Biscayne Boulevard Residents Meeting with the FDOT to Discuss Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety (or Lack Thereof)

According to the 2019 Dangerous by Design report by Smart Growth America, Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians and cyclists. In fact, of 9 out of the 20 most dangerous metropolitan areas in the US are in Florida.

My family and I have lived in Miami’s Belle Meade neighborhood for the past 9 years and we have witnessed no less than 70 crashes which have resulted in cars hitting midblock crosswalks, light posts, bus shelters, traffic signs, medians, trees and people at very high rate of speeds.  Several months ago my 5-year-old son and I were struck while crossing Biscayne Boulevard, in a midblock crosswalk, that wasn’t working properly because it was hit by a speeding vehicle over a year ago and never repaired.

In addition, according to the FDOT’s data there were at least 2,553 crashes reported from January 2011 to July 2018 from (36th Street to 87th Street).  During that time at least 64 pedestrians and cyclists were involved in crashes according to the FDOT.

When the FDOT redesigned Biscayne Boulevard about 15 years ago, the focus was to move cars as fast as possible.  Very little thought and consideration was given to the safely of pedestrians and cyclists when we redesigned and resurfaced Biscayne Boulevard. There are many areas along Biscayne Boulevard that do not have a crosswalk for 3 or 4 blocks. In some cases there is only 1 crosswalk every 5 or 6 blocks. There are also many sections along Biscayne Boulevard where cars are moving at 45+mph within 2-3 feet of pedestrians. We can do better than this.

Design Speed Matters

Our problem with Biscayne Boulevard lies in its design speed.

According to Strong Towns:

“Speed limits are not necessarily known during the design process of a new road as they are determined after the roadway is built by evaluating how the motorists use the roadway.

Before a new road is built, engineers choose a design speed to guide their decisions about the various geometric design features of the roadway. The geometric design criteria were developed in the 1940s. And for much of the time since, engineering practices have focused on moving cars quickly and efficiently. In other words, engineers value speed and volume over safety and cost.”

The speed limit on Biscayne Boulevard is 35 mph, but its design speed is closer to 45mph. If we want to make Biscayne Boulevard safer, seems like the speed limit and design speed should not exceed 30mph.

Image: Seattle Department of Transportation

How can we make Biscayne Boulevard safer?

Luckily there are inexpensive traffic calming strategies we could implement rather quickly that would help reduce the design speed along Biscayne Boulevard. If some variation of these strategies were to be implemented, our main street would be safer for everyone (including drivers).

Here are some traffic calming options we should consider:

  • Reduce travel lane width from 12 feet to 8 or 10 feet.
  • Add on street parking.  On street parking serves as a buffer and protects pedestrians from moving vehicles.
  • Add crosswalks at every intersection
  • Add protected bike lanes

Please join the Biscayne Boulevard Community at Legion Park on February 23rd at 11am to meet with the FDOT and walk Biscayne Boulevard.

There is yoga in the park at 10am and there is also the Saturday Farmers Market.  Bring the family and let’s work together to make Biscayne Boulevard safer for everyone.

Please spread the word!

Below are images of Biscayne Boulevard crashes involving mid-block crosswalks, light posts, bus shelters and traffic signs. Many of the light posts and mid-block crosswalks have been broken for over a year and have not been repaired.

Not Welcome to Miami Shores

Miami Shores Village is located just north of the City of Miami. This mostly single-family community has a population of approximately 11,000 residents. Miami Shores can be considered to be relatively wealthy with a median household income of about $100,000. The village is surrounded by much poorer areas to the North and West which are part of unincorporated Miami Dade County.

Many years ago, the residents of Miami Shores Village decided that it would be best to surround themselves with walls, fences, and gates (with combination locks!) to fortify themselves from surrounding neighborhoods in an attempt to make Miami Shores safer.

Entire rights-of-way are now impassable. How in the world is this even legal? Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws anyone? Along Biscayne Boulevard, gates with combination locks have been placed in the right-of-way.

What are the negative consequences of gated communities?

  • Gating acts as a border that fragments the city, forcing pedestrians and cyclists to walk or bike block out of their way to arrive to their destination.
  • City residents are denied access to public infrastructures and spaces when the gates are locked.
  • Gating forces vehicles on to other open streets causing increased traffic and speeding on non-closed streets.
  • Gated communities can create social paranoia due to the security-oriented life-style.
  • Gating can lead to a relocation of crime outside the gates and within adjacent non-gated communities.
  • Gating can have a negative impact on property values in non-gated adjacent neighbourhoods. This can lead to further preventive gating developments in a neighborhood, as former non-gated communities have to fit gates in order to maintain their property values and avoid crime relocation.

Seems like now is a good time to start reclaiming our public rights of way. There is little to no evidence that gated communities are safer. What do you say Miami Shores?

Additional photos below.

Urban Daddy – Father and Son Ninja Warriors

Several months ago my 5-year-old son and I started working out at the Focused Movement Academy (FMA). This gym was established to meet a growing need in the South Florida area to develop and train individuals at all levels of fitness. Your goal might be to become stronger or faster, or maybe you want to do your best to prepare for an upcoming race. You may want to be able to lift heavier weights, become more flexible, or simply just get a great workout. FMA will help you achieve your goals with top-notch coaching and programming to optimize your training.

Focused Movement Academy is not Just for Adults

If you have a kid in the 5-13 age group, don’t hesitate to sign them up for the Warrior Kids program. This is a youth development and team building program designed to teach and encourage boys and girls to live a healthy lifestyle and keep them fit, motivated and focused. They will learn to build endurance and conquer any obstacle. While they are burning off all that extra energy that they are blessed with, they will also be improving their balance and increasing their mental and physical strength.

The Obstacle Course

By far the most popular part of the Warrior Kids program is the obstacle course. The obstacle course is not only for recreational training, but participants can move on to taking part in obstacle course racing. Kids are placed into suitable teams and trained both individually and as a team. While having fun and without being aware of it, youngsters are being taught vital life skills such as mental toughness, problem-solving, discipline, safety, injury prevention, and healthy nutrition. The climax of each racing season is a championship “playoff” followed by the presentation of awards.

A Free Trial

Focused Movement Academy is located at 7269 NE 4th Avenue in Miami. While your youngster is having a fun time, you can pursue your own fitness goals. It’s a perfect way to bond with your son or daughter and compare notes. New kid students can be registered for a free trial class Monday through Friday. Just click on the schedule in this link to sign your kid up. Neither you nor your kid will regret it.

Time to crush it!

Additional pictures below…

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Event: Introduction to Urban Commercial Real Estate Development for Non-Developers

Real estate developers orchestrate the talents of many team members and balance the interests of a variety of constituents. As a creator of the urban landscape, the developer must navigate the challenging waters of complex public policy, private needs and desires and the constant risks and responsibilities associated with building a superior environment.

This intensive introduction to real estate development will communicate the basic skills necessary to be a successful developer and examine the required capabilities. You will be asked to participate in discussions and share your ideas on the challenges of real estate development. This is an interactive seminar with your comments, questions and ideas as an essential ingredient.

When:

October 13, 2018 8:30 a.m – 2:30 p.m.

Where:

University of Miami School of Architecture 1223 Dickenson Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146 Rinker Classroom.

Click here to register.