Xavier Suarez Meets with Bicyclists, Agrees That Change is Needed on the Rickenbacker

Bike advocates convened today at the office of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez (District 7) to discuss improving bicycle safety on the Rickenbacker Causeway. The meeting was called by Commissioner Suarez to reiterate his commitment to better bicycling in Miami-Dade and to reach a consensus on both short term (micro) measures that can be implemented in now, while also focusing on the long term (macro) design of the causeway.

Cyclists cross Bear Cut Bridge during Friday afternoon rush hour. Two started on the bike lane then melded with motor traffic as cars edged toward the concrete barrier.
Cyclists cross Bear Cut Bridge during Friday afternoon rush hour. Two started on the bike lane then melded with motor traffic as cars edged toward the concrete barrier.

Among the attendees were Green Mobility network board members Eli Stiers, Eric Tullberg and Tony Garcia,  Mart Jane Mark & Sue Kawalerski (representing Mack Cycle), Hank Sanchez-Resnick, Xavier Falconi ( Everglades Bike Club), Felipe Azhena (Transit Miami) and Markus Wagner (among others). Also in attendance were the Key Biscayne city manager and chief of police, Miami-Dade Police, and Commander Morales from the City of Miami. 

The discussion centered around the topic of increased safety for all users of the road — bicyclists and motorists included, with a focus on the short-term, low-cost actions that could be taken, and other longer-term items that need to be accomplished moving forward.

Among the major short-term measures that were communicated are:

– a consistent 35-mph speed limit along the full length of the causeway (current speeds range from 45-25) (see this diagram showing the differences in speed limits current as of 2-11-2014)

-increased enforcement of speed limits at targeted times, to coincide with the times of greatest bicycle activity. (See this reference sheet showing the enforcement actions for 2012 and 2013 – not a bad start, but much more needs to be done!)

-signage that indicates bicyclist rights and responsibilities along the causeway



One major safety concern is the upcoming removal of the toll booth at the entrance of the causeway, to be replaced with a Sunpass system. All were in agreement that this would only encourage more speeding and that enforcement was a top priority moving forward.

VK Rickenbacker Causeway historic4-20

The longer-term vision presented by those in attendance is a redesign of the road that would impact the design speed; a redesign that envisions the causeway as a linear park – not a highway.  For the long-term success of this corridor, the road must be designed to reduce speeds, and improve safety for the thousands of daily visitors. Current lane widths are 11′ from the entrance of the Rick to the Bear Cut bridge, and 12′ from there to the Village of Key Biscayne. While this latter section is being narrowed to allow for an increase in the current 3′ bike lane, the former section is not.  Narrowing the lanes will reduce speeds, and provide more space to bicyclists and pedestrians. Conversion of the entire causeway into a linear park, consistent with William Lyman Phillips original vision for the corridor, should be implemented. Phillips envisioned the causeway as a part of the Miami-Dade park network; a recreational asset as much as a transportation corridor. This vision is more valid today than ever before.

VK CausewayWLP4-20

Green Mobility applauds Commissioner Suarez for taking the initiative to convene the group, and is hopeful that the consensus reached at the meeting will lead to actual changes on the Rickenbacker and continued dialogue with the bicycle/pedestrian community.

6 thoughts on “Xavier Suarez Meets with Bicyclists, Agrees That Change is Needed on the Rickenbacker”

  1. It is nice to see the our County commissioners are so eager to help and make the East part of Miami/Dade perfect for pedestrian and cycling travel. But i cannot help to wonder why not enough is being done about the West End of Miami/Dade. I have been in Contact with Juan Zapta office and they are doing thier best to get things going in West Kendall. But as I see it nothing is being done in Denise Moss’s District unless it is in the less Economic districts he has and i benefits him that way.

  2. Many stand to benefit from a SAFER Key Biscayne. Key Biscayne, Virginia Key are State Recreational areas with Beaches, Parks, Historic landmarks, tourist attractions, Hotels, UM and MAST Academy educational sites, etc, ALL these areas and their users will all benefit from slower and more controlled speed limits on the Key – Particularly when there are events: Tennis, Beach Days, Triathlons, etc. ALL users can benefit from lower speeds. This is NOT an Expressway or extension of I-95 for Key Biscayne Residents as it seems to be treated. Thank you Xavier Suarez for your support!

  3. Excellent! I only wish we could implement more measures throughout all South Florida. I live in the SW (Kendall) are and would love to use my bike to commute from here to the whole city, and I am sure there are many people who would benefit from this type of measures. Congratulations on this achievement!

  4. Lowering the speed limit is the absolute correct thing to do. The causeway is one of the most beautiful views of our city and people should enjoying the drive instead of turning it into a race to nowhere.

  5. Very effective meeting this morning. Now is the time for this roadway to be reconfigured and recognized for what it is: an urban linear park. Lowering the speed limits and making the causeway safer for all users – not just cyclists, but pedestrians and drivers alike – will make it more inviting and enjoyable for everyone, including Key Biscayne residents.

    1. Absolutely agree with reconfiguring the road. Lowering speed limit is as good as the enforcement. As a KB resident, cyclist & runner I can attest to the fact that enforcement is few and far between.
      I am also concerned with a great number of my fellow cyclists who selectively choose to ignore the law and put themselves at risk not to mention give the rest of us a bad name. Motorist flaws are well known.
      To me reconfiguring the roadway and enforcement of ALL laws is of paramount importance!

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