Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sunset plans disappoint cyclists

Hopeful bicyclists found little to cheer about in the state's latest plans for repaving Sunset Drive just west of South Miami. Cyclists have been asking for bike lanes on this east-west street for years, and despite serial disappointments from the City of South Miami we nurtured hope that state road engineers might be opening to the concept. If they are, you couldn't tell it last night from the plans laid out at St. Matthew Church (photo by Tony Blazejack) for public questions and comment.

Following cyclists' complaints last fall about no bike lanes with the proposed 12-foot lanes in each direction, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) now presents a narrower median, 11-foot inner lanes and 14-foot outer lanes, with a new sidewalk on the north side of Sunset where bus stops today stand isolated in the grassy berm. For walkers that sidewalk makes the new plans an improvement.

Cyclists were at least skeptical about what they saw. While the plans include numerous "share the road" signs along the 14-foot lanes, Miami cyclists have lately become aware that wide lanes encourage speeding. Would painted "sharrows" on the 14-foot lanes underline the message of the signs? Some traffic engineers think sharrows work, but FDOT has yet to embrace this tool.

Everyone seemed to assume that speed on Sunset won't be decreased. But what if it could be? That's at least worth considering as you make your comments to FDOT project manager Hong Benitez.

For a few views of last night's meeting, see German Ma's album at Facebook.

1 comment:

vey said...

I don't know why people would be disappointed. I would be happy with a 14' lane and no stripes.

Why do people think a stripe of white paint would protect them more than a wide outer lane?

All the time I see cars slipping off the road, over the fog line stripe and jerking their way back on the road. Sometimes, I read about how they "lose control" when they do that and then there is a crash when they over-correct.

Stop worrying about collisions from behind and start worrying about the cyclists who use the sidewalks even when there is a painted white line and a lane.