It seems there is a new campaign to get the attention of Florida’s elected officials when it comes to public transportation.
IM4Transit is a campaign of the Board of the Florida Public Transportation Association to identify, recruit, and mobilize at least 100,000 pro-transit Floridians.
If you support public transportation in Florida, go to www.im4transit.org/ and show your support. It would be nice to have 100,000 people tell Rick Scott want more transportation options. You can also go to Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/im4transit.
The article below is a repost. It was originaly posted on November 15, 2009. The FDOT has made some very small striping improvements since the article was originally published. Needless to say, it is not enough. The FDOT must do more.
Inspired by the recent Dangerous by Design report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America Transit Miami will begin documenting existing conditions that are dangerous and potentially deadly to pedestrians and bicyclists. In what will likely be an infinite collection of posts, the MacArthur Causeway will be the first roadway evaluated for Transit Miami’s very own Dangerous By Design exposé.
Although the MacArthur Causeway is actually designated as bicycle route, I don’t like to ride it because I fear for my life. The Venetian Causeway is a much safer alternative. This morning all bicyclists and pedestrians were forced to take the MacArthur Causeway because the eastern drawbridge on the Venetian Causeway was broken. Non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians had no other alternative to traverse the bay other than the MacArthur Causeway. I decided to make the most of my MacArthur Causeway crossing, so I took the opportunity to more closely inspect FDOT’s current resurfacing project on the MacArthur Causeway. Sadly, it seems like FDOT did not seriously consider pedestrians and bicyclists during the design phase of this resurfacing project.
My intention was to allow FDOT to finish the project before critiquing it, but that won’t be necessary, because what little work remains to be completed is mostly cosmetic (i.e. painting bicycle lanes and symbols). As one of only three arterial roads that connects Miami to Miami Beach, it is imperative that this wide, high speed, high capacity thoroughfare have safe pedestrian and bicycle provisions. FDOT’s current design consists of an unprotected bicycle lane that doubles as an emergency shoulder. Sorry, but anything less than a separated and protected multiuse path is unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists. For this reason the MacArthur Causeway is being regrettably recognized as Dangerous By Design. If FDOT were genuinely concerned about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists they would have designed a separated and protected multiuse path. Below are examples that should have been considered.
Below are a few photographs taken this morning of poor design standards on the MacArthur Causeway:
Yesterday, Gov. Rick Scott named insider Ananth Prasad the new secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) following a lengthy vetting process. Unfortunately, Prasad’s appointment appears disastrous for anyone who advocates for complete, livable streets or chooses to walk, ride a bicycle or use any other alternative means of transportation in Florida. Prasad, a career FDOT bureaucrat, recently made a series of embarrassingly backward comments before the United States House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure regarding sidewalks and cycling paths. These comments were the subject of a post on TransitMiami.com only a few weeks ago.
Nothing like some fresh, progressive-thinking leadership to head the FDOT and change Florida’s dubious reputation of having the 4 most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the USA. (Orlando, Tampa, Miami/FLL and Jacksonville, respectively). One would think that changing those statistics would be a ‘mission critical’ for the FDOT.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The FDOT is continually failing to sufficiently accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in their roadway designs – even on the FDOT roadways that pierce through our urban cores like Biscayne Blvd and Brickell Avenue in Miami. The appointment of Prasad in light of his shockingly ignorant comments regarding sidewalks and bicycle paths only re-affirm the arcane mentality of the FDOT. More and more people are choosing to commute by bicycle and live in walkable communities in the face of soaring gas prices. Yet, the FDOT’s auto-centric designs are putting our state on a path reminiscent of Ireland ahead of the Great Potato Famine – an economy solely reliant on one necessity (automobiles) with little to no recourse when it is no longer sustainable.
After a series of fatal and serious accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists on ill-designed FDOT roads in Miami, no local official has been able to effectively influence the FDOT to make safety a priority for all users of the road (as the word ‘transportation’ should imply), not just those in sealed, metal, gas-powered compartments that pollute the air.
Simply put, the FDOT acts like a rouge agency, accountable to no one, and the appointment of Prasad appears to be terrible news for anyone optimistic for the development and fostering of complete and livable streets in Florida until he proves otherwise.
Craig Chester is the latest addition to the Transit Miami team. He is a concerned citizen who wants better streets for the citizens of Miami-Dade County.
We have some good news to report. The cyclist that was hit by a car yesterday morning on the MacArthur Causeway survived, but unfortunately he remains in extremely serious condition. A second cyclist was also struck; she was taken to the hospital and then released.
Details are slowly emerging, but the cyclists were not related and traveling east in the “bike lane”. (I’ll use the term “bike lane” loosely as this section of the road is used as a shoulder, temporary parking for tourists to take pictures, as well as parking for a decoy MBPD cruiser). The cyclists were both rear-ended when the vehicle entered the bike lane.
We are very glad to hear the cyclist survived and hope for his speedy recovery. Unfortunately, the existing conditions on the MacArthur Causeway are not favorable for cycling and accidents like this one are certain to happen again. This is the second serious accident in recent memory. Some may recall that 11 cyclist were struck on the MacArthur Causeway about 2 ½ years ago; they were also rear-ended.
Believe it or not, but the FDOT has designated the MacArthur Causeway a bicycle route. Yep, you read that correctly. The FDOT actually thinks it’s safe to put a bike route adjacent to a 3 lane highway while cars whiz by in excess of 70 mph! Do you think the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego would want his child to ride a bicycle along a designated bike route with cars speeding by? The answer is absolutely not. So why is the FDOT actually encouraging cycling on a highway that isn’t safe?
The $1 billion FDOT port tunnel project is already underway. The scope of this project includes a 1-lane expansion in each direction; this is the last thing we need. How about a little traffic calming? Instead of adding a 4th lane of traffic, the fill from the tunnel excavation should instead be used to accommodate a Metrorail expansion or Baylink. Building more road capacity certainly isn’t going to relieve congestion; having transit options will. For $1 billion dollars do we get a protected bike lane? My guess is no. If not, the FDOT will be in a world of Transit Miami pain. On what planet is it safe to put a designated bike route next to a highway with a design speed of 65+ mph? I really think the FDOT lives in a bubble world, unaccountable to no one but their questionable engineering standards.
Transit Miami and the South Florida Bike Coalition will be following this story very closely. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We were told by the Miami Beach Police Department it could take up to 30 days to get a copy of the accident report.
*I initially reported a cyclist was killed due to information I received from sources that had spoken to police on the scene which confirmed a cyclist was killed. My guess is that the police may have incorrectly assumed that the cyclist died due to the injuries the cyclist sustained. I apologize to the injured cyclist, his family and to our readers for not providing accurate information. We here at Transit Miami pride ourselves in reporting the facts.
Transit Miami friend, Craig Chester, sent the below letter to Gus Pego, the FDOT District 6 Secretary. We’ll keep you posted if Mr. Pego replies.
Dear Mr. Pego,
Sadly, it was another bloody week for cyclists in Miami. With numerous accidents around the city, especially in FDOT controlled areas including the MacArthur Causeway (where a cyclist was killed) and Brickell Avenue, our streets are as dangerous as ever for those choosing to walk or ride a bicycle. Miami is ranked the 3rd most dangerous city in the USA for cyclists and pedestrians. The #1 and #2 spots also go to Florida cities, Orlando and Tampa respectively. An embarrassment for the FDOT to be sure. As gas prices soar and more people choose alternative means of transportation to polluting and expensive gas-powered vehicles, the FDOT needs to stop flying into the headwind of reality, acknowledge the carnage on our streets and begin taking real, actionable steps to protect everyone and promote complete streets. The FDOT is embarrassingly behind many states in taking measures to protect cyclists and pedestrians. It’s time for your organization to show us real results before another cyclist is injured or killed.
Mr. Pego, would you want your wife or daughter navigating the treacherous design of Brickell Avenue on a bicycle? Or with a stroller? The obvious answer is no. Why should we tolerate it any longer?
There are discussions amongst the Brickell and cyclist communities to demonstrate and shut down the disastrous projects on Biscayne and Brickell Avenues for a day to draw attention to the negligence the FDOT is demonstrating in our city. It’s your responsibility to reach out to us and explain why we should not.
Please visit TransitMiami.com for a full report on all the incidents from this past week. An open letter to TransitMiami.com from you would be wise.
We think Mr. Pego owes District 6 residents a reply. We won’t accept a fluff response either.
Sadly a cyclist was killed on the MacArthur Causeway this morning. As usual, the FDOT chooses to ignore the safety of pedestrians and cyclists during their construction projects. Friend of Transit Miami, Jennifer, has this to say about her morning bike commute on the MacArthur Causeway:
I am a bike commuter and I work downtown and live in South Beach. I have been taking the Macarthur home on my bike commute because it is faster than the Venetian, but after they redid the roads, they have cut off two areas of bike paths. The first is at the bottom of the bridge. At this point the road curves to the right and as I ride out into the traffic because there is no bike path, I am going into the traffic at a time cars have a hard time seeing me because it is around a corner. The second part of the road where I am forced to ride onto the road where people are driving over 65 mph, is at the new exit for the zoo. I feel as a bike commuter I am helping the environment by not polluting the air, but the city* does not support my own efforts by reconstructing the road so that I am forced into the traffic which will one day kill me like many people have been killed riding their bikes on the streets of Miami.
I think at this point it is fair to say, “ The FDOT needs to remove their head from their ass”.
It is clear that the Florida Department of Transportation does not consider the needs of cyclists and pedestrians at all. I wonder what type of infrastructure the FDOT will provide for cyclists and pedestrians once the $1 billion tunnel is built? Will there be protected bicycle paths for cyclists and pedestrians while cars whiz by on a highway with a design speed of 65mph? I doubt it. The FDOT is completely negligent and they design with absolute impunity. They are a complete disgrace to the State of Florida.
*Just for clarification, the MacArthur Causeway is under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Transportation, not the City of Miami or the City of Miami Beach.
We just got word that a cyclist was killed in a crash on the MacArthur Causeway involving two cyclists and a small Mazda station wagon. We don’t have all the details, but apparently the cyclists were heading east. The crash occurred near the Fisher Island ferry. We hope to provide more details shortly.
This is the 7th bicycle-car crash that I am aware of during the past week. When are our elected officials, the FDOT and, the County Public Works department going to take action to make our streets safer? When will we begin designing complete streets for all users and not just cars? How many more pedestrians and cyclists must die before they take action?
This is embarrassing. If things remain the same Florida will continue to lead the nation in bicycle and pedestrian deaths.
This could happen to anyone of us…
This past week has been a tough week for cyclists:
1 bike/garbage truck crash on West Avenue on South Beach-No word on the cyclist’s condition
1 bike/car crash on Key Biscayne-Cyclist suffered broken wrist
1 bike/taxi cab crash on South Beach, Cyclist ok
If you have any information on any of these crashes, please let us know. Also, let us know if you see or hear about any other crashes involving cyclists/pedestrians. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that these types of crashes not being reported in the mainstream press.
Here’s a great short film from Streetsblog. All engineers at the FDOT and the County Public Works Department should be required to watch this. Brickell Avenue, Biscayne Boulevard, and the Rickenbacker Causeway all need a road diet. Actually, these roads could use a fast.
We just received word that a cyclist was involved in a hit and run accident this morning on the Rickenbacker Causeway. We don’t have all the facts, but it appears a truck hit the cyclist. The cyclist is in stable condition with multiple facial fractures and severe swelling, bruises and cuts. The cyclist was wearing a helmet.
We will follow this story very closely and provide more details as we receive them. We hope the cyclist has a quick recovery.
More to come…
Watch out motorists-you never know when a cyclist may have a video camera or two hooked up to a bicycle.
Earlier this week a motorist on Miami Beach was handcuffed and arrested for aggravated assault, a felony. Friend of Transit Miami, Ken, informed us that a driver of a SUV road-raged and threatened Ken with his car on South Beach. The driver and Ken exchanged a few words, but the driver decided to escalate the situation by nearly running Ken off the road. Lucky for Ken he spotted a Miami Beach cruiser and made him aware of the circumstances and the officer pulled over the SUV. Needless to say the driver of the SUV told a different story. His B.S. fairy-tale quickly came to an end after Ken revealed that he had two cameras attached to his bicycle. Unfortunately only one camera was working, but it was enough for the officer to clearly see the driver was the aggressor.
Well done Miami Beach Police! Keep up the good work and professionalism!
This contrasts starkly to an unfortunate situation earlier this week in which the Miami Beach Police department did not handle a car/bicycle collision properly. Transit Miami friend, Gabriela, was clipped by a car and the driver left the scene of the accident. Gabriela called the MBPD and requested an accident report. Even with the cars’ tag number, a witness, and a damaged bicycle the police officer said there was nothing he could do.
We’ll continue to report the good, the bad, and the ugly….We like reporting the good too.
It seems like every time a cyclist or pedestrian is killed or seriously injured on the mean and incomplete streets of Miami the knee-jerk reaction by our politicians is more enforcement. This happened on the Rickenbacker Causeway after Christoph LeCanne was killed a year ago. Miami Dade Police enforcement increased significantly after cyclists pressured County Commissioner Gimenez to do more. Enforcement lasted about two months.
This same old sold song and dance also took place on Brickell Avenue a few months ago. After residents and business rallied for a more pedestrian-friendly Brickell Avenue, Commissioner Sarnoff was quick to ask for additional enforcement on Brickell Avenue in order to address speeding on this poorly designed road. The crackdown by the Miami Police Department lasted about a month. The FDOT paid lip service by reducing the speed limit by a paltry 5 mph; still excessive for a road that cuts through the heart of Florida’s most densely populated neighborhood. The combined actions of the FDOT and Commissioner Sarnoff seemed to calm some of the outrage, but the FDOT did nothing to address to actual design speed of the roadway. Even with a 5 mph reduction of the speed limit drivers will continue to speed until the actual design speed of Brickell Avenue is addressed. Enforcement is basically fruitless.
Sounds like our elected officials have a winning formula to address voter indignation when someone is killed or critically injured on South Florida streets-temporary enforcement. What a joke. This is slap in the face to everyone that accepts this expensive and infective remedy that politicians ram down our throats as the silver bullet that will change driver behavior. Enforcement is a temporary solution that doesn’t have a lasting effect. In order to change behavior we must change the design of our streets. In the short term redesigning our streets may be more expensive (they should have been designed properly in the first place), but in the long term we can prevent deaths and injuries with better designed roads. The impact will be felt immediately; less deaths, injuries and need for enforcement.
Enforcement is Unsustainable. Why must we pay police to enforce traffic laws when they have more productive things to do? This burden falls upon the taxpayers; we have to pay police overtime or hire more police to enforce crappy roadway design. This is preposterous. When we hire more police to enforce our traffic laws it becomes exponentially more expensive for our municipalities. We are forced to pay the long term costs associated with additional police pensions and healthcare, as well as equipment to enforce the traffic laws (uniforms, speed guns, weapons, patrol cars, motorcycles, gas, etc.). The list goes on. On the other hand, good design doesn’t require enforcement; a well-designed street polices itself.
Enforcement is Ineffective. Enforcement may temporarily change driver behavior, but motorists know where to expect enforcement and will regress to their bad driving behavior as long as poor roadway design encourages terrible driving manners. As long as we have roads that encourage speeding the “war” against bad driver behavior through the use of enforcement is futile. Theoretically enforcement could work if we had police at every intersection, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We all know that ain’t happening and it shouldn’t.
Our elected officials have to realize that we cannot police and enforce ourselves out of a poorly designed street. Our streets will only become safer if they are designed to accommodate all users (pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists). Commissioner Sarnoff, County Commissioner Gimenez, and Mayor Regalado are not doing enough to ensure our safety. It’s about time they deal with the fundamental problem; incomplete and autocentric streets. They need to force the County Public Works Department and the FDOT to design complete streets. Enforcement is deceitful at best. It gives the public the impression that our elected officials are acting in our behalf and interest. If they were sincere, our politicians would be lobbying for fundamental changes in the way we design our streets.
Our elected officials must be honest with the voting public. I do think some enforcement is better than no enforcement, particularly on the poorly designed streets in the urban core. But in order for it to be effective there needs to be a consistent (unsustainable) police presence. There must be a serious commitment of police resources until we get the FDOT to design a proper street. It can’t only be a two month crackdown. Currently we have no enforcement at all around Brickell and the area has become virtually lawless for motorists. This will certainly change once someone else dies or is critically injured. It’s just a matter of time. Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle with no end in sight. I challenge our elected officials to step-up to the plate. Will they accept this challenge? If we can put a man on the moon, we can design complete streets in our own backyard.
You can find our suggestions for improvements below. We will not be satisfied until these recommendations are implemented. Anything less, will be considered a failure.
Observe what happens when streets are poorly designed and there isn’t enforcement. Watch as the two ladies almost get hit by the red Cadillac around 20 seconds. This situation could be entirely avoided if we designed our streets with pedestrians in mind. Due to poor design we put pedestrians into a harms way, and then we create the false expectation that bad driver behavior can be addressed with enforcement. Through bad design we’ve essentially created a need for enforcement. We should not design our streets to be enforced. Good design discourages bad behavior and eliminates the need for enforcement almost entirely.
Transit Miami friend Gabriela was rear ended by a car while stopped at a red light on South Beach this past weekend. The driver did pause to make sure she was ok, but then took off. Gabriela then called the police to file a report and was told by the officer that the MBPD could do nothing for her. This is what she had to say:
“ On Sunday afternoon I was riding my bicycle along West Avenue on south beach when a woman leaving Whole Foods failed to come to a complete stop and rolled into my back tire shoving me into the road. Luckily I was unscathed but my bike tire is completely bent leaving my bike (main form of beach transportation) un-ridable.
The woman paused to ask if I was ok- when I told her that I was fine but my bike was damaged she said ‘sorry’ and continued to turn north on West Avenue and drove away. I was shocked that she left the scene of the accident for which she was at fault. I called the police and filled out a report (including eye-witness information) with an obstinate police officer (to put it kindly) who basically told me that I could fill out a report but nothing could be done about it.”
She goes on to say:
“I gave the tag, car description and driver description to the cop along with witness contact info… The cop made it clear that nothing would be done about it…”
All I can say is “Wow”.
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