We are again participating in the National Bike Challenge, along with cycling enthusiasts all across the land. You’re invited to join the Green Mobility Network team and log your rides, whether for recreation or for daily transportation. We think you’ll find it fun to track your miles and watch how your teammates are doing. Whether you’re new to the challenge or returning, sign up at the new login page, fill out your profile, and select Green Mobility Network as your team. You can log your miles manually or through Endomondo or Map My Ride. If you found this road a little bumpy last year, we think you’ll like the improved interface.
Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM SHARP at the Miami Beach Bicycle Center, 601 5th Street (corner of 5th St & Washington Ave) the Miami Beach Police Department will provide us with an escort throughout the entire ride. This will ensure your safety and also allow us to continuously ride without having to stop for regular traffic. We will provide you with a cold bottle of water at the midway point of the ride. Be sure to show your appreciation by thanking the officers for the great job they do.
Since May is National Bike Month, the City of Miami Beach has started a Bicycle Safety Campaign in coordination with the Police Department. As part of the campaign, they will be joining us with the purpose of highlighting bicycle safety for all attendees. Bicycle Safety materials will be distributed before the ride. Let’s all set a good example and be sure to wear a helmet!
The bike shop will be open at 8:15 am. This will give you plenty of time to arrive and register. Every rider needs to register before each ride. Remember, it is FREE for everyone who would like to participate. All you need to do is bring your own bike and helmet. If you have visitors, you can call and rent a bicycle and helmet for the ride. Quantities are limited so please call in advance.
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado issued a proclamation today proclaiming March as Miami Bike Month. We don’t have to remind you how far we’ve come in Miami with regard to bicycle use and infrastructure. Since our inception, we have been intimately involved with the City of Miami, and are proud to be a part of the movement to make Miami a safe and convenient place to bike and walk. We know we have a long road ahead, but here is to continuing the work of making Miami a safe and convenient place to bike, walk and run!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks go out to two of our local House Representatives, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fl) for co-sponsoring a house bill that will allow communities to take advantage of low-cost financing for projects that make streets and sidewalks safer for all users through a new federal credit assistance program that would direct millions specifically for low-income communities. GMN is a proud advocate of the bill considering the large percentage of low-income Miami-Dade residents who have no other means of transportation than walking and biking. The bill would redirect a percentage of current spending toward bicycle/pedestrian projects in low income communities.
More about the bill from the League of American Bicyclists:
So what does the bill do?
- It creates a low-interest long-term loan program for communities to build biking and walking networks.
- 25% of the funding must be spent in low income communities
- The funding, $11 million, is a set aside from the $1 billion dollar TIFIA loan program funded in MAP-21.
Provides common sense transportation solutions
- The bill offers a new tool for Mayors and local governments to finance needed transportation infrastructure. According to Sires: “This novel approach will add another tool in the toolbox for mayors, governors, and private investors to reinvigorate their communities and develop a strong, vibrant middle class.”
- The bill doesn’t add any new costs to the transportation bill, or to the federal budget.
Builds better integrated bicycling and multimodal networks that reduce transportation costs and close gaps in job access for low-income families and individuals.
- Nationally the average family with an income less than $50,000 spends 30% on transportation
- Residents earning less than $30,000 per year account for 28% of bike trips in 2009- more than 1.1 billion bike trips overall.
- Americans are driving less, and want to bike and walk more. Creating safe infrastructure gives commuters cheap and safe options.
- Between 2000-2012, bike commuting rose 61% nationwide, and rose by 80% in bicycle friendly communities. Where infrastructure is safe and accessible, people bike more.
Meets the need for safety and infrastructure
There are still disparities in access to safe infrastructure for low-income communities and people of color across the country.
Bicycling and walking make up 12% of all trips, but over 16% of all fatalities
The fatality rate for Hispanic bicyclists is 23% higher than for white bicyclists and 30% higher for African American bicyclists than for white bicyclists.
71% of people of color agree that safer bicycling would make their community better.
Read more about the bill here.