They (CNU NextGen: The Next Generation of New Urbanists) are living the religion of sustainability and will embody its built response … How they deal with the challenges of planning and urban design in the 21st century will probably end up defining the course … And, after watching them … last weekend, I sort of trust ‘em with that responsibility.
-Howard Blackson, from the Placemakers Blog, Placeshakers
For over 10 years, the Urban Environment League has supported environmentally responsible development that focuses on the protection of the waterfront, public places, and historic and natural areas throughout Miami-Dade County.
In its 6th Annual Orchids & Onions Awards Ceremony, the UEL will recognize the various individuals and groups that are complimenting this important mission to make Miami a more vibrant city made up of healthy neighborhoods to live, work & play.
The awards ceremony will take place at the beautiful new downtown space of Villa 221. Past awards recipients, elected officials and UEL board members will present the Orchid awards, along with the presentation of the Onion awards that are given to individuals who have made negative impacts to our community, or are in the midst of such challenges.
Please join us for an evening that is sure to be memorable.
The awards are as follows:
ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE, PRESENTED BY THE HONORABLE KATY SORENSON:
-EMILIE YOUNG (POSTHUMOUS)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT PLANNING/REGIONAL ISSUES, PRESENTED BY THE HONORABLE SALLY HEYMAN:
-BRENDA MARSHALL McCLYMONDS
CHAMPION PROTECTING FLORIDA’S WATER:
DEDICATION TO ACCESS TO THE WATERFRONT:
ENVIRONMENTAL SPOIL ISLAND RESTORATION:
-HARRY HORGAN, SHAKE A LEG
MIAMI PRESERVATION LEAGUE
STRIVING FOR AN INFORMED COMMUNITY
-SAM VAN LEER
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD ACTIVIST:
-SCENIC MIAMI, DUSTY MELTON & BARBARA BISNO
“ONLY IN MIAMI” FILLING THE VOID:
DECIMATION OF GROWTH MANAGEMENT & ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS:
BLIND EYE TO COAL MINING SAFETY:
PROPOSING GIANT LED TOWERS:
On Thursday, June 2nd, The City of Miami Bicycle Initiatives hosted the Miami Bicycle Summit at The Grove Spot in Coconut Grove, Miami. A variety of speakers, including city and county planners and public officials presented to an audience of local citizens and bicycle advocates, followed by a spirited question and answer session. The meeting was an informative overview of ongoing bicycle projects – but also highlighted the lingering disconnect between public agencies and advocates.
- In 1999, there were 100 miles of multi-use paths, 10 miles of bike lanes and 70 miles of paved shoulders in Miami-Dade County.
- Now, there are 130 miles of multi-use paths, 70 miles of bike lanes and 30 wide-curb lanes with many more in the planning stages.
- Bicycle parking increasing at Metrorail stations and pedestrian/cycling counts increasing in downtown area.
- Bicycle injuries are down, and have dropped by half since 1990. Still, 65 pedestrians and 12 cyclists were killed in accidents in M-D county last year.
Miami Beach resident Xavier Falconi from the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee and touted the success of the Deco Bike Program on Miami Beach and other improvements to bicycle infrastructure, including ‘sharrows’ on Washington Avenue and the development of Bicycle Parking Design Guidelines for the city.
Collin Worth, City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator, wrapped up the evenings presentations, mentioning a RFP (Request for Proposal) for a bike share program in downtown Brickell and Omni area and the City’s goal of eventually becoming a designated Bicycle Friendly Community.
Plato undervalued the vital stimuli and challenges to growth: variety, disorder, conflict, tension, weakness, and even temporary failure. Each of these, if it does not harden into a fixed pattern, may produce a far more desirable community than any mode of conformity, whether that conformity be imposed by the philistine executives of a modern government agency or business corporation aided by electronic computers…The dialectic opposition of good and evil is not the whole of life: there are processes of physiological change and maturation, of physical disruption and eruption, that have little to do with it. But to overlook the place of dialectic in the polis is to overlook the city’s main function: the enlargement in human consciousness of the drama of life itself, through whose enactment existence discloses fresh meanings, not given by any momentary analysis or repetitious statistical order.
-Lewis Mumford, The City in History
The City of South Miami is home to more than ten thousand people and is a destination for work, play and shopping for thousands of more people across the Greater Miami area.
A city that is truly bicycle-friendly is safer and healthier for everyone – for people who walk, run, bicycle, drive cars or just simply spend time in the public spaces.
We the undersigned promote making the City of South Miami a League of American Bicyclists- recognized‘Bike Friendly City’. We support the Action Plan for Bicycle Friendly Communities (PDF) and would like to see traffic calming in our streets so we may safely walk and bike for recreation as well as going about our daily needs. We also pledge to drive responsibly wherever we are to enable others to walk, bike and drive safely across South Florida.
We ask the City of South Miami Commission to make a nationally-recognized designation of ‘bike-friendly city’ a priority and to implement coordinated efforts across municipal government to make this happen.
Shout out to our partners (and Bike SoMi’s) the South Florida Bike Coalition for creating the online petition.
You know that bicycles can be powered by burritos, cars by gas, some motorcycles by electricity – but how much energy is that, really?
The good people at the for-profit WellHome, a company that helps people make their homes more environmentally sustainable and comfortable, have created this sweet infographic to help us understand The Energy Efficiency of Movement:
The new Marlins stadium is set to be the first LEED-silver certified baseball stadium in the USA. As criteria for this certification, the stadium’s design incorporates an impressive array of environmentally sound measures. As reported in this NBC story on April 19th, the stadium will also feature “2,000 spaces for bicycles”. After an inquiry to the Marlins via the team’s website, FanFeedback@Marlins.com replied, “We will have 536 spots reserved for bicycles all around the stadium for those whom do not commute by car.” However, we at TransitMiami wonder if that simply means unattended bicycle racks spread around the stadium, or a secure valet/bicycle check like that of San Francisco’s AT&T Park as seen in this clip (via Streetfilms.org). While there is a discrepancy in the number of spaces and questions regarding security, it is encouraging news for cyclists at the ballpark either way. TransitMiami will continue to look into the details of these accommodations.
But what about getting to the new stadium by bicycle? The site is less than 3 miles from the heart of Downtown and Brickell. It would make complete sense to connect these two dense residential areas and the stadium with a safe bike route for a multitude of obvious reasons. TransitMiami is calling on the Miami-Dade Public Works Department, the City of Miami and the Marlins to be pro-active in this regard.
Personally, I rode from Brickell to the stadium site this weekend via NW South River Drive and NW 4th street. It is mostly a pleasant ride of less than 20 minutes through leafy residential areas of Little Havana. Of course, there are a few perilous intersections with little consideration given to pedestrians or cyclists along the route. But overall, a designated bike route seems entirely feasible on a variety of roadways to link the densest areas of Miami with the stadium. I can even envision a Marlins ambassador leading a group ride from Downtown/Brickell during day games. What a perfect way for the Marlins to promote the LEED certification of the new ballpark as well as provide a fun and hassle-free way for their local fans to get to the game!
Commuting to baseball stadiums by bicycle is wildly popular in cities like Denver, San Francisco and Washington DC as those stadiums make significant accommodations for cyclists. In an age of soaring gas prices, traffic congestion and expensive parking, Miami needs to ‘step up to the plate’ and provide cyclists a safe route to the game.
As said in the baseball movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come.”
While Miami’s political attention is on County charter changes, Miami-Dade County residents should consider a change that would reduce our second-largest cost of living: transportation.
Our largest cost of living, housing – at least the portion directly determined by County government, i.e. property taxes – is overseen by an official that we recently decided that we should elect. Now any Property Appraiser must improve the lives of a majority of County residents in the area of property taxes in order to be re-elected.
This technique should by applied to the area of transportation, changing the County charter to create an elected County Transportation Director with the power and responsibility over all modes of transportation. This would insert into County government one person whose sole political interest is to move as many County residents to destinations that matter to us.
Any candidate for County Transportation Director would have to convince a majority of voters that he or she is best able to come up with plans, and implement them, for saving us time and money by extending facilities, increasing capacity, and reducing waste. An elected County Transportation Director would have to improve the lives of a majority of County residents in the area of transportation in order to be re-elected.
Creating an elected County Transportation Director would also address issues with the current system in which certain modes of transportation, or certain facilities, are overseen by separate County departments. For example, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, because it only deals with toll highways, has an interest in not losing revenue to rail or buses. Separate departments may act against such interests out of benevolence, but it would be better to remove temptation.
Transportation investment and maintenance decisions should be made on the basis of how many people could benefit, regardless of mode or facility. An elected County Transportation Director would have every incentive to make decisions in such a way, improving mobility for all County residents and reducing our cost of living.
Submitted by Andrew Frey.
I happened to be looking at the transit reports the other day and I noticed that the Metromover had its best month ever this past March (2011). I might be wrong, but I went pretty far back and found no other month above the 848,970 recorded this past March.
The Metrorail as well had one of its best months ever at 1,673,175.
You can find the reports at: http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/news_technical_reports.asp
Looks like Governor Rick Scott is considering whether to cancel Sun- Rail, and send the popular central Florida rail project to the ‘Good Ideas Never Implemented File’. I urge Transit Miami readers to contact the Governor in support of SunRail, the Orlando region’s planned Commuter Rail project. SunRail will serve the core of downtown Orlando and several neighboring towns as well as planned TOD sites. This project is the result of a in a regional visioning process ten years in the making, and will form the backbone of a larger transit network in central Florida.
Transit Miami has been a strong advocate for the Sun-Rail project. Ramping up transit expansion in central Florida is important for the entire state – it is a shift in the state transportation planning culture from highways to transit, and will help institutionalize transit expansion at the state level. Call Rick Scott, and show your support of Sun-Rail! (850)488-4505
Members of Miami Neighborhoods United and the Urban Environment League hosted a debate between District 7 candidates Julio Robaina and Xavier Suarez. We were pleased to have Stephen Stock from the CBS4 news moderate the debate, and had a wide range of questions for the candidates.
On the big issue du jour of smaller government these candidates took similar positions, but a closer look at their responses to the questions reveal the differences in how they perceive the problems facing our community- especially with regard to Miami-Dade’s land-use and transportation challenges.
Question: If elected Commissioner, how would you address land-use challenges to the urban development boundary?
On this issue, Robaina scored big points by describing his past work fighting to hold the UDB and his state legislative opposition of the dismantling of the Department of Community Affairs. Suarez also made the case to hold the line – for now. “With today’s demographics – hold the UDB.” He went on to say that that the county’s planning department tracks demographics better than most people give them credit for, and that expansion should be allowed to occur with proper demographic data to support it.
Question: At present, there are some legal challenges to the Marlins Stadium. If the matter were to come back to the County Commission and you are one of the Commissioners, what changes to the Agreement with the Marlins would you introduce for consideration by the Commission as a whole?
On the Marlins stadium both were in agreement that the Global Agreement was no good, with Suarez also going after the Miami Streetcar, which was a very minor part of the deal that created the Marlins Stadium and the Port Tunnel. (What does the Streetcar have to do with the Global Agreement you ask? Look Here..) Robaina said that if the opportunity presented itself he would seek to amend the contract with the Marlins so that any cost overruns are not paid by the county; Suarez also made a similar comment.
Question: What is your position as far as using county tourist bed-tax dollars to fund renovations for the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium?
Robaina took the position that tourist bed tax dollars should be spent on improving the Miami Beach convention center, not going to sports franchises. Suarez supported giving money to Sun Life, noting that the tourist bed tax was an industry approved tax for the purpose of building stadiums.
Question: This coming year’s County budget promises to be another very challenging one in very tough economic times for our community. What do you propose to do to keep taxes down and maintain County services ?
Both candidates are in favor of eliminating discretionary spending and the ending the practice of reallocating carryover funds from previous years. Suarez announced that “draconian measures must be taken to streamline the budget,” and that he would seek to reduce the number of county departments from 64 to 25, with salary caps for non-constitutional officers. Robaina also advocated a reduced number of departments.
Question: How will you work toward the goal of expanding mass transit to reach 20 % of the citizens of Miami-Dade County by 2020 (from a
Suarez showed some transit acumen when he corrected a statistic referenced in this question. He correctly noted the transit mode-share was much lower than 6%. His plan for addressing large gains in ridership was to expand on the trolley system that is currently being implemented by the City of Miami. His vision is for a fleet of 2000 ’trolleys’, minibuses and jitney’s that are privately run in some cases and that do not cost taxpayers anything.
Robaina had more concise, long term vision for premium Metro-rail expansion, starting with the East/West line . He made the case that while Metro-rail is not perfect, it is only part of a network. He spoke of building a transit network, re-examining the rate structure, and encouraging more Transit Oriented Development.
Question: Do you support true charter reform, including two-eight year terms, easier citizen petitions, and other recommendations made by the Charter Review Task Force?
Both candidates support the 2- 4 year term maximum, applied retroactively, with Robaina pledging to only seek one 4-year term. (Refreshing news to voters still in the process of purging establishment candidates. ) Suarez made a good point that real charter reform should be made on the ballot in a general election when more citizens are likely to vote. He also said that one reform that was missing from the current discussion was to require competitive bidding rather than the current selective procurement process.
Question: What is your platform on reducing CO2 emissions?
Both candidates talked a good talk on this one, with Suarez noting that CO2 emissions would be best addressed by “getting people out of their cars and onto mass transit.” He also said that the managed lanes are counter productive (surprising given his vague answer about the Busway). Robaina went back to the issue of expanding the local passenger rail system as the key.
Question: If elected Commissioner, would you support a restructuring of County government to allow for a truly independent transportation authority?
Robaina strongly supported the idea of an independent transportation authority, noting it would allow for a streamlining of the transportation planning process, and contribute to the reduction in municipal responsibilities currently overseen by the County. Both candidates criticized the tolls, and made statements in favor of abolishing MDX. Robaina made the connection between abolishing MDX and creating a Transportation Authority, while Suarez did not see the need for it.
Question: What is your view on converting the South Dade Busway into a limited access expressway?
Robaina skirted the issue, saying “we need to do a charrette to decide what to do in the area.” Suarez said that he believed the buses to be ineffective, but did not give a clear answer on the issue.
Question: Are you in favor of phasing out the Unincorporated Municipal Service Area? What roles should the county play in government (question asked by former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre)
Suarez gave a quick recap on what UMSA means and its implications. Anything in Dade County that is not within one of the 35 municipalities is under the responsibility of the Miami-Dade County. In these areas, the County serves as the local government, offering zoning, permitting, public works, and other local – and necessary – government functions. Both candidates agreed that either by annexation or by incorporation, the UMSA should be phased out. Suarez made the case to “remove the classic municipal functions” from the county, while Robaina wants “the county to get out of the UMSA business.”
Thanks to the two candidates for the great dialogue. Both candidates showed their experience and knowledge of the issues. Suarez talked a good talk on the connection between cars and CO2, but his trolley plan left a lot to be desired. Robaina was very clear about his desire to expand the transit network, and supports the creation of an independent transportation authority. Two worthy candidates, but Robaina wins for his solid support of Metro-Rail expansion and transportation governance reform.
I feel like I’m living a bad nightmare. Here’s the email thread with FDOT’s response.
Dear Mr. Jeffries,
With all due respect, I find your response unacceptable. An unprotected bike lane adjacent to a highway with a design speed of 60+mph is NOT safe. The FDOT’s design standards are flawed. You can find my response to your letter here:
I believe the time has come for the FDOT to engage Transit Miami, the SFBC and the Green Mobility Network to discuss how we can help the FDOT achieve the goal of making pedestrian and cyclist safety a priority of the FDOT.
I look forward to working with you and the FDOT.
Dear Mr. Azenha:
I was rereading your e-mail; your assertion that the design speed for the MacArthur Causeway is 60+ mph, is incorrect the actual design speed is 45 mph.
Florida Department of Transportation
Dear Mr. Jeffries,
The posted speed limit on the MacArthur Causeway is 50 mph. Kindly explain how the design speed can be lower than the speed limit?
Whether the design speed is 45 or 60 mph is irrelevant. If a cyclist or pedestrian is struck by a vehicle traveling at 45 mph the chances of a fatality is approximately 100%. Your organization is placing cyclists and pedestrians in a losing situation. Even if the design speed on the MacArthur Causeway is in fact 45 mph, (which I seriously doubt) the bike lane should be protected.
It’s time for the FDOT to practice what they preach. Quite frankly, I’m exhausted by the lip service and lack of initiative on your department’s behalf.
Am I missing something here? Why is the FDOT splitting hairs? They are completely missing the point; it seems as though they live in a bubble world accountable to no one but their flawed design standards. The vast majority of motorists on the MacArthur Causeway are driving in excess of the posted 50 mph. It also means they are driving in excess of the “questionable 45 mph design speed”.
If you are sick and tired of FDOT’s shenanigans, please write an email to State Representative Luis Garcia and tell him this organization is a liability and a disgrace to all Floridians that walk and bike. You can also send FDOT District 6 Secretary Mr. Gus Pego an email and invite him and his family to ride the MacArthur Causeway with us.
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