Yup, time to celebrate the River! The Miami River Commission will be hosting its 17th annual Miami River Day 2013.

MiamiRiverDay2013

Saturday, April 6 @ 1:00pm – 6:00pm

Lummus Park Historic District

250 NW North River Drive

Featuring Free:

  • Boat Rides along the Miami River
  • Historical Tours & Re-Enactments
  • Environmental Education
  • Kids Activities
  • Bike Valet
  • Paddle Board & Kayak Races

 

modal priority

 We just received some excellent news from a Transit Miami sleeper cell from deep within the FDOT machine. Apparently, going forward, FDOT will integrate a new “complete streets policy” in all future projects.  Transit Miami’s anonymous FDOT source had this to say:

“FDOT will no longer design streets that encourage speeding. We recognize that since no one else can hold us accountable, we will begin holding ourselves accountable for designing roads that have made Florida the deadliest state in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists”.

The senior FDOT official also had this to say…

“No longer will we treat pedestrians, cyclists, the disabled and parents with strollers like second-class citizens. From now on FDOT will design streets with all users in mind.  We won’t design streets for the sole purpose of moving cars as quickly as possible. FDOT’s mantra will no longer be “Level of Service”, but rather ‘Level of Safety”.

When pressed as to why FDOT has now decided to adopt a complete streets policy the senior FDOT official has this to say…

” It’s just common sense.  We should have had a complete streets policy 10 years ago. We have tasted the complete streets Kool-Aid and we understand that complete streets are good for people and for businesses.

Needless to say, we here at Transit Miami could not be happier.

 

The University of Miami Urban Studies Program (College of Arts & Sciences) and School of Architecture will be hosting a one-day mini-conference titled “Cities 2030″ covering the topic of urban futures.

Cities2030_UrbanFutures_UM

Twelve renowned international scholars and architects will discuss and reflect on the future of cities and urban sustainability in 2030. Cities and regions to be discussed include Accra, Ghana; Dubai, UAE; Mumbai, India; Beijing, China; New York, USA; Nairobi, Kenya; and our own Miami, USA; among others.

The all-day program runs from 8:30am-5:30pm.

The keynote speaker will be Professor Alejandro Portes, co-author of City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami.

There will also be an evening event at 6:00pm featuring a talk by Shohei Shigematsu, Architect and Partner at OMA/AMO, based out of Rotterdam, NY, USA.

The entire event is free and open to the public. Spaces are limited and allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

University of Miami School of Architecture
Glasgow Hall

April 5 @ 8:30am-7:30pm

 

What do you love or hate about Miami? That’s what The Miami Herald and WLRN want to know, recently announcing a call for Miamians to create a poem about their city – the ‘That’s so Miami’ poetry project.

Poem submissions are published each day on ThatsSoMiami.tumblr.com and some of the best poems will be chosen to be read on the air on WLRN 91.3 FM, South Florida’s NPR news station. They must be under 100 words and begin or end with the phrase ‘That’s so Miami’. You can also submit photos and poems from Instagram and Twitter, respectively, tagged with #ThatsSoMiami to go up on the website as well. Check out all the rules and how to enter your poem here.

Now for my poem…..

A safety crisis hard to ignore
and a part of Miami I really deplore

Is the danger of walking or crossing the street
To merely survive, you must have quick feet.

The pedestrian crisis is very real here
Miami a leader in deaths, year after year.

Because speeding, tailgating and failure to yield
Are normal behaviors behind the windshield.

An embarrassing failure of our local officials
and FDOT, to use their initials

By not providing the streets that are safer for walking
Years of inaction – we only hear talking.

Unhealthy for kids and especially Granny
Our dangerous streets? #ThatsSoMiami.

- Craig Chester

 
FDOT paints a new green bike lane leading onto I195 heading west.

FDOT paints a new green bike lane leading onto 195 heading west.

If this is the FDOT’s idea of safety, looks like all cyclists are pretty much screwed in Miami. FDOT is now encouraging cyclists to ride a bicycle on 195. The design speed of 195 probably exceeds 65mph and this so called “unprotected bike lane” is also a shoulder. Seriously? FDOT will have blood on their hands soon enough. If a cyclist is struck on this highway, it is very unlikely he or she will survive.

impact-of-speed2

 

FDOT held public information meetings last week to present their Alton Road reconstruction project. The project is scheduled to kick off just 1 week, April 1st 2013, and lasts until “summer 2015″ and costs an estimated $32 Million. The presentation by FDOT touched on the main work items, in particular the 3 pump stations and drainage system that will be installed, as well as the reconstruction (repavement) of Alton Road. The project Fact Sheet gives an overview of the project.

Residents and business owners listened attentively as FDOT presented the project. Almost everyone agrees that the project is necessary as flooding has been a huge issue in this area of Miami Beach. However, the project includes re-routing Alton Road traffic onto West Avenue for the majority of it’s duration. For this purpose, West Ave is reconfigured into a 3-lane road (currently 2 lanes with a turning lane). For a period of at least 6 months, all Alton Road traffic will be North-bound-only, and all South-bound traffic will be re-routed to West Ave.

As a resident of West Ave, this certainly caught my attention. West Ave is a rather residential street that is home to large condominiums such as the Mirador, the Waverly, the Floridian and many smaller buildings.  According to the 2010 Census, over 30,000 people live within 10 blocks of this 15 block section of Alton Road. As opposed to busy Ocean Drive or Washington Ave, West Ave does not host many tourist-geared businesses, and the few restaurants and shops are mostly frequented by locals. People enjoy walking their dogs and strollers on West Ave, stopping by Whole Foods or Epicure for some groceries, or linger over a coffee on Starbuck’s patio. There is a lot of Decobike usage on West Ave. So when the FDOT representative announced without a blink of his eye that this same West Ave would be “reconfigured to allow for alternate traffic flow” – my heart skipped a beat.

Alton Road FDOT

 

I began wondering what it will be like to have the street I live (and bike, and walk, and run, and take my daughter for walks) on turned into a one-way 3-lane highway from one day to another. As it is, cars are rather disrespectful on West Ave and, despite beautiful little reminders posted in the intersections that it’s the LAW to YIELD to pedestrians, I am usually forced to speed-walk across West Ave when there is a short pause in traffic. How will this be when delivery trucks, county buses, tourists, taxis, and simply everyone else that needs to get on or off the beach will be driving past my front yard? Examples of other one-way 3-lane highways such as “Calle Ocho” in Miami prove this setup is deathly to the neighbourhood (when is the last time YOU decided to stroll on Calle Ocho for fun?). Let alone the pollution and noise caused by such a major highway – now I am worried that I won’t even be able to exit my condo without actually risking my life. As one speaker at the public forum begged FDOT to understand – “we live here. And  - we paid a lot of money for it…”.

But wait, there is more! If at least this massive project provided some safer options for pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate Alton Road in the end, it might all be worth it, right? After all, as was previously pointed out by Transit Miami, “Miami Beach bikes and walks to work“, and Miami Beach claims that “the City and residents of Miami Beach have identified bicycle improvements and programs as part of their strategic plan and as a priority goal“. So surely, some improvements must be planned for Alton Road to meet this “priority goal”! Perhaps Alton Road will boast broad tree-covered sidewalks, with a bike lane, and patios for restaurants? This would give us something to look forward to at the end of all the years of noise, traffic, congestion, and pollution…perhaps Alton Road will look something like this, as envisioned by the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association?

Alton Road Vision

One can always dream…well, in short: this is not what Alton Road is going to look like. Alas, there is no grand plan by FDOT (suprise!) and there will be no bike lanes on Alton Road. However, FDOT is kind enough to include sharrows on Alton Road. Yes, you read that right. According to Daniel Iglesias, the engineer in charge, given studies and research from their side, sharrows are “the safest option“. Let that sink in for a moment. Now – there may be some lunatics crazy enough to bike just about anywhere – on mountain tops and in river beds – but I challenge anyone to actually bike on an inner-city highway heavily frequented by buses, trucks, and careless Miami drivers – on a sharrow. This thought would be funny – if it weren’t so terribly sad.

The Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association has expressed significant opposition to the FDOT plan for the reconstruction of Alton Road. In their view, “Alton Road reconstruction is a once in 50 year event to properly address the multiple needs of all user groups – multi-modal mobility options for pedestrians, bikers, autos, and transit users, contribute to a functional environment for business and with trees, landscaping and street furniture foster an attractive and safe neighborhood for our residents and visitors [...]. This ill-formed Alton Road project is going to create safety issues for all types of transportation (pedestrian, motorized and non-motorized vehicles) and create a detrimental impact on the businesses and property owners along this essential commercial corridor. [...] Join us in our outrage over a plan that emphasizes speed at the expense of safety, economic vitality, and quality of life.”.

The West Avenue Neighbourhood Association has also expressed concerns with the project, stating that “FDOT is placing an undue burden on a highly residential neighborhood“.

We will keep monitoring this project closely and provide status updates.

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Ladies and Gentlemen- Let’s get Ready to Rumble!

It’s the fight of the century. David vs. Goliath

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 7.42.02 PM

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 7.30.49 PM

Legion Park

6447 NE 7th Ave
Miami, FL 33138

I have a feeling we may see a couple of Superfly Snukas from Upper EastSide residents and businesses at this event. FDOT better come prepared.

 
NE 79th Street.  Miami's worst urban street has a design speed of 40+mph. 3 lanes going west to east and 1 lane going east to west.

NE 79th Street. Miami’s worst urban street has a design speed of 40+mph. 3 lanes going west to east and 1 lane going east to west.

NE 79th is unequivocally Miami’s worst urban street. The street is awkwardly configured with 3 lanes going west to east and 1 lane going east to west. Sometime in 2013 FDOT will begin a resurfacing project from I95 to the Biscayne Bay.

NE 79th Street project will be resurfaced from I95 to Biscayne Bay.

NE 79th Street will be resurfaced from I95 to Biscayne Bay.

I’m plugged-in with what’s happening in my neighborhood and I happen to live 4 blocks away from 79th Street.  About two months ago I found out that FDOT would be resurfacing NE 79th Street and apparently the FDOT has been conducting a series of meetings with “neighborhood stakeholders” in the last year. I am on the board of the MiMo Biscayne Association.  Over the past two years we have met with FDOT officials on several occasions to discuss making safety improvements along Biscayne Boulevard. Not once during any of our meetings did FDOT mention that NE79th Street was due to be resurfaced. Where’s the community outreach? Why didn’t FDOT reach out to the MiMo Biscayne Association or Transit Miami?

With respect to Biscayne Boulevard, the MiMo Biscayne Association has been rebuffed by FDOT and they make every excuse not to make any safety improvement although I have documented over 15 crashes in less than a three-year period in which cars usually end up on the sidewalk.  Basically, FDOT officials have said to us is “ Biscayne Boulevard was just recently resurfaced, so speak with us again in 20 years when we resurface again”. FDOT officials have also said “ safety is matter of perception”.

So let’s put outside FDOT’s lack of community outreach for now. I’ve heard that the current resurfacing project is only a “temporary solution”.  WTF does “temporary solution” mean? Sounds exactly like the I395 “Bait and Switch” which FDOT just pulled with the “signature bridge” construction project. I’m very happy to see that Mayor Regalado and Commissioner Sarnoff have filed a lawsuit again FDOT.

My fear is that FDOT will pull the same “Bait and Switch”. They’ll do this resurfacing project with a promise to come back soon and we won’t hear from them again for another 20 years.  Meanwhile, 79th Street will likely see a new train station along the FEC corridor in the next 7 years.  There is a lot of new development happening in this area and pedestrian activity is increasing everyday, yet FDOT continues to design their roads as if it were 1960. They are clearly not planning for the future

My sources from within the city have informed me that FDOT has not conducted a traffic study or traffic count for 79th Street in 10 years. So I’m going assume that they haven’t conducted any pedestrians on cyclists counts either.  Not that it matters since FDOT plays by their own set of rules and standards; they have little regard for anyone not in a vehicle.

FDOT’s current proposal is the equivalent of putting “lipstick on a pig”.  Thanks to pressure from the North Palm Grove and Shorecrest neighborhood associations FDOT has agreed to add some lighting and 5 additional crosswalks in the scope of this project.  But this is not good enough. FDOT can and should do a lot more.

The MiMo Biscayne Association’s has adopted a resolution regarding NE 79th Street. Transit Miami fully supports this resolution:

 79th Street: Miami’s Worst Urban Street:

WHEREAS, the Florida Department of Transportation will begin
resurfacing 79TH Street beginning in August, 2014, and
 
WHEREAS, the FDOT Plan will do very little to improve safety for
pedestrians along this poorly design street, and
 
WHEREAS, 79TH Street from Biscayne Bay to I-95 has 3 lanes going west
to east and 1 lane going east to west, and
 
WHEREAS, little parking is available for the 79th Street small shop
owners aside from on-street spaces, and
 
WHEREAS, the eastbound lanes have a design speed of 45 MPH through
the heart of the city, and
 
WHEREAS, 79TH street is the focal point of the Upper Eastside
community, and
 
WHEREAS, the 79th Street merchants have joined with MiMo Boulevard
Association for support of their Urban Streets, and
 
WHEREAS, Both 79th Street and MiMo Boulevard merchants are
promoting the revitalization efforts taking place on those streets, and
 
WHEREAS, 79th Street and MiMo Boulevard are the two vital
commercial roadways that affect the economic redevelopment of the
Upper East Side, 
 
THEREFORE, THE MIMO BISCAYNE ASSOCIATION AND THE 79TH STREET
BUSINESS ASSOCIATION CALL FOR THE FOLLOWING CHANGES AND
ADDITIONS TO THE PROPOSED FDOT ROADWAY PLAN:
 
1. CHANGE THE 3/1 EAST/WEST LANES ON 79TH TO 2/2 LANES
GOING EAST AND WEST.
2. CREATE AN 8’ PARKING LANES ON BOTH SIDEs OF 79TH STREET (Off-SET PARKING)
3. PROVIDE MINIMUM SAFETY STANDARDS BY PLACING
CROSSWALKS AT EACH INTERSECTIONS OF 79TH STREET AS WELL
AS MID-WAY BETWEEN THE INTERSECTIONS AT 7TH AND 10TH
AVENUES
4. REDUCE THE DESIGN SPEED OF 79TH Street to 30 mph.

 

The FDOT will be presenting their plans to North Palm Grove Neighborhood Association on Wednesday March 27 at 7:00 PM at Legion Park.  This meeting is open to the public.  Whether you live in the area or not, please consider attending this meeting.  It’s important that Miamians take a stand against FDOT.  Miami’s worst street can very easily become one of Miami’s best signature streets.  FDOT will make every excuse in the book why they cannot make the improvements that are being recommended.  It all boils down to BS excuses.  If we can put a man on the moon, we can figure out a way to make our streets business and pedestrian friendly. Lack of will and vision from FDOT prevents any of this from happening.

Feel free to send an email to District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and let him know that FDOT’s current plan for 79th Street is not acceptable to anyone but FDOT.

 

(Community Commentary) It’s time for the Lipton Sony Ericsson Open Nasdaq Key Biscayne Grand Prix Miami Masters Tennis Tournament! If you live, work, ride, beach, etc anywhere near the entrance to Rickenbacker Causeway… we recommend bicycling or mass transit. Or, at least, podcasts. With Miami-Dade County Bear Cut Bridge renovations already underway, event organizers are urging drivers to be extra careful. They reached out to TM directly and asked us to share the following with you: In short, organizers suggest you GET THERE EARLY. They don’t want anyone missing their Tennis. Also,

  • Expect new traffic patterns to and from the Crandon Park Tennis Center.
  • Bear Cut Bridge will continue to have two lanes traveling in each direction, just as in past years, however the outermost westbound lane of the bridge will be open to pedestrian and cyclist traffic only. As a result, westbound drivers headed toward Miami may be required to change lanes before crossing the bridge. The eastbound traffic pattern toward Key Biscayne will remain unchanged.
  • Eastbound pedestrians and cyclists will be guided across Crandon Boulevard by a uniformed police officer. Drivers are urged to share the road with additional care.
  • Consider taking the bus! Route B/ 102 will make regular stops at the Tournament’s main entrance, as well as the Brickell Metrorail Station, Brickell Financial District, Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami Seaquarium, the City of Key Biscayne, and Cape Florida State Park.
  • Patrons who park in the Tournament’s General Parking lot, located on Arthur Lamb Road across the street from the Miami Seaquarium, will board free shuttles to the main entrance. Shuttles will run continuously throughout the day and up to an hour after the last evening match has been completed.

Florida traffic information is available by calling 511 or visiting www.fl511.com.

You can read more about these traffic modifications in our earlier blog post here. However, wherever you go, be safe. If you witness something that you think should be here, please try and get a photo plus any related information and contact us here.

 

The following post comes to us from TransitMiami reader Emily Eisennhauer.  Emily is  a PhD Candidate in the Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University. She is working on her dissertation titled “The Construction of Socio-Ecological Vulnerability to Climate Change in South Florida”, which is examining how governance networks and residents are thinking about Miami’s future under the threat of climate change, particularly sea level rise. Emily writes her own self-titled blog on the sociology of sustainability and climate change in Southeast Florida, where the following was originally posted.

In the first part of this post I highlighted Census data released last fall which shows that Miami Beach is the 10th city in the nation for biking to work. Approximately 7% of workers regularly use a bicycle for the longest part of their commute. That’s about 3,000 people in our city biking regularly to work, and I was curious – who are they?
MBpiechart_EmilyEisenhauer
With Miami’s bike scene growing like crazy lately– thousands showing up for Critical Massnew bike facilities in the works for Downtown, etc.– it would be easy to assume that these bicyclists-to-work are bicycle activists, young urban professionals, or the like. But the data indicate something else.
On Miami Beach those most likely to bike to work are service industry workers with median annual earnings of about $21,000 per year, well below the citywide average of $32,597. Here are the top 10 industries:
commutingMB1_cropped
While I was at it, I decided to look at those who walk to work too, and found much the same thing. Fifty-three percent of those who walk to their jobs work in accommodation, food service, arts or entertainment, and median annual earnings are $14,622. And while three-quarters of commuters have at least one vehicle available, less than half of those who walk or bike do.
commutingMB2_cropped
This isn’t a surprise really, since there are a lot of low paying jobs in the tourism and hospitality industries which dominate Miami Beach’s economy. But it does make Miami Beach unique, especially among walking cities. For walking to work Miami Beach ranks 10th in the nation among cities with at least 65,000 residents, which is especially remarkable because Miami Beach is the highest ranking non-university city on the list. If you take out the places with colleges, we’d be number 1.
commutingMB3_cropped
In order to have people walking to work, you need a few things. People have to live close enough to walk, and the streets have to be pedestrian friendly. Miami Beach accomplishes this through preserving the residential, urban character of historic sections of South Beach and North Beach which were built in the early 20th century with walking in mind. Maintaining a supply of housing affordable for those who work in the nearby service industry jobs is more challenging in desirable areas, but the Miami Beach Community Development Corporationhas been able to restore and preserve nearly two dozen buildings since 1981 for affordable housing programs. The organization’s chair, Jack Johnson, said at a recent planning meeting for the upcoming Sustainable and Authentic Florida meeting to be hosted by Miami Beach, that the MBCDC “has worked to maintain a mix of income levels by using historic buildings in their ‘native habitat’.” In doing so it has accomplished a key tenet of New Urbanism that otherwise frequently gets overlooked when it comes to those in low wage jobs.In a very real way the availability of affordable housing in Miami Beach takes cars off the streets, reduces the city’s pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes to a better quality of life for everyone.
One other interesting fact: those who walk or bike to work are much more likely to leave home in the evening, anywhere between 4pm and midnight. 21% of walkers and 17% of bicycle/motorcycle/taxicabbers leave for work during that time, compared with only 9% of all commuters. All the more reason for safe, separated, lighted pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians to be part of every infrastructure and transportation plan.

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Blarke Ingels will  hold a lecture on the architectural works of BIG in Miami Beach that is free and open to the public — space is limited so please RSVP to email: RSVP_SI@edelman.com

March 26, 2013 @ 6:30pm (doors open at 5:30pm)

Colony Theater

1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach


BIG

Bjarke Ingles founded BIG to develop designs that are programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost and resource conscious. Recently named one of the lead designers for the Smithsonian Masterplan, Bjarke was also named Wall Street Journal’s Innovator of the Year. He is among Fast Company’s Topo 100 Most Creative People in Design and has received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, as well as two National AIA Awards. In addition to overseeing his New York-based practice, he has taught at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Rice Universities. Bjarke is an honorary professor at the Royal Columbia and Rice Universities and is an honorary professor at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen. He is a frequent public speaker at venues such as TED, WIRED, Google’s Zeitgeist, and the World Economic Forum.

Tactical Urbanism- I have taken it upon myself to calm my street. The orange traffic cones have resulted in a noticeable reduction of speed on my street.

Tactical Urbanism-Traffic calming on NE 76 Street using orange cones.

Last week I decided to place two orange traffic cones on my street in an attempt to calm traffic on NE 76 Street.  For several years my neighbors, many of whom have small children, have pleaded with the County and City to do something about the speeding cars on NE 76th Street in Belle Meade.  The traffic cones have worked remarkably well and my immediate neighbors seem to agree that cars have been moving noticeably slower since the traffic cones went up.

The speed limit in Belle Meade should be reduced to 20mph from 30mph.

The speed limit in Belle Meade should be reduced to 20mph from 30mph.

Sadly, there are too many haters in this world and one of my neighbors  happens to be a hater. This afternoon an anonymous neighbor foiled my Belle Meade complete streets conspiracy.  A few minutes ago a police officer knocked on my door and asked me to remove the traffic cones.  He was extremely polite, cordial and even sympathetic to my traffic calming strategy. The cones have been removed and my neighbors and I are back to square one: my street has become a residential racetrack once again.

The NE 76 Street 1/4 racetrack after a neighbor called to complain about the traffic cones. Don't hate, appreciate.

The NE 76 Street 1/4 mile racetrack after a neighbor called to complain about the traffic cones. Don’t hate, appreciate.

The City has tried enforcement; it has not worked.  The City erected electronic signs asking motorists to slow down; it has not worked. This should come as a surprise to no one but the City and County. As long 76th Street is designed to encourage speeding, drivers will continue to accelerate down my residential street at 45+mph an hour. The only thing that will discourage drivers from speeding is if the road is designed to do so. Enforcement, electronic signs, educational campaigns, none of these strategies will work until the street is properly designed to discourage speeding.

My neighbors have also requested from the County  that they erect stop signs at the NE 76th Street and NE 7th Court intersection in and attempt to slow down drivers. Last month the County conducted a traffic study and results of the study showed that there isn’t enough traffic to merit a 4-way stop sign at this intersection.

Last week I meet with County officials and they told me that the only traffic calming option available for this street is to build a $100,000 traffic circle.  I asked about installing a speed table and was told that my block was not long enough to accommodate a speed table.

Speed table. Not to be confused with speed bumps.

Speed table. Not to be confused with speed bumps.

After my meeting with the County last week I spoke with my Transit Miami colleagues and our recommendation is a raised intersection *or raised crosswalks * at the NE 76th Street and NE 7th Court intersection.  We believe this is the best option for Belle Meade and it would send a message to drivers that pedestrians are the priority in this residential neighborhood. It is also a much more economical solution. A raised intersections costs about $13,000 and a raised crosswalk costs about $4,000/crosswalk .We would also like to recommend that the speed limit be reduced to 20mph instead of the current 30mph speed limit. Belle Meade should strive to become Miami’s first Traffic-Calmed Neighborhood. People, not cars should be our first priority. I think a good argument can be made that if our streets are kid and people-friendly it would add value to our neighborhood by making it a much more desirable community to reside.

Can Belle Meade become Miami's first Traffic-Calmed Neighborhood?

Can Belle Meade become Miami’s first Traffic-Calmed Neighborhood?

 

Raised intersection

Raised intersection

 

 

Raised Crosswalk

Raised Crosswalks

 

*It should be noted that raised intersections and raised crosswalks were not discussed with County officials. 

 

It’s that time again! If you don’t already, it’s time to give biking to work a try. . . . It could very well change your life!

And, hey, you can even ride with a Mayor or two, or maybe even seven . . .

Friday, March 22 @ 8:30am

University Metrorail Station

5400 Ponce de Leon Blvd.

bike305towork2013

Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez will be joined by the six municipal Mayors who have partnered on the countywide Bike305 cycling initiative. They are encouraging residents to give up their car commute and pedal their bicycle to work.

 

Two tricycles, recently tuned up for the seniors at Bay Oaks – Miami’s historic retirement residence – gone. Broad daylight. The tricycles were locked and hidden from view behind a gate on the private property of the non-profit old folks’ home, just this week; just before any of the residents got to ride them.
Who does this?

Most of us have had a bike, car or other means of transportation taken from us.
It’s horrible. Violating. Nightmare and rage-inducing.
I’d like to believe there is a special place is Hell for such individuals, but the optimism is fleeting.

And then my friend told me about the BikeSpike.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 1.39.34 PM

The BikeSpike movie is almost as awesome as the tool. Yes, that’s Gregory Holliman.

How we used to (try to) prevent bike theft:

  • Register your bike’s serial #. Keep insurance, any proof of purchase, up to date pictures.
  • Paranoia. Only park in secured, enclosed Bike Corrals, bike valet or else use your local bikeshare program.
  • Find your bike locked with a flat? Don’t leave her behind! It could be a trick!
  • Just ride a really crappy bike! Or ugly one. But, but… why??
  • Sign every Petition asking eBay and Craigslist to require serial # posting with ads. (I did.)

But now really, really soon, there’ll be app for all that: The BikeSpike. It’s definitely the future of bicycle theft prevention. Let’s help get there faster.

“Spike your Bike with the world’s smallest GPS chipset with built-in antenna, an on-board accelerometer, and a connection to a global cellular network.”  

Basically, the BikeSpike is the ‘Find My iPhone’ for your bike that we’ve all been waiting for. More than just allowing you and your local PD to track down your stolen wheels….

  1. You’re at work. Someone knocks your bike over – at your house. You get a text message.
  2. Your favorite city bike planner needs you to list all the places you ride so he can defend your safe-ish routes. You can share your data.
  3. You want to keep track of your training stats and compete with friends on your team who supposedly hit 35 going up the Bear Cut Bridge this morning. Um, yeah. BikeSpike tells the truth.
  4. In the event of a collision, the BikeSpike knows you’re down before the driver can even get away. Calls 911 plus your mom/significant other/roommate or whomever you designate.
  5. On a happier note, your many fans can follow your progress in a race, and thus can catch you at all the good cheering points. It fits all aero in a spiffy custom carbon-fiber bottle cage.

Wives, moms and boyfriends: The only way to make sure you get one for your beloved bicyclist is here. Early Bird price is temporarily $149. Why not get one for your favorite TM writers? 

And if you’ve lost all hope, just remember: Sometimes, the good guys win!

Keep your two (& three) wheels safe!

 

TCNeighbourhoodsign_smaller

I live on wide collector residential street in a small neighborhood in the Upper East Side of Miami. Belle Meade is considered to be a “gated community” made up of about 450 homes. Many years ago the residents of Belle Meade decided to erect barricades and fencing along 6th Court in an attempt to curb crime. The barricading of the streets has resulted in only one ingress and egress for the community;  if you driving you can only access Belle Meade through NE 76th Street.

NE 77th Street barricade

NE 77th Street barricade

In other words, NE 72nd Terrace, 73rd, 74th, 75th, and 77th Streets are pedestrian access only. The effects of barricading these streets are felt throughout the community. NE 76th has become the collector road for the neighborhood and people just can’t resist speeding through this residential street. Last week one of my neighbors came barreling through at nearly 50 mph. (Silver Land Rover, you know who you are)

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 7.29.15 PM

My neighbors have complained about the situation for years, but no long-term fixes have been made. The City of Miami has tried enforcement and they have also erected temporary electric signs to warn motorists to drive carefully. Not surprisingly, neither of these two tactics have discouraged people from speeding. Last month the County Public Works Department conducted a traffic study and they found that there was not enough traffic to warrant a four way stop sign at NE 76th Street and NE 7th Court intersection.

Since no long-term solution has been found yet, I have decided to take it upon myself to calm the traffic on my street with orange cones. You would be surprised at how effective these traffic cones are. The introduction of traffic cones has noticeably calmed traffic on my street.

Tactical Urbanism- I have taken it upon myself to calm my street. The orange traffic cones have resulted in a noticeable reduction of speed on my street.

Tactical Urbanism- I have taken it upon myself to calm my street. Placing orange traffic cones in the middle of the street has resulted in a noticeable reduction of speed on my street.

Yesterday my neighbors, whom live in Palm Grove, invited me to attend a meeting with several County officials to discuss speeding on their street. They also happen to live on NE 76th Street, but they reside on the west side of Biscayne Boulevard. The fact that Belle Meade has barricaded its streets also affects the traffic patterns on the west side of Biscayne Boulevard as well. Palm Grove residents have to deal with increased traffic and people speeding on what has become a residential collector street for them as well.

The County officials were really nice and they genuinely wanted to find a solution to my neighbors’ speeding problem on their street. I believe the County was receptive to installing a speed table on NE 76th Street in Palm Grove in order to calm traffic.

I invited the County officials to Belle Meade to see what could be done for my street. Although it was almost 6:30pm they were happy to accommodate me and agreed to check out my street. We walked along NE 76th Street and the County’s recommendation was to erect a $100,000 traffic circle at the intersection of NE 76th and NE 7th Court. I suggested a speed table, but was told that the block was too short to accommodate a speed table. No other alternatives were given to me and in all fairness this was really the first conversation I’ve had with the County regarding traffic calming on my street. My hope is that they are open to other traffic calming solutions.

Speed table. Not to be confused with speed bumps.

Speed table. Not to be confused with speed bumps.

After my meeting with the County yesterday evening, I spoke with my Transit Miami colleagues and our recommendation is a raised intersection or raised crosswalks at the NE 76th Street and NE 7th Court intersection. We believe this is the best option for Belle Meade and it would send a message to drivers that pedestrians are the priority in this residential neighborhood. It is also a much more economical solution. A raised intersections costs about $13,000 and a raised crosswalk costs about $4,000/crosswalk .We would also like to recommend that the speed limit be reduced to 20mph instead of the current 30mph speed limit.

Raised intersections calm traffic and prioritizes pedestrians.

Raised intersection

Raised Crosswalk

Raised Crosswalk

Hopefully the County will agree with our recommendations.

 
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