From our friends over at Green Mobility Network:
Sept. 4 Resolution is Bad for Bicycling—Please Act Now!
Dear friends of bicycling,
We realize it’s the Labor Day Weekend and most of you are relaxing, but your immediate action is needed.
The Miami–Dade County Commission is being asked on Tuesday, Sept. 4, to help erode a progressive state law that requires accommodation for bicyclists and pedestrians on state roads in urban areas. There will be no opportunity for public comment during the commission meeting, so we’re asking Commissioner Rebeca Sosa to withdraw her resolution or postpone it until we can meet with her.
The law, section 335.065 of the Florida Statutes, provides that bike lanes and sidewalks be given full consideration in the planning and development of state roads in urban areas. When the state Department of Transportation (FDOT) repaves or redesigns an urban street, it must provide for walkers and bicyclists as well as for drivers — or show why cost or safety makes doing so impractical.
The law was virtually ignored in South Florida for most of a generation, and now that advocates have succeeded in getting FDOT to follow the law it’s meeting resistance — first in Miami Beach and now in the Sept. 4 resolution Commissioner Sosa, representing District 6. She’s responding to the upcoming repaving of SW 57th Avenue between 8th Street and Bird Road, where state engineers plan to include a bike lane and are encountering constrained road dimensions in some areas.
FDOT can choose from a variety of bike facilities on roads like 57th Avenue. This resolution will only hurt the cause of making Miami-Dade’s streets safer for all users. We strongly urge Commissioner Sosa to pull this item from the agenda and work collaboratively with the bicycle community to advance better bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure throughout Miami-Dade County.
Please copy the following message and send it to the e-mail addresses below. Do it now! It’s not too late to stop this ill-advised resolution.
If you would prefer to register your concern by phone, please make two phone calls to request that the resolution be pulled from the agenda. You can call the following:
Mayor Carlos Gimenez: 305-375-5071
Commissioner Rebecca Sosa: 305-375-5696
BEGIN COPY-AND-PASTE–AND ADD YOUR NAME AT THE END OF THE MESSAGE
Re: Sept. 4, 2012, Agenda Item #121569–Bad for Bicycling–Please Pull From Agenda
To the Board of County Commissioners:
Agenda Item #121569 is bad for bicycling in Miami-Dade County and potentially the entire state of Florida. It would turn back the clock on significant progress in winning accommodation for bicyclists and pedestrians in urban roadways. It was placed on your agenda without public input. I urge you to pull it from the agenda and make time for public discussion of this important matter.
SEND TO THE INDIVIDUAL COMMISSIONERS–JUST COPY AND PASTE THE FOLLOWING E-MAIL ADDRESSES INTO THE “TO” LINE OF YOUR E-MAIL SOFTWARE.
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, District7@miamidade.gov, District8@miamidade.gov, DennisMoss@miamidade.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, District12@miamidade.gov, email@example.com
Once you’ve written, how about letting us know at our Facebook page? Your example will be encouraging to others.
In communities across the country, open streets initiatives are redefining citizens’ relationships with public spaces and encouraging millions of Americans to get active. To foster the growth and development of these exciting initiatives, the Alliance for Biking & Walking and the Street Plans Collaborative have launched two new, innovative resources: The Open Streets Project website and the Open Streets Guide.
Open streets initiatives temporarily close streets to automobiles, allowing residents to walk, bike, skate, dance and utilize the roadways in countless creative and active ways. From Los Angeles to Ottawa, and Missoula to Miami, open streets have become a way for cities to build community, promote active transportation and reconnect neighborhoods divided by traffic.
The website, www.OpenStreetsProject.org, showcases dozens of current initiatives across the continent and allows municipalities and advocacy organizations to share information and resources on their open streets initiatives as they evolve and expand. The Open Streets Guide features best practices from 67 initiatives across the continent, and serves as a tool for cities looking to start or grow an open streets initiative. Click here to download the free electronic copy of the guide. A print version will be available on March 21, 2012 at www.OpenStreetsProject.org.
“Open Streets initiatives are transformational for people and their communities,” said Jeffrey Miller, Alliance President/CEO. “When communities open their streets to people, they inspire citizens to see their roads as public spaces, and provide a welcoming gateway for residents to engage in healthy lifestyles and active transportation.”
“The Open Streets Project aims to support these exciting initiatives by providing advocates and organizers a comprehensive overview of organizational and implementation strategies,” said Mike Lydon, Principal of The Street Plans Collaborative. “We believe the Project will be a catalyst for the continued growth of the open streets in communities across the continent.”
If your city or organization has information to share about an open streets initiative in your community, please contact Mike Samuelson, Alliance Open Streets Coordinator, at (202) 449-9692 x7 or mike@PeoplePoweredMovement.org.
Florida At Risk of Falling 20 Years Behind Other States
It is summer vacation season. Perhaps you just returned to South Florida from one of the world’s great cities. Chances are, you probably experienced bicycle facilities that are generally better than what we have here in South Florida. While recently there has been significant improvements to the bicycle infrastructure in Miami-Dade County, there is still a key design element that is missing from our streetscape.
A cycle track, is a physically separate and protected bike lane and is considered by bicycle planners and experts as the safest and most enjoyable way to ride a bicycle through an urban environment. Widely seen as a catalyst to encourage riding because of the inherent safety of the protection from traffic - either by a curb, bollards, parked cars or pavement buffer - cycle tracks are revolutionizing the way people view cycling in an urban context.
Before you read any further, watch this short video via StreetFilms.org on the new cycle track in Queens, New York City. On a personal note, I was in New York last weekend when this facility opened. Having cycled in the same area prior to the building of this lane, I was awestruck. Seeing so many people enjoying an area of Queens that was previously a miserable traffic-choked hellhole, the experience was almost surreal.
There are numerous studies that show cycle tracks are proven to increase ridership tremendously versus unprotected, striped lanes. A new protected lane on Manhattan’s busy First Avenue saw cyclist counts rise by 152% throughout the year the facility was opened. As most people cite safety issues as their biggest barrier to cycling for transportation, cycletracks offer a solution that not only makes traveling safer for the cyclist, but for the motorist as well. Numerous studies have found that crashes between bicycles and traffic diminish when a protected cycle track is available.
While many cities throughout the USA and world have installed such facilities like the Queens example to great success, Miami-Dade County does not have a single on-road protected bicycle lane/cycle track. The feeling of unparalleled uplift I experienced upon riding the Queens lane quickly faded to frustration when I realized the challenges ahead for Miami.
So what is the problem? Simply put, the Florida Department of Transportation does not recognize cycle tracks as an approved bicycle facility. Therefore, some of the FDOT’s biggest roadway projects in Miami-Dade County like the proposed redesigns of Alton Road in Miami Beach, Flagler Street in Little Havana, Brickell Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard will not include cycle tracks. In fact, the feasibility of such facilities have not even been studied by the FDOT in these projects because the design standards of cycle tracks are not approved. Even worse, some of these projects have start dates in 2016 with completion dates approaching 2018, 2019 and 2020.
If the FDOT does not adopt the cycle track as an approved design standard as these major projects move forward, FODT will be 20 years behind other states and cities in implementing accepted bicycle facilities. The benefits are obvious. We’ve spent a lot of electronic ink here at TransitMiami in lambasting the FDOT’s outdated auto-centric designs and how they imposed them on the Florida landscape. This is not the time for that. Simply put, it’s time for the FDOT to join the ranks of the enlightened world of modern urban design and adopt cycle tracks that will create the conditions for safe and sustainable urban transportation. Give us the facilities that will lead to safer streets, healthier people, clean air and stress free commutes.
Here is an abbreviated list of American cities that have built segregated bicycle facilities. It’s time for Miami to join this list.
Long Beach, CA
San Francisco, CA
Below you will find the minutes for the January and March meetings of the Miami Beach Bikeways Committee. The next meeting is today, April 28, and I will post a report and upload the minutes a few days later.
- January Meeting (PDF) - Topics covered include: bikes on Lincoln Rd, update of various road projects, bike racks around the Beach, electric bike rentals, the (mythical?) bike-share project by DecoBike, and the accident at the Rickenbacker.
- March Meeting (PDF) - Topics covered include: update on some road projects, FDOT and the 71st St repaving project in regards to bike lanes, bike lanes on McArthur Causeway.
Remember that even if you cannot attend the meetings, any resident of Miami Beach has the right to email any of the committee representatives and voice their opinion, especially if based on the progress seen in these minutes.
We’ll see what the April meeting holds.
Tomorrow, Wednesday January 27 @ 2:00 PM the Miami Beach Bikeways Committee has its first monthly meeting of 2010, in the Mayor’s Conference Room, on the Fourth Floor at Miami Beach City Hall. Please be on time.
The general public is welcomed to attend, and Miami Beach residents interested in the topic of bicycles should definitely attend if possible. The City of Miami Beach needs to have pressure applied by those that are out there biking every day and know first hand the reality of the poor bicycle infrastructure in the city.
I’ll try to have the minutes from the meeting posted here as well once I get them via email after the meeting.
I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that Christopher Lecanne’s death last Sunday could have been avoided. There are a number of factors that contributed to that tragic event, starting with Carlos Bertonatti’s decision to inebriate himself and then drive back home under the influence. This was not an accident. Bertonatti may not have set out to kill Lecanne, but the moment he decided to drive under the influence he accepted, consciously or not, that he could be an instrument to death. And he was. But there was also an aspect to the event that has to deal with the bicycling infrastructure on which Lecanne transited, namely the bike lane that puts people on bicycles right next to cars on a road where drivers routinely overshoot the speed limit.
This event highlighted something that bicycle advocates in Miami have been telling those in positions of power for days, weeks, months and years prior: our roadways are not safe for people on human-powered vehicles. Key Biscayne is one of Miami’s premier cycling location, the place where, if anywhere, going beyond the strict requirements of the law would be worth it given the amount of people on bicycles that use it. And yet, as written by Esther Calas, P.E., Director of Miami-Dade County Public Works Department, the facilities there only meet the State and Federal requirements. That’s all they shot for, without consideration that this particular area could use some specifications that go beyond.
Key Biscayne is a microcosm of Greater Miami. The tragedy that took place on Key Biscayne last week can, and has, and will, happen elsewhere in Miami wherever bikes and car are forced to co-exist without the proper attention as to how that coexistence needs to happen for safety’s sake. Need proof? Look no further than October 2009 and the sad case of teenager Rodolfo Rojo, killed on Biscayne Boulevard.
How many more Rojos or Lecannes will it take before those people in positions of power, people put there by our very own votes, will finally get the message and take action to protect the bicycle-riding segment of the population they represent and serve?
As it is usually the case, the tragedy has acted as a catalyst and now we’re getting responses and promises from people like Commissioner Sarnoff and Miami Dade County Mayor Alvarez (still notably missing is Miami Mayor Regalado). I hope these lead to actual changes, I really do. Maybe this will make people realize that bicycle advocates are not just talking to hear themselves talk when we tell politicians over and over than more and better bicycling infrastructure can and does help keep people safe when on human-powered vehicles.
Bicycle riding isn’t a fad. It is an accepted, long-standing and continually-increasing form of transportation, one that has to be taken seriously and accounted for in current and future plans for the cities and county of Miami.
When it comes to Lecanne, could a separated bike lane have saved his life? We’ll never know for sure. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure it out before we have another such tragedy in our hands?
Friday, September 25th @ 6:30pm
101 NW First St
This will be the first Critical Mass ride of the 2009 Fall season. As always the ride begins from Government Center in Downtown Miami. The ride will pass through East Little Havana, East Coral Gables, Southeast Gables, Coconut Grove, Vizcaya, Brickell & Downtown Miami. 15 miles total. Bring your friends with bikes. See you there!
Participants are to keep a moderate pace, it’s very important that the group stays together. It makes corking easier and the ride much smoother for everyone involved (cyclists/motorists/pedestrians). Also, make sure to arrive on schedule, that’s 6:30pm. Bring bicycle lights, it’s the law! The ride usually leaves at 7pm sharp but it’s recommended to arrive earlier.
Copenhagen isn’t content with the fact that only 55% percent of its population bikes everyday. In order to encourage more bicycling, they are expanding their bicycling network to the outlying areas with bicycle superhighways. The idea is for bicyclists to maintain an average speed of 12mph by utilizing a series of three existing bicycle routes which will be converted into bicycle super highways with a series of improvements which include timed lights. Read more about it here. Simply brilliant.
Not even the global economic recession could stop Bike Miami Days from returning. This free event will be held in downtown Miami Sunday, October 4th. Please help make the next event the best one yet by spreading the good word. It may be the last Bike Miami Days ever, so we need to make a statement.Thanks to the Mayor’s office, the Police Chief, Deputy Chief and Downtown unit for sponsoring the event.
For more information please check out the Bike Miami Days Blog.
We’ll be drinking beers after the event, so stay tuned for drink specials and location.
This morning I witnessed a driver cut off two bicyclists, stop short, and in true team spirit of the sport, the passenger of the vehicle opened the car door, while the car was in motion, in an attempt to door the bicyclists. Upon witnessing this, a sense of righteous indignation filled me; I had no choice but to pursue the vehicle. About a mile later, completely exhausted, I miraculously caught up to the car at a red light. Please be on the look out for:
Tag #: S89 9GD
Rusty (clunker for cash candidate), late 80’s-early 90’s, dark-bluish American car, possibly an Oldsmobile.
This is the type of unfortunate, unprovoked aggressive behavior that bicyclists have to confront on a regular basis. Fortunately, we do have rights, as Commander Socorro from the Miami Police Department informed me today in an email exchange:
…if they (the victims) would have wanted to get involved, we could have sought the offenders out and arrested them for a felony”.
For their own reasons, which I can respect, the bicyclists who were directly involved in the incident did not want to escalate it to authorities. Regardless, this should be a lesson to both bicyclists and motorists that aggressive vehicular behavior should and will not be tolerated.
While another bicyclist is on life support today after being hit by a car on Davie Blvd., cyclists in Boca Raton took matters into their own hands. Apparently the driver of a Lexus passed them too closely, so they attacked him and damaged his car when they caught up to him at the light. Read and watch a great one-sided story over at the Sun-Sentinel, where they apparently only interviewed the motorist and the cops who arrested one of the cyclists. What is clear from the article is that the motorist honked at them as he approached and then passed them too closely (presumably in violation of Florida’s three foot passing law) and probably even hit one of the bicyclists. Now, even though I have had many incidents with motorists where I felt like punching them in the face, I don’t approve of the bicyclists’ actions here. Neither do I approve of the police taking the side of the motorist against a group of eyewitness cyclists and ignoring the witness reports that a cyclist was hit. At the very minimum, Barish, the “victim” motorist, should be charged with violating the three foot passing law. However, I have spoken with police before about a motorist who passed me too closely; and they refuse to do anything unless they saw it.
I think an issue that this brings up is how useless the three foot passing law is. As long as police refuse to enforce it and motorists don’t know anything about it, what good does it do? I believe we need both motorist education and a change in police policy and practice regarding this and other bicycling related laws. If you have any ideas, share them in the comments.
Anyone a fan of X-Men? Apparently we have some cyclists who believe this is a war and want to strike back. Perhaps they can form the Brotherhood of Cyclists? Others, like myself, want peace between motorists and bicyclists. Shall we form a group of Wheelmen?
This morning the Miami City Commission unanimously passed the Miami Bicycle Action Plan! This is a momentous day for Miami, one that should mark a new approach to bicycling in a city that was recently ranked as one of America’s three worst cities in which to ride.
Comprehensive in its scope, the Action Plan calls for the continued expansion of Miami’s on-street facilities, as well as classroom education and public awareness campaigns. The Action Plan is the product of a tremendous effort by several like-minded organizations and advocates, as well as multiple City and County departments. Those who read this blog know the usual suspects.
Above all, we at Transit Miami have to thank Mayor Diaz and his staff for their strong and continued support. From day one they were behind this effort and they continue to commit the City to becoming more livable. Bike Miami anyone?!
Check out a few photos from this morning’s rally below. Commissioner Sanchez, Sarnoff and Diaz were on hand, as well as dozens of other city employees and bicycle advocates. In the coming weeks Transit Miami will delve into the plan with more detail, and show you the City’s Bicycle Action plan as it relates to implementing new infrastructure all across the City.
City officials, commissioners, Police officers and citizens prepare to ride to City Hall in support of the Miami Bicycle Action Plan.
Mayor Diaz takes a practice spin on his new three wheel throne!
Heading down Bayshore Drive to the entrance of City Hall’s Pan American Drive, Mayor Diaz, Commissioner Sarnoff and Comissioner Sanchez lead the pack.
A host of media reporters and photographers were on hand to document the sunny approach to City Hall.
Photo-op in progress.
From left: Robert Ruano, Director of Sustainable Initiatives, Commissioner Sarnoff, Mayor Diaz, Commissioner Sanchez and in the back right, Police Chief John Timoney. Looks like they are having fun, huh?
Clif Bar, the purveyor of well-known and quite tasty energy bars, has long been an eco-conscious company. However, they have taken their advocacy to a new level with the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge.
Their fantastic website gives you the facts about climate change, connects it to human behavior, allows you to build your bicycle (assuming you don’t already have one) and map out a two mile radius from where you live so that you may see all that is accessible within a relatively easy bicycle ride.
Why 2 miles? Well, if you visit the website you will learn that 40% of urban travel in America is two miles or less. 90% of such trips are undertaken with automobiles, which generate approximately 25% of our nation’s carbon emissions. Bottom line: American’s are lazy and we pollute.
However, as Clif Bar rightly asserts, such trips are easy to replace with a bicycle which in turn helps you get fit, connect to your neighborhood and city in a new way, and have little to no impact on the environment. If you take the challenge but once a week, your will be doing yourself, city and world a bit of good.
So go ahead Miami, Take the challenge!
We have altogether too many sad reports of bicyclists being hit in this area. Even worse, the latest incident resulted in the death of the bicyclist. Thursday morning, a car driving east on SR 84 collided with a bicyclist heading south on SW 4th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Our sympathies are with the family and friends of the bicyclist.
The Miami Herald reports that the driver of the car had a green light. If that was the case, then the bicyclist either ran a red light (if he was riding on the road) or crossed in front of oncoming traffic. Either one is a bad idea and should never be attempted while riding one’s bicycle. Judging by the photo, the bicycle seems to be on the east side of the intersection. Unless the bicycle was dragged across the intersection, then the bicyclist was either riding the wrong way on the sidewalk or the road.
To prevent sad tragedies like this in the future, we would encourage you to always ride your bicycle in the same direction as traffic, avoid riding on the sidewalk, and follow all the traffic laws. BIKESAFE has more information on why you should not be riding the wrong way or on the sidewalk, and I’m sure Google can turn up hundreds more sites that point out the dangers of riding on the sidewalk and/or riding against traffic. Please ride safely!
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