This letter comes from Esther Calas, P.E., Director from Miami-Dade County Public Works Department in response to a letter from citizen advocate and friend of Transit Miami Blanca Mesa. Here is the exchange:
The Rickenbacker Causeway should be redesigned to discourage additional vehicular traffic, to slow down existing traffic and to protect pedestrians and bicyclists. The Rickenbacker Causeway is a LINEAR PARK.” This fact should be the primary directive in designing improvements. There should be a coordinated approach within the County Departments to reduce the number of cars to the area parks and beaches. Greater public transportation should be offered — trams and buses that circulate among the state, county and city park facilities, with adequate public transportation shelters and greater frequency. Perhaps some mainland parking lots could be designated as pick up points in neighborhoods or Metrorail station lots.
The unfortunate weekend incident is not an isolated event. Many more injuries and even deaths will occur along the Rickenbacker unless the policies and plans change.
Dear Ms. Mesa:
We in Public Works are also deeply disturbed by this tragic traffic accident. We are well aware of the unique characteristics of the Rickenbacker Causeway, and agree that the island chain leading to the Village of Key Biscayne has the characteristics of a linear park. However, as you note the Causeway is a principal highway that travels through it and is the only access road not only to those adjacent facilities, but to the Village of Key Biscayne . For the many different types of users, PWD provides in addition to the main roadway, and off-road non-motorized multiple-use trail for walkers, skaters and bicyclists, in-road bicycle lanes for more serious cyclists who wish to travel at higher speeds without sharing space with pedestrians, and a beach road system for low-speed motor vehicle travel for parking and beach access.
Our staff has reviewed the Bear Cut Bridge this morning and re-reviewed the construction plans for the bicycle lanes as well and have confirmed that the bicycle lanes meet State and Federal requirements. We have also just received a copy of the traffic accident report and we will make a determination whether any additional engineering measures would be effective for mitigating this type of collision.
Esther Calas, P.E., Director
Doesn’t sound too convincing to me. It is not a matter of whether state and federal requirements are followed. Obviously, those requirements are not preventing deaths, so something is wrong. Anyone have any good ideas they want to share with Ms. Calas and Commissioner Carlos Gimenez?
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