This article appeared in LPFM and was written by Leah Weston.
A functioning media holds democratic institutions accountable. That is why I feel compellled to post my open letter to Tallahassee in the wake of this week’s development in the tragic hit-and-run death of bicyclist Aaron Cohen, just one of many such incidents in South Florida. The dangerous and deadly status quo on our streets is unacceptable.
Check out the Miami Bike Scene’s piece, “Business As Usual in South Florida” to read more on the Aaron Cohen tragedy. If you feel moved to do something about our deadly driving culture, consider joining Emerge Miami on Monday in Brickell for a Pedestrian Safety Walk. Please feel free to share this letter.
* * *
There is a culture of violence on our streets.
No, I am not talking about guns. I am talking about cars.
This week, many of us reeled in shock, disgust, and sadness as we learned the fate of 26 year-old Michele Traverso in court. After a late night of partying at the bars in Coconut Grove last February, Mr. Traverso hopped into his car. While driving with a suspended license, Mr. Traverso struck and killed 35 year-old Aaron Cohen, a businessman and father of two young children, who was riding his bicycle on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Rather than stop, Mr. Traverso fled the scene of the crash, called his lawyer, and left Mr. Cohen to die. He turned himself into police the following evening.
This week, our justice system rewarded Mr. Traverso for this cowardly act of selfishness. By waiting 24 hours to sober up and turn himself in, he rendered DUI charges against him impossible. Mr. Traverso pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license. Based on the guidelines by which he is bound, the judge sentenced Mr. Traverso to 364 days in jail and two years on probation for killing a man.
I want to bring this story to your attention, not because it is outrageous, but because it is typical. This is the story of the carnage we see on our roads every single day when someone dares to ride a bicycle or cross the street. This is not just a transportation problem—it’s an institutional problem. Our system perpetuates carelessness and selfishness on our roads.
It is time for the Florida legislature to take swift and bold action to address this public safety crisis. The public streets are for everyone. Riding a bicycle or walking should not be a death wish. If the House Transportation and Highway Safety Subcommittee has time to consider a bill to convert low-speed electric vehicles to golf carts, surely it can work on changes to address the motor vehicle-related carnage, including harsher penalties for fleeing the scene of an accident and safer, more inclusive street design policies for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Do not allow 2013 to be a rerun of this devastating tragedy.
- The Aaron Cohen Tragedy and the Lessons Not Learned So Far
- An Open Letter To Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Department of Transportation
- Open Letter to the FDOT District 6 Secretary Gus Pego
- An Open Letter to Governor Crist on HB 971
- Street Plans Launches Open Streets Project Website and Guide
Subscribe via Email
Find us on Facebook
- Al Crespo on Overtown Commissioner Knows Her Highway History: FDOT Fails!
- UDB on Highways and the Decay of Once Glorious Overtown
- Guillermo on City of Miami’s 2013 Transportation Summit Video
- ivo on Why Does FDOT Want Our Streets?
- Matthew Toro on Poll: Who Should Control Miami’s Downtown Streets?
- David on Poll: Who Should Control Miami’s Downtown Streets?
CategoriesAccident Architecture bicycles bike lanes Bike Miami Days biking Biscayne Boulevard Brickell bus Climate Change Coconut Grove complete streets Downtown Miami FDOT High Speed Rail Metrorail Miami Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Transit Miami 21 Miami Beach Museum Park News Parking Parks Pedestrian Pedestrians Pic o' the Day Planning Real Estate Development Rickenbacker Causeway Sprawl Streetcar Traffic Transit Transitography Transit Oriented Development Transportation Tri-Rail Uncategorized Urban Design Urban Development Boundary Urban Growth Urban Planning Walkability
- A New Federalism Needed to Support America's Modern Metropolitan-Oriented Economy June 18, 2013In an essay adapted from their new book, Jennifer Bradley and Bruce Katz examine America's traditional 'dual sovereignty' federalism. They argue that metropolitan areas should play a greater role in governance through a collaborative federalism. […]
- 'Rest Stop for the Urban Age' to Hit NYC Streets June 18, 2013How many times have you hunted in vain for a place to charge your phone for a few minutes while running between errands? Hunt no more. An experimental, and elegant, solar-powered cell phone charging station is set to hit the streets of New York. […]
- German Development Debacles Give Architecture a Bad Name June 18, 2013Architects Christoph Ingenhoven, Meinhard von Gerkan and Pierre de Meuron, designers of three of Germany's most disastrous developments speak about their troubled projects and the damage inflicted on the status of architecture in the country. […]
- Momentous Climate Plan Being Development by Obama June 18, 2013An historic plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions is being covertly developed by the Obama administration, reports Neela Banerjee. The plan could for the first time set limits on the country's biggest emitters: power plants. […]
- London’s Lived-In Look June 18, 2013London calling! PlaceMaker Hazel Borys fuses her passions for great cities, efficient transit, civic art and form-based coding into one lavishly documented examination of the English capital. Cheers, mates! […]
- Commuter Rail Lines Multiply, But Where Are the Riders? June 18, 2013Despite a flurry of new commuter rail lines in operation, ridership increased a mere .5% during a record year for transit. Worse yet, some of the newer lines saw the greatest decreases. The answer: increase service to attract riders. […]
- 'Best Square' in Paris Returned to the People June 18, 2013Over the weekend, the $30 million revamp of Paris's iconic Place de la République opened to the public. By transforming the square from a place for cars into a place for people, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe has earned a distinguished "anti-car" label. […]
- Who Deserves Blame for New York's Parks Disparity? June 18, 2013Many assume that the affluence of the surrounding neighborhood determines the health of New York City's parks. According to Lisa W. Foderaro, elected leadership, rather than location, determines which parks in the city are better maintained. […]
- America's Most Urban President Should Embrace Its Cities June 18, 2013While he cannot do much to rewrite the Constitution, which favors rural America, or reverse a century of history, which gave rise to the suburbs, Obama, the most urban president, can do more to embrace the city as an innovation incubator. […]
- Designing a Divorce? What It's Like to Work With a Spouse June 18, 2013Spurred by the simmering debate over whether Denise Scott Brown deserves recognition from the Pritzker Prize for her work with her husband Robert Venturi, Justin Davidson explores the nature of designing with your life partner. […]
- A New Federalism Needed to Support America's Modern Metropolitan-Oriented Economy June 18, 2013