I wanted to share two letters I recently recieved that showcase how tricky it is for municipalities to get bike infrastrutcure right without having proper professional guideance.

From Coral Gables resident:

From Coral Gables Resident,
 
This has been on my mind for a while and I have not known who to write? As a Coral Gables resident I am appalled at the lack of sentiment towards bicyclists and pedestrians in my city. Coral Gables has one of the greatest collage of 2 lane scenic roadways with large grass swale areas perfect for a picturesque setting and great for slowing cut through traffic however, there is little to no regard for pedestrians and bicyclists.
 
A current project under development by FDOT for 57th Ave between Calle Ocho and Coral Way (2 major destination streets) does not envision bike lanes or full integration of pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks on both sides. There is ample room to have a 4’ bike lane, and 6’ sidewalk and still have small size trees or palms. This is the border of Coral Gables and the entrance to our city from all E-W cross streets. Also shame on FDOT for not following their own design manual and mandate to accommodate cyclists, much less federal ADA rules regarding pedestrian access, maximum cross slopes, turn around areas for wheelchairs at all intersecting sidewalks, level surfaces over all driveways, etc. Throw rules and regulations to the wind. The fact that portions of this road are historic is no reason for not making a safe mode of transportation for all users. I’m not suggesting removing trees, adding lanes, or otherwise degrading the scenic character. If this logic was true historic building would be totally exempt from ADA, building codes, and life safety. Historic designation means the character should not be changed while bringing the facility up to date.
 
Many street intersection both in neighborhoods and on thoroughfares do not include basic ADA access from the sidewalk to the roadway and across intersections. It was standard in the past all over Miami-Dade County to curve sidewalks around the blocks never meeting the streets. I guess maybe engineers and planners thought people were like Nascar drivers and only walked in circles around one block??? To make matters worse when these intersections are “improved” it usually means adding a 5’ wide strip of concrete facing 45 degrees towards the intersection forcing the disabled into the intersection and once again forgoing the fact that people do not walk like robots and wheelchairs do not make 45 degree and greater angles with sharp intersections. Why can’t these be tapered or flared to allow easy movement from one direction to another and offer proper alignment with the crosswalks that are non-existent but fictitious.
 
Please write your Commissioners below, FDOT and Miami-Dade County and demand that your tax dollars upgrade existing infrastructure to allow 2010 standards. Also on this point urge all city’s Public Works Departments, Miami-Dade County and FDOT to adopt the NEW 2009 MUTCD manual of traffic control standards. This is imperative to allow new bicycle sharrows, new signage and ADA requirements to become mandatory for all projects.
 
Coral Gables Commissioners:
Don Slesnick- mayor donslesnick@coralgables.com
Bill Kerdyk, Jr.- wkerdyk@coralgables.com
Maria Anderson- manderson@coralgables.com
Chip Whithers- wwithers@coralgables.com
Ralph Cabrera- rcabrera@coralgables.com
 
FDOT District 6:
Gus Pego- gus.pego@dot.state.fl.us
 
Miami-Dade County Bike + Pedestrian Coordinator:
David Henderson- davidh@miamidade.gov

This came to me from TM reader Kurt Kaminer :

Rydel of Miami Bike Scene suggested I forward you the following report I compiled, regarding Coral Gables outrageous bicycle lanes added to their recent Segovia St./Coral Way roundabout project, along with a campaign to have these lanes removed in favor of proper sharrows, and door-zone issues removed – not only on the existing roundabout, but on the new one being constructed a block south at Segovia and Biltmore Way.

A full discussion of the problems associated with the striping is available at Bikeforums.net, at present:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?614246-City-of-Coral-Gables-Bike-Lane-Outrage

I have also cross-posted the report to the MIAfixed.com discussion boards, in addition to the Emerge Miami Critical Mass Meetup board.

A Flickr group is available at the following link: http://www.flickr.com/groups/coralgablesbikelanes/

I hope this report is of interest.

I like that they are considering bikes in their redesign of Biltmore Way and Segovia, but the type of infrastructure being used, as Kurt points out, is inappropriate. Then, along major arteries, no bike infrastructure exists. Considering that they are willing to spend the money on bikes, they should at least listen to the people who are actually using the infrastructure. Please write or call in if you live in the area. (Or let us know if you dont agree with the letters above!)

PS. I called Coral Gables Public Works in the summer last year about this project and received zero response.

PPS. This project is funded with ARRA stimulus dollars.

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3 Responses to Coral Gables & Bike Lanes

  1. Kenneth G. says:

    Coming from someone who lives right next the segovia/coral way roundabout, and bikes it everyday I can relate perfectly to the issues above. First of all the roundabout is a huge improvement over the previous intersection, and I can’t wait for the second roundabout at biltmore way to be finished. That said, the main problem I see with the bike lanes here is that it directs you to merge to the sidewalk right before entering the roundabout instead of the more obvious solution of merging with the traffic lane. Cars entering the roundabout are already going at a very manageable biking speed, making this very easy to do. My hope is that eventually the bike lanes will be carried south along segovia, where there is not enough traffic to warrant the four lanes, and could easily be converted to a narrower two laner with bike lanes. I’m glad Coral Gables is at least thinking about bicyclists, but as pointed out many times in this blog the details do make a difference. My hope is that Coral Gables continues to add bicycle infrastructure, but as they do they should make an effort to understand bikers needs and get the details right.

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  2. mike ewald says:

    one sunny afternoon in february of this year, i was riding my bicycle to work, north on hernando near biltmore way. i waited to enter the traffic circle at valencia for about thirty seconds, and when it was clear made my way into the circle traffic lane. only a few seconds had passed when i noticed a car approaching from the east and as i continued the driver began to slow down a little but ignored the yield sign and ran right into me on my bicycle. thankfully i was able to get off the bike before it fell on me and i was not injured. iwent over to the elderly woman who was driving and was yelling at her and her immediate response was ” i don’t know what you’re so upset about, you didn’t get hurt”………. after moving out of the way of traffic i called the coral gables police, and an officer arrived shortly thereafter. after speaking to us in turn, the officer told me that as i was not injured and he didn’t notice any damages to my bicycle, that he saw no reason to write a report or even cite the driver -for failure to yield the right-of-way resulting in an accident-……..in utter disbelief i told the officer it was his call and started to pick up my bike. as i was getting ready to leave, the officer reminded me to be careful, obey the traffic laws and even suggested i wear a bicycle helmet…i have been relying on my bicycle and public transportation for many years due to the selective enforcement policies of coral gables. p.s. when i told the police officer i had the accident on video, (i carry a camera as often as possible to simply show the immeasurable lack of consideration encountered on a daily basis here in the city beautiful. “move, get a petition, sue ‘em” thanks chip

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  3. Mike – do you have a copy of this video we could post on the site?

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