Currently viewing the tag: "Bicycle Planning"

On Thursday, June 2nd, The City of Miami Bicycle Initiatives hosted the Miami Bicycle Summit at The Grove Spot in Coconut Grove, Miami.  A variety of speakers, including city and county planners and public officials presented to an audience of local citizens and bicycle advocates, followed by a spirited question and answer session.  The meeting was an informative overview of ongoing bicycle projects –  but also highlighted the lingering disconnect between public agencies and advocates.

City of Miami District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff opened the summit by announcing monetary awards to both the South Florida Bicycle Coalition and the Green Mobility Network. The SFBC received $5,000, which will go towards the installation of ’3 Feet’ law signs such as those in place on A1A in Palm Beach County. The Green Mobility Network also received $5,000 toward the creation of a bicycle map for the City of Miami. The Commissioner concluded by saying, “We need to continue to improve biking and bike safety, if nothing else, because it’s simply the right thing to do”.

From the city of Coral Gables, Commissioner Ralph Cabrerra announced the launch of ‘Gables Bike Day’ for October 23rd. As part of this event, the city of Coral Gables will close numerous streets to automobile traffic, including the Miracle Mile and Ponce de Leon.

David Henderson, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator for the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization, presented a comprehensive overview of the pedestrian and bicycle program for the county. Despite the recent T4America report describing Miami as being one of the most dangerous place to ride a bike in the USA, Henderson stated that simply is not the case, laying out some particularly interesting facts regarding cycling projects and safety trends, including:
  • In 1999, there were 100 miles of multi-use paths, 10 miles of bike lanes and 70 miles of paved shoulders in Miami-Dade County.
  • Now, there are 130 miles of multi-use paths, 70 miles of bike lanes and 30 wide-curb lanes with many more in the planning stages.
  • Bicycle parking increasing at Metrorail stations and pedestrian/cycling counts increasing in downtown area.
  • Bicycle injuries are down, and have dropped by half since 1990. Still, 65 pedestrians and 12 cyclists were killed in accidents in M-D county last year.
Both Henderson and Jeff Cohen, from Miami-Dade Public Works, touched on the recent ThinkBike workshop held earlier in May and the plans to implement projects studied during that meeting, including bike lanes on Miami Avenue and a cycle track proposal along NW 14 Street, through the Health District. While many in the audience were excited about these two projects possibly coming to fruition, there was palpable frustration amongst many when the potential timing of the project was discussed later in the evening. First, a traffic study must be commissioned in those areas to observe traffic volumes and patterns. Unfortunately, this study will not be done until the fall, when the school year begins. Audience members were assured that once the study is completed the project would move forward (which begs the question, why waste time and money on a traffic study if the project will move forward anyway? what possible benefit will result from the pseudo-science of traffic engineering?) This was disappointing to many in the audience, as some questioned the delay for the study, given that stretch of Miami Avenue does not have any major schools on or near it.

Cohen continuted to provide a thorough overview of bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the county, past and present. Among the notable project is the planned construction of a pedestrain/bicycle bridge on the Commodore Bike Trail in the Cocoplum neighborhood. Also, downtown Miami streets that were recently resurfaced will be marked with ‘sharrows’.

Ken Jeffries from the FDOT was scheduled to present, however two FDOT consultants from Kimley-Horn, John McWilliams and Stewart Robertson were on-hand instead as Jeffries was not present. Robertson and McWilliams highlighted the three basic types of bicycle facility in FDOT standards – bike lanes, wide curb lanes, and shared use paths. They also discussed the FDOT’s ‘commitment’ to the Florida Complete streets policy and the development of a pedestrian/cyclist checklist for engineers to use when considering projects (too bad they miss the point – streets are more than mere engineering projects).  ‘Sharrows’ were also a major topic, as the FDOT has adopted their use. A planned FDOT project on Sunset Drive will experiment with using ‘sharrows’ on the roadway, which has a posted speed limit of 40mph. Sharrows are usually reserved for lower speed limit roadways. Again, many in the audience were frustrated that this project will not include a designated or physically separate bike lane on such a busy roadway with a high speed limit.

The consultants were questioned heavily on their explanation of design speeds, especially on the MacArthur Causeway. Audience members questioned the safety of the bike lane designated on the MacArthur, given that the design speed of the roadway far surpasses it’s posted speed limit of 50mph. Many individuals in the audience were advocating for a protected bike lane, especially given the ongoing tunnel project, in which the FDOT are planning to add additional travel lanes for traffic. There are no plans currently to alter the scope of the project to better accommodate cyclists on the MacArthur causeway. 

Miami Beach resident Xavier Falconi from the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee and touted the success of the Deco Bike Program on Miami Beach and other improvements to bicycle infrastructure, including ‘sharrows’ on Washington Avenue and the development of Bicycle Parking Design Guidelines for the city.

Collin Worth, City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator, wrapped up the evenings presentations, mentioning a RFP (Request for Proposal) for a bike share program in downtown Brickell and Omni area and the City’s goal of eventually becoming a designated Bicycle Friendly Community.

TransitMiami would like to thank Collin Worth for helping organize and plan the evening. It is clear that some are taking the needs of cyclists seriously in Miami by improving infrastructure and raising awareness – but much more needs to be done. Our policymakers and public employees need to understand that streets are more than just exercises in traffic engineering. Streets are for people.

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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!

If you know something about thoroughfare right of ways in Miami, you know that they are controlled by several different jurisdictions: State, County, City, and even Federal in the case of Interstate 95. While the City of Miami controls many of the local neighborhood streets, they essentially have no control over the the city’s major corridors. This my transit-minded friends, is a major problem, as such a thicket of bureaucracy tends to make the instigation of change a nightmare, especially when it comes to taking back the streets from the car cartel. Yet the City of Miami is finally starting to join us in the good fight and we need to help them, help us. The reconstruction of Coral Way is the most imminent opportunity.

If you would like to see bicycle lanes included on Coral Way, from Southwest 12th Avenue to Southwest 15th Road, please join Transit Miami by writing a quick letter of support by Friday, June 27th to Alexander Adams (aadams@miamigov.com) in the City of Miami Planning Department (You can even tell him, or us, where else you would like to see such facitlities). Bicycle lanes along this important corridor will be an important link in the City’s eventual bicycle network. Speak up and show FDOT that bicycling in Miami is being taken very seriously!

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