Friday, June 19, 2020

Back pedaling. Palmetto Bay - has relinquished its honorable mention as a bicycle friendly community.

I have blogged on this topic several times. Now the Miami Herald as taken notice, see: Bike lanes to nowhere: Miami lags behind other cities during coronavirus bicycling boom, by Linda Robertson, 6/18/2020, noting that:
A bicycling boom has swept the world, propelled by the coronavirus pandemic. Cities have reacted to plummeting traffic by creating new bike lanes and connecting old ones for workers needing an alternative to subways and buses, for stir-crazy families and for people running errands, seeking exercise or visiting friends.
  ***   ***   ***Just when bike infrastructure is in high demand, nothing is happening in a metropolis consistently ranked as one of the deadliest places in the country for cyclists, an audit by Transit Alliance Miami found. A 10-block stretch of Ocean Drive in South Beach is the only street in greater Miami that’s been completely closed to cars in response to the pandemic, mainly to relieve crowding in Lummus Park and enable socially distanced dining.
As reported in the Herald, South Florida leaders have not designated new bike lanes and continue to let old bike master plans that map out a cycling network languish on the shelf. So let’s take a look at what has happened since the change in administrations here in Palmetto Bay:

Why have long term strategic plans if elected officials are going to ignore them? We all realize that new mayors, new councils, bring with them new policies and priorities. Sometimes change is good and sometimes it is shortsighted. Regardless, there should be room for bike/motorist safety with this current mayor and Council. The mixed messages delivered during the election are being sorted out through ongoing actions (and in-action).  Please see my prior post of November 21, 2018, relating to the $1,000,000 TAP grant obtained for bike lane safety improvements on SW 82nd Avenue. It is decision time: Bike lanes or not, safe streets or not.  Follow through with the Palmetto Bay Traffic Master Plan and Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan or not? Do you know what has happened since that time? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Bike lanes are important, both for the safety of the cyclists as well as providing additional lane space for motorists.

by Amelia Neptune

As more Americans turn to biking during the pandemic, the League of American Bicyclists honors the communities across the country making biking better for everyone 

The League of American Bicyclists honored 38 places with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award in its Spring 2020 round of awards. There were eight first-time applicants earning Honorable Mentions. The 38 first-time communities join 482 total BFC awardees in the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.  I will spoil the anticipation – Palmetto Bay is off the list. (CLICK HERE to view the list of 482 exclusive communities)
 “Undeniably, during the pandemic more Americans are biking to get around and to experience the joy that comes with being on a bike ,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “The League is proud to recognize  these Bicycle Friendly Communities where leaders, both in government and advocacy, have committed to building better places for people to ride, whether they are new or seasoned. Bringing the joy of biking to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds is at the core of the mission of the League, and these Bicycle Friendly Communities are doing just that.”
All those families riding Palmetto Bay – and yet their efforts are not supported by our local mayor and village council. Sad. And out of touch.

We were once on our way to completing the Palmetto Bay Bicycle and Pedestrian master plan - a professional strategic plan for roadway safety. That is now off track and the talk among some professionals is whether Palmetto Bay is going to turn back $1 Million in current awarded grants as well as forgoing future roadway grants. Go back to the Palmetto Bay Strategic Plan (approved February 2019 - under this current mayor and council) and search "bicycle" - look how many times it is mentioned. Compare talk versus action. Promises versus delivery. 

The League of American Bicyclists had once listed Palmetto Bay as an "honorable mention" for re-starting efforts to address the need of bicyclists in our community. 

Communities that earn an Honorable Mention are recognized for a year. These communities are recognized for starting efforts to address the need of bicyclists in their community. They often have popular shared use paths, community-wide bicycling events, or recent bicycle planning processes. Over 100 communities that originally earned an Honorable Mention have gone on to be awarded a Bronze designation or better.
Please see my prior post of December 5, 2017, Palmetto Bay earned an honorable mention as a bicycle friendly community.

Now it appears that we are no longer a listed community. Good work squandered.

And, by the way, Miami-Dade County is listed as a Bronze community.  Palmetto Bay has officially sunk below Miami-Dade County on this issue!  Who remained and moved up on the list? City of Miami, Village of Key Biscayne, Doral, Miami-Dade County, South Miami, Miami Beach and Miami Shores are all communities that have moved up to Bronze or Silver certification. We, Palmetto Bay, was once with or even ahead of these communities.

This while the City of Miami was recently Awarded Bronze as a Bicycle Friendly Community, recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as having made significant progress since last year's recognition as a Honorable Mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The City of Miami will continue to expand its bicycle network and work to create a safer more bicycle friendly atmosphere.  Meanwhile, what is Palmetto Bay's next steps toward updating its traffic infrastructure and promoting alternative and healthier methods of travel within our Village. I will be covering this matter throughout my blogs. We have bike safety issues throughout the village. Palmetto Bay was working through issues on 82nd Avenue, SW 136th Street, SW 168th Street as well as Old Cutler Road.

Palmetto Bay families enjoy bicycling. Its family time.  See just one example: A great start - the inaugural "Bike By The Bay" - Saturday, October 17, 2015

Will Palmetto Bay relinquish its title to #TheBikeDistrict?  Bicycling Palmetto Bay has been a large part of our character and has been integrated into many of our events such as our Earth Week celebrations:

CLICK HERE to view my prior posts relating to bicycling in our Palmetto Bay community.

CLICK HERE to see the entire list posted online by the League of American Bicyclists. 

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