Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gimenez tells cyclists much they want to hear

Miami-Dade Commissioner Carlos Gimenez told cyclists and runners Wednesday evening that he's already talking with necessary contacts to improve the safety, speed enforcement and emergency response time on the Rickenbacker Causeway and Crandon Boulevard.

The group of 31 crowded into a conference room at County Hall at Gimenez's invitation, after many wrote or called him about Sunday's death of Christophe Le Canne on a causeway bridge, and why a nearby rescue truck wasn't dispatched after the initial 911 calls. The fire chiefs of Miami-Dade, Key Biscayne and Miami had agreed on Dec. 28, Gimenez said, about how to handle calls when the county station in Crandon Park is closed, as it was at 8 a.m. Sunday. "The question for me is why didn't 911 call Miami," he said.

Instead, Gimenez said, Miami twice offered to respond to the emergency and was told by the 911 that it wasn't necessary. Finally, the operator "self-dispatched," and a Miami truck arrived right behind the county one that had traveled from South Miami.

Gimenez and Commissioner Sally Heyman already had scheduled a commission discussion Thursday about alternatives to the parttime status of Station 15. {It's set for 3 p.m. sharp.) "If I can't resolve the Station 15 issue, I'll sit down with the three fire chiefs and work it out," Gimenez said.

Other concerns mentioned were speed enforcement, speed limits, and possibly closing one lane outbound and one inbound early on weekend mornings, when the most cyclists and runners are active on the causeway between Miami and Key Biscayne. "The county and the city need to do a much better job of enforcing the law," Gimenez said to general agreement. Maybe the city needs to do some alcohol screening at the toll gates, he said.

"It could have been anyone who got killed out there," said June Bendayan, making the point that all road users are endangered by speeders.

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