On Saturday, July 28, come down to Government Center in downtown Miami to celebrate the arrival of the new Orange Metrorail Line – a direct link from the Miami International Airport to Downtown Miami, and all of the other new ways to get around Miami’s urban core. The Downtown Development Association is sponsoring the party at 111 NW 1 St. from 1-4pm with live music, free food, pedi-cab races and the chance to get your picture taken with a lemur monkey from Jungle Island.
With the opening of the Orange Line, Miami will (at last!) join a relatively small list of American cities with rail connections to their downtown areas. Though in this recent USA Today report, many more American cities are planning rail connections as planners realize that simply building more parking lots and enlarging roadways aren’t sustainable practices.
This celebration is about more than just the new Metrorail link. In the past few months, Miami has seen a relative explosion in transportation options for people downtown, including Cars2Go, the Miami Trolley, MonkeyShuttle, Tropical Pedicabs and the Miami Water Taxi.
Check out this video explaining the “Idaho Stop” law that allows cyclists to yield at some intersections, rather then coming to a complete stop. It’s been on the books for the past 27 years in that state.
The Oregon legislature is considering passage of a law that would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs. These “rolling stops” would allow bike riders to preserve some of the momentum they depend upon for efficient travel, just so long as they don’t infringe on the safety and rights of others.
The law is based on one that’s been successful in Idaho for the last 27 years, so it’s come to be known as the “Idaho Stop” law.
I’ve long contended that if a person on a bicycle is expected to come to a full stop at every single intersection no matter the circumstances, it’s the equivalent of a car driver putting their vehicle into ‘park’ and turning off the ignition before continuing through.
Aaron Bialick at SF Streetsblog weighs in with a powerful argument supporting “Idaho Stop” law in California.
The stop sign law in effect in almost every state has a fundamental flaw: It assumes that bicycles are just like cars, creating the unrealistic expectation that someone on a bike should make a full stop at every stop sign, even when there are plainly no cars or pedestrians nearby.
The problem with this is that it effectively criminalizes the way that people naturally negotiate stop sign intersections on a bike: by slowing, checking for traffic, and being prepared to yield to others. Try the experiment a million times, and you’ll get the same results: everyone, including SF police officers (and probably the lawmakers themselves), will negotiate this way.
The reason behind this is, basically, that operating a 30-pound bicycle is quite different from driving a multi-ton, motorized vehicle. A bicycle doesn’t encase the user in a bulky metal frame that hinders vision. Bicycles can also stop on a dime compared to cars. It’s for these reasons that when driving a car, the care needed to avoid a crash is drastically higher.
To reflect this reality, Idaho amended its stop sign law to allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs. This means that while a bicycle rider still can’t blow through stop signs or violate anyone’s right-of-way — which is dangerous and should be enforced — they are allowed to slow down, check for traffic, and proceed legally. The law has clarified expectations between road users, and, as the above video (produced by Spencer Boomhower in support of an effort in Oregon to pass an Idaho-style law) notes, it has a 30-year track record.
Would you support an “Idaho Law” in Florida?
Transit Miami announces campaign for temporary street closures during Wynwood’s ’2nd Saturday’ ArtWalk.
The Second Saturday of each month in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District has rapidly become the ‘must-do’ activity in Miami. For one night a month, NW 2nd Avenue from NW 20th street to NW 29th street becomes a lively festival of art, food trucks, community and celebration – drawing thousands of visitors and growing with each passing month.
But what should be a leisurely, fun and safe stroll through galleries and exhibits of the emerging neighborhood has become a competition of sorts – thousands of pedestrians jockeying for space on narrow, overcrowded sidewalks while a row of constantly idling motorized traffic sits in NW 2nd Avenue. As people spill off the sidewalks and into the street, the conflicts between vehicle and pedestrian are exacerbated. ArtWalk is less about “walking” then it is about delicately squeezing between rows of parked and traffic-clogged vehicles to make your way through the event.
If Wynwood is known for it’s street art, then it’s time we put the art in the street.
Only 8 feet of pavement width is dedicated for thousands people on NW 2nd Ave (sidewalks) while nearly 40 feet is reserved for idling and parked motorized vehicles (street).
Imagine the possibilities if NW 2nd Avenue was closed to motor vehicles and opened for people during this once-a-month event? People, art and vendors can fill the streets. Parents and children can walk and cross safely. The neighborhood sounds will be of music and energy, rather than exhaust-spewing engines.
Transit Miami calls for a partnership between the City of Miami and local Wynwood business owners to arrange for a temporary street closure to motor vehicles to enhance the event’s potential and safety. Yes it will cost some money, but given the event’s popularity and overwhelming crowds, it’s a justifiable expenditure to ensure the long-term prosperity of ArtWalk.
To join the movement to put the walk into ArtWalk, join our Facebook group here or leave your name and e-mail in the comment section below.
A recent open streets event in Hamilton, Ontario
Today’s Pic o’ the Day is a cartoon by Andy Singer. A timely image given this month’s ongoing Tour de France and the surging movement to normalize bicycle riding in Miami and beyond – with a lot of work still to be done.
Bonus Trivia Question: In which Miami bar can you find this cartoon on the wall?
First correct answer to e-mail Craig@Transitmiami.com will receive a $10 gift certificate to a local bicycle shop.
Tuesday’s headlines presented without comment.
We wish everyone a safe 4th of July.
Hollywood – Driver crashes SUV into house, taken to hospital. May have had “medical incident”.
Hallandale Beach – Car slams into restaurant. Witnesses said they had to dive out of the way to avoid being hit. “It sounded like a bomb went off.”
Miami – 10-year old Marlins park victim recovering in hospital, unaware of 3 dead family members. Family sets up support fund.
Miami – Driver that killed 2 men outside Jumbo’s restaurant appears in court, facing DUI manslaughter charges.
We could not be more grateful for our loyal Transit Miami followers and readers. While we often enjoy spirited conversion on the issues we cover, the dialogue is always civil, educated and thought-provoking. It’s our readership that makes Transit Miami the agent for change we strive to be in moving Miami forward. Below is a collection of quotations from our readers in light of this weekend’s tragic crash outside of Marlins Park via our Facebook page and here.
“Whether this was a freak accident is beside the point when human traffic is an afterthought. If you step back and think about it, it is absurd that 4 inches (maybe) of elevated concrete is supposed to be safe.” – Leah Weston
“No matter the causes behind the vehicular deaths, it is still made so much worse by being so vehicular-oriented. A person suffering a heart attack or other medical crisis on a train, bike or foot would not only cause less trouble to others, but also be more likely to survive themselves.
And then you get into secondary harm. Orienting to the automobile destroys our economy, ecology and society. Autos should be tools, not careless gods.” – Karja Hansen, Barrio Workshop
“I think of truly great baseball stadiums like Wrigley Field, where thousands gather before and after games to fill the streets, purchase merchandise, food and drinks. This Marlins stadium is nothing like it. I’ve already made up my mind to never go there and to boycott this ridiculous waste of taxpayer money and now, to save my life.” – Rima Gerhard
“The departments that are responsible for such roadway designs defend those designs on the grounds that they are “safe.” If we demand street trees, on-street parking, fewer curb cuts, wider sidewalks, they say “those are unsafe” or “those features worsen congestion.” We should be ashamed of ourselves. I’m sickened to call myself a Miamian when I read such reports. We should shame the decision-makers into providing more layers of protection for our pedestrians and cyclists. If we don’t, we are less than human.” – Andrew Georgiadis, Dover Kohl and Partners
“Our straight and wide streets encourage speeding and reckless lane changes that often lead to motorists losing control of their machines. This needs to change.” – Roger Williams
“As nice a venue as the new stadium is, the infrastructure in that community is not designed for the masses of humanity that attend an event.” – James Camp
Two separate motor vehicle crashes claim the lives of 5 pedestrians, 6 total in Miami this weekend.
City, County and Marlins officials must address shocked, saddened and angry community regarding unbridled vehicular chaos.
The 4th of July will not be a day of celebration for the friends and families of the 5 victims killed by out-of-control motorists in Miami this past weekend. In one of the bloodiest and saddest days I can recall, Saturday June 30th will be remembered as one of the ugliest and most tragic in 21st century Miami.
The worst of the carnage took place on Saturday evening in the shadows of the sparkling new Marlins Park. Shortly after leaving the Marlins game, three family members from Georgia were killed on the sidewalk walking to their car when a red Dodge minivan driven by Herberto Ortega Arias, 67, of Miami jumped the curb and plowed into them only one block away from the stadium. The dead victims were all related and include a 13-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy and a 50-year-old woman. Another relative, a 10-year-old girl remains hospitalized in extremely critical condition. A passing cyclist was struck and slightly injured and another pedestrian was so distraught over the sight that he too had to be hospitalized. The driver of the minivan, Arias, also died in the crash.
The Miami Herald coverage included speculation that Arias may have suffered some sort of medical emergency which lead him to lose control of the vehicle. However, the Associated Press coverage made no such claims, reporting that “authorities did not say what caused driver to lose control of the minivan”.
Only a few hours later, senseless vehicular violence struck again. This time, two people standing outside a Liberty City restaurant were struck and killed when an out-of-control motorist slammed his SUV into a parked vehicle. The impact of the crash pushed the parked vehicle through the restaurant’s front window, violently striking the men, who both died at the scene.
The staggering pedestrian death toll from motor vehicle crashes this weekend should rightfully be a long-overdue tipping point for improved road safety and dangerous roadway design in Miami.
Transit Miami calls on Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez, City of Miami Mayor Regalado, Marlins President David Samson and local police departments to jointly address a community that is truly stunned by the unacceptable level of motorized vehicular carnage this weekend.
The Marlins have yet to release any official statement on the crash, they shamefully did not hold a moment of silence for the victims before today’s game, did not make a public service announcement reminding fans to drive safely or do anything to meaningfully address the tragedy right on their doorstep. Last year, when a fan at a Texas Rangers baseball game tragically fell to his death, the Rangers lowered flags to half mast and established a memorial fund the very next day in the victims name. Transit Miami calls on the Marlins to follow suit and not act like insensitive “small fish” in light of Saturday’s horrific crash.
Further, we have repeatedly addressed the deplorable pedestrian and cycling conditions around Marlins Park. It’s painfully obvious to anyone walking in the area that the conditions around the stadium are utterly ill-suited for the increased pedestrian volumes that come with major sporting events.
In an article for Transit Miami earlier in June (Bike to the Game Day….Not in Miami), I wrote, “The arterials of NW 7th St and NW 17th Ave are downright hostile and nasty – for motorists as well.”
This is precisely where the crash on Saturday took place that killed four people.
I continue, “The Marlins also consistently brushed off requests from the City of Miami to assist in making the area more bicycle friendly. The team did widen a few sidewalks immediately adjacent to the ballpark.”
Unfortunately for the family from Georgia, these widened sidewalks do not exist more than few steps from the stadium. Walk just one block away to your car or bus stop and you’ll experience dated, dangerous and dilapidated sidewalk conditions directly adjacent to roaring vehicles everywhere you step.
The past 24 hours have been a total embarrassment for Miami, as major national news and sports media outlets have covered the horrific event to wide audiences.
The current conditions on Miami’s roads is emphatically a public safety crisis. A response from our local and state officials is not something we are merely “asking for”. Events of Saturday’s magnitude require a strong, meaningful, action-oriented response. Failure to do so represents a dereliction of duty to our community at the highest level.
Mayors Gimenez and Regalado, the citizens of Miami-Dade county await your leadership.
James Dougherty, Pamela Stacy and Jason King created the Arrive in Style poster for CNU20’s AuthentiCity Contest. The Arrive in Style poster provides plans for the redevelopment of the Belvedere Road Station and Banyan Boulevard Station in West Palm Beach in a style consistent with Addison Mizner’s vision for West Palm Beach. The plan envisions walkable, mixed-use destinations in the grand tradition of placemaking established in the golden age of Florida rail travel.
A travel poster format was used to make a statement about transit planning in the future: train travel was once an entirely designed experience – from the city center one departed from, to the passenger car one travelled in, to the city center one arrived at – and for this reason train travel had tremendous appeal. There was an instant excitement upon arrival that automobile and plane travel can never fully provide. Immediately after getting off the train there was an experience of place.
For transit to become attractive to new generations it needs to recover its grandeur. This will require station buildings that are proud, memorable, and iconic (regardless of style). Leaving the station one must find themselves in more than just a walkable environment with connections to local transit, but at the heart of the city or town, at the center of activity. Also, one’s experience of beauty cannot be limited to temporary art exhibitions in the station but present in the buildings, streets, and neighborhoods around the stations.
Transit centers should be anchored by a signature open space. This space could serve as an identifiable landmark for all the surrounding neighborhoods. Corner stores and live-work offices around these open spaces and near the transit stops will provide an initial mixed-use component which would grow to full centers. The next increments of urbanism are shown in the plans: the corridors that connect the rail stations to the surrounding neighborhoods fronted by urban format buildings, and the neighborhoods themselves, infilled with housing types that can generate transit-supportive densities.
After a 6-month hiatus from any noticeable construction activity, the site of Brickell’s “Triangle Park” (also known as Flatiron park) is abuzz with activity. Yesterday, a beautiful Kapok tree was planted and today’s picture shows more on the way. We reported on the suspended progress on the park back in February. Thankfully, all signs point to full-steam-ahead and Brickellans will soon be able to enjoy a centrally-located, public neighborhood oasis.
However, we’re still concerned about the lack of crosswalks or traffic calming adjacent to the site. Walking to a neighborhood park with your kids should not require dodging speeding hulks of motorized metal.
Curbed Miami has a solid assemblage of stories about the park from around the blogosphere.
Political will and courage is necessary to step Miami’s bicycle network up a notch.
Sharrows. Chevrons. Shared lane markings. Little painted bicycles on the street.
Like fungi after a spring rainfall, Miami has seen a rapid proliferation of these markings on her streets, designed to remind motorists to be aware of cyclists and their right to the lane. While the markings are a welcomed improvement to our otherwise naked, auto-dominated streetscape, the sharrow boom is raising some concerns in Miami’s cycling community and beyond.
Has the the sharrow obsession come at the expense of more substantial bicycling infrastructure?
Sam Ollinger at Bike San Diego argues that her city has fallen into this trap, using sharrows as copout to real change.
“In the last year, San Diegans have seen the increasing number of shared-lane markings, also called “sharrows.” Sharrows are appearing everywhere: Adams Avenue, Park Boulevard, Broadway, El Cajon Boulevard, Grand Avenue, Voltaire Street, Chatsworth Boulevard, Hotel Circle South, Pacific Highway and more. However, these sharrows are being used as a cheap band-aid instead of implementing real change on our roadways that would increase the number of people riding their bicycle for transportation or recreation.
For starters, San Diego’s Bicycle Master Plan recommends sharrows on roadways that are too narrow for bike lanes. Sharrows are recommended on roads that have a minimum width of 14 feet. Bike lanes are recommended on roads that have a minimum of 15-17 feet. El Cajon Boulevard, for example, has three travel lanes in each direction – it has more than enough room for a bike lane.”
The same argument can be made for Miami. When I take a look at our current bicycle lanes, I cannot imagine a single one that required the removal of a vehicle travel lane or parking. It seems that Miami’s current bicycle lane striping, like on S. Miami Avenue in Brickell, NW 1st Avenue in Overtown, on Coral Way through the Roads for example, was the “low-hanging fruit”, meaning that the existing pavement was wide enough to add bicycle lanes without a significant alteration of the existing street configuration, save perhaps narrowing the travel lanes a foot or two. It’s a commendable feat, but what needs to come next are the “hard miles” of lanes to achieve connectivity and encourage ridership.
What are “hard miles”? New York City DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan used the term in a November article for the New York Times. Hard miles, Ms. Sadik-Khan puts it, are bicycle lanes in the densest, most contested parts of town to achieve connectivity with the lanes that were easier to complete. Many of the 280 miles of bicycle lanes NYC has built in the last four years have been of the “hard mile” variety.
Miami’s answer for the “hard miles” seems to be the cheap sharrow. And it ‘aint cutting it anymore.
One of the loudest gripes with Miami’s current bicycle infrastructure is the lack of connectivity, where lanes seemingly begin and end at random, forming an incongruous network. It’s obvious that the sharrow seems to be the answer du jour. But how effective is this treatment and are they coming at the expense of better, safer facilities?
A recent study of the sharrows on Washington Avenue (.pdf) in Miami Beach showed that before sharrow implantation, 55% of bicycle riders were on the sidewalk. After the sharrows, that number reduced to 45%. Clearly, many riders still feel safer on the sidewalk, despite the painted bicycle in the middle of the road. The sharrows are probably doing very little, if anything, to encourage would-be riders to take to the streets.
From the Bike San Diego piece:
A recent report from the Mineta Transportation Institute, an institute that was established by Congress to research “multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues”, concluded that in order to attract a wide segment of the population, a bicycle network’s most fundamental attribute should be low-stress connectivity, that is, providing routes between people’s origins and destinations that do not require cyclists to use links that exceed their tolerance for traffic stress, and that do not involve an undue level of detour.
Conventional sharrows are not accomplishing the “low-stress connectivity” emphasized in the report. The infographic above is from a study in Portland, OR that found 60 percent of people surveyed were interested in cycling, but concerned for their safety. The “1% strong & fearless” and the “7% enthused & confident” are the ones most likely to appreciate the sharrow. But what about about the biggest chunk of prospective riders? To encourage more people on bikes, we need safe, dedicated infrastructure. And that almost always requires some sacrifice at the altar of the automobile.
In early 2012, I wrote a piece called The Year in Bicycles where I wondered if this would be the year Miami saw it’s first protected bicycle lane. As we approach the annual halfway mark, that question still remains unanswered.
The real question is, when will we see the “hard miles” of bicycle lanes in Miami to enhance and connect our network? Because conventional sharrows aren’t cutting it.
I heart bungalows. One of the best building types, and an endangered species throughout Miami, where it was once widespread. This is exactly the type of housing the City of Miami should be restoring - not tearing down (as they recently voted to allow with a zoning change along 12th avenue – a bastion of bungalow frontage). Check out some of my favorites from around East Little Havana….
Last night, the City of Miami Beach hosted the first of two “Bicycle Summits” to discuss efforts on updating the Atlantic Greenway Network Master Plan (AGN), which includes most bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure throughout Miami Beach.
Mike Lydon and Tony Garcia from the Street Plans Collaborative, led an informative presentation on the value of bicycle and pedestrian activity and what other cities around the country are doing to encourage active transportation. Street Plans will be taking the lead in assisting Miami Beach in updating their bicycle master plan. All week, Lydon and Garcia will be undertaking “handlebar surveys” around town to document current conditions and outline the possibilities for infrastructure improvements, including buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks, enhanced sharrows, bicycle parking and more. The recommendations will be made available on a web application, where residents can also add feedback and pose questions.
The city of Miami Beach anticipates hosting a second round of public workshops in the fall, so residents can discuss neighborhood specific projects. The AGN Master Plan, like most master plans, was intended to be a visionary and dynamic plan that was expected to evolve as the city changes. As such, the City’s Transportation Division is in the process of updating the current AGN Plan.
On October 17, 2007, the Miami Beach City Commission adopted the Atlantic Greenway Network Master Plan. The goal of the AGN master plan was two-fold: to create a safe and continuous multimodal network along the city’s streets, beachwalks, and greenways allowing for alternative transportation and community enhancement in the city; and to provide connectivity with the county’s and state’s regional bicycle network.
Summit #2 will be held on Thursday, June 7th from 5 pm – 8pm at 1755 Meridian Avenue, 3rd floor conference room.
One of the most telling images from the presentation was an infographic (below) showing the percentage of trips taken by bicycle and walking in countries around the world – with their corresponding obesity rates. By re-engineering walking and cycling back into American communities by making them safe, attractive options, we can begin to improve public health and strengthen our communities. Transforming Miami Beach to become more people-friendly will take some sacrifice at the altar of the automobile, but the benefits are clear and proven.
Marlins need to step up to the plate and encourage healthy transportation.
The Miami Marlins won two games over the Colorado Rockies earlier in May, but they’re taking us to school out in Denver on encouraging healthy ways to get to the ballpark.
Below is an e-mail from the Colorado Rockies announcing their “Bike to the Game” event. Fans that bike to Coors Field this Sunday will enjoy free, attended bicycle parking and can enter a drawing for fun prizes which include a chance to take batting practice with the Rockies before a game. The rest of the e-mail highlights other initiatives the Rockies undertake to improve their community, including a season-long program in which the team plants a tree for every home run hit.
The Rockies aren’t alone in their active transportation initiatives. Other teams like the Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and others offer free bicycle valet and other benefits for those that leave the car at home.
Contrast these programs with the Miami Marlins idea of “bike friendliness” which includes bicycle racks in the middle of car-clogged parking garages and a few hitches around the stadium. The list pretty much ends there.
If you are curious on how to get to Marlins Park by bicycle or on foot, prepare to dig through the team website to find any helpful information. Bicycle and pedestrian directions are buried at the very bottom of their “Parking at Marlins Park” page. This begs the question – why would pedestrian directions be under the parking information? By putting this information last, it makes walking or biking seem like the least attractive option. This of course, is pretty misguided – The Miami New Times already proved that biking is the fastest way to get there.
The included area map is also tremendously disingenuous, as it includes routes labeled as “funded greenways”, “funded sharrows” and “funded bicycle lanes” which don’t exist yet. The Marlins also consistently brushed off requests from the City of Miami to assist in making the area more bicycle friendly. The team did widen a few sidewalks immediately adjacent to the ballpark.
The bicycle racks the Marlins installed are like putting a dollar bill inside a wasps nest. Your average Joe probably isn’t going to stick their hand inside. Despite some quiet Little Havana streets around the stadium that are easily navigable and pleasant for riding, many fans are unfamiliar with them. The arterials of NW 7th St and NW 17th Ave are downright hostile and nasty – for motorists as well. The Marlins do absolutely zero to encourage riding to the game like other teams do, including the Rockies.
Even more bewildering is that despite the new stadium being recently awarded a LEED Gold certification, the Marlins have no active transportation programs for their fans. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction) is a rating system designed by the United States Green Buildings Council to guide newly constructed, high-performance buildings that minimize their impact on the environment, are operated in a more efficient manner and are healthier for those who use the building.
But how the majority of fans are arriving to the park is anything but “green”. Attendance at the park is already waning. The Marlins should step up to the plate, follow the lead of other teams and encourage more active transportation to the ballpark.
The cost is minimal and the greater Miami community will appreciate the outreach from a team in desperate need of improved public relations. Bicycling isn’t a fringe activity in Miami any longer and the Marlins should take notice.
(Updated 5:05 pm) The Marlins can show their interest by supporting the upcoming Green Mobility Network Marlins Stadium Ride. Working together with City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator Collin Worth, GMN will be identifying the best routes to the stadium, and will be having a kickoff ride June 30 to “show residents of Miami that it is possible to bike to the Marlins stadium,” according to organizer Eli Stiers. Time for the Marlins to step up to the plate.
The City of Miami Beach will be hosting two public meetings next week (June 5 and June 7) to kickoff the process of updating the bicycle network plan (officially titled the Atlantic Greenways Network Master Plan). The meeting will include a discussion of the update process and a presentation the Street Plans Collaborative on the latest best practices in bicycle and pedestrian street design from all around the country. (NOTE: The time for the June 5 meeting was moved to 6 pm!)
You’re Invited to MIAMIBEACH’s Bicycle Summits
Atlantic Greenway Network Master Plan Update
The City of Miami Beach will be hosting two (2) public summits to discuss efforts to update the adopted Atlantic Greenway Network (AGN) Master Plan. The summits will focus on obtaining input from Miami Beach residents on the bicycle component of the adopted AGN Master Plan in order to assist the City in updating the plan.
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Time: 6:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.
Place: North Shore Park and Youth Center,
501 72 Street
Miami Beach, Florida 33141
Date: Thursday, June 7, 2012
Time: 5:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.
Place: 1755 Meridian Avenue Building, third floor conference room
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Contact: Jose R. Gonzalez, P.E., transportation manager, 305.673.7080
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