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Posts Tagged ‘Infrastructure’

Miami Bike Report Goes Live

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

A fantastic new online tool has gone live today: Miami Bike Report.

This is a website with a real-time database that can be updated by users via text, email, Twitter or directly on the site, providing a map of South Florida showing where things like blocked bike lanes can be found, road hazards are present or collisions have happened. In short, it’s a living repository of cycling/road information about South Florida updated by the very people on the streets.

This is huge. For people riding their bicycles, it means they can see where trouble spots are found along their planned travel routes. For advocates, they can see areas that deserve special attention for whatever reason. For law-enforcement, they can see places where they should maybe take  a look and ensure all is kosher. For city planners, they can see the areas that they should be paying more attention to based on the actual use feedback.

Literally, this has the potential to be the most useful tool available to bicycling/walking/urban advocates in South Florida. But if, and only if, we the people on the street, use it.

Spread the word about Miami Bike Report and the ways in which it can be updated with reports from the streets. That is the only way in which this will truly be useful and hopefully lead to improvements in our various cities.

Find Miami Bike Report online:

Kudos to the creators for their vision and hard work. You’ve got another supporter right here.

Editorial: The Tragic Catalyst

January 22, 2010 2 comments

Last weekend, on Sunday, January 17, 44-year old Christopher Lecanne was killed in a hit-and-run accident while he bicycled on Key Biscayne, a popular area for road cyclists. The driver of the car was under the influence and after hitting Lecanne, dragged his mangled bike for about 4 miles before it became dislodged from under his car. He was arrested and charged, though a few days ago he posted bail and is currently out of jail.

The event has touched a nerve in the Miami cycling community and seems to be turning into that tragic catalyst that may fuel some actual changes in the city/cities/county of Miami. At least one hopes so.

I wrote an editorial for TransitMiami.com entitled The Tragic Catalyst. I hope it is the last such editorial I ever have to write.

There will be a Memorial Ride for Mr. Lecanne this Sunday on Key Biscayne. My wife and I won’t be attending because we’re both down with a nasty cold, but we certainly extend our sympathies and prayers to the Lecanne family and will be there with the great bicycling community of Miami in spirit.

Hipsters vs Hasids: A Commentary

December 9, 2009 15 comments

Hasid and BicyclistA news article from New York was heavily making its way across the cycling blog/Twitter-verse yesterday, about some New York City bicyclists that repainted some bike lanes in Brooklyn. I vaguely registered the news item on my radar, but did not take a moment to read it until a friend of mine sent it to me by email. It was then I clicked and read it, and realized the Brooklyn area this happened in was Williamsburgh, a section that is full of Jews, specifically Hasidim (or as they are called in the  news, Ultra-Orthodox, a title I do not like at all). Oh boy.

NYPost.com: Hipsters repaint bike lanes in brush off to Hasids

I don’t know exactly what happened that those bike lanes in Williamsburgh were sandblasted away. I can only comment on what is said in the article, and even then I have to treat it as not entirely accurate. That said, there’s one part that really pressed my buttons:

Scantily clad hipster cyclists attracted to the Brooklyn neighborhood made it difficult, the Hasids said, to obey religious laws forbidding them from staring at members of the opposite sex in various states of undress. These riders also were disobeying the traffic laws, they complained.

Again, I have to assume that this is the paper embellishing things unless I actually hear it from someone who could corroborate that is precisely what was said. The thing is, it does sound like something they would say, and based on a Google News Search of recent news, and even some articles from a year ago, it would appear this is indeed cited as the reason.

Read more…

[Copenhagenize Miami] Definitions: Miamize

December 2, 2009 2 comments

Copenhagenize MiamiIn saying that I seek to “Copenhagenize” Miami, what exactly does that mean? Copenhagen and Miami are very dissimilar cities, so how can one influence the other? And what is this “Bicycle Culture 2.0” that I speak of? Think of them as keywords that convey in a tight package a lot of information about the change sought for Miami.

In this short series, I’ll be defining the terms Bicycle Culture 2.0, Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing and Miamize.

Miamize

This is, in essence, the result of the transformation discussed; Miamize is what we end up once new ideas of what our city can be with proper bicycling projects in place, what role an enhanced bike-friendly culture can play, and what future we want for Miami as a bikeable city are put into practice. Miamize is what we end up when we’ve taken the Copenhagenize lessons and applied them to our city, our realities of life, our culture. Copenhagenize

Miamize is the ultimate goal: the creation of an exemplary bikeable city that takes advantage of the fantastic year-round weather, flat terrain and dense urban areas in key tourist locations that we already have, and one that moves into the future with a clear and determined plan to develop the necessary components in safety and infrastructure to continue to increase the number of people on bicycles on the roads and the number of trips made by bike overall.

It can be done. It won’t be easy, but it can be done. The City of Miami proved how much could be achieved in a few short years when determination and a clear goal are the guiding lights. Now we must continue what was begun and expand that wave of progress to the rest of the Greater Miami area.

It’s time to Miamize.

[Copenhagenize Miami] Definitions: Copenhagenize

December 1, 2009 2 comments

Copenhagenize MiamiIn saying that I seek to “Copenhagenize” Miami, what exactly does that mean? Copenhagen and Miami are very dissimilar cities, so how can one influence the other? And what is this “Bicycle Culture 2.0” that I speak of? Think of them as keywords that convey in a tight package a lot of information about the change sought for Miami.

In this short series, I’ll be defining the terms Bicycle Culture 2.0, Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing and Miamize.

Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing

It may sound presumptuous: “I want to Copenhagenize Miami.” But there is a reason to use the term. Yes, at its core it has to do with the fact that I’m looking to bring the author of Copenhagenize.com and founder of Copenhagenize Consulting to lecture in Miami. Mikael has a very good brand there and it serves to communicate with any who knows about his blog. But there is more, as even to Mikael, the term Copenhagenize has a meaning.

Aside from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Denmark, is arguably Europe’s most bike-friendly big city; not only does a large percentage of its population use bicycles on a daily basis, it features an amazing network of bicycling infrastructure. It’s a dream for any urban bicyclist. But this wasn’t always the case.

In the 60s, Copenhagen was about as car-clogged a city as any other. It took a number of visionary politicians with gumption to go against the grain to lay the groundwork that would turn Denmark’s capital into a place where today about 55% of the population choose the bicycle for all trips, where 37% of trips by commuters to work and school are by bikes. Yes, Copenhagen had a bicycling legacy from before the post-WWII car boom to recall, but so does the USA (if on a smaller scale).

Modern bike-friendly Copenhagen didn’t happen, it was made, and that’s precisely what Mikael drives at with Copenhagenize.com and Copenhagenize Consulting: every city can be Copenhagenized–that is, taken through a process wherein it is turned into a bike-friendly place via political enactments that promote safe bicycling and build bike infrastructure that anyone can use.

As stated in Copenhagenize Consulting’s Vision:

Copenhagenizing is a way of describing how urban centres can tackle air and noise pollution, rising health care costs due to lifestyle illnesses and obesity as well as creating more liveable cities. Our goal is inspiring and advising others about how to reestablish the bicycle as a transport form by removing the label of cycling as only a sport or a child’s pastime. We do so by using the Copenhagenize Experience as a guide. In the 1960’s cycling was on the decline but we managed to turn that around thanks to visionary urban planning and political decisions.

And thus why the push to Copenhagenize Miami. We have already taken the first steps ourselves: creating the Bike Miami Days & Rides programs, drafting and getting approved the Miami Bicycle Master Plan (Miami Beach has a Bike Master Plan as well), both efforts that turned the City of Miami in only two years from one of Bicycling Magazine’s worst bicycling cities in the US to a stop in their BikeTown USA bike commuting program, an acknowledgment of progress. Now the push is on to move from plans to action.

Ultimately, though, the goal isn’t to become Copenhagen. We aren’t Copenhagen, we are Miami, and in Mikael’s own words, “We start with Copenhagenizing but really the goal is to […] Miamize as soon as possible.”

[Copenhagenize Miami] Definitions: Bicycle Culture 2.0

November 30, 2009 11 comments

Copenhagenize MiamiIn saying that I seek to “Copenhagenize” Miami, what exactly does that mean? Copenhagen and Miami are very dissimilar cities, so how can one influence the other? And what is this “Bicycle Culture 2.0” that I speak of? Think of them as keywords that convey in a tight package a lot of information about the change sought for Miami.

Over the next three posts, I’ll be defining the terms Bicycle Culture 2.0, Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing and Miamize.

Bicycle Culture 2.0

It’s a rising trend, people riding their bikes as they do normal, day-to-day things. Pin it on global warming, environmentalism, high gas prices, casual fitness fads, the “current economic climate,” the result is the same: people are riding bikes more. A half-century ago and prior, the bike was a commonplace form of transportation for all ages. That changed after the War, and the new affluence brought the development of housing further away from urban centers and the rise of the Car Culture. Cities like Miami became defined by their roads and suburbs, by how long the commutes were, by how big/fast/expensive the cars were. Bikes got relegated to weekend jaunts by  Lycra-clad road warriors, or to the archetypal holiday gift for boys and girls. At most, they became the domain of hipster subcultures thriving on the desolate edges of urban centers. But times are changing.

Bicycle Culture 2.0 is about recapturing that time when bikes were a de facto form of transport and bringing it to the 21st Century, taking advantage of decades of new techniques in urban planning and bicycling advocacy to create a new cityscape that is safe for bicyclists and promotes the use of bikes by all segments of the populations, from the young to the young at heart. With the establishment of the revolutionary form-based zoning code known as Miami 21, the City of Miami already has a blueprint for the building blocks of Bicycle Culture 2.0. Now we have to work on the rest of Greater Miami.

Help Me To Copenhagenize Miami

November 16, 2009 6 comments

Copenhagenize.com's Mikael Colville-AndersenI’ve already mentioned that one of my favorite bicycling blogs is Copenhagenize.com by Mikael Colville-Andersen. Do a Google search for “bicycle blog” and you’ll see it right on the first page, which is how my wife and I found it when we first started getting into bikes. Not only has it spawned a spin-off, Copenhagen Cycle Chic, it has also inspired an entire following of blogs based on the same idea, showcasing and promoting regular bicycling in their cities: Amsterdamize.com, Portlandize.com, NewAmsterdamize.com, etc. Mikael writes that he wants to Copenhagenize the planet, and he’s well on his way.

I want to make Miami the next stop on that wave of change, and I need your help.

Read more…

Hearing for New Bike Lanes in Miami Beach

October 27, 2009 1 comment

The Florida Dept of Transportation is going to hold a hearing to gather feedback regarding three proposed segments of bike lanes in an upcoming roadways project in the Normandy Isle section of Miami Beach’s North Shore district. I’m thankful that Bike Miami blogged about this because I have not heard anything about this meeting from any other source, including the City of Miami Beach.

Normandy Dr.

Normandy Dr, eastbound, from West Bay Dr

This is the Beach segment of NE 79 St in Miami and the JFK Causeway in North Bay Village, the last mainland-t0-Beach connector before leaving the City of Miami Beach. As such, it always features heavy traffic, and for the most part, it’s a virtual race track at any time of the day. It is also right next to my home and on my daily biking route. Bike lanes for Normandy Dr/71 St? Yes, please!

The meeting is on Thursday, November 5, 2009, from 6-8 PM, at the North Shore Park Youth Center, 501 72nd Street in Miami Beach.

Read more…

Miami Bicycle Master Plan Unanimously Approved

October 9, 2009 1 comment

Miami Bicycle Master Plan

The Miami Bicycle Master Plan, crafted after a lot of research by Mike Lydon of The Streets Plans Collaborative (and whom we saw sporting a cool bicycling shirt back in August), went before the City Commission and was unanimously approved.

Let me let that sink in. Read more…

Dreaming of Bicycle Boulevards in Miami Beach

October 7, 2009 2 comments

Bicycle BoulevardThe City of Miami will be hosting an Open House for the community to give some feedback on two proposed Bicycle Boulevards in the NW area of the city. Bicycle boulevards are a special type of shared road with traffic-calming features that make it ideal for bicycle transit; this video from Streetfilms.org showcasing a bike boulevard in Portland, OR explains the concept perfectly.

As awesome as this would be for Miami, I live in Miami Beach, so immediately I started thinking about possible candidates for transformation into bicycle boulevards. The city’s long-and-narrow shape means there’s a limited number of main thoroughfares in any direction, so the idea is to redirect traffic without creating worse conditions in the rerouted area. Immediately I thought of possibly the best candidates, Pinetree Dr and Lagorce Dr, between 63 St and 51 St. Read more…