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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I had the opportunity to use Ecobici while in Mexico City for the Walk 21 conference. The system of over 1,000 bicycles has a waiting list for membership and no options for short term memberships, so it caters primarily to residents, not visitors. Thanks to the folks at CTS EMBARQ, conference goers were able to borrow passes for a day to use the system.
From everything I’ve heard and the large numbers of red bikes I saw riding around the city, the system is successful. It has about 9,000 daily riders and the membership was capped at 30,000 members before the recent expansions, with a waiting list of several thousands. The focus of this post is not the ridership or success of the system, but a review of the riding and usability of the system. Since Ecobici is operated by Clear Channel, many of the system characteristics are similar to other Clear Channel systems, such as Washington, D.C.’s old SmartBike system.
Before you question my sanity for riding in a city where drivers don’t even need to pass an exam to obtain a license, know that I had guidance from another conference goer from the U.S. who was living in Mexico, and comfortable enough cycling there to ride his folding bicycle from his hotel to the conference each day. (And hey, I ride in South Florida. People question my sanity all the time for doing that.) Roy Dudley, who works with advocacy group Pro Ciclismo Xalapa, offered to show me around the city by bicycle, so I took him up on that. We walked down to the nearest Ecobici station, where I got to experience checking out a bicycle.
To check out, you tap your annual membership card at the kiosk, which is supposed to tell you which bicycle to pull off the rack. The first time I checked out a bike an operating system error message covered up the message telling me which bicycle to take. At first I thought my tap had not registered, but a second tap told me that I already had a bicycle checked out, so I was left to hunt for the waiting bicycle and hope no one else beat me to it. A tiny green light that is nearly impossible to see in broad daylight indicates that the bike is ready to check out. I went down the line from the kiosk, looking for a small blinking green light on the rack. When I found it, I quickly pulled the bicycle off the rack. Good thing I had a partner to grab the bicycle, though, as I was standing on the wrong side of the rack. The system is just a rail and the bikes latch into it, much like the Decobike system in Miami Beach. The Ecobici kiosk just to the right outside the picture above faces the opposite side of the rail from where the bikes are, which is not the most user friendly set up. After my friend held onto the bicycle, I clambered over the rail in my dress pants to get to the bicycle. I ended up doing this same maneuver twice because this was not the only station with this design flaw.
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Yesterday afternoon, a serious car crash on Brickell Bay Drive by the Four Ambassadors Condo Building sent an SUV flying onto the sidewalk and a young woman to the hospital. Transit Miami reader and eyewitness Mark Batey sent us this report:
Having witnessed the aftermath of yet another accident on Brickell Bay Drive, I decided enough was enough and went online to try to find some statistics and contacts. I came across your site TransitMiami.com which is great. The crash was about the third such accident I have seen on almost the very same part of Brickell Bay Drive in the last 6 months or so. It followed the same pattern, according to information from another eye-witness in my building.
Apparently a black vehicle was traveling “way too fast” from south to north on Brickell Bay Drive. It lost control, hit a parked car which was propelled straight into a pedestrian and the pedestrian was knocked to the ground. The attached image is a blurred one out of respect for the pedestrian – a young lady who just happened to be passing by wearing running clothes.
What the photo shows is the black car on its side, the other vehicle fully mounted on the pavement from the impact, and the poor young lady lying on her back, bleeding and with serious injuries. I was alerted to the crash by the sound of the impact and the screams of the young lady which I will never forget.
A few months ago, I was walking by that same spot and saw the aftermath of an almost identical accident, this time with an older lady lying badly injured on the ground. Shortly after today’s crash I watched another lady walking by pushing a baby in a stroller. She has no idea how lucky she was.
From my vantage point I have a perfect view of the chaos of Brickell Bay Drive. It makes my blood boil when I see drivers driving straight by pedestrians on the pedestrian crossing – often at high speed.
I read the posts and comments about the traffic situation on Brickell Avenue and, having lived here for 8 years, and being a frequent pedestrian on Brickell, I can only agree with what I read. It is nothing short of a disgrace.
I would welcome your advice about the best way to make my voice heard on this issue.
Thank you for the excellent report Mark. We agree that even though Brickell Avenue itself receives the brunt of the criticism, the surrounding roads are equally as deplorable for pedestrians, cyclists and even motorists. Brickell Bay drive from SE 8th Street south is in desperate need of traffic calming and enhanced pedestrian and cyclist measures. With 4 lanes of traffic here, vehicle speeds are often completely inappropriate for a dense residential neighborhood. We recommend a ‘road diet‘, reducing the road to two travel lanes and use the reclaimed space for a buffered bicycle lane. (Brickell Bay Drive at 14th street goes back to two lanes and traffic seems to flow just fine).
How many more people out for an evening jog have to be maimed by motorists until some serious action is taken?
Update: Reddit has an active thread on this crash. One eyewitness reported: “I was across the street when this accident happened. The black SUV hit the woman jogger and her lower leg snapped. I watched her look down and start screaming. I called 911 then bailed, that s*** was freaking me out.”
The following is an article from Elsa Roberts from Emerge Miami.
“What are you doing?”
“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!
National news continues to cover the tragic death of four local men killed in the Doral parking garage collapse. International news, Twitter and the campaign trails of both Presidential candidates keep returning to the tragic killing of four Americans in Benghazi.
Where is the outcry over continuous deaths of men, women and children who die on Miami roads all the time?
In just the last few days, at least 5 people have lost their lives on Miami’s roads and sidewalks. Speed has been blamed in all three incidents:
A police officer in an unmarked car crashed into a young couple’s SUV at a Hialeah intersection, killing a college student.
A driver cut off another in Miami Gardens, clipping a third car and careening into a group of people sitting at a bus stop, killing at least one of the 5 maimed or otherwise critically injured by the speeding driver.
A third speeding driver killed his passenger as well as a boy and his father in a separate vehicle on Saturday morning.
Five people killed in Miami in three days. Where is the outcry?
A 29 year old man, also waiting for a bus, was killed by a man trying escape the scene of a separate, relatively minor rear-end collision in West Miami. This actually happened two weeks ago but apparently made news when The Miami Herald determined the driver was an icon of Miami’s culinary scene. No charges – not a traffic ticket – have been filed for leaving the scene or killing a pedestrian on a sidewalk in that case.
These are not “accidents.” These are not “cars” killing our neighbors, our friends, innocent people. This is a culture, particular to South Florida, that makes it unsurprising to be passed dangerously close by a car, often an off-duty* police car, on all kinds of streets. Here in South Florida, we don’t expect cars to stop before the crosswalk at intersections – pedestrians are lucky when all the cars stop on the red light. Do you disagree?
The lack of truly pedestrian and bicycle-friendly infrastructure is part of the problem. The fact that our streets are notoriously Dangerous by Design is another critical part. But the piece most easy to dismiss is just as important- enforcement.
The City of Miami Police Department employs around 1,400 people. 17 of them are in Traffic Enforcement. Given the City and County’s exceptional fatality rate in traffic, isn’t about time we do more to enforce our laws?
Who Wants More Traffic Tickets?
Not the Police. No one wants more traffic tickets, your local police department, most of all. See, several years ago, Florida state legislators got ‘tough’ on traffic-related crimes, raising the fines for all kinds of infractions. Unfortunately for our safety as a state, this backfired, because your local cops already have it hard when it comes to giving tickets. 1) It’s more dangerous than Special Ops and far less sexy. No one’s family wants them to be the guy pulling over Joe with a gun.** 2) Police are average people, too. They don’t really enjoy hearing your sob story about how this $250 ticket will keep you from making rent and make your kids homeless. 3) Okay, maybe one or two don’t mind that part, but they hate going to court only to have a Judge fall for said sob story and throw out the case.
Not Politicians. So, Dr. So-and-so gets a ticket, gets upset, calls our Commissioner and threatens all kinds of drama. It’s a hassle. Plus, there aren’t statistics on how many people were not stopped by an officer and then immediately killed someone’s child or dog (that really would get on the news!). In other words, it doesn’t win sound bites or votes.
Not the Public. Most people seem to think traffic tickets are just some excuse for your local politicians and police to make easy money. It’s not ‘easy’ money**.
And yet, hardly anyone speeds in the Village of Pinecrest! That’s not because the lanes are narrower (no) or because there are fewer texting-calling-children wrangling-pompous drivers (no). It’s because everyone knows you’ll get a ticket. New to the area? Everyone else is abiding the law so chances are, you will, too.
If you really want to live in a safer place, where businesses benefit from local traffic and your neighbors and tourists don’t get killed waiting for the bus, then all of us need to drive more safely, follow the speed limit, put down the phone. Always change lanes to give those pulled over a full lane of space. Do the same for people on bicycles, too.
Call your commissioners and PDs and tell them you WANT more traffic enforcement. Do it today. Call 311, give them your address and they can tell you how to reach your elected officials. Do it.
Because your life depends on it.
*You know they are off duty when the car says Bal Harbour and you are on I-95, for example.
**In the last decade, nationwide, more police were killed in cars or by cars than were shot or killed by terrorist attacks, combined.
Hey, at least we’re not Texas!
StreetEasy has just launched its South Florida real estate website. Now you can search for your dream home, condo or apartment by neighborhood. You can seek out that special place by school district and investigate the crime stats of the surrounding area. Eventually the site will also allow you to search for properties according to public transit and distance from your workplace.
StreetEasy also offers plenty of market research material for free so that buyers, sellers and those seeking to rent can make a more informed decision. Check out the StreetEasy website here:
Yesterday I attended a meeting between the MiMo Biscayne Association and 5 officials from the FDOT to discuss adding a median to Biscayne Boulevard from NE 69th Street to NE 77th Street in order to calm traffic and make this road more business and pedestrian friendly. The meeting was frustrating to say the very least.
The FDOT gave about a half dozen reasons why they could not add a median to calm traffic in the MiMo Historic District. The main reasons given were that medians would add traffic to the residential neighborhood of Palm Grove and that it would limit vehicular access to businesses along Biscayne Boulevard.
I realized very quickly that the FDOT wasn’t going too add a median to Biscayne Boulevard so I changed my approach.
When I asked them to reduce the design speed from 40mph to 30 mph I was told that reducing the design speed would not improve safety along Biscayne Boulevard.
When I asked them whether they thought that 14 documented crashes in a two-year period within a 30 block stretch was an acceptable safety standard I was told that safety was subjective and a matter of perception.
Realizing that I was getting nowhere quick, I made one simple request.
Could we please have crosswalks at every intersection?
I was told that there isn’t enough “demand” from pedestrians to warrant any new crosswalks and we should all be elated that we now have three new mid-block crosswalks with flashing lights.
At that point, I walked out of the meeting. The message from the FDOT was very clear:
“Screw you and your fellow pedestrians and be happy you got three additional crosswalks, because we aren’t going to do a single thing to make Biscayne Boulevard safer for anyone; what you have is what you get.”
Disgusted? Please send the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego, City Commissioner Mark Sarnoff and County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson an email by clicking here.
One local group is taking it to the streets to draw attention to greater Miami’s pedestrian safety issues. Local activist group Emerge Miami, in conjunction with the Green Mobility Network, is holding a walk and demonstration for pedestrian and cyclist safety and awareness this Saturday, October 20th in Coral Gables at 1 pm.
From the group’s website:
Why Walk for Pedestrian Safety?
Stepping out into the crosswalk is generally a tense and terrifying experience in Miami. Most drivers don’t even look to see if you are there, so you must either wait until they have turned or aggressively get in front of a car that might well run you over. People crossing with children, people who are disabled, and elderly people have an even worse time of it, since often our crosswalk signals are too short to enable people moving slowly to finish crossing the road.
If you’ve ever been a pedestrian you know this sensation. You also know the powerless feeling that comes with being one lone person against a large machine that can kill you, even if the driver isn’t trying to. Every single person driving a car has been a pedestrian at some point, but drivers here aren’t trained to respond to pedestrian’s right of way on crosswalks; its possible that that most pedestrians don’t know what rights they have to cross the road. Pedestrians and drivers need to be aware of when pedestrians have the right of way so that everyone is safe. Until everyone that uses the road is educated and respects everyone else’s rights to it, Florida will continue to lead the country in pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities. Miami-Dade County will continue to have the second highest rate of pedestrian and cyclist injury and death, and we will continue to have rides dedicated to fallen cyclists and angry newspaper editorials about another family struck down while on a sidewalk.
Lots of ink has been spilled on this topic, but now is the time for direct action. On October 20th, 2012, at 1:00 pm, pedestrians are invited to gather to Walk for Pedestrian Safety at Miracle Mile and Ponce De Leon, RSVP on Facebook or Meetup. We will legally make use of the crosswalks at this intersection for an hour, holding informational signs and educating drivers and other pedestrians about how to keep our crosswalks safe. We will be meeting at 12:45, by Starbucks on the corner of Ponce and Miracle Mile, to go over the rules of crossing the street legally. After the walk, we invite you to grab a late lunch at one of the local establishments to demonstrate that a safe and healthy pedestrian culture also promotes good business.
Join us as we work to improve the lives of everyone who lives in Miami; after all we are all pedestrians!
Just days after the Miami Herald published a letter (Brickell financial district pedestrians beware!) detailing one woman’s harrowing experiences walking in Brickell, and some feisty Transit Miami e-mails to local authorities, the Miami Police conducted a crosswalk detail in Brickell.
From Police Chief Miguel Orosa:
“On Oct 10, MPD conducted a crosswalk detail at SW 8 Street and Brickell Ave. The results of the detail were a total of 73 summons, 41 of which were for failing to yield right of way to pedestrians.”
I heard about the detail in the morning of October 10th, and went to personally thank the officers on duty, letting them know this was an important safety issue to the community. The officers left at about 9:15 AM, so 72 summons were doled out in a relatively short period of time.
This is the same intersection that the MPD conducted a similar operation on in May, netting nearly $10,000 in fines in just under one hour, and subsequently resulting in a front page news story in the Miami Herald. Prior to that detail, Transit Miami Films made this intersection famous in the video No Respect which drew the attention of local commissioners and police.
Transit Miami applauds this use of police resources, which is obviously a reasonable and productive use of their time given the commonplace lack of compliance of our traffic laws.
Transit Miami attended this year’s Walk 21 conference, combined with EMBARQ’s International Walking and Livable Communities Conference, in Mexico City. This is the first of several posts sharing what we learned in the conference and experienced in the city, and any applications they might have for Miami.
During Tuesday’s keynote session, Jim Walker, President of Walk 21, shared London’s success story of preparing for a multimodal London Olympics. London set about accommodating people’s trips to and from the Olympics, not simply accommodating traffic. This approach incorporated transit, bike, pedestrian, and auto modes–but merely as choices in the main goal of getting to their destination. Rather than splitting planning efforts into approaches for one mode at a time, London’s planners and advocacy groups focused efforts on trips to be taken by Olympic athletes, workers, and spectators in addition to citizens of London going about their daily business. Through this process they effectively created an atmosphere where everyone felt comfortable using transit. “Games lanes” were created to reassure those who felt that the automobile was the only method that would get athletes and VIPs to their games on time, but it was reported in several sources that some athletes did feel comfortable using transit. It seems that London came close to their goal of no additional car trips due to the Olympics by accommodating so many on public transit, on foot, or on the bike.
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