Saturday, December 15, 2007

South Dade Trail complete

Scores of politicians and public employees congratulated each other Friday at the dedication of the final phase of the South Dade Busway and the parallel multi-use path, the South Dade Trail. The achievement is worth remarking, for as Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and others noted, the Busway is the longest bus rapid transit facility in the country. Cyclists now have a single trail all the way from Dadeland, in Kendall, to Florida City and the road into the Florida Keys. The Busway opened for service Sunday.

At the Green Mobility Network table, left, and circulating through the crowd to shake hands, I didn't meet all that many people who plan to use the Busway. I imagine they were already at their jobs by the time of the ceremonies, so they didn't hear the various mayors and two county commissioners' high hopes for the Busway to reduce traffic congestion and the path to make it possible for commuters to get from home to work or school and back without ever using a car. I approve of that, of course, and suggest that it would help achieve that if some durable bike racks or hitching posts were placed at the Busway stops and other public places in the service area.

After the crowd was gone, Tom Burton of the Everglades Bicycle Club stayed to share with me his enthusiasm for the proposed Biscayne-Everglades Greenway, linking the two national parks in the area with a loop path of 40-some miles. The south side of the loop would pass within eyesight of where the Busway ends. As a lone rider came down the path, his panniers bulging with camping gear, it was easy to imagine this part of our county as a destination for bicycle tourists, and not just a pit-stop on the way to the Keys.

The South Dade Trail, of course, is the intended Miami-Dade spine for the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway, linking Key West to the Canadian border via an off-road path through the major eastern cities. Talk about something for tourists!

Greenways aren't just for visitors, of course. But that is the subject for another day's post.

4 comments:

Eduardo E said...

Hey JHop! Is the path road bike friendly? If so I definitely see me using it on a weekly basis to make a trip to grab me one of those delicious milk shakes from Robert is Here.

I am also sure it won't be hard to convince the 2 or 3 bike groups I am a part of to use the path.

Happy riding!
Eddie Suarez

Eddie Suarez said...

Hello again,

This isn't a comment but more of me asking a favor. I began working with TeamFootworks about 2 weeks ago. I've been a part of TeamFootworks now for about 2 years when I signed up for the fitness 101 program. I want to know if you'd be interested in posting something about the program in your blog? It's not bike related but it still goes sort of hand in hand. Many people in the program now rethink the immediate need to jump in their cars to drive 1 or 2 miles. They walk or jog, and some have taken on biking, after completing the program. The next session begins January 3rd. Let me know if you'd be interested and I can send you more information. Thanks for all you do with bike advocacy.

JHop said...

Yes, Eddie, I think the path is quite bike-friendly. There's not a lot of shade along it yet, and it would be nice to have a water fountain somewhere, but I'm told the paving is good. It's brand-new, so there shouldn't be any cracks or gaps yet. I'd be glad to hear your impressions once you take a spin down there.

As for your other question about the runners, yes, do send me info. At the very least, I'll pass it along to the webmaster at Green Mobility Network, which specifically addresses running and walking along with bicycling.

Eddie Suarez said...

Thanks JHop,

I will try to take the new bike path for a spin this weekend. I live behind Dadeland Mall. Lets see how accessible and SAFE it is for me to ride from my apartment to the path, down to Robert's and back... I will keep you posted.

As for the Fitness 101 program, thanks for passing the information along. The Fitness 101 program begins on January 3rd, 2008. It is a great New Year’s resolution. We have many graduates that have used this program as a launching pad to completing a marathons and Ironman competitions. I hope it’s early enough where you could post a story on it before the program begins. It’s a 7 week program and costs $59. Participants meet twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings. Those 59 dollars gets the participants a coolmax/drifit shirt, log book, a couple of clinics, a discount at Footworks.

The human interest stories are many. Non-runners, Freda, mother of 2 boys, and Arlene, a legal secretary, who joined the program about 2 years ago and have now completed countless marathons and half marathons. I myself joined the program at about the same time. I weighed 270 lbs and was grossly out of shape. Climbing a flight of stairs took all the wind out of me. I completed my first full marathon a year later and have lost about 40 lbs. I am now training for an Ironman. Paola is a Montessori/Primary school director who never run a day in her life. She joined the program this year to train for the Corporate Run. She will be doing her first half marathon in Disney on January 13th. Carol, a court reporter, has lost more weight than you can imagine. She joined the program this year. She’s already completed a half marathon and is in route to finish her first full in Miami on January 27th. Chris, a judge, is the same. She started this year and is training for a half marathon. Diana, mother of 3 and overweight, is an Ironman widow. Her husband spent his days training for his races. This year she decided it was her turn, joined the program, and is now training for her first half marathon.

This is the website:
http://www.footworksmiami.com/marathon/Fitness_101.asp

Thank you,
Eddie
eddie@teamfootworks.org