A busy holiday weekend reminds me that Miami is trying to be a “real” city – but is it yet? I’m sure we all wish it could be as easy as a Pinocchio fairytale of making a wooden puppet into a “real” boy with just the touch of a wand. But in reality, our city needs a whole lot more than just some magic stick. We host all these weekend events – Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Miami Boat Show, and other President’s Day weekend activities – to showcase our Magic City to our visitors. And yet what we end up with are packed busses with long headways; clogged highways; and other congestions making our city, well, far from magical to our visitors.
Its not the events, its the experience. Despite a little rain on Friday and Saturday, this weekend’s events were a success – attracting people from all over the state and country. But how was their time actually in our city? Special events are a reason to come to the city, but the experience is what attracts people back. We need to offer reliable transportation options so they can really experience all of Miami.
Its not the funding amount, its the investment. We all know times are rough, and money is tight. But yet its obvious that we are still focusing our funds into tired highway transportation that literally gets us no where. Of course we don’t have the funds to plop NYC subway system on Miami – but we can start our smart investments incrementally.
Its not the mode, its the freedom of choice. Transportation, transit, transport, or whatever you want to call it is a broad category – as are the choices it should provide. The priority shouldn’t be on one particular mode of transportation, rather a priority to provide a wide variety of options. Its about the freedom of choosing bus, rail, bike, car, walk, skate, etc to get around.
Not that we need to put up a false front for our brave visitors on special weekends, nor care more for our tourism than our own livability – because we already know these are facts that we have been discussing for years. Its about revisiting our city from another viewpoint. Just think how many visitors we could transport between Miami Beach and downtown if Baylink existed; or the improved bus experience if we had shorter headways at least on event weekends; or the number of DecoBike rentals if the M-Path was cohesive; or the successful storefronts and valuable real estate if the streets were more pedestrian-friendly.
Is Miami ready to be a “real” city and cradle a wide-mix of diverse groups. If so, lets see the real investment in multiple transportation options – or where is that fairy with the magic wand when you need her?
While many paid money to be stuck in motor traffic in smelly, vomit-ridden taxis, this handsome chap chose to cruise to his New Year’s celebration with the fresh ocean breeze blowing in his perfectly groomed hair.
He chose to travel the smart way: by riding a bicycle . . . all while oozing style, no less.
We know nothing more about him . . . All we know is that he was the classiest New Year’s reveler on Miami Beach . . .
Ride on, my friend . . . ride on . . .
Are you a beginning cyclist and think Critical Mass is only for hard-core riders?
If so, you’re absolutely wrong. Critical Mass is for riders of all skill-levels and all ages. There is no club or organization that runs the show. There are no membership fees or special invitations required. In fact, if you’re looking for an invitation, here it is: You are invited!
We meet the last Friday of every month at Government Center Metrorail station — you won’t miss us. Arrive between 6:45 and 7:00pm. We leave at 7:15pm. Check out The Miami Bike Scene for details on the monthly ride.
There is, however, one group who we strongly advise NOT to attend Critical Mass: super villains and bad guys!
That’s right, you read it correctly, all you crime-seeking punks! Want to test your luck? Ha! Well, I’d give it a second thought if I were you.
‘Why’, you ask? I’ll tell you why! As a matter of fact, I’ll show you why!
This article was first posted two years ago (Febuary 2, 2010) after Christophe Le Canne was killed on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Since then not a single one of our recommendations has been implemented. How many more lives must we lose on the Rickebacker Causeway before the County Public Works Department does something to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians? This is not rocket science. An unprotected bike lane adjacent to a highway with cars speeding in excess of 65mph is simply NOT a good idea.
The Rickenbacker Causeway is similar to Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive; everyday thousands of people descend upon our beautiful causeway for recreational purposes. This is particularly evident on Saturday and Sunday mornings when runners, walkers, rollerbladers, parents with strollers and bicyclists come in droves to exercise. The Rickenbacker Causeway recently completed a major resurfacing project. Unfortunately, this resurfacing project only really considered the needs of motorists.
The Rickenbacker Causeway/Key Biscayne already has several parks/attractions. These attractions include:
- Miami Seaquarium
- Crandon Park/Tennis Center
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
- Mast Academy
In addition, the Miami Marine Stadium is slated to be renovated and Virginia Key will be converted into a major urban park, which will also include several miles of mountain bike trails. We have an exhaustive inventory of attractions/parks in close proximity that requires safe connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Pedestrians (runners, walkers, rollerbladers, and parents with strollers) have been relegated to using a multiuse path that has many dangerous intersections. In addition, this multiuse path is often shared with bicyclists that do not feel comfortable riding in the bicycle lane. The bicyclists’ discomfort is justifiable; the bicycle lane is placed adjacent to the roadway without adequate protection from speeding cars.
Crosswalks on the Rickenbacker Causeway are poorly marked. If and when crosswalks do exist, they are dangerous to cross. Crossing a 6 lane highway is pretty tough to do if you are healthy person. Imagine if you are a parent with children, disabled or an elderly person trying to cross the Rickenbacker Causeway. You will need Lady Luck on your side.
Most would agree that something needs to be done to improve the safety for all users, including motorists, which often travel at high speeds.
There will be no cheap or easy fix for the Rickenbacker Causeway. Short term safety enhancements need to be made urgently, but at the same time we need to have a long term goal for the Rickenbacker Causeway. Below you will find the short and long term goals that Transit Miami will be advocating for.
Short Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
- Enforcement of the 45 mph speed limit
- Reduce speed limit to 35 mph
- Close the right lane of traffic in both directions on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00am.
- Better signage
- Motorist and bicyclist education campaign
Long Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
A major capital improvements project needs to happen and all users must be considered. Below are a few of the major improvements that need to occur:
- Paint bicycle lanes green (see below: intersections should include peg-a-traking and Chevron arrows)
- Create a 3 foot unprotected buffer between the roadway and the bicycle lane
- Major road diet. Narrowing of traffic lanes to discourage speeding (11 foot lane)
- Proper crosswalks, with stop lights, that can be activated by pedestrians.(see below: off-setting crosswalks)
- A separate path for pedestrians (pedestrians and bicyclist should not coexist)
- Consider physical separation as a feature in dangerous areas such as bridges and marked buffers along trajectory of bike lane
- Motorist and bicyclist education campaign
Our County Public Works Department has a real opportunity to show their residents that they value safe recreation for all users. It should begin with the most popular destination for pedestrians and bicyclists in South Florida.
If you believe that the design of the Rickenbacker Causeway needs to be improved please send Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email and ask for a safer Rickenbacker Causeway for all users. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Well folks, yours truly, is moving from Brickell to Belle Mead. I’ve just purchased a home with my wife and we should be moving into the neighborhood in a couple of weeks. So don’t be surprised to hear a lot more about issues affecting the Upper East Side on this blog.
I’ll start by saying this, “Biscayne Boulevard is a disaster”! There ain’t no two ways about it. The recent FDOT resurfacing project, for the most part, was designed solely to move cars faster. Pedestrians and cyclists were not given much consideration while designing this roadway. I consider myself an experienced cyclist, but even I will tell you to avoid riding your bike on Biscayne Boulevard. And if you are a pedestrian then forget about it, crosswalks are few and far in between and of poor quality. Biscayne Boulevard is extremely wide, making it difficult for anyone that is not in tip-top shape to cross the street.
Travel lanes are extremely wide, which encourages cars to speed. The speed limit is 35mph, but the design speed of the roadway is closer to 45-50mph. Needless to say, not pedestrian or cyclist friendly either.
That being said, we have a chance to ask FDOT to design a roadway at a more human scale.
FDOT is conducting a Pedestrian Mobility and Safety Study along Biscayne Boulevard at the request of area residents. The limits of the project extend from NE 77th Street to NE 87th Street.
Possible upgrade include the restriping of crosswalks for greater visibility, enhancing signals and adding traffic control devices to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the road.
A public information meeting is being held on Thursday, July 15, 2010 from 6-8 p.m at Legion Memorial Park, located at NE 7 Ave, Miami, FL for more information contact Gus Pego, District 6 Secretary”.
Hope to see you there!
Ok, so we here at Transit Miami have to jump on the LeBron James bandwagon too, but not because of basketball. Our boy LeBron seems to like bicycles. He acquired a minority ownership stake in Cannondale a few years ago and The King had this to say about his business venture:
Biking is an extremely important part of my training routine, and I like to invest in what I know”.
Smart guy; we like him already.
LeBron also sponsors a “King for Kids Bike-a-thon” in his hometown of Akron, Ohio every summer. Check him out here:
Bienvenido a Miami El Rey!
The cycling community looks forward to working with you.
Street harassment is one major reason why more women do not take public transit, walk or bicycle. Cat-calling, the ‘holla’, whistling and beeping horns are reasonable expectations for any woman walking or bicycling down a Miami street. Who wants to put up with that?
As an advocate for both bicycling and walking, I hear a lot about what needs to be done to get more people out into the public space. Bike lanes, well-lit paths, access to dependable and well-connected modes of transportation are all good and well. However, just over one half of our city’s population has the very specific threat of street harassment to deal with and behavior is not fixed with white paint or street cars.
Street harassment varies widely from the more benign (whistle) to the downright frightening (groups of men, in or out of cars, following you for blocks at a time). All of it, however, is an unfair invasion of a woman’s right to some personal space. One generally accepted definition, from Cynthia Grant Bowman’s 1993 paper, “Street Harassment and the Informal Ghettoization of Women” is as follows:
“Street harassment occurs when one or more strange men accost one or more women . . . in a public place which is not the woman’s/women’s worksite. Through looks, words, or gestures the man asserts his right to intrude on the woman’s attention, defining her as a sexual object, and forcing her to interact with him.”
Street harassment makes me feel that, just because I’m a woman, I forfeit an otherwise reasonable expectation to not be vocally judged for my appearance or the mode of transportation that I choose when I enter the street. It feels like streets are not for everyone; they belong to men on street corners, in cars or who, like me, are walking or bicycling from one place to another.
I live in the heart of my beloved City of Miami, and I am happy that distance or weather does not keep me from biking or walking to galleries, restaurants, my work or shops. Riding my bicycle all around Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, I am used to hearing misinformed comments from motorists, pedestrians and even bicyclists when I ride safely and legally. I have almost been hit by cars more times than I can count (knock on wood). I certainly don’t let offensively maladjusted men convince me to grab the car keys. In fact, I used to think that I was immune to street harassment, having grown almost numb to it after years as, well, a woman.
Then this afternoon, while crossing Biscayne Boulevard at a particularly difficult intersection on my bicycle (the street is a mess of holey concrete, lumpy asphalt, massive steel planks and construction debris), some construction worker pierced my intense focus with a cattle-call. I looked just in case there was something urgent, some reason for extra caution or maybe a need to stop suddenly. But there, laughing at their buddy’s success, was a group of construction workers and a police officer. I kept my cool as I said, ‘Hey Officer, that wasn’t safe! Hey, isn’t it against the law to do that?’ The response? ‘What’s your problem? We were just…’ I didn’t catch the rest. I was consumed by something else:
It is not against the law to intentionally distract the driver of a vehicle without cause or to make a woman feel unsafe in public space.
As I rode back towards my office, I thought about all the women who tell me they don’t ride because they don’t feel safe. It’s not cars they are afraid of, it’s the men who drive them, following women on foot or bicycle, calling out to them with words unwelcomed. Who wants to take the bus to work when they have to wait at a bus stop at night to get home? I know what they are talking about but I just accept it. Most men are not mean. Interacting with people who are different than I is one my top reasons for riding or walking! I do not want to accept this anymore. More and more, studies are showing that it is not all in our heads. Many men do this because they feel it is culturally and legally acceptable but studies show that this behavior is connected to rape and other forms of physical violence towards women.
I think there should be a law against street harassment. There are movements to take action, like HollaBackDC, Back Up!, Blank Noise and others. Where is the movement in Miami? If we are serious about equal access to transit and transportation options, public safety has to take a more prominent and publicly supported role. Women are 50% of the population. If we could get just 1 out of 10 of Miami-Dade women to take public transit, bicycle or walk, we could take 125,000 cars off the road. Would you support a law protecting women from street harassment?
The below email was forwarded to Transit Miami this afternoon:
Commissioner Carlos Gimenez and I are hosting a cycling community meeting concerning the 25 cents set aside for safety improvements on the Rickenbacker Causeway. The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:30 PM at the Coral Gables Youth Center auditorium located at 400 Anastasia Avenue. Please pass this message along to members of the cycling community. Hope to see you there.
City of Coral Gables
Commissioners Ralph Cabrera and Carlos Gimenez have a long track record of being very supportive of the cycling community. I have personally seen Commissioner Ralph Carbrera on a bicycle wearing spandex. I believe Commissioner Gimenez used to be a roadie, but currently does not ride (we need to convince him to come out of retirement!).
Please tell, bring, and drag fellow cyclists to this meeting. The cycling constituency is getting stronger, but conditions for cyclists will only improve if meetings like these are well attended. Let’s make it happen.
The good people over at Spokes ‘n’ Folks are reporting that a cyclist was struck and killed by a car last night in Coral Gables while riding with his two children. Luis Adolfo Meza was hit by a car at Segovia Street and Alhambra Circle. City Commissioner Ralph Cabrera, who visited the scene last night, said Meza was riding behind his two kids when they crossed. It is being reported that Mr. Meza ran a stop sign and was hit in this residential neighborhood. He was not wearing a helmet and did not have lights on his bicycle. No word if the driver was speeding.
Our condolences go out to the family. This is a very sad accident for the entire family. Please be safe.
Check out this video of the collision between a Miami Dade Transit Bus and a bicyclist. The Miami New Times reported about this collision several weeks ago. Aggressive behavior by bus drivers against bicyclists happens all too often. I personally have witnessed and have also been a victim of aggressive behavior by bus drivers on many occasions. I think it is about time that MDT steps up its training of drivers to let them know that bicyclists have every right to the road. At the same time they should ban the use of cell phones by bus drivers. It’s been about a year or so since I last used a bus, but I remember the bus driver talking on his phone the entire time.
Since the hit and run collision that killed cyclist Christoph LeCanne in January, the Transit Miami Eye has noticed that the Miami Dade Police Department has wholeheartedly stepped up enforcement on the Rickenbacker Causeway. This morning I noticed a small army of Miami Dade police officers pulling over speeding cars. Well done MDPD, your efforts have not been overlooked.
Unfortunately, even with the additional enforcement, many hazards still remain. Additional enforcement certainly helps, but is not a long term solution for the Rickenbacker Causeway. We still have a roadway that is designed to encourage cars to travel in excess of the posted 45 mph speed limit, which in and of itself is too high. Even with all the additional enforcement, I saw several cars traveling in excess of 60 mph today. Speeding is particularly prevalent on bridges, where it difficult for the police to set up speed traps. Drivers are aware of this and take the opportunity to rev-up their engines. For this reason, bridges are the most dangerous sections of the Rickenbacker Causeway for cyclists.
What we really need to do is design a roadway that polices itself. If we were to construct a roadway with a design speed of 35-40 mph, we would not require the coveted services of our police department. Instead the valuable resources of the Miami Dade Police Department could be allocated to deal with the more pressing issues of our community. Please do not misconstrue what I am trying to say, I really am grateful for everything the Miami Dade Police Department has done for the cycling community. They have been very supportive of us, but enforcement is only part of the solution to the many issues that plaque the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Today I also saw a Miami Fire Department truck parked in the bike lane. A bike lane that also doubles as a shoulder creates a major conflict for cyclists when motor vehicles are parked in it. You can also see several other pictures of Miami Dade County employees parked in the bike lane that Transit Miami reader Yaniel Cantelar sent to us last week.
Dear Transit Miami,
I’m sending you some pictures since recently you’ve been posting up all the sketchy stuff you see while riding down Key Biscayne. I spent a few hours today riding up and down the William Powell bridge and took these pics of trucks parked on the bike lane right after the descent of the bridge forcing cyclists into the traffic lane when cars come off the bridge at over 50 mph.
Another water truck was backing up in the bike lane.
One city worker doing tree trimming stopped in the bike lane.
Another construction truck stopped in the bike lane right before the WP bridge on the Miami side on the sketchy section of bike lane that crosses across a lane of traffic. The truck stopped right in front of me in the bike lane to make a phone call.
The one Miami-Dade officer I saw doing something was actually giving a ticket to a cyclist, when minutes earlier I was passed by a Ferrari on the bridge that was going well over 90 mph.
Basically everyone today blocking the bike lane was put there by the government, so much for caring about our safety.
An estimated 1500 cyclists attended Bike Miami Days in Coconut Grove this past Sunday. Congratulations to the City of Miami and the Dutch Consulate for putting together another fantastic event. A special thanks to Collin Worth, Bicycle Coordinator for the City of Miami, for making it happen.
We should also thank M.O.S.T (Miami Open Streets Team), Bike Miami Scene, Green Mobility Network, South Florida Bicycle Coalition (SFBC), Emerge Miami and the Coconut Grove Grapevine for promoting Bike Miami Days. This is truly a grassroots event that is picking up steam.
Great work everyone! The word on the livable street is that we will see more Bike Miami Days events in the future. Rumor has it a lot of promises were made. We really like people that keep their word.
On my morning ride on the Rickenbacker Causeway I saw a small army of police officers from the Miami Dade Police Department handing out tickets to motorists. There were at least two MDPD unmarked cars and a motorcycle enforcing the speed limit. This is really great. The MDPD has really stepped-up enforcement and it has not gone unnoticed.
Unfortunately, enforcement is not the sole solution. We need to design a roadway which discourages speeding. Even with all the added enforcement, I saw many cars speeding on Rickenbacker Causeway today.
Keep up the great work MDPD! You are part of the solution and we appreciate your efforts.
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