The Miami City Commission voted today in favor of Decobike as their vendor for a bike sharing system, effectively expanding this successful venture from Miami Beach to the mainland! Soon we will all be able to enjoy cycling across the Venetian on a Decobike. As a Fort Lauderdale resident, I will be happy if I can ride the train or express bus into Miami and use Decobike to get around when I’m here. More details to come later.
Last night, the City of Miami Beach hosted the first of two “Bicycle Summits” to discuss efforts on updating the Atlantic Greenway Network Master Plan (AGN), which includes most bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure throughout Miami Beach.
Mike Lydon and Tony Garcia from the Street Plans Collaborative, led an informative presentation on the value of bicycle and pedestrian activity and what other cities around the country are doing to encourage active transportation. Street Plans will be taking the lead in assisting Miami Beach in updating their bicycle master plan. All week, Lydon and Garcia will be undertaking “handlebar surveys” around town to document current conditions and outline the possibilities for infrastructure improvements, including buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks, enhanced sharrows, bicycle parking and more. The recommendations will be made available on a web application, where residents can also add feedback and pose questions.
The city of Miami Beach anticipates hosting a second round of public workshops in the fall, so residents can discuss neighborhood specific projects. The AGN Master Plan, like most master plans, was intended to be a visionary and dynamic plan that was expected to evolve as the city changes. As such, the City’s Transportation Division is in the process of updating the current AGN Plan.
On October 17, 2007, the Miami Beach City Commission adopted the Atlantic Greenway Network Master Plan. The goal of the AGN master plan was two-fold: to create a safe and continuous multimodal network along the city’s streets, beachwalks, and greenways allowing for alternative transportation and community enhancement in the city; and to provide connectivity with the county’s and state’s regional bicycle network.
Summit #2 will be held on Thursday, June 7th from 5 pm – 8pm at 1755 Meridian Avenue, 3rd floor conference room.
One of the most telling images from the presentation was an infographic (below) showing the percentage of trips taken by bicycle and walking in countries around the world – with their corresponding obesity rates. By re-engineering walking and cycling back into American communities by making them safe, attractive options, we can begin to improve public health and strengthen our communities. Transforming Miami Beach to become more people-friendly will take some sacrifice at the altar of the automobile, but the benefits are clear and proven.
The City of Miami Beach will be hosting two public meetings next week (June 5 and June 7) to kickoff the process of updating the bicycle network plan (officially titled the Atlantic Greenways Network Master Plan). The meeting will include a discussion of the update process and a presentation the Street Plans Collaborative on the latest best practices in bicycle and pedestrian street design from all around the country. (NOTE: The time for the June 5 meeting was moved to 6 pm!)
You’re Invited to MIAMIBEACH’s Bicycle Summits
Atlantic Greenway Network Master Plan Update
The City of Miami Beach will be hosting two (2) public summits to discuss efforts to update the adopted Atlantic Greenway Network (AGN) Master Plan. The summits will focus on obtaining input from Miami Beach residents on the bicycle component of the adopted AGN Master Plan in order to assist the City in updating the plan.
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Time: 6:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.
Place: North Shore Park and Youth Center,
501 72 Street
Miami Beach, Florida 33141
Date: Thursday, June 7, 2012
Time: 5:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.
Place: 1755 Meridian Avenue Building, third floor conference room
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Contact: Jose R. Gonzalez, P.E., transportation manager, 305.673.7080
The M-Path is, without a doubt, one of Miami’s top bicycle amenities. Officially called the Metropath, the corridor was recently acknowledged by FDOT consultant Stewart Robertson as, “the most connected, non-motorized path in Miami-Dade County.” The path has been the subject of numerous Transit Miami posts over the years, where we have advocated for both long and short-term changes that will improve connectivity along the path, including better crosswalks, repaving and straightening.
Luckily, city officials are realizing what an asset the M-path is, and are busy implementing parts of the 2007 M-Path Master Plan, as evidenced by the recent celebration of the M-Path south extension on April 5 where Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez officially inaugurated the path’s newly-minted Dadeland sections (including the new pedestrian bridge over the Snapper Creek expressway).
With all the attention being paid to the M-Path, we wanted to go back to review the action items from the 2007 Master Plan, and compare that plan with the proposed M-path improvement project(s). The projects, recently presented to members of the Miami-Dade Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee by FDOT consultant Stewart Robertson, include short- and long-term improvements being made to the path.
- resurfacing critical sections,
- providing advance warning signals and re-striping crosswalks,
- installing north/south directional signs, as well as signage indicating distances to Metrorail stations,
- installing ‘STOP’ pavement markings near intersections,
- marking precarious and sight-limited meandering (curving) sections,
- constructing the path’s missing links at the University of Miami parking lot sections,
- realigning the path at the South Miami Metrorail station and closing the existing sidewalk (identified as a “high crime area” in the Master Plan),
- installing emergency call boxes at these “high crime areas”,
- implementing encroachment prevention measures, and
- applying development standards during site plan review and approval.
- realigning overly meandering parts of the path,
- widening the path to 12-feet,
- installing countdown pedestrian signals,
- reconfiguring intersection layouts (to include, e.g., crosswalk realignments, refuge islands, raised intersections, bollards, etc.),
- installing lighting along the path,
- enhancing landscaping along the path,
- providing way-finding signage to the Metrorail stations,
- constructing a non-motorized bridge at the Coral Gables Waterway (the canal crossed by the path via an extremely narrow bridge along Ponce de Leon Boulevard), and
- coordinating a property/easement exchange with the occupant of the lot adjacent to the path at Bird (SW 40th Street) and Douglas (SW 37th Avenue) Roads.
According to Robertson, 9 of the 10 short-term improvements have either been addressed, or will be addressed within the next two years through a series of upcoming projects. While we don’t know where, when, and how most of these 9 short-term improvements are to be made, the current capital projects will include resurfacing those portions of the path where asphalt has crumbled, reinforcing those sidewalk sections of path (typically found near Metrorail stations) where tree roots have cracked the concrete, and realigning excessive curves along the path.
In some cases these curves block two-way visibility along the path and contribute to the path’s many disjointed sections. In addition to straightening the path, attention will be paid to intersections critical for connectivity. Notable path alignment and crosswalk improvements mentioned in the presentation include SW 19th Avenue (which will involve a re-milling of hilly topography), SW 22nd Avenue, SW 24th Avenue, the parking-lot sections along the path near the University of Miami, and SW 80th Street.
Intersection enhancements include the widening of curb ramps to the width of the M-Path itself (as was done in the path’s newly constructed and re-constructed southern Dadeland sections), and the painting of high-emphasis/high-impact (‘ladder’) crosswalks. The M-Path Master Plan also prescribes that the new crosswalks be 12 feet in width and further accentuated with supplemental coloring (i.e., with green paint). No clear verbal indication was made by Robertson as to whether these width and color enhancements are included in the proposed projects, though they were depicted in some of the figures contained in his presentation.
Without question, the safety, accessibility, and connectivity of the M-Path – our community’s most prized shared-use path – will improve.
However, a notoriously daunting and dangerous problem continues to plague the M-Path: automobiles encroach onto the crosswalks — where and if present — linking the path.
Numerous examples of this can be found, especially at intersections with major arterials like SW 27th Avenue, SW 67th Avenue, and SW 32 Avenue, although they occur at every street crossing the path. Motorists at these cross-streets turning-onto US-1 (or turning right from US-1) advance their vehicles into the crosswalks without consideration, obstructing the passage of M-Path walkers, joggers, skaters, bikers, and those in wheel-chairs.
Transit Miami strongly advocates for a very simple solution: A Miami-Dade County ordinance and/or Florida-wide law prohibiting right turns at red lights abutting at intersections abutting any multi-use facility, such as the Metrorail-Path.
The forthcoming implementation of some of the short- and long-term improvements laid-out in the 2007 M-Path Master Plan is exciting, and will undoubtedly transform our community’s experience on the M-Path for recreational, commuting, and overall transportation purposes. We give these projects a Transit Miami thumbs up!
Monday and Tuesday a team of Dutch bicycling experts worked with local transportation engineers, planners, and bicycling advocates in the ThinkBike workshop to infuse some of the Netherlands’ bicycle magic into Miami. The Miami Herald published a good story on the subject here. Information from the workshop can be found on Facebook and more will be available soon on the Consul’s website. While the workshop wrapped up with the final presentation Tuesday night, we’ll get you up to speed first on Monday’s opening presentation.
Joseph Weterings, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, kicked off the workshop by congratulating the Florida Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the city of Miami for taking efforts to make the area better for cycling. It’s not enough, though. By contrast, Weterings made clear, “the Dutch and the bicycles are almost inseparable.” He shared how he was separated from his own bicycle when he was assigned to Miami and now misses being able to cycle into the office every day. He touted some of the advances the Netherlands has made for bicycling, and turned it over to his bicycling experts for the details.
The Dutch “Bicycling Ambassador” team leader was Hillie Talens, a transportation engineer. Her team members were Robert Coffeng, a traffic engineer, and Jeroen Kosters, a transportation engineer. She began by giving us a window into her life and explaining where cycling fit in. She shared her hobbies, and emphasized that cycling was not one of them. Though she owned 3 bicycles, cycling was just as common an activity as brushing your teeth before going to bed. For most people in the Netherlands, cycling is just another form of transportation.
Some of the statistics she shared were impressive. Twenty-seven percent of trips in the Netherlands are taken by bicycle. Women ride bicycles more than men, unlike here. The most common emotion associated with cycling is joy–something only children typically associate with bicycling as transportation in this country.
One import graph showed the curve between cycling and fatalities in the Netherlands vs. many other countries. While logic might tell you that an increase in the number of cyclists on the road would lead to an increase in the number of fatalities due to exposure, the reality is very different. The more cyclists are on the road, the fewer deaths we see.
Netherlands went through a decline in bicycle use after World War II, much like the US and many other European countries. Netherlands had a car centric transportation policy, with the Prime Minister advocating one car per family (“… a car in every garage,” anyone?). Their country shifted their transportation policy to be pro bicycling after a significant decline in bicycling, a decline from which they have only partially recovered. The United States has made many small shifts towards a more bicycling friendly policy, but it may be too little too late. When the Netherlands changed their bicycling attitudes, their bicycling decline was stayed and they saw a quick jump up in the number of cyclists. Since then, however, bicycling use has only gradually climbed. Perhaps this is because they have hit the “sweet spot” of keeping most of the short trips on the bicycle, or perhaps it is because they implemented pro bicycling policies before their cycling percentage dropped below five percent.
The pro bicycling policy seeks to prioritize bicycling in many ways. While I cannot even persuade engineers here to install features to make sure bicyclists are detected at signalized intersections, the Netherlands offers bike-specific signals, prioritizes bicycle traffic at bicycle paths intersecting roadways, and seeks to minimize bicyclists’ delay at signals. While in Florida we prioritize cracking down on bicyclists riding side by side through mandatory bike lane laws (promoted even by bicycle advocates) and interpretating the “two abreast” law to prohibit anything more than single file riding, the Netherlands passed a law to specifically legalize side by side riding, regardless of whether cars were approaching. They recognize the inherent social activity of bicycling and seek to promote it. While the Florida Department of Transportation seems OK with designating “bicycle detours” that make bicyclists take the long route because there is no room for them on the main streets, Talens said they endeavor to provide direct bicycling routes without detours. While we often find the easiest place to put separate bicycle lanes is low volume residential streets, the Netherlands has prioritized these as bicycle boulevards where bicycle traffic has priority and cars must share the huge “bike lane.” While the only solution we offer for roundabouts is to let bicylists ride on the road or on the sidewalk, they offer options including bike lanes and separate paths set back from the roundabout like sidewalks as well. While bicylists here get into theoretical discussions or loud confrontations over whether to pass a line of cars at a signal when there is no bike lane, the Netherlands builds bike boxes for these shared lanes that clarify the bicyclists’ position at the front of the line. While we hope drivers hitting cyclists get a slap on the wrist, the Netherlands holds the driver responsible every time. While our engineers have learned how to follow standards manuals and meet the bare minimums, Talens taught that bicycle facilities should be tailor made for the situation. While the Miami urbanized area has roads maintained by about 200 different cities, three counties, and two districts of the Florida Department of Transportation, cities in the Netherlands maintain their own roads. This key political difference is a challenge for us, but one that progressive cities such as Portland have sought to overcome by combining some government agencies.
Talens reminded us of two things that too many forget: cyclists are more than pedestrians with wheels, and cycling is not just a sport. If only transportation engineers could get past that first step.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the rest of the ThinkBike workshop.
Transit Miami friend Gabriela was rear ended by a car while stopped at a red light on South Beach this past weekend. The driver did pause to make sure she was ok, but then took off. Gabriela then called the police to file a report and was told by the officer that the MBPD could do nothing for her. This is what she had to say:
“ On Sunday afternoon I was riding my bicycle along West Avenue on south beach when a woman leaving Whole Foods failed to come to a complete stop and rolled into my back tire shoving me into the road. Luckily I was unscathed but my bike tire is completely bent leaving my bike (main form of beach transportation) un-ridable.
The woman paused to ask if I was ok- when I told her that I was fine but my bike was damaged she said ‘sorry’ and continued to turn north on West Avenue and drove away. I was shocked that she left the scene of the accident for which she was at fault. I called the police and filled out a report (including eye-witness information) with an obstinate police officer (to put it kindly) who basically told me that I could fill out a report but nothing could be done about it.”
She goes on to say:
“I gave the tag, car description and driver description to the cop along with witness contact info… The cop made it clear that nothing would be done about it…”
All I can say is “Wow”.
Here’s a quick recap of the salient points from these meetings.
- Miami Beach has a few roadway projects that are of interest to the Bikeways Committee, including Collins Park, 44 St, Bayshore area in Middle Beach, Dade Blvd and 51 St. These are all in various stages of development and for the most part behind behind schedule, if even started, with the exception of Collins Park (near 22 St and Dade Blvd) which has all the permits done. These items take up a sizable chunk of time at every meeting, rarely have any real updates to report, and I’ve yet to truly understand the relevancy of some of them to the overall health of bicycling in Miami Beach.
- On the bike racks front, the city has hired a consultant to take care of all having to do with this, from identifying target locations to getting all the permits needed.
- There is also a kerfuffle over some people (a commissioner included) wanting to reduce the width of Alton Rd down to 8 feet to appease some key residents, but this is beyond the scope of the Bikeways Committee at the moment.
- I also inquired about the connection of the Oceanwalk promenade from 5th Street south to South Pointe Park, and I was told it was on track for construction later this year. This would create a continuous path from the Baywalk all around the SoFi area to South Pointe Park and then north to 23 St (I won’t count the Boardwalk because it discriminates against bicycles, skateboards and rollerskaters – bah).
- No significant update on the roadway projects.
- The Bayshore HOA wants to strip out all bike lanes in the neighborhood, as reduce the width of all roads, in order to “slow down traffic” as well as for “beautification.” This goes directly against the Bike Master Plan and is being opposed by various people in the city gov as well as by the Bikeways Committee. Next month there will be a Neighborhood Association meeting where this will come to a head. More info as I get it.
- The consultants for the bike racks are in the process of being hired but it seems like this may actually be a good thing for the city. These consultants will be able to deal with all the aspects of putting the bike racks out there exclusively and if all goes to plan, in 4-6 months we should see around 100 new bike racks going up around the city, mostly in the South Beach area. Here’s hoping.
- The bike share program for Miami Beach, handled by DecoBike, is on schedule for an August launch (site says July, but its August). Colby Reese (Owner? Pres?) of DecoBike updated the committee on all the city official wrangling that’s had to be done but which is finally on its final stages. The website is now open so drop by. I’ll write more about DecoBike later on.
- It has become painfully clear that the Miami Beach Bicycle Master Plan needs to be revised. It is deficient in many ways, fails to address State-owned roads, and simply does not address the true needs of the city in terms of bicycle infrastructure vis-a-vis our specific geographic situation. It also fails to take advantage of all the recent developments in alternative transportation. When compared to the Miami Bicycle Master Plan, released just last year, the MB plan just doesn’t seem like it is addressing cities separated only by a causeway. This isn’t an easy task, so expect more info about this in months to come.
- Lastly, it is possible we may get some indoor bicycle parking space at the Lincoln Rd Cinema multi-level parking. I brought this up on the April meeting, how there was a space that was totally unused and could serve perfectly as an indoor bike parking area, and Gabrielle Redfern ran with it. She remembered some information that led to the possibility of this happening. Cross your fingers! I’ll also write specifically about this once I get some info I requested.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 2:00 PM. Be there!
Recently, all Bike Miami assets were transferred back to the City of Miami for their management, including all social media components, like the Facebook page and the @BikeMiami Twitter account. For a while I managed the Twitter account as a volunteer, stepping down once I started university classes back in January (though always still helping out with relevant tweets here and there). Being part of the bicycling advocacy community is something I hold very dear, so I decided to continue the work I was doing with @BikeMiami with a new account.
To that end I launched @BikeMIA, an independent source of bicycling commentary, news and advocacy for Miami and South Florida in general. BikeMIA is a primarily-Twitter source; it has a blog attached to it at BikeMIA.org, but it’s there to serve as support to the Twitter feed, not to supplant it.
Yesterday the League of American Bicyclists released it’s ranking of Bicycle Friendly States. Florida moved up the scale to number 12 for 2010.
There was some snafu with the documentation submitted by Florida to the League last year, making Florida rank much lower in 2009 (32) than 2008. If you want to know how well we’ve improved, the accurate comparison would be with the 20th place ranking in 2008, upon which we have still improved significantly.
This year the ranking breakdowns (PDF link) by category are worth looking at. The categories include legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education, evaluation, and enforcement. Florida scored third place in policies and programs, but ranked lowest in education and enforcement.
I hope we are all interested in improving Florida’s rankings in these weak areas, but there is no simple solution. It will require extensive partnership and cooperation between different government and law enforcement agencies and even private organizations, advocacy groups, or individuals. The “Ride Right, Drive Right” campaign is an excellent example of such an education campaign in Florida, a partnership between a private company, an advocacy organization, and a government agency. Enforcement will need similar partnerships with local law enforcement agencies.
Perhaps we can learn from this example and build new partnerships for both education and enforcement. Let’s hear your ideas in the comments. We all can work together to make Florida a better place to cycle.
If you haven’t heard, Denver launched their B-Cycle Bicycle Sharing program last week, on Earth Day. They have about 400 bicycles at 40 stations around the city. It would be great to get something like that down this way, right?
Turns out South Florida is not far behind. This morning a selection commitee met to rank companies to implement a bicycle sharing program for Broward County. B-Cycle, a partnership between Trek Bicycles and Humana, got the top ranking. Their proposal is to provide at least 200 bicycles with 18 stations in downtowns, beaches, and transit hubs in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood Beach, and Pompano Beach areas. The system could grow to potentially 575 bicycles with 52 stations in five years. The contract still needs to be negotiated and approved, but this project is exciting for the future of bicycling in this area. B-Cycle hopes to get a system installed within six months of signing a contract, so if we keep our fingers crossed we might have a bicycle sharing program in place by the end of this year. Hit up the gallery for B-Cycle’s renderings of potential bicycle sharing at key locations.
I saw this first via Twitter and it left me going “Whaaaat?” It’s called YikeBike, and it’s what its creators term a “mini-farthing,” a modern and miniaturized evolution of the venerable penny farthing bicycle.
Launched back in November at Eurobike, the YikeBike stands out, in my opinion, as the most unique of the new crop of e-bikes sweeping the industry. It looks like an ergonomic desk chair, I know, but I guess that’s part of its appeal. Check out the promotional video created to show off the bike.
The YikeBike was created by a British company and thinking of the London Downtown area, it makes perfect sense how this could be a useful personal mobility system. In Miami, however, I could see it being used on the Beach, maybe in Coconut Grove or Coral Gables, but considering the drivers we boast, I can hardly imagine Yike riders exploring the areas in between neighborhoods. In the places where it could work, though, I could really see this working well.
Much like the Segway this product seems to be aiming to compete against, price becomes the major factor in its adoptability: $4450.00 USD.
Mind you, personally I think that a regular, good ole bicycle is the simplest, most perfect answer to urban personal mobility, but I also cannot help but like to be attracted to neat, futuristic technology. I think it’s an interesting idea with an even more interesting design, and it will be cool to see how it does in the general market. Maybe we can convince YikeBike to send one down to Miami for road testing.
Lest we forget that Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach are considered one metropolitan area, here is some news for Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is developing a Bicycle Master Plan for the county and would like your input. Public Workshops are scheduled for April 14 and April 15 in multiple locations, from 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM both days. You don’t need to stay the whole time, just come out for a bit to share what your needs are as a cyclist.
Locations for Wednesday the 14th include the Bryant Auditorium of the Palm Beach County Office Building in Belle Glade and the Jupiter Community Center. Locations for Thursday the 15th include the Vista Center County Building in West Palm Beach and the Boca Raton Community Center. Flyers are available in English and Spanish, and for more info you can contact Bret Baronak, the MPO Bicycle/Greenways/Pedestrian Coordinator at bbaronak at pbcgov.org or (561) 684-4170. I hope to make it to the Boca Raton meeting myself, so I look forward to seeing you there if you ride in Palm Beach County!
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