The issue of public participation and notice of meetings is another discussion for another time.
This present blog post is about wide sidewalks and what they will look like here in Palmetto Bay. I have posted aerial and street level photos below showing a 10 foot multi use path in a residential area. The area is SW 87th Avenue and Miller Road area.
Is this what councilwoman Marsha Matson is proposing for Palmetto Bay?
Please note this post is informational in order to discuss, not attack, the proposal. There are pros and cons to this proposal, as in most any ideas. I discuss some of the issues below.
How would such a path look, running alongside either SW 184th or SW 136th Streets? Along US1, would vehicles pulling out of stores and shopping centers stop before entering these paths or will they continue through to the edge of the road where they would block the path or worse, could plow into any bicyclists riding on the path?
Would your opinion change about such a path when advised that bicyclists would not be legally required to use such a path instead of the roadway?
Note: This is just one way such a path could be completed. Perhaps softer walkways, such as used in paths at the park are prepare, though paths such as the one proposed for surrounding Palmetto Bay would certainly be subjected to much heavier, constant use including trucks and cars that would be driving over it to enter or exit properties.
PROs / CONs
Pros: Nice wide sidewalk that services multiple uses including pedestrians, joggers, walkers with strollers, dogs, accompanying children in pedal cars or small trikes, as well as some slow moving cyclists.
Cons: Bicyclists competing with pedestrians, moving in same direction as the pedestrians or other users identified above.
Cons for property owners: That's a lot of cement in front of homes and/or businesses. Much more green space/drainage swale is taken up than simple bike lanes.
Additional cons specific to cycling: Bicyclists are vehicle drivers, they belong on the road… and they are safer on the road. This type of path discourages use by cyclists as, unlike the street or bike lanes, the route is constantly undulating due to the driveway curb cuts.
Adult bicyclists do not belong on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk is unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists on the sidewalk expose motorists to a higher risk of hitting them when entering or leaving the road — where the motorists are likely to be at fault in such a crash.
FLORIDA LAW RELATING TO BICYCLES:
In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.