taken aback.
It comes down – as is the case so often – to a question of prioritization. If the County wants to go beyond the usual lip service, it is time to step up to the plate. Over the last years, we have seen people get killed on the Causeway and numerous people getting injured. The County under the leadership of Mayor Gimenez has done little to nothing to improve the situation. Along comes a tennis tournament and it appears that the County snaps to attention rather quickly. The bridge is in dire need of repair from everything we can ascertain. There is no doubt about that.
The question is whether the County should prioritize the needs of car drivers at the almost complete disadvantage for families and individuals that want to be pedestrians, runners or cyclists. This episode shows how little the County – and its mayor – support non-motorized traffic. Not only is the situation made more difficult, but rather it is also made more dangerous. And it does not seem to matter to decision-makers. Those decision-makers sometimes take part in bicycle rides when it suits their needs of being elected. When it comes to having to make decisions over whether find a suitable balance that interest seems to wane entirely.
While the county plans are still in flux, the removal of the foot path seems to be the option that the county has chosen. It is also the only way from what we can tell (and we are happy to stand corrected) to not have to close pedestrian and a lot of bicycle traffic. Yet again, the county and its leadership has chosen motorized traffic over the interest of other users. While touting bicycling in other forums and using such opportunities to create the image of being supportive for bicyclists, county leadership on this and many other projects is sorely lacking.
You should let Mayor Gimenez know that you are against current plans(firstname.lastname@example.org). Our attempts to reach out to his office so far have been futile. More voices may be necessary.
- Bear Cut Bridge Shutdown Shifts All Traffic
- Ghost Bike Removed from Bear Cut Bridge
- Action Alert: Miami-Dade’s Million Dollar Bicycle Infrastructure Push
- City, County Post Bicycle Safety Bus Stop Ads
- County Revises Press Release to Include Pedestrian and Bicycle “Detour;” Bureaucratic Run-Around Continues
Subscribe via Email
Find us on Facebook
- Dan on Miami at Manhattan Prices
- Marta Viciedo on Making Miami’s Mean Streets Safer
- Rudy on Imagining Townhouses in Little Havana
- Mr. E. on Lackluster Mayoral Candidates Promise More of the Same on Transportation
- hello miami on How Miami Greets Its Visitors (and Locals)
- Mike Moskos on How Miami Greets Its Visitors (and Locals)
CategoriesAccident Architecture bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Downtown Miami FDOT High Speed Rail Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Planning Real Estate Development Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Development Boundary Urban Growth Urban Planning Walkability
- Texas to Require Fingerprinting of Architects December 8, 2013Already one of only two states to require criminal background checks of registered architects, the Texas legislature has gone one step further by requiring them to be fingerprinted. It's the first state in the country to embrace the practice.
- The Top Protected Bike Lanes of 2013 December 8, 2013I know, it's a bit early in the "Best of" season to get this specialized, but gosh darnit if these protected bike lanes aren't the cutest things. Chicago, Indianapolis, Austin, and the other winners: You've got a lot to celebrate.
- All Aboard L.A.'s Bike Commuter Train December 7, 2013This train is not steel wheels on steel rail - it is multiple two-wheeled rubber tires, commuting together, providing support and safety to novice cyclists, but sometimes it backfires. Interviewed is a frustrated motorist who intimidated them.
- How Would Losing Your Sight Change Your Approach to Design? December 7, 2013Alison Prato speaks with architect Chris Downey, who lost his eyesight five years ago following surgery to remove a brain tumor, about how his approach to design and his experience of the city have changed.
- Social Impact Bonds Aim to Attract Investment in Public Health December 7, 2013A pilot project hopes to pioneer a new type of investment by alleviating asthma among lower-income children. Project developers hope the Fresno Asthma Impact Model could become a national model for improving health and reducing costs.
- Map of D.C. Metro Expansion Plans Unveiled December 7, 2013A preliminary map of D.C. Metro's long-term expansion plans that was unveiled this week has riders salivating at the prospect of a station finally being built in Georgetown. A third line could serve Virginia.
- Want to Buy a Bike Share System? December 7, 2013After three years of operation, Melbourne's publicly subsidized bike share system is for sale. Though ridership has increased each year since opening, private investment is seen as crucial for expansion.
- Friday Funny: Pointless Diagrams December 6, 2013Illustrative diagrams are one of the primary tools used by architects and planners to explain existing conditions and design concepts. An art project that produces frivolous diagrams reveals the heft that well crafted drawings bring.
- Putting a Value on Creative Capital December 6, 2013A new report from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates the impact that all those actors, writers, and artists have on the national economy.
- With TOD Planning, Boston Suburb Embraces a Different Brand of Urban Renewal December 6, 2013With the long-awaited extension of Boston's Green Line train to Somerville expected to arrive in a few years, the city has embraced a planning and development process much different from the one that "left behind some of Somerville’s worst spaces."
- Texas to Require Fingerprinting of Architects December 8, 2013