Please join the Knight Foundation at the O Cinema in Wynwood on Tuesday March 25 for a free screening of the film “The Human Scale” by Jan Gehl (77 minutes, English, 2012) followed by panel discussion.

Fifty percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, this will increase to 80 percent. Life in a mega city is both enchanting and problematic. Today we face climate change, loneliness and severe health issues due to our way of life. But why? The Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl has studied human behavior in cities for 40 years. He has documented how modern cities repel human interaction and argues that we can build cities in a way that takes into account human needs for inclusion and intimacy.

Knight Foundation continues to lead efforts to build Miami’s art and cultural life, as well as its emerging community of entrepreneurs, startups and makers. Both thrive in urban environments that are well planned and built to a human-scale. The insights and lessons in this film will be enormously important and helpful in thinking about the path ahead for our rapidly evolving city.

6 pm - doors open
6:30 pm - screening followed by discussion
Learn more about the film at thehumanscale.dk/the-film/.

It’s free when you RSVP using this Eventbrite link.

 

 

A recent post that grabbed my attention in the Urbanophile was actually a re-post from another blog: Daniel Hertz’s Chicago-based City Notes.  The piece is called “Zoning: Its Just Insane”, and it presents some fascinating maps illustrating the domination of Chicago by land zoned for single-family homes, those most infamous perpetrators of sprawl.

Red is used to show single-family zoning in Daniel Hertz's Chicago Zoning Map. Source: http://danielhertz.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/zoning-its-just-insane/

Red is used to show single-family zoning in Daniel Hertz’s Chicago Zoning Map. Source: http://danielhertz.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/zoning-its-just-insane/

In fact, Hertz’s intention with the maps is to make the point that Chicago’s ‘insane’ zoning laws make it virtually impossible to develop anything but single-family homes in most of the Windy City’s neighborhoods.

The maps inspired me to put something together for our own community. However, instead of mapping zoning (the way land is regulated to be used for in the future), I thought it’d be best to first look at land-use (the present, on-the-ground societal use of space).

I used 2013 county land-use data. Other than explaining that single-family use is depicted in yellow and multi-family in orange,  I’ll let the image speak its own thousand or so odd words.

Residential Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- 2013. Source: Matthew Toro.

Residential Land-Use in Miami-Dade County, Florida — 2013. Source: Matthew Toro.

Go ahead . . . let that sink in for a while.

We’ll take a closer look at land zoning — which, with all its nuances and myriad sub-classes, is admittedly trickier to map — later next week. Things always get a bit more complicated when we consider what our county and city planners have prescribed for the future of the land.

Happy Spring Miami!

 

BFF MIami 2014

Get your tickets here and at bicyclefilmfestival.com

 

Applications due in by March 26.

—-

“The Department is looking for a highly motivated employee to assist in the many outreach efforts in the Miami area.  The FDOT is involved in some of the most interesting and challenging projects in Southeast Florida, and our Public Information Office plays a critical role in the success of those projects by getting the word out, helping technical experts better understand and respond to community needs, responding to elected official and public inquiries and clarifying information, coordinating and communicating with the media on stories about the FDOT and its projects, celebrating the success of the projects by coordinating events such as ribbon cuttings, press events, etc.  The PIO office also assists the leadership of the District in communicating with employees and industry by producing newsletters, collateral material, media packets and coordinating events.

Debora M. Rivera, P.E., Director of Transportation Operations
Florida Department of Transportation, District Six
1000 NW 111 Avenue, Room 6236
Miami, Florida 33172
Telephone (305)470-5449
Email:  debora.rivera@dot.state.fl.us -          

Apply on-line via People First.  Paper applications will not be accepted. https://peoplefirst.myflorida.com/logon.htm

Start Your Application at: http://jobs.myflorida.com/startsubmission.html?erjob=692141

     ACTIVATION DATE:  03- 18-2014                        CLOSING DATE:  03-26-2014

PUBLIC RELATIONS SPECIALISTS Req No: 55007113-51145322-20140317160001

Working Title: PUBLIC INFORMATION ASSISTANT/SPECIALIST
Broadband/Class Code: 27-3031-01
Position Number: 55007113-51145322
Annual Salary Range: $36,400.00 – $43,888.00
Announcement Type: Open Competitive
City: MIAMI
Facility: DISTRICT 6 COMPLEX
Pay Grade/ Pay Band: BB003
Closing Date: 3/26/2014

The State Personnel System is an E-Verify employer. For more information click on our E-Verify website.

STATE OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

POSITION NUMBER: 55007113

BROADBAND OCCUPATION: PUBLIC RELATIONS SPECIALISTS

Completed State of Florida applications are required and should be submitted on-line through this website. If you need assistance, call 1-877-562-7287 (TTY applicants call 1-866-221-0268), and a People First customer service specialist will assist you. Current State of Florida Applications may be faxed to People First @1-888-403-2110. All applications must be submitted by 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on the closing date, or unless otherwise specified in the advertisement.

POSITION LOCATED IN: MIAMI-DADE
CONTACT PERSON: Maribel Lena
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: 305-470-5277
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: You may be required to provide your Social Security Number to conduct required verifications. During a declared emergency event, the incumbent will be required to assist the District as needed. Responsible for adhering to the provisions and requirements of Section 215.422, Florida Statute (FS) related State Comptroller’s Rules and Department of Transportation’s invoice processing and warrant distribution procedures.

POSITION DESCRIPTION: Provides office management, organization and support for the Public Information Office (PIO). Maintains office file and records. Responds to inquiries – phone, written and walk-in from various internal and external customers.

Assists the District Public Information Officer in preparation of materials and information for dissemination to the public. Reviews, edits and approves consultant news releases, brochures, fact sheets, media alerts, and lane closure information for the public and media.

Assists in the coordination and implementation of any special event involving the Department which includes tours, visitors and press conferences. Assist with the coordination of materials (exhibits, printed materials, name tags and comment cards for public hearings, meetings and other events. Coordinate and oversee activities geared to provide recognition and observance to ethnic calendar events for customers and internal partners.

Assists Florida Department of Transportation personnel and consultants with community awareness meetings. Attends and promotes public meetings/hearings, public information and construction workshops.

Assists in the coordination and implementation of special events involving the department such as ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings and special announcements.

Assists in writing and disseminating information for local and statewide education/safety programs and other transportation information, utilizing social media.

Receives and review all contract invoices for accuracy; accepts or rejects invoices based on procedures. Creates Consultant Invoice Transmittals for all invoices, maintains independent budget files for internal auditing purposes. Ensures all invoices have been paid, by verifying payment through the Florida Accounting Information Resource system (FLAIR), prior to filing.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES: KNOWLEDGEABLE OF JOURNALISTIC WRITING STYLE AND THE CONCEPTS OF GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION AND ASSOCIATED PRESS STYLE. KNOWLEDGEABLE AND SKILLED IN MICROSOFT WORD, EXCEL, POWERPOINT, PUBLISHER, OUTLOOK AT AN INTERMEDIATE LEVEL. SKILLED IN TAKING TECHNICAL INFORMATION AND TRANSLATING INTO PLAIN LANGUAGE THAT THE PUBLIC CAN UNDERSTAND. ABILITY TO RESEARCH AND WRITE NEWS RELEASES AND REPORTS AND NEWSLETTERS FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC’S UNDERSTANDING. SKILLED IN STRONG WRITTEN AND VERBAL COMMUNICATION. KNOWLEDGEABLE AT PERFORMING BASIC MATHEMATICAL CALCULATIONS. ABILITY TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN EFFECTIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS. KNOWLEDGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. SKILLED IN DEALING WITH THE PUBLIC IN A PROMPT AND COURTEOUS MANNER. ABILITY TO ORGANIZE AND MANAGE MEETINGS AND SPECIAL EVENTS. ABILITY TO SET AND MANAGE PRIORITIES. ABILITY TO REMAIN CALM AND BE EFFECTIVE UNDER PRESSURE.

SPECIAL NOTES: A Competitive Area Differential (CAD) additive in the amount of $1,268.80 will be added to the annual salary.

Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, must notify the agency hiring authority and/or the People First Service Center (1-877-562-7287). Notification to the hiring authority must be made in advance to allow sufficient time to provide the accommodation.

The Department of Transportation hires only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized alien workers. An Employment Eligibility Verification check will be conducted using the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services’ electronic database (E-Verify) on each new employee.

Pursuant to Chapter 295, Florida Statutes, eligible veterans and spouses of veterans who are Florida residents will receive preference in employment and are encouraged to apply. However, applicants claiming Veterans’ Preference must attach supporting documentation with each application submission that includes character of service (for example, DD Form 214 Member Copy #4) along with documentation as required by Rule 55A-7, Florida Administrative Code. All documentation is due by the closing date of the vacancy announcement. Documentation is based on the type of veteran preference claim. For information on the supporting documentation required, click here. Applicants may fax their supporting documentation to People First at 1-888-403-2110.

The Department of Transportation supports a Drug-Free workplace. All employees are subject to reasonable suspicion drug testing in accordance with Section 112.0455, F.S., Drug-Free Workplace Act.

The Department of Transportation is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer and does not tolerate discrimination or violence in the workplace.

7 Tips for Preparing Effective State Applications – Click here to learn how to prepare your State of Florida Application to showcase your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience. 

 

IMG_2460

 

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.

Carlos Abril

IMG_2445

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.45.49 AM

 

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 nextaction, 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.

The handbook is available online in the Systems Planning Office website or can be downloaded by clicking here. The first informational webinar about this handbook will be conducted on May 8, 2014.

For more information please contact Jennifer Fortunas at Jennifer.fortunas@dot.state.fl.us or 850-414-4909.

###

 

Via DawnTown

AM poster

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

 

GOOD LUCK!

 

 

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.

STREET DESIGN cover

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

Santa Maria Street, Coral Gables

Port-of-Miami-Lecture-Evite2

 

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

8:30am -10:30am

Complete Streets

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.

Be sure to register for the event through the official registration page.

citt-transportation-summit-community-forum

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 citt@miamidade.gov.

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 citt@miamidade.gov.

Tagged with:
 

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:

Bicycle Sign Miami Beach

Peek-a-boo

Bicycle Sign Miami Beach

..I see you!





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 . . .

While riding her bicycle for her basic transportation needs, Emily Peters had a run-in with a car door. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

While riding her bicycle for her basic transportation needs, Emily Peters had a run-in with a car door. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

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.

How exactly did this happen? Who knows, just another day in the auto-centric prison we've built for ourselves. Source: Martin County, FL Sheriff Office.

How exactly did this happen? Who knows, just another day in the auto-centric geography we’ve created for ourselves. Source: Martin County, FL Sheriff Office.

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. . . .

Emily was a recent victim of a painful dooring accident. These sorts of accidents mark an immature multi-modal transportation landscape. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Emily was a recent victim of a painful dooring accident. These sorts of accidents mark an immature, underdeveloped multi-modal transportation landscape. Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

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.

Depending on the speed, intensity of impact, angle, and degree of propulsion, getting doored can be fatal. Image source: City of Milwalkee (http://city.milwaukee.gov/).

Depending on the speed, intensity of impact, angle, and degree of propulsion, getting doored can be fatal. Image source: City of Milwalkee (http://city.milwaukee.gov/).

Photography by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Photography by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

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?

Motorists and bicyclists both have a responsibility for practicing proper roadway behaviors and etiquette.

Motorists and bicyclists both have a responsibility for practicing proper roadway behaviors and etiquette.

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?

Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

Photograph by Blair Butterfield Jan. 27, 2014.

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.

Tagged with:
 
This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.