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Posted by on Dec 15, 2010 in Uncategorized | 14 comments

Brickell Avenue speed limit to be cut 5 MPH

All this effort for 5 MPH.

Bowing to persistent pressure from Brickell residents, bicycle and pedestrian activists, and city and county officials, state roadway engineers have agreed to reduce speeds along busy Brickell Avenue, as well as add crosswalks and “share-the-road” markings to improve safety.

The changes will be incorporated into a year-long,$9 million resurfacing of the 1.6-mile state road that is slated to begin in January, Gus Pego, district secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation, said Tuesday.

Pego stressed that the agency agreed to the bike- and pedestrian-friendly measures after new engineering studies conducted in the past few weeks found them to be justified.

“We’ve been responsive to the issues brought to us,” Pego told The Miami Herald.

The alterations to the resurfacing project mark a significant concession by FDOT. Agency engineers had until recently insisted they could make few of the changes demanded by residents, activists and local officials.

Critics argued that a shortage of crosswalks forced people to jaywalk and complained speeding cars imperil the growing number of pedestrians and joggers along the avenue, the spine of Miami’s densest district — a rapidly changing area that residents and city planners envision as a walkable, bikeable urban neighborhood.

The dynamic began to shift for several reasons. Last month, a 30-year Brickell Bay Club resident, Rosa Encalada, 83, was struck and killed by a taxi as she tried to cross the avenue on a Sunday evening.

FDOT engineers, meanwhile, took a verbal beating from angry residents and activists at a public meeting last week and in blog posts by TransitMiami.com and the South Florida Bicycle Coalition.

And public officials — including Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff and Miami-Dade Commissioner Carlos Gimenez — intervened forcefully with Pego.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/12/14/1973912/brickell-avenue-speed-limit-to.html#ixzz18DjB6D3n

14 Comments

  1. Does this mean we’ll be seeing Yehuda Moon on that road with his home-spun sharrows stencil toolkit? It’s sad that it appears to take a death by motor vehicle operator to bring about a useful change such as this.

    I also hope the re-engineering isn’t going to result in dangerous bike lanes. I see in the photo that it’s a four lane divided roadway. Easy enough to make safer if cyclists would recognize that the lane is theirs.

    Daytona Beach Shores has signs at a few crosswalks reading “Yield to pedestrians in crosswalk” but it doesn’t help much.

    I’m hopeful that some good will come of it, despite my negative comments.

  2. Seems like through motor vehicles should be on I-95 here. You’d probably have a much harder time with South Dixie, which Brickell becomes after I-95 ends, especially because it has a crappy sidepath (http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2008/02/bike_blog_the_poor_poor_mpath.php).

    Miami Avenue, one block west of Brickell, has a door zone bike lane: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=25.757634,-80.195539&spn=0.008136,0.020599&z=17&layer=c&cbll=25.757589,-80.195591&panoid=xQ9WOMpWHvD-XPrk8O9PKw&cbp=12,60.98,,0,11.61

  3. 40 MPH!! Through a residential neighbourhood!! There’s a good reason why that’s illegal around here. In Toronto, the residential fights are usually for 30 Km/hr = 18 MPH speeds. 40 MPH is 65 km/hr. That’s only legal here on specially-engineered roads that are nowhere near residential neighbourhoods, schools, parks, etc.

  4. Kevin,

    35-40 mph is not unusual in the US. While some developments have 25mph longer road will have houses, drive ways, and 45mph speed limits.

    On a road designated as a “Scenic by way”, the Dept of Transportation is insisting on raising the speed limit for a particular stretch to 50 mph (80kph) due to “driver expectations.” Near by portions have limits of 35-45 mph, and local residents don’t want a race track, but the DOT considers this safe for drivers. They have stopped automatically putting bike lanes to the right of right turn lanes. To keep the lanes wide enough for 50mph traffic, they had to reduce the width of the new bike lane to 4′ (1.3m) between the 50mph through lane and the RTOL lane.

    This is the most they would/could do to in response to objections from residents and bicycist/pedestrians. Even in the US 4′ is below recommended width for 50mph traffic, but the lane will get the bicyclists out of the way so the motorists won’t have to slow down.

    Are you still sure we should be pushing for more facilities? Do speed limits of 65-80 kph explain why we’re fighting for continued rights to use the road (these roads typically have 2-5 lanes in each direction, and lots of public destinations not otherwise accessible). Current standards explicitly recommend door zone bike lanes be 5′-6′ wide instead of 4′ without parked cars; with space for lanes like this they’ve refused to allow shared lane markings (sharrows).

    Angelo

    • Generally speaking, it is extraordinarily rare to see roads that fast in urban areas in modern industrialized countries that are not limited-access highways. Although there are a few small exceptions that are “grandfathered” leftovers from when we didn’t know any better, there are essentially zero highways in the Toronto area that are faster than 60 km/hr that are not limited-access segregated car facilities.

      The same can be said of The Netherlands, Denmark, Japan and (probably) Germany and France. Although in the case of Germany and France I have not seen enough of the country to be able to state more than “probably.” Perhaps some other reader here has greater experience in Germany and France and can comment.

  5. FDOT is adding sharrows to Brickel. However, they are also increasing the lane width. Wider lanes encourage cars to speed. If the lane is 14 feet Florida law requires bicycle driver to stay to the right encouraging motorists to pass too close.

    • 14 feet is too narrow for a cyclist to be passed by a motor vehicle driver in the same lane. I see that Florida law allows motor vehicles to be a maximum of 8.5 feet, with mirrors extending further. Source:

      http://law.onecle.com/florida/motor-vehicles/316.515.html

      A cyclist will typically occupy three feet measured from elbow to elbow.

      The “three foot passing rule” is derived from all vehicles requiring 1.5 feet on either side to allow for “swerve room” to avoid potholes, debris, etc. Three feet is the worst case – the bicycle swerves left 1.5 feet and the car swerves right 1.5 feet.

      A cyclist with 1.5 feet swerve room on either side occupies six feet. That is why this is the minimum safe width of a cycle path for unidirectional traffic.

      A motorist with 1.5 feet swerve room on either side occupies up to 11.5 feet. In the link we see that if a lane is only 12 feet wide, allowed motor vehicle width may be restricted to only 8 feet.

      Six feet for a cyclist and 11.5 feet for a motor vehicle. Add it all up and 17.5 feet is needed before it is safe for a cyclist to allow motor vehicles to pass in the same lane. In lanes narrower than that a cyclist must take the lane to prevent motor vehicles from unsafely passing within the same lane.

      • I agree. The law tries to force a bicycle driver into an unsafe lane position. We need to get this changed. However, with narrow lanes it makes the change lanes to pass decision easy for the driver.

  6. Unfortunatly it usually does take death by motor vehicle to prompt a change – even when programs are in place to make changes. In this city with our grid-like residential streets the SDOT won’t install our traffic calming planter circles unless there’s a record of actual collisions – close calls don’t count.

  7. Hello from Miami!
    Thanks for picking-up this story. Transit Miami and the South Florida Bike Coalition have been working hard to convince FDOT to do the right thing. Looks like our work is paying off. I’m pleased to announce that today there was a press conference with several elected officials and the 5 mph reduction of the speed limit may just be the beginning. We are not happy with 35mph. We think we may get another 5mph cut in the speed limit. There is also some talk to introduce raised crosswalks.

    @ Guy I concur, widening the road to add sharows is counterproductive to traffic calming. We will fight this tooth and nail.

    Hopefully we can all work together and lobby FDOT at the state level to start designing roads properly. Feel free to get in touch with us at movemiami@gmail.com.

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