Just when you thought the pedestrian experience on Brickell Ave couldn’t get any worse, it has! The city is installing some new car-centric billboards on the sidewalks of Brickell Ave. We already had a number of them and now we are getting more. These billboards unnecessarily block the already narrow and dangerous sidewalks of Brickell Ave. As you will note from these pictures, the billboards are being installed right in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking pedestrians and bicyclists, and making for even more hazardous conditions. They could have been installed parallel (instead of perpendicular) and as far back as possible, but I imagine that would not cater to the cars stuck in traffic. Not only are they an obstacle and unsightly, they are dangerous. Someone is going to be seriously injured as a result of these billboards. Just yesterday I witnessed a lady with a stroller walking around one of these billboards, having to move so close to the street that her stroller was within inches of passing cars. Those who approved these sidewalk billboards must not walk regularly on Brickell Ave. These advertisements are evidence of the car-centric culture and general disregard for pedestrians in the city of Miami. No amount of revenue is worth the inconvenience and hazards they billboards pose. I hope that our Brickell area representative in the city, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, will do all in his power to remove (or at least move) these billboards so that our sidewalks are safer for the increasing number of residents, workers, and visitors that walk our streets.
Nationally acclaimed The Wolfsonian-FIU museum inaugurates the “Power of Design 2014: Complaints,” a four-day think tank that uses art, design, music and discussions to highlight community challenges and initiate collective problem-solving. The event will represent a new age in Miami’s market. The festival will bring together world-renowned change-makers, thought leaders and visionaries from multiple fields for lively discussions, presentations, performances and exhibitions in an effort to sway locals from dissatisfaction to action through empowerment. This year’s topic of “Complaints” theme is not intended as a gripe fest but rather an ideas exchange on what comes next: action, innovation, solutions. Several satellite events and initiatives will complement “Power of Design,” including a Complaints Choir, discussions on transportation, housing and much more.
Free and open to the public events:
THURSDAY MARCH 20, 6PM–9PM
Complaints! An Inalienable Right - Exhibition opening & reception, free & open to the public
- · Because life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness may just depend on complaints. Acclaimed artists and graphic designers weigh in with original posters. The exhibition is curated by design historian, author, and critic Steven Heller.
BUMMER - Installation opening & reception, free & open to the public
- · Because sometimes beauty is a really big bummer…The Wolfsonian’s astonishing collection of human documents includes items that are immediately exquisite while others at first seem rather ordinary. On occasion these artifacts, from gorgeous paintings to domestic pleasantries, are quite unsettling. Factory scenes with a dreariness that glows. An autopsy painting that pleases with its formal harmony. Frank Lloyd Wright prototype chairs that are elegant to the eye and simply torture to the sitter. And how easy to be put at easy by the coziness of totalitarian dinnerware! BUMMER, an installation drawn from The Wolfsonian’s collection and on view in the fifth floor galleries, is curated by renowned designer Todd Oldham.
Complaints Choir - Performances, free & open to the public, 7pm and 8pm
- · It’s just what it sounds like: a bunch of people standing around, singing complaints. It’s also an international movement, with seventy complaints choirs in existence (Sweden has the most). This is a joint project of FIU’s School of Music and FIU’s Honors College, which spent months collecting complaints for our listening pleasure.
SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 11AM- 4:30PM
Solutions! New Ideas and Art Made From Everyday Things You Might Otherwise Throw Away - Youth program for children six through twelve accompanied by an adult, free & open to the public, advance registration required, 11am
- · There are potential treasures hanging out in your recycling bin. Those tin cans and peanut butter jars you complain about rinsing out may just be the raw materials for works of art. Renowned designer Todd Oldham leads a hands-on workshop on creating art from recycled materials.
Other notable participants include: novelist and public radio host Kurt Andersen, political humorist Andy Borowitz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Michael Chabon, virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, designer Todd Oldham, Wired magazine powerhouse Clive Thompson and editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure magazine, Nancy Novogrod, among other local influencers.
Full event details:
- · When: March 20-23
- · Where: Except where noted, all events will be held at The Wolfsonian–FIU located at 1001 Washington Ave.
- · Ticketing: Exhibits, along with performances on Thursday evening, March 20, and Sunday, March 23, are free to the public. Tickets to the entire slate of events for the “Power of Design” weekend are $1,000 and include exclusive dinners with attendees and special guests.
[Media Advisory] Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Systems Planning Office has published a new handbook titled Traffic Analysis Handbook – A Reference for Planning and Operations (March 2014) to streamline the review process for accepting and approving traffic analysis reports.
The purpose of the handbook is to provide guidelines on different levels of traffic analysis (such as generalized planning, preliminary engineering, design, and operation analyses) that are conducted on the State Highway System. The information contained in the handbook when used and adapted to site specific conditions would not only streamline proper selection and application of appropriate approach and tools but also improve consistency and effectiveness of the traffic analysis process. Additionally, the handbook is expected to improve documentation and transparency of the assumptions, input values, calibration and outputs from traffic analyses.
The handbook guides the analysts to items that need to be included in the traffic analysis component of the project development. Additionally, the handbook guides the reviewer and decision maker to items that need to be checked and verified before accepting or approving the report.
Recently, City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado declared March as Miami Bike Month. And why shouldn’t it? Did you see the latest gathering this past Friday for Critical Mass? Hundreds of people, including celebrity cyclists and NBA megastars Dwyane Wade and Lebron James, were in attendance for a 13 mile trek around Miami. Cycling has become the latest “thing” in Miami. However, it could be more than just a monthly ride. Why not see cycling as a serious solution to the traffic congestion problems in and out of the city? Cities like Amsterdam and Chicago seem to think of it as a real solution. It doesn’t have to just be about bikes either, car sharing has become a major business as well and could also assist with making our streets safer. What if there was a place in Miami, built infrastructure that helped promote these solutions? Well there could be…..that’s where DawnTown needs your help.
We are officially launching our new architecture ideas competition for 2014, called Alternative Mobilities. The competition is open to professionals and students of architecture and other design fields to come up with a new type of transportation hub. One that acts as a generator for new ways to move around downtown in a more sustainable fashion.
Included here is our competition brief:
Alternative Mobilities Competition Brief – FINAL
This time we around we are instituting a registration fee. Why you ask? Many of you have alerted us that printing, mounting on foam core, and shipping your competition boards have cost you $100 to $150! Instead, we’ve decided to reduce the amount of printed material by asking you only submit your projects digitally. The fee allows us to do the printing for you. It’s all explained in the brief above.
Currently, the registration fees are as follows:
EARLY BIRD………$25.00 US (Register before March 27th)
REGULAR REGISTRATION……….$40.00 US (After March 27th)
Act soon and take advantage of our early bird registration. In order to do so visit our Eventbrite page: https://dawntownmiami.eventbrite.com
There is a book launch event this Sunday, March 2, for STREET DESIGN: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns hosted by the City of Coral Gables and Books and Books. Selected streets from our very own Coral Gables, South Miami and Miami Beach are highlighted in the book to exemplify the true value of properly designed, pedestrian-friendly streets. This how-to guide is written by locally-based planner, Victor Dover, and NYC architect, John Massengale.
Coral Gables’ Director of Planning & Zoning, Ramon Trias, will make introductory remarks, followed by a short presentation by Victor Dover. The book will be on sale in the Museum gift shop.
What: Reception, Talk & Book Signing with Victor Dover
When: Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Where: Coral Gables Museum, Community Meeting Room located at 285 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, Florida 33134
RSVP on Facebook
Among the more notable and praiseworthy highlights of this past Saturday’s Transportation Summit Community Forum was the commentary made by Mr. Adam Old.
A councilperson for the small Miami-Dade County municipality of the Village of El Portal, and an active member of the recently formed Transit Action Committee (TrAC), Mr. Old was perhaps the only municipal representative at the forum.
He was also one of only a handful of people who sought to redirect the focus of the meeting away from the relatively minor gripes of the transit-riding population regarding issues like rude bus drivers and poorly maintained bus interiors toward the more systemic issues plaguing our poorly coordinated mobility networks.
Some highlights from Mr. Old’s comments:
“[What the public] is measuring [the Transportation Trust's] performance on is more mass transit lines. So, I applaud you on the airport link, but we have not seen nearly enough progress on rail. . . . Heavy rail, light rail. . . . Get it going. Get it going. Where are our commissioners? If there’s not money in the plan, pull it from the municipalities.”
[. . .]
“There should be a line to the beach 10 years ago. There should be a line to the beach 20 years ago.”
[. . .]
“Nobody’s saying ‘Hey! Transit in Miami sucks! And we need it to be better!’ That’s what we want. We want more money, and we want you guys [the Transportation Trust] to hold our commissioners’ feet to the fire for that [half-penny sales] tax. If you have to pull it from road widening projects, then pull it. That’s what we want.”
Well said, Mr. Old.
The South Florida Community Development Coalition will be hosting a discussion on
Complete Streets in Miami
Thursday, March 6
The speaker line-up for the event should make for some good, substantive discussion. They’ve got:
- Jose (“Pepe”) Diaz, Miami-Dade County Commissioner,
- Cesar Garcia-Pons, Sr. Manager, Planning + Design at Miami Downtown Development Authority,
- Tony Garcia, Principal at the Street Plans Collaborate and former TransitMiami.com Editor,
- Joseph Kohl, Principal at Dover, Kohl & Partners, and
- Marta Viciedo, Transportation Action Committee (TrAC) Chairperson
There is a fee ($20 in advance, $25 at the door) to attend, but the SFCDC will be using those proceeds for streetscape improvement projects, including tree planting and bike rack installation, on the 79th Street Corridor — a worthwhile investment of your Andrew Jackson.
February 22, 2014 @ 10:00am
Miami-Dade Main Library Auditorium
101 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33130
From the CITT website:
A Listening Session
The Transportation Summit Community Forum features the Report on Proceedings, which details the outcome of the 2013 Transportation Summit. The purpose of this gathering is to solicit comments from the public on the Report and the future of public transportation in Miami-Dade County.
Join Miami-Dade County and its citizens in continuing the momentum for a comprehensive and coordinated public transportation system.
>>See the Transportation Summit Community Forum agenda.
For additional information call 305-375-1357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking transit to the meeting? Visit www.miamidade.gov/transit or call 305-770-3131 for route information.
For additional information call 305-375-1357 or email email@example.com.
Miami’s drivers are not exactly known for their courteous behavior towards cyclists. But who’s to blame for the road rage? An excess amount of colada in their veins? A lack of (driver) education? Insufficient law enforcement? Too much sun perhaps? It’s probably a combination of all of the above…along with the general apathy towards the right to life of other humans who happen to sit on bicycle. Cyclists are frequently perceived as “entitled” or “arrogant” just because they insist on that pesky right of “sharing the road” (without getting killed). Miami’s Critical Mass does not help much to dispel that notion. There is a definite sense of cyclists and pedestrians being second-class citizens on the road. This cute peek-a-boo road sign in Miami Beach illustrates the attitude well:
This sign seems to say: yeah, there may be bikes out there, sort of watch out for them but don’t go out of your way. Just as the government won’t go out of their way to accommodate for them and install proper signage that is lighted and visible (and bike lanes painted in bright colors…OK I am dreaming now).
Now imagine a sign on I-95 alerting drivers of upcoming exits being hidden in this fashion. Wouldn’t that be rather unsettling? And we are comparing someone missing an exit vs. a human being potentially getting killed by an inadvertent driver here. It’s time to get our priorities straight.
Miamians are taking to the streets on bicycles as they once did prior to the automobile era. Our street spaces and corresponding roadway culture aren’t changing as quickly as they should. This contradiction, marking the growing pains of an evolving transportation culture, will continue to result in unnecessary frustration, violence, and misery. . . . All the more reason to ride more: to make the change come faster.
TransitMiami would like to introduce you to our friend Emily. We wish it were under better circumstances though . . .
You see, Emily is one of those intrepid Miamians who — like an increasing number of Miamians across every neighborhood in the metro region — prefers the invigorating freedom of the bicycle to move around the city. Cycling is Emily’s transportation mode of choice.
That’s great news, of course; something to be celebrated.
Apart from her significantly reduced carbon footprint and her heightened physical and mental well-being, Emily’s choice to use her bicycle as her primary means of transport is also advancing a gradual transformation of our roadway culture.
As a practitioner of regular active transportation, Emily is helping to re-humanize an auto-centric Miami whose residents exploit the relative anonymity of their motorized metal boxes to manifest road rage and recklessness with virtual impunity. She’s contributing to the much-needed, yet ever-so-gradual, cultural transformation toward a shared, safer, more just roadway reality.
The more cyclists take to the streets for everyday transportation, the more motorists become accustomed to modifying their behaviors to honor cyclists’ incontrovertible and equal rights to the road. Likewise, the more cycling becomes a preferred mode of intra-urban transport, and a regular, everyday feature of social life, the more cyclists become conscious of and practice the behaviors expected of legitimate co-occupants of the road.
Indeed, it takes two to do the transportation tango.
And, of course, the more experience motorists and cyclists have occupying the same, or adjacent, public street space, the more they will learn how to operate their respective legal street vehicles in ways that minimize the incessant collisions, casualties, destruction, and death that have somehow morphed into ordinary conditions on our streets.
This cultural shift is one that will take place over several years. Just how many, though, is up to us.
It’s no secret: Miami has a long way to go before a truly multi-modal transportation ethos becomes the norm.
Any delay in the inevitable metamorphosis is due partially to the rate of change in Miami’s physical environment (i.e., its land-use configurations, street layouts, diversity of infrastructural forms, etc.) being slower than the speed with which Miamians themselves are demanding that change.
So what happens when some of the population starts to use its environment in more progressive ways than the environment (and others who occupy it) are currently conditioned for? Well, bad things can sometimes happen. The community as a whole suffers from growing pains.
Take our friend Emily, for example. . . .
On a beautiful Miami afternoon a week and a half ago, Emily was riding her bike through Little Haiti (near NW 2nd Ave and 54th Street), near Miami’s Upper Eastside. She was on her way from a business meeting to another appointment.
A regular cyclist-for-transportation, Emily knows the rules of the road. She was riding on the right side of the right-most lane. She is confident riding alongside motor vehicle traffic and understands the importance of also riding as traffic.
Emily’s knowledge still wasn’t enough for her to avoid what is among every urban cyclist’s worst fears: getting doored by a parked car.
In Emily’s own words:
I was riding at a leisurely pace and enjoying the beauties of the day and the neighborhood.
I suddenly notice the car door to my right begin to open, so I swerved and said, “Whoa!” to vocalize my presence in hopes that the person behind that door would stop opening their door.
For a split second I thought I was beyond danger of impact, but the door kept opening and it hit my bike pedal. I knew I was going down, and I had the strangest feeling of full acceptance of the moment. In the next split second I saw the white line of paint on the road up close in my left eye.
My cheek hit the pitted pavement with a disgusting, sliding scrape and my sternum impacted on my handlebars which had been torqued all the way backwards. My body rolled in front of my bike and my instincts brought me upright.
The time-warp of the crash stopped; my surroundings started to come into perspective and as I vocalized my trauma. The wind was knocked out of me, but I hadn’t yet figured out that my sternum had been impacted.
I was literally singing a strange song of keening for the sorrow my body felt from this violation and at the same time singing for the glory and gratitude of survival and consciousness.
In all fairness, one could argue that Emily committed one of Transportation Alternatives nine “rookie mistakes” by allowing herself to get doored. She should have kept a greater distance from the cars parked alongside the road, the argument goes. A truly experienced urban cyclist doesn’t make such careless and self-damaging mistakes.
Perhaps . . . but we cannot overlook the errors of the inadvertent door-assaulter either. . . . There was clearly a lack of attentiveness and proper protocol on the driver’s part too.
Who parks a car on a major arterial road just outside the urban core without first checking around for on-coming traffic prior to swinging open the door?
It’s hard to really to lay blame here. And my point is that it is pointless at this stage to even try.
The whole blaming-the-motorist-versus-the-cyclist discourse only exacerbates the animosity that is so easily agitated between the cycling and car-driving communities. The irony is that they’re really the same community. Cyclists are drivers too, and vice versa.
At this stage in Miami’s development trajectory, our efforts should be focused on pushing our leaders to ask one question: How can we change the transportation environment in ways that will minimize troubling encounters like this?
We can start by creating physical street conditions that encourage more cyclists onto the streets, where they belong, operating as standard street vehicles.
Show me a city where the monopoly of the automobile has been dismantled and I’ll show you a city where everybody’s transportation consciousness is elevated.
Best wishes on your recovery, Emily.
We’ll see you out there in our city (slowly, and sometimes painfully) advancing a more just transportation culture by riding on our streets as you should, even if the streets themselves aren’t quite ready for us.
[Public Notice with particular import to residents of MiMo, Upper Eastside, Edgewater, Midtown, Omni areas] FDOT to Host Public Meeting for Roadway Project State Road (SR) 5/Biscayne Boulevard Miami — The Florida Department of Transportation District Six (FDOT) will hold a public information meeting for a roadway project along SR 5/Biscayne Boulevard from NE 13 Street to NE 78 Street.
The public information meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Unity on the Bay, 411 NE 21 Street, Miami, FL 33137. Attendees may arrive at any time from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Graphic displays of the project will be shown and FDOT staff will be on hand to discuss the project and answer questions after the presentation.
The proposed work for this project includes:
- Installing five new mid-block pedestrian crossings at:
- NE 16 Street
- Between NE 23 Street and NE 24 Street
- Between NE 30 Street to NE 31 Street
- NE 32 Street
- NE 74 Street
- Installing pedestrian signals at the existing signals of NE 15 Street and NE 17 Street
- Installing a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of NE 54 Street
- Installing a raised landscaping median at various locations which include:
- NE 59 Street
- NE 66 Street
- NE 67 Street
- NE 70 Street
- Upgrading pedestrian curb ramps and signals to current standards at various locations Construction is expected to begin in June 2015 and last about four months.
The estimated construction cost of the project is $780,000. Please contact Public Information Specialist Sandra Bello if you have any questions about this project at (305) 470-5349 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FDOT encourages public participation without regard to race, color, national origin, age, gender, religion, disability or family status. Persons who need special assistance under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or who need translation services (free of charge) should contact, Brian Rick at (305) 470-5349 or in writing at FDOT, 1000 NW 111 Avenue, Miami, FL 33172 or by email at: email@example.com at least seven days prior to the public meeting. www.dot.state.fl.us
Consistent, Predictable, Repeatable
www.dot.state.fl.us February 4, 2014 Maribel Lena, (305) 470-5349; firstname.lastname@example.org
Topics of relevance include:
• Workplaces of the Future
• Thriving in a 21st Century City with Less Parking
• Successful Reuse
• Moving People and Making Places…TOD
• Future of Residential Development…Renaissance or Replay?
• Trends in Real Estate Financing
• Jumpstarting Important Community Projects through TAPs
• Managing Your Real Estate Career
On Monday, February 3rd 2014, The City of Miami Beach is launching a new free trolley bus that serves Alton Rd and West Ave between 5th St. and Lincoln Rd. The purpose of this trolley is “to help you get to Alton Rd and West Ave businesses” during the FDOT construction project of the same streets. The Alton/West Loop trolleys will travel from 5 Street to Lincoln Road, along Alton Road and West Avenue, with 21 stops along the way.
The service will run approximately every 10 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Sunday. The trolley has a capacity of 25 passengers and has an external bike rack and free Wi-Fi (coming soon). In addition to the free trolley, the City is providing Free Four-Hour Parking at Fifth & Alton Garage with the Trolley Voucher.
While I am not usually one to criticize public transportation projects, especially FREE ones of any sort, I do have some concerns about this particular trolley. Since the goal is to get people to shop at Alton Rd/West Ave businesses, the City seems to have assumed that the reason people are currently staying away from this area is because there is not sufficient parking available. However, this is, at least for me, not at all the reason I do not shop on Alton Road. I thought I would enlighten the City with my TOP 5 REASONS I’M NOT SHOPPING ON ALTON RD RIGHT NOW (and won’t even if the City sends me a free limo).
1. It is more scenic to walk in the trash dumpster alley between West and Alton than on Alton Rd.
Alton Rd is just plain ugly right now. It has always been ugly but now it’s uglier than ever. It’s just not a pleasant walk looking at all those construction signs and the torn up road. Why would I sit in a coffee shop on Alton, looking at a ripped-up street if I can enjoy a coffee on pleasant, pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Rd just a few blocks away? I guess I am not the only one to think this way since the local Latin cafeteria next to my building on Alton Rd recently closed shop.
2. It isn’t safe to be on West and Alton or Alton Rd.
I would rather not die like this. And you?
3. I’d rather not subject my lungs to breathing in the combined exhaust of 10,000 cars.
Yep, it looks like that around here lately. A lot.
4. The traffic lights suck for pedestrians.
Wait, I have to wait 3 minutes for the light to turn green for me, and then I get 22 second to spurt across the street? Nah, that sucks. I don’t even know how someone without my athletic abilities will achieve this (elderly, handicapped…). Pedestrians are really made to feel like second-class citizens with this kind of treatment. That’s why so many of them simply disrespect the lights and decide to cross anyway.
5. There is no bicycle infrastructure on Alton Rd/West Ave
So, as you can see from above, it’s kind of impossible, or really annoying, to be around Alton Rd by foot right now and since driving is not an option right now, there is really only one other alternative. Biking. Needless to say, the treatment for cyclists is even worse than the one for pedestrians since there is simply no infrastructure at all. No bike lane, no bike parking, not even a cutesie sharrow (I say cute because I like the little bike paintings on the street but consider them completely ineffective – but that’s another topic).
So instead of showing you a really great bike lane on Alton Rd, since there is none, I’ll show you one of the Ciclovia held in Bogota, a weekly event where the main street in Bogota is entirely shut down to traffic. This event is a huge success and is attended by thousands of people walking, biking, scooting, and running through downtown Bogota. It seemed to work real well for the local businesses to, as it is held on a Sunday morning which would otherwise not generate such a large crowd. As it turned out, to get people to downtown, no free trolley busses had to be installed by the city. People say Miami is South America – I can only hope this will be true one day.
Having said that, I still love to shop on Lincoln Rd so I will from now on refer to this trolley as the free Lincoln Rd shuttle. I’m sure tourists will be delighted they have a free connection between Ross and Lincoln Rd now. And of course, the homeless will be grateful for an air-conditioned place to rest their weary bones. However, I’m not sure it’ll do anything at all for those businesses suffering along on Alton Rd.
It’s not often that something leaves me without words in Miami. But this does it.
Yes, that’s the Rickenbacker Causeway bike lane. Yes, that’s a giant sign blocking it, forcing bicycle riders into fast moving traffic. This is also located on arguably the most dangerous existing segment of the Powell bridge, where cyclists traveling downhill at higher speeds must be aware of merging traffic on the right (and vice versa).
This picture is all the more appalling considering that in the past few weeks alone, safety concerns along the Causeway have become even more urgent. A number of local media outlets again reported on the issue following an ugly incident earlier this month in which a drunk driver struck multiple cyclists. These reports included editorials in the Miami Herald, a WPLG news segment highlighting the dangerous conditions, and a public response from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez only nine days ago.
How in the world can anyone believe that Miami-Dade County is taking this issue with any grain of seriousness? As one commenter on Transit Miami’s Facebook page said, “You can’t complain about the common sense in this town because there isn’t any.”
Our invitation is still on the table for Mayor Gimenez to come out with us for a ride and see the situation first-hand.
Special thanks to Transit Miami reader Ruben van Hooidonk for the picture. See something we should post? E-mail us or let us know on Facebook.
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