On Wednesday, Sept. 5, Tony Garcia and Hank Sanchez-Resnik, board members of Green Mobility Network, met with County Commissioner Rebecca Sosa (District 6) to discuss her resolution related to working with FDOT on bicycle improvements to major streets that FDOT controls.
This was in response to the commissioner’s Sept. 6 resolution on the County Commission agenda, which had the potential to undo many years of progress in getting FDOT to include bicycle and pedestrian improvements on FDOT-controlled urban roadways.
Commissioner Sosa began by saying she had received hundreds of our preformatted emails and she realized there might be unintended consequences from her legislation. She has pulled the item indefinitely.
She is primarily concerned with a proposed southbound bike lane on 57th Ave. between 8th St. and 24rd St. This is not about losing parking, she said, but about the safety of cyclists riding along 57th Ave. between fast-moving traffic and cars parked diagonally on the west side of the street in the commercial area. Her resolution was one of similar resolutions, she said, from the Cities of Coral Gables and West Miami to address FDOT’s bike lane requirement specifically for this stretch of road. All the resolutions requested FDOT to redesign the project in order to minimize the dangers to bicyclists.
The commissioner was open to suggestions about how to proceed. We agreed to develop a counter-proposal with specific recommendations for an improved design that will take bicyclists’ and pedestrians’ needs into account while also addressing the safety concerns this complex project entails. The commissioner made it clear she is not opposed to bike facilities, only that they be designed for optimal safety.
Our next move will be to study the proposal, develop a counter-proposal, and work with Commissioner Sosa to negotiate with FDOT to change the design. Also, in the event FDOT is unwilling to reconsider their design, we will work with Commissioner Sosa to develop alternate language for a County Commission resolution requesting cooperation from FDOT.
We will keep the bicycling community updated through posts on our website as well as Facebook and Twitter.