TUESDAY NIGHT: FDOT Gets in a Corner For You

Our campaign to reduce the speed limit on Florida’s densest residential and business corridor will reach an important milestone tomorrow as we go head-to-head with FDOT – and you’re invited!

That’s right, safety advocates. It’s the state mandated public meeting showdown we’ve all been waiting for, when FDOT officials are literally required to hear take into the official record what you have to say. All you have to do is show up and say it!

Will there be sign-in sheets? Men in suits? Big, abstract design drawings of the avenue? Oh, yeah, Miami!

Also FREE just for showing up:

  • Meet Gus Pego! Watch him look you straight in the face and tell you that people need to drive through Downtown, not to Downtown!
  • Meet your neighbors, local business owners and fellow human beings who like crazy things like crosswalks, safe streets and making a positive difference in their community!
  • Learn how the Florida Department of Transportation works in Miami-Dade County.
  • Get called an ‘un-motorized object’ by another living, breathing person!

Okay, friends. This is all in good fun, of course. Not all traffic engineers are like this. If we didn’t think that you could make a difference simply by showing up and saying, I want a safer Brickell Avenue, then we wouldn’t ask you to come. You are the boss of FDOT! The people who design our roads may never bicycle, but they do use the road and they need to hear from you.

Many of you have signed our joint letter with TransitMiami.com and many more have supported our campaign to reduce the speed limit on this street in other ways. Today, we are asking all of you who can to come and demonstrate what a diverse, engaged and pragmatic coalition of people we are. We think Brickell Avenue is a destination, not an expressway. FDOT maintains the design and speed limit of Brickell – they are the only ones who can make a real impact on the safety of this historic avenue.

Right now, FDOT is opposed to reducing the speed limit to reflect the fact that so many people walk and bicycle to work/home/shops along Brickell Avenue. They demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the fact that reducing the speed differential is EXACTLY what we are trying to do – but we include bicyclists and they don’t. For your review, here is their complete e-mail in response to our letter (Parts we color red represent the greatest contradictions or concerns for us):

Dear Ms. Moore,

This email is in response to your recent request to Gus Pego to reduce the posted speed limit on Brickell Avenue to 25 MPH.  We appreciate and value your concern, as safety is the Department of Transportation’s top priority too.

An average of 30,000 vehicles travel on this road daily and the area’s population density stands at about 25,000 people per square mile.  Therefore, balancing the need for safety for all roadway users and adjacent property owners and preserving the roadway’s operational integrity is essential to maintain and even enhance the quality of life along the avenue.

The primary purpose of a speed limit is to provide improved safety by reducing the probability and severity of crashes. Properly set speed limits provide more uniform flow of traffic and appropriately balance risk and travel time, which results in the efficient use of the highway’s capacity and fewer crashes. Data and studies conducted through-out the country suggest that changes to posted speed limits do very little to change driver behavior, but instead increase the roadway speed differential –  the speed difference between the highest and lowest speeds of vehicles using the facility.  It is widely accepted within the traffic engineering and law enforcement communities that increased speed differential, not posted speed is what contributes to increased crash rates.

The Department uses the 85th percentile method to determine appropriate and safe posted speed limits.  Based on extensive nationally accepted studies and observations, this method measures the speed of hundreds of vehicles and identifies the speed 85 percent of drivers travel at as reasonably safe for the various roadway conditions they encounter, regardless of the speed limit. Meaningful law enforcement is essential to ensure that the remaining 15 percent of drivers comply with the posted speed limit.

Speed data we collected on Brickell Avenue from S.E. 25th Road to S.E. 10th Street on September 16th, 2010 revealed the following:

  • North of S.E. 25th Road: The 85th percentile speed was 45 MPH and the current posted speed limit is 40 MPH.
  • A 5 MPH difference between the 85th percentile and posted speeds is considered acceptable.  Therefore, we conclude that the current posted speed limit is appropriate along the entire segment. The Florida Department of Transportation appreciates the time you took to express your comments and concerns.  While you may disagree with the Department’s position, I hope this email helped explain and clarify the reasons we do not favor revising the posting speed limit on Brickell Avenue given present conditions.

For general information related to how speed limits are set and the effects of lowering and raising speed limits on roadway sections, you may want to visit the following websites: http://www.ite.org/standards/speed_zoning.pdfhttp://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/rd97002.htmhttp://www.ctre.iastate.edu/pubs/itcd/speedlimits.pdf

Sincerely,

Ramon Sierra, P.E., Assistant Traffic Operations Engineer, Florida Department of Transportation, (305) 470-5336

We hope to meet many of you tonight at Simpson Park.

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About Kathryn Moore / South Florida Bike Coalition

I'm the President of the South Florida Bike Coalition - a 100% volunteer organization of people dedicated to using their skills and experience to effect more, better bicycling from the Keys to Martin County.

2 thoughts on “TUESDAY NIGHT: FDOT Gets in a Corner For You

  1. Pingback: Tuesday Night: FDOT Gets in a Corner For Brickell | Transit Miami

  2. Pingback: FDOT Presents… Their Opinion on Brickell | Transit Miami

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