You can get with THIS, or you can get with THAT . . .


You can get with THIS, or you can get with THAT . . .

I think you’ll get with THIS, for THIS is where it’s at.

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This is not a bad joke, but an actual Miami Herald headline from this morning. Let’s put aside this insensitive headline.

I’m working on the assumption that the “dead man that is blocking traffic” was a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle.  The Herald is reporting that Northeast 79th Street from Biscayne Boulevard to Miami Avenue has been blocked off.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with 79th Street it is another classic FDOT road that is designed to move cars as quickly as possible without considering the safety of pedestrians or cyclists-an urban highway if you will. Case in point: 79th Street has three lanes going west to east and one lane going east to west.  Needless to say, west to east traffic is moving in excess of 50 mph through the middle of our city! This is not an acceptable safety standard; never has and never will be.

There are approximately 10 blocks between Biscayne Boulevard and Miami Avenue; however we only find crosswalks at three intersections within these 10 blocks. This is also not an acceptable safety standard for pedestrians either; we need crosswalks at just about every one of these intersections. Does the FDOT expect pedestrians to walk six blocks out of their way just to get across the street? It’s no coincidence that Florida has the highest pedestrian fatality rate when you have streets designed like NE 79th Street.

The Miami Herald later updated the article and headline “Person in wheelchair hit by car and killed on Miami street”. Clearly this road is not suitable for a person in a wheel chair.

Please send an email to the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and Commissioner Sarnoff and let them know that this street is not suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. Click here to send an email to both gentlemen.

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Tuesday nights my wife and I often ride the Fort Lauderdale Urban Ride with the South Florida Bike Club, the same ride recently featured on the Sun-Sentinel. It’s a fun 20 mile ride with a mix of fast and slow riders and fat and skinny tired bikes. Tonight we rode with a group of about 20 riders and witnessed the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac, sand piled up around the Fort Lauderdale beach wall and onto A1A. Below is one of the cleaner areas, with sand only covering the bike lane. Some areas had sand piled into the travel lane as well that we picked our way around.

I am used to being harassed by motorists, especially when I ride outside the bike lane to avoid the door zone. I generally ignore them and just assume they are ignorant of safe riding techniques. But on a day like this, with sand piled everywhere, you would think drivers would be a little more understanding. Maybe the tropical storm winds cooled off some of the hot heads around here? Nope, not in South Florida. First we had a Broward County Transit bus honk at us while the driver ran a red light in his desperate quest to pass us. Then a motorist trying to sound nice passed us slowly in the other lane, saying, “shouldn’t you be over there in the bike lane?”

Right. Might as well ride on the beach if I wanted to ride on sand. Life goes on in South Florida, and bicyclists are quickly put back in last place where the motoring public believes they belong.

 

What can we learn from the Miami of the past?

With some extra ‘indoor time’ over the past few days due to tropical storm Isaac (when I wasn’t bike riding or taking photos of the devastation), I spent a good deal of time looking at old photos of Miami on FloridaMemory.com. It’s fascinating to observe the evolution of Miami and it’s environs; how some areas drastically transformed while others stay remarkably similar though the years. What’s also captured here is the insidious destruction the automobile wrought on downtown Miami through the 50′s and 60′s after the streetcars were town out, historic buildings were razed and parking lots sprouted like mushrooms after a spring rainfall.

I’ve been posting a few photos on our Facebook page, but without further adieu, here is a collection of my favorites.

Which are yours?

Staff and crew of the Florida East Coast Railway by the streamliner “Henry M. Flagler” in 1939. The Railey-Milam hardware store in the background was founded in 1902 and was a prominent Miami business for decades.

Downtown on East Flagler Street. December 20, 1935. Notice the streetcar, and the Ritz Hotel (building still stands) in the background. Credit: Fishbaugh, W. A.

View of the Brickell family home at Brickell Point on the Miami River in 1898. Today, this site is home to the Icon condominiums, Viceroy Hotel and Miami Circle park. Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Gentlemen in the Coral Gables streetcar during its first day – April 30, 1925. Mayor of Miami, E.C. Romph is at the controls. Credit: Fishbaugh, W.A.

City officials inspecting the “STOP” sign on N.E. 2nd Street at Biscayne Blvd. December 9, 1926. (They haven’t given road safety the same level of attention since) Credit: Fishbaugh, W. A.

Trolley car 109 eastbound on 5th Street, Miami Beach. Station doubled as the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. 1921 Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Part of the “Dirty Dozen” in the old Royal Palm Hotel garden. Downtown Miami, 1916. Were these guys the first Miami hipsters? I don’t know who the ‘Dirty Dozen’ were, but one of them is sporting a massive chainring on his single-speed steed! Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Classic picture from 1927 of a Coral Gables express trolley on Flagler Street, with another following close behind. These trains used to speed down Coral Way at speeds of close to 75 mph, connecting downtown with Miracle Mile in under 12 minutes. Credit: Gleason Waite.

Miami’s first Critical Mass? Bicycles on Biscayne Boulevard, 1948. Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

New diesel locomotives, downtown Miami. 1938. Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

People at the bandshell in Bayfront Park enjoying an evening concert. downtown Miami, 193-. Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Young women making fun of sign at beach requiring full bathing suits – Miami Beach. July 4, 1934. Credit: Gleason Waite

Soldiers performing training exercises on the beach during WWII – Miami Beach, sometime between 1939-1945. Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Motorcycle cop directing traffic on County Causeway (now MacArthur) – Miami Beach, Florida. Nice to know speed limits were actually enforced once upon a time on this roadway.

Brickell Avenue, looking north. Photographed on September 25, 1947. Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Uh oh. Here comes the construction of 1-95, plowing it’s way through downtown….forever transforming the city. Looking east from Flagler street. Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Egads! Bayfront parking lagoon for First National Bank, downtown Miami in 1962. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Aerial view of downtown Miami and Bayfront Park in 1963. Look at all the ‘missing teeth’ in the streetscape – aka parking lots. Many of the buildings razed in this era would today be considered ‘historic’ and thus, lovable and worth caring about. Check out a forested Claughton Island (Brickell Key) in the distance.

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Crash on NE 57th and Biscayne Blvd on Aug. 25, 2012. Third crash in the past 10 days in a 10 block stretch of Biscayne Boulevard. Clearly speeding is a problem.

Just this past week two more crashes occurred on Biscayne Boulevard in the MiMo Historic District. That brings the total crashes to three in the past ten days and 14 in the past two years. Ten days ago I reported about a crash that occurred near NE 54th Street and several MiMo residents sent emails to the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and to Commissioner Sarnoff. You can read their emails here.  I wonder if they received a reply from either gentleman?

Crash on Biscayne and NE 60th (8/24/2012). Three crashes in the past ten days within 10 blocks.

Ignoring the problem of the design speed of Biscayne Boulevard is no longer an option. It is only a matter of time before a fatality occurs and it is clear that something needs to be done. Biscayne Boulevard isn’t safe for pedestrians, cyclists or drivers, nor is it a business-friendly street.

Crash on Biscayne and NE 48th Street. This previously unreported accident occurred on June 15th. Source: Transit Miami informant known as agent “B”.

This situation will only get worse if the flawed high-speed design of this road is not immediately resolved. Fourteen crashes, in a two year period, within a twenty-five-blocks isn’t an acceptable safety standard.

Please send an email to the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and Commissioner Sarnoff and ask them to make Biscayne Boulevard safer for everyone. Click here to send an email to both gentlemen.

Check out how Biscayne Boulevard should look. Can you imagine a business and pedestrian-friendly MiMo with on-street parking?  Wouldn’t it be nice if cars moved slower through the historic district?  This is all possible- a team from the University of Miami developed three alternative streetscape designs for Biscayne Boulevard. Which alternative do you prefer?

 

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Enjoy the latest  from Transit Miami Films – the final stretch of my bike ride home from downtown Miami to South Miami Avenue in Brickell.

Turn your speakers up, have a great weekend and get out and ride, Miami!

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Coral Gables Advertisement - The Miami News - Aug 23, 1925

Coral Gables Advertisement – The Miami News – Aug 23, 1925

87 years ago today, an advertisement ran in the Miami Daily News promoting the sale of property in the Biltmore and Country Club VI Sections of Coral Gables. This ad offers a unique view of Miami’s first planned community, Coral Gables, designed by George Merrick during the 1920′s land boom. Coral Gables was developed entirely upon the City Beautiful movement, featuring grand civic spaces, public monuments, and prominent architectural symbols such as the Biltmore Hotel.

While at the time of publishing the Coral Gables Trolley line already linked the suburb with Downtown Miami via Flagler Street, Merrick had grander transit visions:

“These two fine sections will be linked inseperably with the center of Miami, and with the Riviera Section of Coral Gables, by the proposed Coral Gables Rapid Transit Electric Line which will run through the center of both sections.”

The Rapid Transit Electric Line was eventually built, and offered a faster route, along Coral Way, into Central Miami. Perhaps what is most interesting about this advertisement is to read Merrick’s vision for Biltmore Way:

“The outstanding feature of the Biltmore Section is Biltmore Way – an impressive 100 foot Boulevard leading off from Coral Way, at its Northeast corner and running into DeSoto Boulevard, the main drive to the Miami-Biltmore Hotel and Country Club on the West.”

“Biltmore Way from Coral Way to Segovia Street is traversed by the rapid transit rail line. It is one-half mile in length and is planned as the Fifth Avenue Business Street of Coral Gables.”

“Biltmore Way is planned as the shopping center for the discriminating women buyer or Coral Gables and Greater Miami. No stores in the Metropolitan district of Miami will excel in beauty or display the stores to be established on this boulevard. …such a thoroughfare could well be a composite reproduction of Fifth  Avenue of New York, Michigan Avenue of Chicago, Rue de la Paix of Paris, and Old Bond Street of London.”

Merrick’s Vision is brimming with optimism. Influenced by grand boulevards across the world. Its no wonder that property in Coral Gables today remains one of the more sought after in the region. While Biltmore Way never achieved its full potential, he laid the foundation for a community that could grow and adapt to future growth, which is more than can be said for the current development ailing our urban fringes.

Biltmore Way, Coral Gables

Biltmore Way, Coral Gables

 

 

 
Panorama of new red pedestrian bridge, Coral Gables Waterway, Miami, Florida

Panorama of new red pedestrian bridge, Coral Gables Waterway, Miami, Florida (Via: ImageMD)

Around Miami:

  • Opposition building to South Dade expressway. Our question is, can it build soon enough? (Miami Herald)
  • Signs to alert Broward drivers to conditions, travel times on six major roads. $9M to know the existing conditions seems steep considering the advent of crowdsourced alternatives such as Waze or Roadify. To us, the notion that more information to drivers provides the “opportunity to choose alternate routes instead of finding yourself stuck in traffic jams” is downright delusional. (Sun-Sentinel)
  • Miami Beach Mayor Bower comments on sea level rise. It’s easy to talk the talk but Miami Beach has a nasty history of anti-climate change planning under its belt. We think Baylink, enhanced cycling facilities, and reduced parking minimums would go a long way in showing that Miami Beach is ready to do it’s part in this global system. (South Florida Business Journal)
  • Failed street design. Our own Craig Chester puts the FDOT on notice regarding the failures of Biscayne Boulevard. (Miami Herald)
  • South Florida transit schedules added to Google Maps. Welcome to the 21st Century South Florida Transit – perhaps real-time transit data isn’t an illusion after all. (South Florida Business Journal)
  • Metrorail extension eases commute from airport. (The Miami Hurricane)

Around the Sphere:

  • Miami Dade Transit hard at work. Miami-Dade Transit has made some laudable improvements around Douglas Road. (South Florida Bike Coalition)
  • TRI-Rail From FLL Makes for a Long Morning. Matt Meltzer’s harrowing 3 hour journey from FLL to MIA via public transit. Bottom line: “…in Miami, and especially in Ft. Lauderdale, if you don’t have a car public transport is just not an option.” Ouch. We can do better South Florida. (Miami Beach 411)
  • Inside Al Capone’s Fabulous Palm Island Estate, On Video! (Curbed Miami)
  • Miami Metrorail | New Vehicle Replacement. This seems to be flying under the radar a bit, though ExMiami reports that the vendor (AnsaldoBreda) has a bit of a problem history with clients in meeting delivery and vehicle specs. This should be interesting. (ExMiami)
  • An SFDB Call To South Florida Bloggers. SFDB is looking for editors. (SFDB)

Elsewhere:

  • Bloomberg: NYC Bike Share Delayed Until Spring. The much awaited phase 1 launch of NYC’s Bike share program which is set to include 7,000 bikes at 420 stations has be delayed until March 2013 due to software issues. (Transportation Nation)
  • Times Poll Confirms: 66 Percent of New Yorkers Like Bike Lanes. Bikes as transportation: Good Policy. Good for cities. Good for your health. Good for local business. Now, good for NYC. (Streetsblog NYC)
  • A Separated Bike Lane Commute. We can attest, Separated Bike Lanes are AWESOME. (LGRAB)
  • Remaking Union Station: Do we have what it takes? With Public Transit use and Amtrak use on the rise in DC, calls to expand capacity at Union Station are growing. (Greater Greater Washington)
  • There’s a Lot Riding on U.S. DOT’s Definition of “Congestion” (Streetsblog DC)
  • OpenPlans aiming for Kickstarter-funded transit app. With Apple’s iO6 eliminating Google Maps from i-devices, Open Plans begins a campaign to develop a crowd-funded transit app. (Second Avenue Sagas)

Stay connected with Transit Miami! Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter  for up to the minute Transit news and discussions. Got a tip, story, or contribution? Email us: MoveMiami@gmail.com

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Brickell Green Space, the grassroots movement for increased public space and parkland in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood released some exiting new renderings of their proposed space.

Rendering for the proposed space along the Miami River. Currently, the lot is vacant with no immediate development plans.

Brickell Green Space is a project headed up by Mark Schrieber to raise awareness and garner public support for a park in Brickell. Through the project’s website, supporters can sign an online campaign, which already has over 500 signatures.

From the project’s website:

The proposed Miami River park location aligns with several previous published master plans and studies. The City of Miami Parks Master Plan, created back in 2007, identified the need for a neighborhood park between Mary Brickell Village and the Miami River. In order to help illustrate our concept better two local Miami landscape architecture firms, WalkLAUD and TrudStudio, recently teamed up to create a conceptual design for this riverfront location.

The website also lists a series of compelling reasons why this site should be converted into a park.

  • As undeveloped land has all but disappeared from the urban core of Miami, Brickell stands to lose the most from rampant overdevelopment.
  • With the highest residential density in Miami, Brickell has a lower parkland per 1,000 residents than the City average, which is already amongst the lowest in the USA for cities of it’s size.
  •  If Miami doesn’t fill this critical need for more public space, the neighborhood’s livability and quality of life will decrease. This could result in disinvestment and reduced appeal for residents and business to invest in the Brickell and Downtown areas.

Currently, the project aims to generate awareness and add signatures to their movement through social media channels (on Facebook and Twitter)  and events held at local businesses. An ultimate goal of the project would be to have a developer buy the space and adopt their plans for a park as a means of protecting and enhancing their neighborhood investments in other properties. Swire Properties, who is developing the massive Brickell Citi Centre across the street from this site, is perhaps the most obvious player that comes to mind.

For more information, check our www.BrickellGreenSpace.com.

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In response to our post last week we were copied on several emails from Transit Miami Readers to FDOT District 6 Secretary and Commissioner Sarnoff regarding the unacceptable design conditions of Biscayne Boulevard that has led to at least 11 crashes in the past two years in the MiMo Historic District.  How much longer will the FDOT and the City of Miami continue to ignore the fact that Biscayne Boulevard is hostile to pedestrians and the businesses that operate along Biscayne Boulevard? Without further ado…

Honorable Mayor Regalado, Commissioner Sarnoff and Mr. Gus Pego,

Subject: A Dangerous MiMo District

RE:  http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/11th-biscayne-boulevard-crash-in-mimo-during-the-past-two-years-the-fdot-is-silent

Felipe is right on target with his assessment of the dangerous traffic conditions in the MiMo Biscayne Boulevard Historic District.  You, your staff and State representatives have been put on notice and made aware of this problem dozens of times by way of letters, emails and meetings since the first death shortly after the 2007 reconstruction.

There have been various studies since the reconstruction all referencing the unsafe conditions and the fact it is NOT pedestrian friendly.  In addition to the  public’s safety, the average replacement cost of a light pole which exceeds $10,000 then add tree replacement, public employee hours and potential lawsuits – one would think preemptive safety measures make good sense.

I attended the very first meeting between the MiMo Biscayne Association at FDOT offices and the attitude regarding loss of life was appalling.  Again and again, the goal to “move traffic” as stated is the priority and I can understand that goal. But, what seems to have been forgotten is that you are in your position because of the taxpayers and that we, the taxpayers have told you over and over that we want to be safe on our sidewalks.  Why can’t you just do this for us?

Fran

 

Please make Biscayne blvd safer. Please put stop lights at every intersection. When I walk with my young children I am very fearful of the traffic. It is not safe and not good for business if we feel afraid to walk to dogma or other local venues.
Thank you.
Jenny

 

Mr. Pego & Commissioner Sarnoff:

My name is Melanie. I live in Bell Meade.  I too believe it is imperatvie that Biscayne Blvd. in MIMO become more pedestrian friendly.  I love the fact that my family is able to walk to Sunday beakfast at Balans (which we do every Sunday) or dinner somewhere else on the boulevard. However, I DO NOT FEEL SAFE, when am walking with my husband and son (who is almost 2) and cars are whizzing by us at light speeds.  There are portions of the sidewalk that provide us with less than 3 feet to walk on (see the sidewalk on the east side of biscayne near 70th street – adjacent to the empty parking lot by the Rapunzel salon) becuase the hedges are overgrown.  I enjoy living where we live, and would hope that you, our elected officials would help to make it as safe as possible for the growing number of families with young children that live in our area.

Thank you for your anticipated assistance.
Very Truly Yours,
Melanie

 

Honorable Mayor Regalado, Commissioner Sarnoff and Mr. Gus Pego,

Please help make MiMo District of Biscayne Boulevard safer and pedestrian friendly.

http://www.transitmiami.com/fdot/11th-biscayne-boulevard-crash-in-mimo-during-the-past-two-years-the-fdot-is-silent

Thank you,
Jo

 

Please figure out a plan to fix Biscayne Blvd. Doing so will increase business in your area. A strong pedestrian base is essential to commerce. Paul

 

Please consider making Biscayne Boulevard more pedestrian friendly. It is a major thoroughfare with close proximity to the intracoastal waterway making it the backbone of North Dade. As such, I frequently see pedestrians and bike riders on the street. They deserve the same safety that our cars enjoy.
Regards,
Brandon

Please join in the fun and send an email to the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and Commissioner Sarnoff and ask them to make Biscayne Boulevard more pedestrian and business-friendly. Click here to send an email to both gentlemen.

This problem is not going to get any better by ignoring it and we will continue to report about crashes until proper action is taken by the FDOT and the City of Miami. Eleven crashes in less than two years is not acceptable for a twenty-five block stretch of Biscayne Boulevard.

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Thanks to Ruben van Hooidonk who sent us this picture of epic bicycle lane blockage during his bike commute on the Rickenbacker Causeway this morning. This picture was taken on Virginia Key in front of Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, just after the Miami Seaquarium.

Busses using the bicycle lane as parking on the dangerous Rickenbacker Causeway.

At the last Miami-Dade County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting, the police revealed that they have used helicopter surveillance to document the behavior of cyclists on the Rickenbacker. Perhaps they should keep their choppers on the ground and pay attention to the bike lane instead if they are seriously concerned about safety for all road users.

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For the past two years I have lived in the Upper Eastside of Miami and since moving here I have documented numerous crashes that have occurred along Biscayne Boulevard in the MiMo Historic District. (NE 50th-NE 76 Street)

Just this past weekend another light post was struck on Biscayne Boulevard just north NE 54th Street. No word if there were any injuries.

Eleventh crash in the past two years in MiMo.

Three weeks ago a pedestrian was critically injured at a bus stop on Northeast 64th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.  It was a hit and run, but the driver was caught several blocks away.

The only thing the FDOT has done in a failed attempt to make Biscayne Boulevard safer is add these silly speed loop-back signs that do almost nothing to make the MiMo Historic District safer for pedestrians.

If a car moving at 47 mph strikes a pedestrian he/she/they will most likely die.

The FDOT has also added a mid-block crosswalk on Biscayne Boulevard between NE 72 Terrace and NE 72 Street. It’s great that we have “1 new crosswalk” in the area, but this really isn’t progress. I fail to understand why we don’t have a crosswalk at every intersection. Pedestrians should not have to walk 6 blocks just to get across the street.

Biscayne Boulevard has a design speed of 40+mph without any protection (i.e. on-street parking) between the speeding drivers and pedestrians. Until the design speed of Biscayne Boulevard is addressed crashes will continue to occur. It’s just a matter of time before someone is killed.  The City of Miami and the FDOT continue to turn a blind eye to the dangerous design of Biscayne Boulevard and as a result at least 11 crashes have resulted in less than 2 years in a twenty-five-block stretch along Biscayne Boulevard.

All that separates pedestrians from 3 tons of steel moving in excess of 40 mph is a 6” curb and a few feet. THIS IS NOT SAFE. IT IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.

Check out how Biscayne Boulevard should look. Can you imagine a business and pedestrian-friendly MiMo with on-street parking?  Wouldn’t it be nice if cars moved slower through the historic district?  This is all possible- a team from the University of Miami developed three alternative streetscape designs for Biscayne Boulevard. Which alternative do you prefer?

Please send an email to the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego and Commissioner Sarnoff and ask them to make Biscayne Boulevard safer for pedestrians. Click here to send an email to both gentlemen.

 

Latest Flap Highlights the Need for City-Wide Tree Ordinance

Thanks to Brickell resident and photographer Claudio Lovo, for bringing attention to a potential arborcide of 23 mature trees in the heart of Miami’s Brickell neighborhood. Lovo noticed that an application for tree removal had been filed by the ‘Point View Association’ for the removal of nearly all the large shade trees along the west side of Brickell Bay Drive between 14th and 15th street. Shortly thereafter, he tweeted out a call to action for Brickell residents to thwart the unnecessary tree removal.

These 2 perfectly healthy black olive trees, along with 21 others including crepe myrtles, could be gone because they ‘block views’.

Here is a .pdf file with pictures of each tree slated for destruction, and a map of the area. It’s a stunning amount of tree cover and valuable shade that would be lost in an instant if the permit is approved.

For some background, it appears that the Point View Association, which is a condominium board made up of a few older-construction condo buildings along Brickell Bay Drive, collected enough signatures to formally file a request for the tree removal. According to Lovo, owners of lower-floor units are upset that the trees obstruct their views of the bay. I spoke to a few local residents leaving the buildings who speculated another reason is that the leaves blow into the swimming pool areas of the condominiums, causing an inconvenience to the maintenance crews.

Regardless, both arguments are utterly irrelevant as the presumably healthy trees reside on public property belonging to all residents of the City of Miami. I’m no arborist, but leaves periodically falling from trees is not an abnormal phenomenon. Perhaps the trees could use some simple pruning, which is normal maintenance for trees of this size.

“These trees are part of the public realm – that space between private buildings. By allowing them to be removed out of the interests of a few, you deprive the many, allowing forces to act out of balance.” – Karja Hansen

City of Miami District 2 Commissioner Sarnoff is adamantly opposed to the tree removal, and posted the formal ways to protest via his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I sent an e-mail and called the Public Works department (who were very helpful in sending me the background material). But in case my e-mail was not clear enough, I posted another message below.

On Brickell Bay Drive near 15th Street, if you would like to go sign it.

The Next Steps

The permit application will go before the Historical and Environmental Preservation Board Meeting scheduled for September 4th at Miami City Hall. However, it’s imperative to voice your opposition before August 16th, which is the end of the posting period.

Here’s how:

If you would like to protest this proposed application for tree removal, you must supply the following information:
1) The location of the project and or project name (#12-209 – Brickell Bay Drive between SE 15 Road and SE 14 Street)
2) Your contact information: name, address, phone number, and e-mail address
3) The reason that you are protesting

You can transmit this information in any one (1) of the following ways:

1) Via E-mail: e-mail Regina Hagger (RHagger@miamigov.com) before midnight on August 16, 2012. Please be sure to “reply to all” of the parties in the Cc: field. (eestevez@ci.miami.fl.us, jsantana @miamigov.com, srevuelta @miamigov.com)

2) Via United States Mail: send a Certified Letter, with a Return Receipt via US Postal Service to:
City of Miami Public Works Department, 444 SW 2nd Avenue, 8th Floor, Miami FL 33130, ATTN: Regina L. Hagger. Note: the letter must be post marked by August 16, 2012. Any letter received with a postmark after August 16, 2012 will not be considered. We do allow 2 business days after the posting end date for the mail to be delivered to The City via the Postal Service.

3) Via Telephone: Call Regina Hagger at the City of Miami Public Works Department (305) 416-1749. I will take your protest over the phone. If you receive my voice mail – please leave a clear message with your name, phone number and reason for protest. I will call you back to let you know that your protest has been received.

4) In Person: You may come to the City of Miami Public Works Department. We are located at The Miami Riverside Center – 444 SW 2nd Avenue, 8th Floor, Miami FL 33130. You can ask for me and I will give you a protest form to fill out in person OR you can ask for a Protest Form from the Receptionist at the Public Works Reception Desk. Our business hours are Monday through Friday 8 am – 5 pm.

The Future

Today’s impassioned response to the potential tree destruction highlights a larger issue. As Karja Hansen of the Barrio Workshop explains on her Tumblr blog,

It is really easy to get fired up about sudden small injustices when they pop up. What is harder is the sustained effort, the continual attention. But that is what it takes, especially when you’re moving as fast as we are these days, and we’ve veered off in some important directions as much as we have.

Today’s flash in the pan effort to save 22 Olive Trees along Brickell Bay Dr is of importance and value, but it is simply a symptom of a larger problem: The City’s Tree Ordinance and its general attitude towards trees and landscaping, and the importance of these things in the overall picture.

As the Urban Paradise Guild urges us,

Protesting the removal before it becomes fait acompli is essential.”

In other words, without an over-arching tree ordinance (like Washington D.C’s for example) or Tree Ordinance Committee, today’s Brickell tree kerfuffle is tomorrow’s Coconut Grove battle or Friday’s Belle Meade tiff.

This is an important issue we should work together on in the near future. For the short term, it’s important we win the task and hand defeat this senseless destruction in Brickell.

The City of Miami actually has a plan for this street to create an attractive public space for people along Biscayne Bay. The details are in the planning stages, but tentatively it calls for removing the long row on-street parking, expand the sidewalk, planting shade trees and potentially including a buffered bike lane.

Douglas Thompson, a landscape architect and his wife, Ebru Ozer, a professor of landscape architecture at FIU, created the rendering below as an alternate long-term vision for Brickell Bay Drive. (Read more about the idea on Miami Urbanist – Envisioning Brickell Bay Park)

Final Thought
When a passerby spotted me posting the sign to the tree, she said, ‘Be careful, putting things on trees is illegal.”

I replied, “I’d rather get a ticket for putting something on a tree than having no trees left at all.

Update (8/16/2012 2:10pm)

City of Miami District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff  via Twitter: “The City Manager confirmed this morning that the application to remove the trees on Brickell Bay Dr. has been withdrawn. No tree removal.”

After this past Saturday’s ArtWalk in Wynwood, the movement for a temporary street closure became more relevant than ever.

Over on the campaign’s Facebook page, supporters have been sending in pictures and video from Saturday’s event, highlighting the obvious and sometimes scary conflict between people and vehicles on NW 2nd Avenue in the Wynwood Arts District.

During one particularly chaotic moment, a parade of glowing stilt-walkers made their way down NW 2nd Avenue, drawing the attention of onlookers and the ire of police. Predictably, the illuminated troupe drew a curious crowd which promptly filled the street. Idling cars were surrounded by a phalanx of smartphone photographers as the motorists tried to nudge their way though the crowd.

Patience wearing thin and tensions running hotter.

All the while, I was standing beside Officer Simmons from the Miami Police Department, discussing the need for temporary street closures, to which she was in complete agreement. Officer Simmons continued to take detailed notes to present to her commander about the situation on NW 2nd Avenue and suggest a temporary street closure to vehicles.

One major concern for the Miami Police officers I spoke with was the very real problem of delayed response times for an emergency in the most congested areas. Citing the road was virtually ‘impassable’, this is a significant public safety hazard that trumps any other benefit of the campaign. Street art and sustainable transportation are just fringe benefits when we are discussing the well-being and safety of the general public.

Don’t think for a moment the safety concerns are overblown. At ArtWalk in Los Angeles almost exactly a year ago, a toddler was struck and killed by motorist that jumped the curb while attempting to park next to a crowded sidewalk. If the possibility of that scenario re-playing exists anywhere, it’s Miami, where motorists seem to incessantly launch their vehicles off the pavement daily. The LA incident sparked a successful ‘open streets’ petition, but let’s not wait for tragedy to play out in Miami.

A motorist nudges though the crowd. Lookout! Too much space for cars, not enough for people.

There is overwhelming support from most local business owners for the campaign, though not all are on board. Some have a mentality that ‘it won’t benefit me’. It’s time to put the petty selfishness aside and support open streets to ensure public safety and foster the successful evolution and success of Wynwood’s ArtWalk.

We are still targeting September – next ArtWalk – for an open street event along a small section of NW 2nd Avenue. We’ll continue to keep you posted via Facebook on any developments or ‘calls to action’.

If you have pictures from ArtWalk, upload them to our Facebook page or send to Craig@TransitMiami.com.

Join the movement at our Facebook Page, follow @WalkWynwood on Twitter and use the hashtag #WalkWynwood to continue the conversation!

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