For the Love of Bayfront Park & Pedal Power

There are so many reasons to love Bayfront Park! Here are ten.

10. Bike Miami Days memories

9. Great place to meet friends for a ride… or a picnic post-ride

8. Bike racks everywhere

7. Miami’s secret hidden urban grotto (shhh! It’s a secret!)

6. Free self-defense classes – don’t touch that bike, bro.

5. Free yoga – good for working out the soreness after a long weekend ride

4. Super bike-friendly (and regular friendly) staff

3. Memories of tris and rides and runs ending in all their race-glory

2. Tim Schmand

1. This (thanks to Tim Schmand):

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photo shared by Collin Worth, City of Miami Bike Coordinator

Bayfront Park – that epic urban paradise in Downtown Miami – now uses pedal power to keep its lovely greens, sandy beaches, secret gardens, bike racks, music venues, outdoor yoga studios, public restrooms and all its free, public space clean. How cool is that?

Worst Sign Ever? Fixed by Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade County is ON this week. County Public Works’ Jeff Cohen told a packed crowd at Green Mobility Network’s first annual Safe Streets Forum that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to making the Rickenbacker safer for people who ride including designating a full right lane to exclusive bicycle use on Saturday mornings. But, earlier in the week, we saw this sign as we were going for an evening ride on the Venetian Causeway and it really, um, irritated us. The issue had been brought up at the previous week’s BPAC meeting, but the signs were still flashing this four days later:

Seen on the Venetian Causeway (no more)

So we called Miami-Dade County’s Causeways Division and now those same signs read “CAUTION UNEVEN PAVEMENT; YIELD TO PED/BIKES”. One may still need to be fixed as we post this, but we have been told that the wording will be switched as well.

Is it frustrating that we had to report this? Sure – but it got fixed quickly once the message reached the right person. We are happy to be a part of that and hope you, too, will take a moment to call 311 and/or your commissioner whenever you see something that makes cycling unsafe (or at least most of the time).

Thanks for all you do.

PS: You can cc: us whenever you email a commissioner if we can help track the progress.

We’re Back.

It’s been a while coming, but the South Florida Bike Coalition is back. As some of you know, we’ve been rolling behind the scenes these last several months. Over the next week, you’ll see updates on this blog introducing you to our new Board leadership and presenting our newest projects.

The South Florida Bike Coalition remains a 100% volunteer group dedicated to our mission to defend the rights of people who ride through effective advocacy, education and collaboration, thus empowering everyone to consider bicycling as a safe, comfortable option for transportation and recreation. SFBC leads and supports member-driven campaigns based on community engagement, need and feasibility. In other words, we do what we do best for more, better bicycling in South Florida. Thanks to our members, volunteers, donors, friends and member organizations who keep us going and make riding safe from Miami to the Treasure Coast.

St. Lucie BPAC Meeting Today at 3:30pm

The South Florida Bike Coalition is excited to report increased bicycling advocacy in St. Lucie County. Resident advocates in Ft. Pierce, Port St. Lucie (and to the south in Martin County), are collaborating to make their roads safer for everyone – with a particular eye toward getting more kids safely on bicycles and educating motorists about the rights of all who ride.

Learn more about what’s happening – road projects, advocacy outreach and new education campaigns – at today’s meeting of the BPAC, to be held at 3:30pm in the St. Lucie County Administration Building (Tourism Development Conference Room) at 2300 Virginia Avenue in Fort Pierce.

Thanks for all you do – Ride Safely, South Florida.


			

Another Cyclist Hit on Brickell

For months now, we at the South Floride Bike Coalition and TransitMiami.com have been urging FDOT to calm traffic on Brickell Avenue. We have posted pictures and stories of multiple collisions, resulting in pedestrian injuries and fatalities and uncounted near misses. (Here’s one from last month.)

This morning, another person trying the simple task of turning onto Brickell Avenue from 14th street on a bicycle was hit by a car. He is currently at Ryder Trauma Center with a broken pelvis and other life-threatening injuries.

We hope he's okay. Is FDOT paying attention?

We are following this closely and will update this post as we receive more information. The bike flew over 50 feet into Brickell. Eyewitness reports suggest the motorist failed to yield to the man in the crosswalk, but we have not heard of any tickets issued at this time.

Ride safely, South Florida.

For the Love of (Free, Public) Bike Racks

How lovely would it be to ride somewhere – anywhere – and be able to park your bike safely and securely at your destination? For some, this is a given, but for others, it can be so challenging as to make them reconsider bicycling as transportation.

A variety of cities and counties across South Florida are addressing this problem. If you think your neighborhood / favorite cafe / office needs better bike parking, here are some people you can help score you one in the public spaces near you.

Getting a new, quality bike rack installed in the public right of way  may be free or, at least, heavily subsidized by your local government. We invite you to cc: us in your request so we can follow up and keep track of those that come from the same places.

To keep you inspired, here are some cool, functional bike racks made by our new fans at DERO:

and then, the wonderful Bike Station in Washington, D.C. – an admittedly bigger ‘ask’ that could be great in West Palm Beach? Ft. Lauderdale beachfront? Downtown Miami? …?

Click for more info on bikestation

Speak Up for People Who Bike, Walk

The Florida Department of Transportation’s attack on active transportation funding demands a strong response from all of us.

The South Florida Bike Coalition and partners ask you to write a letter to Congressman John Mica of Florida’s 7th District who is also Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. E-mail it, Fax it, Post it; Call his DC or District Offices; Tell your friends, write a letter to your editor of your local paper; Blog about this. But please, tell Congress that the most dangerous state for walking or bicycling in the Country needs more sidewalks and bike facilities, not less. Here’s our letter Continue reading

City of Miami Bicycle Action Update

Update from the March City of Miami Bicycle Action Committee Meeting

Every month, local residents, advocates and Commissioner’s representative meet to discuss progress on the Bicycle Master Plan. If you live in the City of Miami, please tell your commissioner that this is important to you and encourage them to participate! If they already do, your support is still positive.

The City of Miami has been dropping bike lanes and sharrows all over the place. Some of these new facilities have been installed with funding from a special fund at Miami-Dade County – so if you don’t live in the City of Miami but think your neighborhood needs some white paint action, contact Jeff Cohen at jcpe@miamidade.gov.

A few other things on the table:

+The Bike Coalition is bringing back Bike Miami on May 8th! Thanks to a grant from the Miami Downtown Development Authority and the strong support and leadership of City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator Collin Worth, we’ll be helping to coordinate a bicycle block party at Mary Brickell Village. Mark your calendars! The event will close South Miami Avenue to motor vehicles from 9th St to 15th Rd. If you would like to be a sponsor of the event – so that we can better promote it, have more music and other programming – then please contact us at 305.982.7343. Already on board, Mary Brickell Village and the Dutch Consulate. Oh yes, there will be an Orange Parade!

+We’d also like to bring back Bike Miami Rides, a program that encourage recreational cyclists to try commuting by showing the basics of safe road riding.

+The City continues to press FDOT for more safety improvements around Biscayne/Brickell.

+BikeShare! The City is seriously considering bringing DecoBike (or something similar) – we’ll let you know when a formal request for proposals is released.

+Very exciting news – The Virginia Key Mountain Bike Trails are laying out a new advanced trail and plans for a new novice trail are in the works. Get involved with the VKMTB Club on facebook.

And here is a map and list of City of Miami Bicycle Projects. For more information on the BAC and to get involved, please contact Collin Worth.

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The map is clearly unclear- for the pdf version, please email Collin Worth. Thanks.

University of Miami Law School Supports the Bike Coalition

The South Florida Bike Coalition would like to thank the University of Miami Law School community for coming together during this year’s Philanthropy Week to raise $1,600 for our work in honor of Natasha Pettigrew. It has been an honor for us to get to know Natasha through her story, her friends and professors. As many of you know who follow this blog, Natasha was a student at UM who was killed last year while riding her bicycle. Her friends chose to honor her with a bicycle ride from the Campus into Coral Gables, to her apartment in South Miami and back to campus. Natasha’s Ride reconnected many people who loved her with bicycling – something that meant the world to her.

People Line Up for Natasha's Ride

A special Bike Coalition Shout Out to Brian Sperber for showing us and his peers what leadership, dedication and friendship are all about. It’s a honor to have you in the Bike Coalition. Thanks for all that you do.

The South Florida Bike Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Funds raised in Natasha’s name will go to our work to improve and increase bicycling in the Miami community, specifically around the area’s colleges and universities. If you would like to make a contribution to Natasha’s fund, you may do so at http://tinyurl.com/forNatasha. Please be sure to make a note that your donation is for Natasha and also let us know if you wish to remain anonymous. Thank you.

New Face of FDOT Officially Anti-Bike Funding

The Florida Department of Transportation isn’t just anti-bicycling and walking road safety programs in Florida, they are against funding them anywhere.

On March 14, just days after bicycling advocates went to Congress asking them to not cut funding for bicycling programs (Bike Coalition Director and members among over 20 others from Florida, 600 countrywide) the State of Florida sent its own representative to tell Congress to do just the opposite.

Ananth Prasad, FDOT

Mr. Ananth Prasad is one of the three candidates up for Governor Rick Scott’s consideration as the new State Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation. He currently holds the title of Assistant Secretary for Engineering & Operations, making him the only ‘in-house’ option. (The other two are Gordon Goodin, owner of Bayside Development, and Thomas Conrecode, VP at Collier Enterprise).

Mr. Prasad spoke on behalf of FDOT/ Governor Scott’s interests at a special hearing before the United States House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The Committee, chaired by Florida’s own Rep. John Mica, is drafting a new transportation bill and thus seeking input from stakeholders across the country. What did our own FDOT representative say? Read the full text of his speech here[PDF].

Some of the items Prasad touched on were clearly positive for Florida, such as his request for more transportation money for Florida, a ‘donor’ state that sends out more gas tax money than it gets back from the federal government. He called for increased investment in public-private partnerships , citing the I-595 Express project and the Port of Miami Tunnel as examples. While that may support Rick Scott’s call for more private sector jobs, there was no mention of the innovative public-private partnerships that would have come about from High Speed Rail or bikeshare.

Other requests clearly reflected Governor Scott’s agenda. Prasad supported Scott’s push for fewer regulations by calling for removal of some regulations that he called unnecessary for Florida and by requesting that states be allowed to skip the federal environmental review process and substitute their own. In the midst of calling for a reduction in the number of federal transportation programs, Prasad proclaimed:

We must give serious consideration to whether—when resources and dollars are at a premium—spending money on sidewalks, bike trails, beautification, and other projects like this is the most prudent use of taxpayer money.

Wow. Forget about the “Complete Streets” mandate embedded in Florida Statute that FDOT has to include pedestrian and bicycle facilities into their projects. Nevermind that new bicycling facilities create twice as many jobs as standard road repair work and make streets safer for ALL road users.The way to fuel the economy, according to FDOT, is to move cars faster:

“The faster we can move people and goods to their destination, the faster our economy will grow … We must be viligent to ensure that we invest only where taxpayers’ money will be put to use on critically-needed projects that will ultimately grow our economy.”

Prasad’s message is clear: Times are tough, so let’s forget about multimodal transportation and focus on automobile capacity. Congress needs to be reminded that as gas prices head toward $4 for the second time in three years, more people are choosing to bike or walk. This makes it critical to invest transportation dollars in safer roads for everyone, rather than just faster highways. (You will remember that FDOT considers Miami’s densest residential street and it’s busiest downtown avenue, highways.)

Florida: we cannot build our way out of congestion. We need a versatile transportation system that embraces intercity rail, urban transit, bicycling, and walking as well as the currently privileged modes.

If we can put aside the political agendas and focus on effective investment, we would see that non-highway options, like high speed rail and bikeshare, provide what Prasad says DOTs want: public-private partnerships. The Tampa-Orlando high speed rail was expected to turn a $10.2 million profit, a lucrative opportunity for private investment in infrastructure. DecoBike, a private enterprise which seems to have gotten off to a good start, has not cost the city of Miami Beach a dime and is even sharing revenue with them. B-Cycle‘s proposed system for Broward County won’t cost taxpayers any money once it’s up and running, and their business model depends on turning a profit from the system as well. FDOT is already involved in this public-private partnership, fronting the capital through a grant to the county, then leaving the private vendor to run the system. Florida can support systems such as these by providing both capital investment to get the systems started and by providing proper infrastructure to encourage more system users. Check out the Sun-Sentinel article for more details on both programs.

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Your Members of Congress, Governor Scott, FDOT need to hear from you that you want cost-effective solutions to Florida’s #1 ranking as the Country’s most dangerous place to walk or ride a bicycle.

Also: Please take a moment to contact Rep. Mica — his staff on transportation — or his office via phone at (202) 225-4035. Let him know that you want Complete Streets in the next transportation bill and that you support federal mandates that ensure investments in our roads will make them safer and better for EVERYone, whether they travel by bicycle, train, bus, car, truck or on foot.

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This will be a cross-post with our member blog, TransitMiami.com