Friday, June 01, 2007

Bicycle town hall meeting

About 15 government officials and 40 interested citizens attended Thursday's bicycle meeting hosted by Ralph Cabrera and Carlos Gimenez.

Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff announced the most encouraging development for bicycling in Miami-Dade County. He said the Commodore Trail project has been moved up to 2008 from 2011 (as SnF had indicated). Also, the Miami 21 building code will require changing stations for bicyclists in public buildings and other large buildings. [Sarnoff credits the county's District 7 commissioner, Gimenez, for getting the Commodore priority moved up -- but Sarnoff also helped. ]

Jeff Cohen, assistant chief Miami-Dade traffic engineer, explained the three phases of projects on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Work on Phase 2 is halfway through, with six weeks more needed to finish. Phase 3 has been moved up from 2012 to 2008. The Public Works Department laid temporary asphalt and put up more signs in order to prevent further bike accidents caused by the sharp lip of new pavement on the edge of the road -- a very serious concern to the department (and source of several rider complaints in recent weeks).

Other representatives spoke about the bicycle-related activities of M-D Parks and Recreation, the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Everglades Bicycle Club.

Twelve people spoke during the question, answer and complaint session at the end of the meeting. Commissioner Gimenez took the lead in balancing emotional complaints by suggesting the infeasibility of some ideas due to roadway limitations, costs, enforcement of traffic laws, liability for injuries, and the needs of motorists. His comments weren't as popular nor idealistic as others but were more practical.

Officials emphasized the importance of bicycle facilities for the area and the number of projects unfolding. The officials and bicycling advocates widely agreed that education and better road manners for both motorists and bicyclists are at least as important as the bicycle facilities.
-- Peter Schuetz

No comments: