FDOT Owes Floridians an Apology Governor DeSantis

Dear Governor DeSantis, 

FDOT owes all Floridians an apology. 

For the past two years my neighbors and I have exchanged over 200 emails with the Florida Department of Transportation begging and pleading with FDOT to make safety improvements to Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. Unfortunately we are no further along with FDOT than we were two years ago and crashes keep happening and they seem to be accelerating with each passing day. In the last two weeks we lost 2 midblock RFFB’s (images attached) which were recently replaced (It takes Miami Dade County Transit, on average, 12 months to replace RFFBs). 

It seems fair to say you are a “data guy” and have made logical Covid-19 decisions based on data. We are hoping you can take the same objective, data-centric approach when it comes to FDOT and how they design our roads. 

Let’s review some Florida and Biscayne Boulevard Facts:

  • Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians and cyclists.(Smart Growth America)
  • Eight out of the 10 most dangerous metropolitan areas for cyclists and pedestrians in the US are in Florida: #1 Orlando, #2 Daytona Beach, #3 Palm Bay-Melbourne, #4 Sarasota-Bradenton, #5 Lakeland-Winter Haven #6 Jacksonville #8 Cape Coral-Fort Myers #9 Tampa-St. Pete (Smart Growth America)
  • Miami Dade County is the 14th most dangerous metropolitan area in the US.
  • Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the country.
  • Biscayne Boulevard is one of the most densely populated roads in Florida.
  • There were at least 2,553 car crashes within a 33 block stretch (54th Street to 87th Street) along Biscayne Boulevard from January 2010 to August 2018 (FDOT Data
  • 49 crashes out of the total 2,553 involved pedestrians on Biscayne Blvd (FDOT DATA)
  • In the past 10 years, I’ve personally seen the debris of over 120 crashes involving motor vehicles which have hit people, RFFB mid-block crosswalks, speed feedback signals, light posts, bus shelters, trees, sign posts, etc.
  • Children from Morningside Academy cannot walk to Legion Park to attend the after school program because Biscayne Boulevard is too dangerous to cross. We have to bus our children 3 blocks because our streets are unsafe to walk along.

Eighteen months ago FDOT representatives joined at least 50 neighbors and myself on a Biscayne Boulevard walk to experience first-hand how dangerous the conditions are for pedestrians.   Last fall I flew to Tallahassee to meet with FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault and Senator Jason Pizzo to push for changes at the local and state level. With all of this, we still haven’t made a single improvement to Biscayne Boulevard. How is this possible?

Given all the facts, what’s our plan to make Biscayne Boulevard safer and what’s our plan to make Florida the safest state in the country for cyclists and pedestrians? We need a plan and FDOT doesn’t seem to have one. Seems fair to say that we cannot maintain the status quo at FDOT. It will take a leader like yourself to look at the facts and data objectively and make the changes at FDOT that all Floridians deserve. Looks like we can all agree that change is overdue. Let’s start designing our roads with safety of all users as the #1 priority. 

We are not going away and ignoring us won’t work. Infact, it has inspired us to be even more persistent, so please expect more emails and phone calls from Floridians until we see movement in the right direction. Let’s all hold FDOT accountable. In the meantime our statewide coalition will continue to grow. 

Thank you and Florida looks forward to working with you. 

Felipe Azenha

Here are pictures of 2020 crashes….