As absurd as it sounds, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) wants to encourage you to ride your bicycle in rush hour traffic along US 1 in Palmetto Bay.
As part of a major roadway project on state road 5 (also known as US Highway 1 / South Dixie Highway), FDOT proposes to restripe the outside lane, from SW 168 street to SW 136 street, to allow bicyclists to share the lane with motorized vehicles.
Are they serious?
Miami is a perennial top-ten finisher in studies that rank our area for bad drivers. An Allstate Insurance study found Miami drivers 31.6% more likely than the average motorist to have an accident. In another study, we earned the dubious distinction of being voted the home of the rudest drivers in America - two years in a row.*
Do we really want our bicycle riders to share a lane on South Dixie Highway with texting drivers and 18-wheelers???
The roadway project was presented by FDOT in an informal public meeting on May 5. Proposed work includes repaving the highway and upgrading sidewalks, signage, and drainage - and the addition of the bicycle lane. At that meeting, EPB spoke with Charles Alfaro, a project manager with Metric Engineering, the firm contracted to oversee the construction. According to Alfaro, "The state has mandated an increase in bicycle transportation corridors."
We reminded Mr. Alfaro that a long and safe bicycle lane already exists just 100 feet west of US 1 - along the South Miami-Dade Busway!
The busway runs parallel to US 1 and extends as far north as the Dadeland Metrorail station, and as far south as Florida City. It includes a wide, marked bicycle lane - a safe distance from the congestion and traffic of the highway.
Here's the irony - the busway was built by FDOT.
Our village politicians, the Palmetto Bay Department of Planning & Zoning, and our residents need to step up. A second bicycle lane is not needed along the US 1 transportation corridor in Palmetto Bay. A shared lane with motorized traffic is not as safe as the existing bike path along the busway, and the project is a needless expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
Comments should be addressed to:
Florida Department of Transportation
District Six Public Information Office
1000 NW 111 Avenue, Room 6134
Miami, FL 33172
or email Marta.Rodriguez@dot.state.fl.us
or call (305)-470-5873
Construction on the $3.8M project is slated to begin in July, 2012, and last approximately 300 days.
Are there other transportation and safety issues that need to be addressed in Palmetto Bay? Please share your concerns with your fellow residents. Drop us a post at email@example.com or text us at 305-720-7245.
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