Plans for the Rickenbacker in the Works

In August 2012 the Key Biscayne Village Council passed a resolution calling for consideration of a wall to separate bicyclists from motor vehicles on the Rickenbacker Causeway and a toll on bicyclists using the Causeway to pay for it. Local cyclists both in Key Biscayne and on the mainland were concerned. At the moment there are no plans for either a wall or a toll for bicyclists. Following is a fact sheet that describes current plans under consideration for the entire length of the Causeway.

FACT SHEET—OCT. 17, 2012

This fact sheet was prepared by Bike Key Biscayne, a group of bicycle advocates who live in Key Biscayne, and Green Mobility Network. The statements are based on recent interviews with Miami-Dade County staff and available public documents.

Several bicycle-related improvements for the Rickenbacker Causeway are currently in various stages of planning and development. All are likely to be implemented within the next 12-36 months. Because all are under review by one or more decision-making bodies, no start dates for construction have been identified. Any of these plans could be altered during the process of final review and approval.

The funding source for some of these projects, if not all of them, is likely to be the 25-cent portion of all Rickenbacker Causeway tolls currently set aside for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, which provides approximately $875,000-900,000 per year for a five-year period that began in 2010. Since the plans for all of the following projects are still under review, final costs have not yet been determined.

South end of Bear Cut Bridge to entrance to Village of Key Biscayne: Restrictions on changes to the roadway preclude any widening of this part of the Causeway. Currently the traffic lanes in both directions are 12’ wide and the bicycle lanes are 5’ wide. The plan under review is to resurface the roadway, narrow the traffic lanes to 11’, and widen the bicycle lanes to 7’, including installation of the same type of vibratory edge line already installed on the three bridges, which provides further separation and protection for bicyclists. This project will bring the traffic lane width into conformity with the rest of the Causeway, where the traffic lanes are already 11’ wide. In addition, the project includes improvements to the separate dedicated bicycle-pedestrian path that parallels the roadway. Status: Being reviewed by the Crandon Park oversight committee and the Miami-Dade Department of Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces.

Improvements to Virginia Key dedicated bicycle-pedestrian path. This project will add a new dedicated path on the north (inbound) side of the Causeway on Virginia Key, ultimately creating a dedicated bicycle-pedestrian loop that will run the length of Virginia Key on both sides of the motor vehicle and bicycle lanes on the roadway.

Hobie Island. On the north side of Hobie Island, the service road and amenities will be rebuilt using a design similar to the design of the recently rebuilt service road and amenities on the south side of the island. This will include improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians as well as bicycle-pedestrian facilities connecting the north and south sides of the service road underneath the north end of the William Powell Bridge.

Approaches to the Rickenbacker toll plaza. Eventually the toll plaza will be converted to a Sunpass-only facility. The plan includes construction of bicycle lanes on both the north and south sides of the roadway, beginning at South Miami Ave. and physically separated by a permanent concrete “curbed island” from the motor vehicle lanes. To avoid the current conflict with motor vehicles turning right after the toll plaza to the westbound flyover, a dedicated bicycle-pedestrian ramp will be built (requiring significant widening of the existing path) parallel to the roadway. It will lead underneath the flyover to the bike lane on 26th Rd. leading to South Miami Ave.

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