Thursday, January 21, 2010

Police to watch popular Miami bike route

Miami and Miami-Dade police are going to step up speed enforcement on the Rickenbacker Causeway, County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez said today as dozens of bicyclists and runners filled rows of seats at a commission meeting. Gimenez found ready support from fellow commissioners in the wake of last Sunday's hit-and-run crash that killed a South Miami bicyclist on the causeway's Bear Cut Bridge.

Gimenez said he'd spoken with both James Loftus, interim director of Miami-Dade Police, and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and that both "have committed to additional enforcement of speed laws" on the causeway and Crandon Boulevard, both hugely popular with cyclists training for competition or just out for a ride in a beautiful place. In addition, he said the county's public works director will look at possible narrowing of traffic lanes. That's a road design technique that generally makes drivers slow down because they feel less comfortable.

The commissioner, who calls himself a former cyclist, vowed to dig to the bottom of the budget issues that led to Fire Station 15, two miles the spot of Sunday's crash, not being staffed at the time. Because the station wasn't to open until 10 a.m., a rescue truck was dispatched from South Miami, on the mainland 10 miles away.

"I agreed to support an extra 25-cent toll [for the causeway], on the understanding [that $1.3 million of proceeds] would go to 24-hour emergency service," Gimenez said. Since the station was cut back to parttime, though, he said he's been told the money never went to the department. "Well, I want it to go there," Gimenez said, "and if it does not I will move to lower the tolls."
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There's more on the commission meeting from Charles Rabin at The Miami Herald.

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