Monday, June 25, 2007

Miami 21 giveth, and taketh away

As regular readers here know, Hank Resnik of the Everglades Bicycle Club did some impressive networking earlier this year with the urban planners drafting Miami 21 -- a comprehensive rewrite of the laws regulating land use and development in Miami. Through the club's influence and Hank's diplomacy, a draft that virtually ignored bicycling was revised to specify bicycling as a desirable mode of transportation.

Today I got to read the latest revisions to the draft, and there is further mention of bicycles, this time anticipating a citywide bicycle plan and a system of interconnected bike lanes and bike routes. That's great news, and the planners should be commended.

On my first read-through of those June 20 amendments, however, a couple of things hit me as needing a further tweak:
  • The new version of Article 3 -- Section 3.7.1.d reads like a traffic code instead of one for street design. Rather than saying how streets should provide for bicycles, it seems to exclude bikes altogether from streets designed for speeds above 30 mph, which I surmise will be most of the streets. That just won't do. It wouldn't be enforceable, and if anyone tried to enforce it that would be the opposite of progress.
  • At two or three places in Article 5 of the proposed amendments, a requirement for bicycle parking is proposed as one bike rack for every 20 "vehicular parking spaces" in off-street parking. I actually think bike parking should be required on the basis of the expected occupancy of a building, rather than how many motor vehicles can park there. That would especially be the case near bus lines or Metrorail stations -- where, I believe, parking for cars would be substantially reduced (an effort to dissuade people from driving where transit is available).
All of this, of course, is just a proposal. The Miami City Commission is still studying whether to embrace Miami 21 for the city's East Quadrant, where most current development is underway. (The idea was to start there, close to Biscayne Bay, and work outward toward the city limits either district by district or in one big leap.) The plan gets a hearing in the commission on Thursday the 28th, and may be put to its first vote that day.

The complete draft of the Miami 21 proposal, including the amendments mentioned above, is readable here.

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