Lets face it: Coral Gables is pretty amazing. It sits at the nexus of the county – has amazing architecture, a pedestrian friendly and bustling downtown, and a lush tree canopy that is the envy of the county. It is compact and could be easily accessible by bike for anyone living within a mile of its boundaries. Unfortunately, the City Beautiful doesn’t have a great on-street bicycle network, which makes it difficult to get more people out of their cars and on their bikes enjoying the city. Today the Coral Gables City Commission will consider a resolution to approve a $3.5 million plan to resurface 30 lane miles of Coral Gables streets. Described as “the most ambitious street resurfacing effort ever undertaken by the city,” the resolution lacks any mention of bicycle facilities, and has concerned many Coral Gables residents. While regular maintenance and resurfacing is an important part of keeping our street network in good working order, the city commission may miss a golden opportunity to significantly expand on-street bicycle facilities.

As currently written there is no mention of bicycle facilities in the resolution, even though major routes that connect to current bike lanes, such as Segovia, are identified.   Some of the streets identified in the survey above are wide enough to accommodate a variety of bicycle facilities – with simple, cheap white paint. Part of the challenge is that the current city approved 1997 Bike Masterplan for the city focuses exclusively on bike lanes; while an important part of a bicycle network, they are not the only type of bicycle facility which should be used. Absent from the current plan is any mention of sharrows, bicycle boulevards, or protected bike lanes. These facilties, along with on-street bike lanes, work together to form a complete bicycle network, and could be implemented at little or no extra cost, yet they have not yet been identified in a master plan and are not currently called for in the resurfacing project.

The Coral Gables City Commission has a responsibility to create a complete network of routes before it spends these funds on road resurfacing. As someone who travels to Coral Gables on a daily basis, several of my routes to/from downtown are indicated on the survey. It would be  a crime to not leverage the proposed investment to get more miles of our street network. More ways of getting to/from downtown Coral Gables means  more customers and more business without increasing traffic.

My initial review of the drawing shows that the following routes are important city-wide connections that should include a bicycle facilities:

Ponce de Leon (from Bird Road to Palmero, & from 8th Street to Fonseca) – Protected Bike Lane, Bike lane or sharrow

University (from LeJeune to Ponce) - Protected Bike Lane, Bike lane or sharrow

Salzedo (from University to Majorca) - Protected Bike Lane, Bike lane or sharrow

Cordova (from Coral Way to Anastasia) – Bike boulevard, Sharrow

Andalusia (from Lejeune to Galiano) –  Protected Bike Lane, Bike lane or sharrow

Country Club Prado  - Protected Bike Lane, Bike lane or sharrow

Columbus Boulevard  (from 8th street to Valencia) - Bike boulevard, Sharrow

Sevilla (from Columbus Blvd to Douglas)

In addition, there are numerous residential streets that should be designated as Bike Boulevards or Sharrows to connect the many riders (myself included) who enjoy the lower speed and volume neighborhood streets as alternatives to higher volume  and speed main roads. While these may not connect immediately, over time they will. The important thing is to not miss this opportunity. Coral Gables can be one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the US- aggressively implementing a new bicycle plan now would help make that happen.

Please email all the city commissioners – and the clerk – expressing your disapproval of this resolution moving forward without properly vetting for bicycle facilities. Their emails are below:

jimcason@coralgables.com

wkerdyk@coralgables.com

manderson@coralgables.com

rcabrera@coralgables.com

fquesada@coralgables.com

cityclerk@coralgables.com

 

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6 Responses to Coral Gables to Resurface 30 Miles of Roads; No Mention of Bike Facilities (Yet)

  1. What a shame. As you’ve already said, Coral Gables is nice – perfectly setup for being on the county’s first “bike-friendly cit[ies]“. It reminds me of an already finished project in Sweetwater – the resurfacing of SW 109th Avenue, between Flagler and 8th Street. This is a low-volume, quiet, small business/residential street – a much better alternative to busy 107th avenue, and is loved by student pedestrians and cyclists alike. Recently, the street was resurfaced, with a roundabout added (which is nice) and raised crosswalks (which are also nice), but no sharrows (the street is too narrow for bike lanes). Fortunately sharrows are easy to install, so hopefully this can be done in the future.

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  2. Craig Chester says:

    I wrote a letter to the Gables commission. For a city with such a rich planning history that emphasizes community and civic-well being, it wold be a tragedy and a disservice to Gables residents and all users of the road if this project did not include world-class cycling infrastructure.

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  3. Matthew Toro says:

    Thank you, TransitMiami, for brining this important matter to the public’s attention!

    I will certainly be reaching out to the City commissioners. Also, I will be bringing this matter to the attention of the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) of the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

    This is a prime example of how matters seemingly pertaining only to a single municipality actually affect the broader metropolitan region. As noted in your post, the City of Coral Gables sits in a very centralized, pivotal location in Miami-Dade County. It’s elongated geography and north-south orientation connect it to so many important destinations throughout our community, destinations that can be very viably accessed by bicycling!

    The City of Coral Gables shares a coincident boundary with six (6) other local governments in total: (1) the City of Miami, (2) the City of South Miami, (3) the Village of Palmetto Bay, (4) the Village of Pinecrest, (5) the City of West Miami, (6) and multiple sections of unincoporated Miami-Dade County.

    Thus, it is incumbent on trans-municipal entities like the Metropolitan Planning Organization to better coordinate the transportation planning , design, and construction activities of individual communities with the broader transportation goals of the entire greater Miami region.

    I’ve always admired the beautifully transformed urban/sub-urban environments of the City of Coral Gables, yet always lamented the lack of proper bicycle facilities, especially for a community whose resident population, I surmise, would be in full support of such facilities.

    Throughout most of the residential areas, whose posted speed limits are less than 35 mph, sharrows would certainly be appropriate. While many/most of the residential streets are certainly wide enough to accomodate full-fledged bike lanes, sharrows are probably a much more cost effective, yet still efficacious, option. But many of the larger streets running through the City could certainly use a full-on lane. And many of those quiet residential corridors in Coral Gables are great places to start implementing the fantastic Bike Boulevard notion, where bikers can enjoy status as the prioritized street travelers.

    Thanks again for making this information more widely available, TransitMiami!

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  4. B says:

    Playing devil’s advocate here…judging from Coral Gables announcement that they will begin to enforce the policy of no trucks parked in the city at night except in an enclosed garage, I don’t think bike lanes are in the future. It’s a shame, but Coral Gables commissioners probably view bicycles as an eyesore, and what they really want is more BMW’s on the road.

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  5. Matthew Toro says:

    We can see video of the actual City of Coral Gables commission meeting here: http://coralgables.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=155

    You can skip the video to item E.-1. (Resolution #11-1187) to see the debate on the issue.

    It seems that there is general agreement that striping bicycle facilities is warranted and desired.

    Only pro-bicycle Commissioner Rafael Cabrera Jr. voted against the resolution because he wanted some language in the resolution specifying that bicycle facilities WOULD in fact be integrated into the plan.

    So, I don’t think the commissioners are generally for the bicycle facilities — it will happen, but we must do our part to stress to the commissioners how important bicycle facilities are!

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  6. Matthew Toro says:

    Correction: “I DO think the commissioners are generally for the bicycle facilities — it will happen, but we must do our part to stress to the commissioners how important bicycle facilities are!”

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