Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bikes, bikes, bikes on Miami agenda

Please make plans now to either attend Thursday's Miami City Commission meeting or send a note to the commission member you know best. On the agenda for Thursday are three things of special importance to bicyclists:
  • The Bicycle Master Plan, looking years into the future with a comprehensive set of improvements for Miami's streets and other public facilities. The plan doesn't address how they'll be paid for, but the money isn't likely to turn up without a plan.
  • A bicycle parking resolution, calling for secure, off-street parking at all future construction of R-3 or higher density.
  • Mountain biking paths as part of the Virginia Key Master Plan, hastily rewritten over the summer and conditionally approved by the Waterfront Advisory Board on Monday night.
The Bicycle Master Plan is remarkably thorough for the time it took to write it. Miami will be proud, someday, if this plan is adopted now and followed through next year and beyond.

The parking resolution could be better. For instance, a note I sent to City Hall earlier today on behalf of Green Mobility Network:
I was disappointed that the covered-parking angle was removed from the draft bicycle-parking resolution. For a Miami cyclist, open-air parking is a risky proposition. Rain damages the bike's chain and brake cables, and you can imagine what it feels like to rest on the bike saddle after one of our afternoon cloudbursts. Then there's the sun, cooking the plastic or leather parts until they split. Shelter makes it possible to keep a bike in good condition. If we're going to have bicycle commuting, we need sheltered parking.

I am conscious of the concerns of small business owners. Let's consider that some of them are cyclists, too, and certainly some of their employees are cyclists. For a fellow making minimum wage in a kitchen somewhere, a bicycle may be the only transportation he can afford. Let's give the guy a break -- a dry, secure place to park his wheels.
Then there's Virginia Key, a potentially priceless jewel of a park right on Biscayne Bay. I don't know why or how mountain biking was removed from the Virginia Key Master Plan, but the Waterfront Advisory Board clearly wants it put back in, and the mayor's chief of staff, Javier Fernandez, indicated Monday night that it will be restored. If it's not, we'll just have to keep pushing.

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