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)
The article below is a repost. It was originaly posted on November 15, 2009. The FDOT has made some very small striping improvements since the article was originally published. Needless to say, it is not enough. The FDOT must do more.
Inspired by the recent Dangerous by Design report produced jointly by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America Transit Miami will begin documenting existing conditions that are dangerous and potentially deadly to pedestrians and bicyclists. In what will likely be an infinite collection of posts, the MacArthur Causeway will be the first roadway evaluated for Transit Miami’s very own Dangerous By Design exposé.
Although the MacArthur Causeway is actually designated as bicycle route, I don’t like to ride it because I fear for my life. The Venetian Causeway is a much safer alternative. This morning all bicyclists and pedestrians were forced to take the MacArthur Causeway because the eastern drawbridge on the Venetian Causeway was broken. Non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians had no other alternative to traverse the bay other than the MacArthur Causeway. I decided to make the most of my MacArthur Causeway crossing, so I took the opportunity to more closely inspect FDOT’s current resurfacing project on the MacArthur Causeway. Sadly, it seems like FDOT did not seriously consider pedestrians and bicyclists during the design phase of this resurfacing project.
My intention was to allow FDOT to finish the project before critiquing it, but that won’t be necessary, because what little work remains to be completed is mostly cosmetic (i.e. painting bicycle lanes and symbols). As one of only three arterial roads that connects Miami to Miami Beach, it is imperative that this wide, high speed, high capacity thoroughfare have safe pedestrian and bicycle provisions. FDOT’s current design consists of an unprotected bicycle lane that doubles as an emergency shoulder. Sorry, but anything less than a separated and protected multiuse path is unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists. For this reason the MacArthur Causeway is being regrettably recognized as Dangerous By Design. If FDOT were genuinely concerned about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists they would have designed a separated and protected multiuse path. Below are examples that should have been considered.
Below are a few photographs taken this morning of poor design standards on the MacArthur Causeway:
The Upper East Side neighborhood, loosely considered the area around the Biscayne Boulevard corridor from NE 50th Street to NE 85th Street, has tremendous potential for redevelopment. Unfortunately FDOT’s current streetscape design for Biscayne Boulevard is suffocating the neighborhood and stunting its growth.
FDOT recently resurfaced Biscayne Boulevard, but they did a disastrous job. They essentially designed a highway through a historic commercial and residential neighborhood without considering the needs of the businesses and residents that call the area home. As long as Biscayne Boulevard remains unfriendly to businesses and pedestrians conditions in the Upper East Side will not improve. The redevelopment of the Upper East Side begins with Biscayne Boulevard. FDOT must understand that they play a central role in the economic redevelopment of this community. They cannot persist to enable the decline of communities through poor roadway design that is unfriendly to businesses and pedestrians. If FDOT continues to design roadways with the sole purpose of moving cars faster, communities will suffer and they will not prosper.
The first step to redeveloping the Upper East Side neighborhood is to redesign the Biscayne Boulevard streetscape. Lucky for the FDOT, University of Miami Professors Chuck Bohl and Jaime Correa have provided the MiMo Business Improvement Committee with a Biscayne Boulevard Streetscape Vision plan. At the very core of redevelopment are the businesses; they need to be on solid footing to thrive. Accessible parallel parking is the cornerstone for businesses to flourish. Without it businesses will continue to go bust and prospective retailers will continue to turn their back to the area.
Once parallel parking is in place, a number of things will occur which will transform the neighborhood. Existing business will blossom and new businesses will relocate to the neighborhood. Parallel parking will help to calm traffic as well; bringing the current 45 mph design speed closer in-line with the 35 mph speed limit. (The speed limit should be reduced to 30mph). Once the design speed is reduced to 35 mph, Biscayne Boulevard will become more pedestrian friendly. Additional crosswalks and bicycle sharrows would also be introduced, further calming traffic and enhancing the pedestrian realm.
As a result, there will be a domino effect in the neighborhood. More businesses will open and remain open. A sense of place will be created and residents and visitors will begin supporting local retailers because the area will be more pedestrian friendly. More importantly, crime will decline since there will be more “eyes on the street”.
Last but not least, the 35 foot building height limit needs to increase to 53ft. Without it, real estate developers will not invest in the area. One of two things will occur if the 35 foot building height limit remains- 1) Empty lots will remain or 2) The area will be filled with Discount Auto Parts type buildings. Contrary to doomsday conspiracy theorists that believe increasing the building height will destroy the neighborhood, the 53 ft building height is not out of scale. If we want good development to come to the area, the neighborhood must support an increase of the building height. If you want crappy development, keep the 35 foot building height limit.
So how do we make this happen? Well, we here at Transit Miami are trying to mobilize the Upper East Side HOAs. Tonight we will have an informal meeting with several HOA representatives. The Upper East Side HOAs need to come together with the MiMo Business Improvement Committee and the MiMo Biscayne Association and agree that streetscape design is the most pressing issue for the neighborhood. If the community speaks with one voice we can apply enough pressure on Commissioner Sarnoff and shame the FDOT to make these necessary and relatively inexpensive changes to make the economic redevelopment of our community a reality.
The Upper East Side Neighborhood must plan for its future now and begin envisioning the future for this historic district. We need to consider a week long charette and bring all major community stakeholders to the table within the next year. Let’s make this happen neighbors!
FYI: Speeding is clearly an issue on Biscayne Boulevard in the Upper East Side neighborhood. I have documented three accidents in the past 4 months. There have been more, but I just have not had time to document all the accidents.
I’m not sure if they are hiring, but…
As many of our readers know, Brickell Avenue is due for some major work. FDOT will begin a drainage and resurfacing project in early 2011. This long overdue project is finally coming to fruition, however, the only improvements FDOT is considering for this project is the resurfacing and drainage upgrade. This would be a perfect opportunity for FDOT to consider reducing the high speed limit, adding crosswalks and including bicycle sharrows. Unfortunately, FDOT does not believe any of these upgrades are necessary.
We here at Transit Miami caught wind of this upcoming project and have been busy building a coalition of residents, businesses, and other organizations to reduce the speed limit on Brickell Avenue. A few weeks ago we met with Commissioner Sarnoff and Mayor Regalado. We are happy to report that both the Mayor and the Commissioner support a reduced speed limit. Unfortunately, they both informed us that there is not much they can do since Brickell Avenue is a state road; therefore the city of Miami has no jurisdiction over it.
Both Commissioner Sarnoff and Mayor Regalado suggested we speak to Representative Luis Garcia. So we went ahead and did so. Representative Garcia told us that he would do everything in his power to generate a response from FDOT. (Mr. Gus Pego, FDOT District 6 secretary, received our letter almost a month and a half ago but has not responded). Representative Garcia also suggested that we meet with Mayor Regalado and Commissioner Sarnoff about this issue. We kindly informed Representative Garcia that the reason we were meeting with him was because Mayor Regaldo and Commissioner Sarnoff asked us to do so.
We have reached out to all the stakeholders on Brickell Avenue and all agree with us that speeding is an issue on Brickell. We cannot get FDOT to respond to any of our emails. Last week, FDOT made this illogical PowerPoint presentation to the Brickell Homeowners Association. They essentially put the blame on the pedestrian for jaywalking. It doesn’t matter that crosswalks are few and far in between. During this presentation they explicitly stated they would not reduce the speed limit, add crosswalks or include sharrows within the scope if this project.
The following organizations support a lower speed limit and a more pedestrian-friendly environment on Brickell Avenue:
Miami Bicycle Action Committee
Please join the Brickell Homeowners Association as they host FDOT District 6 on Wednesday September 15 @ 7:00pm at the Metropolitan Condominium located at 2475 Brickell Avenue. It would be a good idea to encourage as many people as possible to attend this meeting. If you live, work, play or visit the Brickell area this meeting is a must.
FDOT will begin a major resurfacing project in a few months on Brickell Avenue. Unfortunately, FDOT does not believe that lowering the speed limit or changing the design speed of Brickell Avenue to discourage speeding is a good idea. They also don’t believe that adding crosswalks or cultivating a more pedestrian-friendly environment would be better for one of the most densely populated areas in all of Florida. Quite the contrary, they believe that all is fine and dandy on Brickell Avenue and that speeding is not a problem. They do not share our belief that our roads are for people, bicycles and cars and they are meant to be shared safely.
Transit Miami sources have informed us that FDOT would not consider changing the speed limit if they found that 85 percent of all cars are currently traveling at or below the already much too high 35/40mph speed limit. The dynamic of Brickell has changed substantially over the last 5 years and therefore FDOT should consider this as well. You can find a list of some of our recommendations for improvements here. You can also find a list of some very excellent suggestions from new Transit Miami contributor Adam Mizrahi at What Miami. (Please welcome Adam!)
If you can’t make it, please send an email to Gus Pego, District 6 Secretary and let him know we deserve a better Brickell Avenue.
Just an FYI: The following organizations all support a lower speed limit and a more pedestrian-friendly environment on Brickell Avenue:
Miami Bicycle Action Committee
Although we have to beg our local officials to install proper Zebra crosswalks in Miami Dade County, it doesn’t hurt to dream a bit. Check out this idea from Korean designer Jae Min Lim.
He has the clever idea to turn crosswalks into J’s. By curving the typical Zebra crossing to take up a wider swath of road, you carve out a nice, safe path for pedestrians — one that reflects how they actually walk.”
Check out some other clever ideas from fastcodesign.com here.
Unfortunately, this is not the first accident here. According to The Miami Hurricane this intersection has had a history of accidents involving UM student pedestrians. About five years ago, UM student Ashley Kelly was killed when she was hit by a SUV that ran a red light on U.S. 1 and Mariposa Court.
It gets worse. Since 1990, seven students have been struck crossing Ponce de Leon Boulevard and U.S. 1. Three of the incidents have resulted in death.
There has been talk of building a pedestrian overpass across U.S. 1 at Mariposa. I for one hope this never gets built. Building a pedestrian overpass is not the solution as most people will not to use it and will continue to cross at grade level. The solution is to calm traffic in this area. It is unrealistic to expect healthy students to safely cross 6 lanes of traffic while cars are moving in excess of 50 mph. Can you imagine how an elderly person or someone with a physical disability must feel trying to cross U.S 1? How many more pedestrians need to die before FDOT decides to calm traffic on U.S. 1?
Please send an email to Mr. Gus Pego District 6 secretary letting him know that you are not satisfied with the existing conditions on U.S. 1.
The word on the livable street is that FDOT will begin a major resurfacing project on Brickell Avenue early next year. Brickell Avenue will be resurfaced from SE 25th Road to SE 5th Street (approximately 1.5 miles).
This is an excellent opportunity for FDOT to shows its commitment to livable streets. Brickell Avenue is one of the most densely populated and pedestrianized areas in all of Florida; it is a destination, not a thoroughfare, therefore it needs to be designed in such a way that speeding is discouraged.
The current design plans for this project call for the same 11 foot travel lanes, no bicycle facilities, and improved crosswalks. This project will come under close scrutiny of Transit Miami (we have high expectations). If you have any suggestions for FDOT, please use the comments section. We really need everyone’s help on this one. Together we can make Brickell Avenue a safe place for people to walk, bike and drive.
I had to stop to talk to Lance yesterday. Lance was born with out legs and it doesn’t seem to bother him. He casually told me “I never had legs, so I don’t know what its like to have them”. He’s completed multiple marathons using his skateboard and trains on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Unfortunately, he could not train on the Rickenbacker Causeway yesterday because a big tree was knocked down a few days ago during a storm, blocking the bicycle path and his access to train.
Its difficult enough being a healthy pedestrian on Brickell, I can only imagine how Lance must feel. Lance should be an inspiration for all of us.
I’m not sure whose job it is to take care of this, but this palm is long overdue for a pruning.
While we’re at it, perhaps we can erect the SE 11th Street sign which has been lying besides this palm, in a neglected vacant lot, for the past 6 months. The missing street sign has already been tagged with florescent orange spray paint, yet nothing has been done to replace it. How long does it take to replace a street sign?
We already know that pedestrians have a rough time in Miami, but it doesn’t help when we can’t even maintain our crosswalks properly striped. I guess we should feel lucky that we even have a barely recognizable crosswalk here. Many intersections in downtown and Brickell don’t have crosswalks. This picture was taken in front of the Brickell Metromover Station, perhaps one of the most utilized Metromover stops on Brickell Avenue and SE 14th Street.
Transit Miami received this email regarding Euclid Avenue from Gabrielle Redfern, on behalf of BASIC (Bicycle Activists for a Safe, Integrated City)
Another day, another bicycle facility on the chopping block in the City of Miami Beach. Current plans call for dedicated bike lanes on this road when it gets reconstructed in the nearer future. Even with out the new curb and gutter that the avenue is programmed to get, this 70 foot behemoth of a local road could benefit today from a little TLC, in the form of a small coat of paint, say running down each side of the lanes of traffic to narrow the car roadway to slow traffic and make more room for bikes. But no. The neighbors will have none of it!
Long story short: what say you? If you cannot make it tomorrow, no worries. This is just the first skirmish in what looks like a long war, and this battle will pay out in other conference rooms, and perhaps the Commission Chambers before all is said and done. BASIC objects to all this plan revision in the City of Miami Beach that involves removal of bicycle facilities.”
The extra large lanes, with no bike lanes, currently encourage a speedway effect from the foot of the Macarthur to Lincoln Road. Few lights, very residential, no trees, it is the perfect street to use in your car when traveling north south, avoiding Alton or even the scenic park-side Meridian. (If you never knew, and I blew it for the neighbors, I am sorry.) Something needs to be done, that is certain. I spent much time riding it yesterday, and this road is ugly, unsafe and hot! And thank God plans are in the works to make it so much better. But reconstruct a roadway, with 70 feet of ROW and not add dedicated bike lanes? Bike lanes currently called for in the City’s own Master Plan? That is what the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association plans to argue for in their streetscape sections before the committee on Wednesday. No bike lanes on Euclid Avenue.
To be fair, the neighborhood is proposing extra wide sidewalks they think will be good for sharing between pedestrians and bicycles. However, we disagree on this, the nature and manner of providing for bicycles. They see bicycles as recreation only. BASIC demands bicycles be given equal attention to cars in the transportation grid. We need a complete street that accommodates pedestrians, bicycles and cars. In that order. On that, the neighbors and I agree. How we get there, well, that is another battle brewing….
So how do we meet them halfway? (I pray daily to avoid war with folks I respect and admire). In the hope we can come to common ground, BASIC proposes a street section that includes two foot swales in front of all properties; providing for 12-foot sidewalks, clear of signs and other obstructions; a five foot street-side swale for landscaping and signage; two, one way, 15 foot travel lanes, with sharrows, separated by a two foot landscaped median. Currently all properties program right up to the sidewalk. Providing those landowners with two feet of green space running the length of their property will increase their property value. It would make for a beautiful street, in our opinion.”
MIAMI BEACH MAYORS BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE ON BIKEWAYS IN MIAMI BEACH
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2010 2:00 p.m. (although this item may be a time certain 3:00 p.m)
MAYOR’S CONFERENCE ROOM
FOURTH FLOOR MIAMI BEACH CITY HALL
666 17TH STREET
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA 33139
The Miami Herald is reporting yet another hit and run. The collision occurred around 12:20 pm today near the intersection of Southwest Eighth Street and 24th Avenue. A white or light gray colored SUV traveling eastbound, hit an elderly man that was standing on the sidewalk, leaving him in critical condition. The driver did not stop and may have been on the cell phone when the pedestrian was struck.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.
For the past couple of weeks I have been eating, drinking, and biking my way through France. My wife and I spent a week honeymooning in Provence and another week in Paris.
We spent the first week of our honeymoon cycling through the heart of wine country in Provence. Our tour was organized by Headwater and was truly epic. When you travel on a bicycle you get to fully experience your surroundings. You smell the country side, you feel your environment and you interact with the locals. There is something about traveling on a bicycle; for those that have done it you know what I’m talking about. For those of you that haven’t, you should really consider it. You can find our itinerary here.
I can’t say enough about how wonderful this city is. Unlike Miami, most motorists actually yield to pedestrians. All intersections are clearly marked with wide zebra crosswalks. I also noticed that the pedestrian crosswalk signals are much lower than the pedestrian crosswalk signals here in the United States. Placing the pedestrian crosswalk signal closer to eye level makes it easier for both pedestrians and motorists to notice them. Also, traffic lights are placed before the crosswalk and not in the middle of intersections. By placing the traffic lights before the crosswalk it forces motorists to stop before the crosswalk, giving pedestrians the right of way they deserve. Another feature I also observed was the pedestrian fences. In areas where pedestrians should not cross the street, tasteful pedestrians fences have been erected to corral the pedestrians towards the large zebra crosswalk. Sidewalks, for the most part, are wide and inviting.
The Velib bicycle share system in Paris is absolutely spectacular. Because Paris is so walkable, I only used it once, but the system is very easy to use and is well connected to mass transit. I was amazed to see Parisians from all walks of life using the Velib bicycles. I saw stylish women and men using the bicycles, as well as businessmen, businesswomen and the elderly using the Velib.
Bicycles lane were clearly marked and in many areas were allowed to share the bus-only lanes. Buses are equipped with an electrical horn that sounds like a bicycle bell. Bus drivers use this electrical bicycle bell to politely warn cyclists and pedestrians that the bus is coming.
The metro and the bus system are easy to use. At the metro stations and bus stops there are electrical boards advising transit users when the next train or bus will arrive.
Most crosswalks have provisions for the blind and I even found a train station that had a textured path that could be felt with a walking cane.
Parks are scattered throughout Paris. The parks I entered were active and drew a wide array of people of different ages.
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