Thursday, December 31, 2020

On the lighter side. Basic goal met for 2020. 4,000 - which my have been more miles than my car commute in this strange 2020.

4,000 miles. My third best year to date. I was once on pace for 5,200, having reached just over 2,600 miles at the end of June (thanks to a monster month of March). The practice eventually resumes and miles were lost to catching up on work delayed due to COVID closures. 

Here are some of my photos. Fun times. New cycling friends gained and I spent significant time on gravel for 2020. This will continue in 2021 and into the future.

Happy New Year. Welcome 2021

Happy New Years. I am looking forward to prevailing in the challenges that 2020 created.

Good bye 2020. What a year. I cannot think of a year where we actually looked forward to counting down the end of a year, actually looking forward to a bound in the arriving New Year. We went from the musings of wanting Barbara Waters to welcome in "This is 2020" at the New Years shows to late February/March when we were hit with harsh realities of how nature is boss when the pandemic hit us hard. Too few took the Coronavirus seriously until it became a bonafide crisis. This was/is real and it is far from over. Coronavirus doesn't end at midnight. It joins us to kick off 2021. 

Government needs to quit coronavirus as a photo op. We need to move the vaccine to those who want it; educate, reassure those who are fearful of medicine, and wipe out Coronavirus. we need to get our economy restarted and - most of all - learn from this and (not only) have a plan ready, but have the infrastructure in place, to prevent a repeat of 2020/21. The US has to rethink its vaccine strategy. 331 million people need to be vaccinated. We are what, > 3 million into the first of two doses? The shots need to move into more arms.

What are your goals for 2021?

To stay safe and be my brother's keeper - do my part not to spread or prolong this pandemic.

To get vaccinated when my number comes up. 2020 was the first year I participated in the seasonal flue shot and I will take my second (or is it a booster) shot to complete the shingles vaccine that I also started in 2020. I have otherwise always participated in vaccines, childhood and adult. 

I will continue to build my law practice and advocate for my passions, including government transparency and accountability, transportation, safe cycling and preserving and protecting our environment. 

I thank everyone for their friendship, business, and/or readership in 2020.

I look forward to another year of cycling, both road cycling as well as gravel - an area I increased preparticipation in due to the pandemic. 

Keep riding, stay health in 2021. 

Your friend and neighbor,

Eugene Flinn

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Really? 18.4 miles of MEGA sidewalks planned for Palmetto Bay? Look what our local officials have placed in the 2045 County Master Plan.

What a difference a change in leadership makes. Have you viewed the September 2019 Miami-Dade County 2019 updated to the County Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan? If not, it may be time as many of these projects are slated for completion by 2023 and we are now entering 2021.

The short term projects still allege 4 foot wide bike lanes totaling 3.6 gross miles. But note the areas slated to receive 8 foot wide (MEGA) path - a total of 18.4 miles of MEGA sidewalk are slated for the areas indicted on the excerpt posted below. 

94 AVE - SW 175 ST to SW 184 ST    Install 8' wide multi-use path 0.5 gross mile
160 ST -  SW 164 ST to SW 89 AVE Install 8' wide multi-use path 1.5 gross mile 
141 ST  - SW 87 AVE to SW 175 ST Install 8' wide multi-use path 2.4 gross mile
152 ST  - SW 85 AVE to SW 151 ST Install 8' wide multi-use path 0.7 gross mile
77 CT    - SW 139 TER to SW 57 AVE Install 8' wide multi-use path 3.9 gross mile 
87 AVE - SW 79 AVE to SW 79 AVE Install 8' wide multi-use path 1.3 gross mile
135 ST - Old Cutler Rd to SW 184 ST Install 8' wide multi-use path 3.5 gross mile 
152 ST - SW 72 AVE to Old Cutler Rd Install 8' wide multi-use path 1.2 gross mile
Old Cutler Rd - 135 ST to SW 184 ST Install 8' wide multi-use path 3.4 gross mile

That's a lot of 8 foot wide MEGA paths paving through Palmetto Bay. 
Did you receive a survey asking your opinion? 
Were you invited to participate in a Town Hall meeting to discuss these planned projects?

CLICK HERE to review the two pages specifically referencing plans for Palmetto Bay (2 pages).

CLICK HERE to view the full document (256 pages) the 2045 Miami-Dade Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan, September 2019

The Palmetto Bay Priorities are listed beginning online .PDF page 52. See figures 19, 20 and 21, all posted below. 




Here are my questions:

Where are the 8 foot mega sidewalks shown in the update (2019) County Plan referenced in the current Palmetto Bay Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan  adopted in 2019 with significant public involvement?

When did Palmetto Bay officials transmit to the County that Palmetto Bay was in agreement with the proposed mega sidewalks as referenced in figures 19, 20 & 21, as provided above?

When and how did the current Mayor and Village Council Members involve or even notify the public, particularly those who will be most affected by the MEGA sidewalks.

Post update. Signs and fixtures being taken down at Palmetto Bay's (now former) Offerdahl’s. POD

 Sad (for many of us) photos of the day (taken Wednesday, 12-30-2020).  These photos bring finality to the location as first revealed in the PRIOR RELATED POST of December 17, 2020, COVID Casualty. Offerdahl’s Palmetto Bay location will not reopen. Memories and Offerdahl’s Statement.

FOSDU provided these two photos of the signs and fixtures being taken down and removed from the Offerdahl’s Palmetto Bay location.  

I have not received any concrete information on what will replace the Offerdahl’s at this Palmetto Bay location. Anyone with information can feel free to share so I can keep everyone in the loop.

Litigation update. Palmetto Bay response to LUXCOM lawsuit is due today, Wednesday, 12/30/2020

The Palmetto Bay response is due to be filed today, Wednesday, 12/30/2020. I expect a voluminous motion to dismiss with a detailed memorandum of law. The document(s) will be available immediately upon filing to the attorneys and their clients, but unless the current mayor and/or council choose to release it, the public will have to wait for the document(s) to clear redaction before they are viewable on the Miami-Dade Court public docket. The non-connected members of the public may have to wait as long as 5 business days to see the filing.

Would you like some background on this lawsuit? CLICK HERE to view PRIOR RELATED POST of November 10, 2020, 701 pages, 144 mb of lawsuit. I have posted a link to the Yacht Club by Luxcom v. Village of Palmetto Bay. A very long read

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Status please re: 82nd avenue bike lanes. Where is the village project timeline? The money is mentioned in the budget, but no mention of completion is what is at issue.

What a difference a change in administrations makes - in transparency, in responsiveness as well as in results. Has anyone noticed how projects and timelines are fluid, if provided at all?

I have been asking for updates as to the completion of the 82nd avenue bike lane project. See a PRIOR RELATED POST of November 21, 2018, Follow up – requesting status of the $1,000,000.00 TAP grant, will the new council follow through to maintain our priority for bicycle lanes, attempt to repurpose the money or reject this grant? for background.

2019 went by without a peep. No public discussion was held in 2020. Then, buried deep within the budget message (and, therefore, the adopted budget) is the following:
82nd Avenue Bicycle Lane: Florida Department of Transportation has awarded a grant of $1,000,000 to the Village for the construction of a bicycle lane on SW 82nd Avenue from SW 160th Street to SW 136th Street. Construction funding is allocated by the Transportation Planning Organization for FY 2024. The first phase of the project, which encompassed the portion from SW 168th Street to SW 160th Street, has been completed. The last phase would take the bike lane to SW 136th Street. The overall transportation revenue anticipated for FY 2020-21 is $1,463,700. However, $554,282 of said total represents personnel costs, leaving a balance of $909,418. Some of the items above are already accounted for in the operating budget, specifically items V and X. Total operating costs allocated for FY 2020-21 are $1,278,600. The revenue deficit needed to meet associated costs for the budget cycle is being funded from prior-year surpluses.
CLICK HERE and scroll to page 24.

So at least current village officials are now admitting that there is the $1 Million TAP Grant. Now, can we get a timeline for completion or rejection and return of the grant?

The first step in transparency was to ADMIT there is a viable $1 million TAP Grant for Bike Lanes. (Even if the admission was provided cryptically and buried deep within a really dry-read document.) A good next step would be to publicly provide information on the status and then the project timeline.

Where is this disclosure? This item is listed (on page 24) under a category listed as "Expense Allocation Highlights" which is defined as a category (category discussion begins on page 23) where the Village officials "... review the expense side of the equation and in consideration of potential issues and possible funding shortfalls, we provide this recap for your review:"

The following are listed as Expense Allocation Highlights:
Public Safety
Legal Services
General Fund Revenues
82nd Avenue Bicycle Lane - buried at the bottom of page 24, where few, if any, take notice.

The question I have been asking is for the timeline for this hard fought project or an admission that they are going to let this project go and return the $1,000,000.00 TAP Grant to an agency that will put these tax dollars to work.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Why I ride. I met my original goal of 4,000 miles (all purpose)

We are finally reaching the end of 2020, a year that few, if any, will be sorry to see behind us.

Activities matter. We are not out of the woods as far as the Coronavirus, as I most likely not qualify to receive the vaccine until June or July at the earliest, by my calculations. But this post is not about that, it is about cycling, but cycling is one activity that meets the COVID guidelines. I ride. I reached my original goal of 4,000 mile on Sunday, December 27, 2020. It took a ride of 40 miles on Sunday to reach the 4,000 mile mark. This year's goal was met by riding both on and off road (gravel/trail riding).

2020 was my third best year insofar as total mileage. I do have a goal to one year exceed 5,200 miles. I was on track to reach that goal having just over 2,600 miles as of June 30, 2020, but this was not to be the year. The summer storms as well as the realities of the legal practice significantly reined in the monthly totals for July through September.

Longest rides this year? 66, 64 and 58 miles. I have longer rides in past history.

Goals for 2021 include at least 2 rides each exceeding 100 miles.

My 4,000 miles biking came close to my total for car commuting in this partial work from home year of Coronavirus 2020.

This year did see significantly more mileage on gravel. Fun times. Nature riding.

(NOTE: Photos above depict events  in early 2020 pre-pandemic)

Cycling can be done within the family bubble as well as in a safe, socially distanced manner. 

Other posts related to my cycling adventures and why I bike can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Happy New Year! 

What are your goals for 2021?

I prefer to let the pictures tell the story, so feel free to explore my past posts and the embedded photos.


The post would not be complete without a few cycling related quotes (originally posted on my post of July 25, 2020, Why I bike. Marking my 58th with a 58 mile ride. I missed the rain.):

“In politics, one can learn some things from cycling, such as how to have character and courage. Sometimes in politics there isn’t enough of those things.”

Guy Verhofstadt, Prime Minister of Belgium, 2004

 “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”

Ernest Hemingway

“One Less Car” & “We are not blocking traffic; we are traffic.”
Cycle advocacy slogans

And both sides of the aisle agree:

“Nothing compares to getting your heart rate up to 170-something, riding hard for an hour-twenty, getting off and not hurting, as opposed to 24 minutes of running, at the end of which I hurt. When you ride a bike and you get your heart rate up and you’re out, after 30 or 40 minutes your mind tends to expand; it tends to relax.

President George ‘Dubya’ Bush, May 2004

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”

President John F. Kennedy

Friday, December 25, 2020

One of my favorite Christmas stories. How NORAD started the Santa Tracker: NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport : NPR

A great read - NPR (originally published December 19, 2014)

Read the full NPR story as related by the grown children of Col. Harry Shoup who came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." Col. Shoup passed away in 2009.

Merry Christmas - 2020 - remembering the Christmas Truce in WWI - read History dot com account

Christmas Time - a time for a little truce and ponder the true meaning of Christmas.

One of my favorite Christmas events still remembered - Christmas in wartime - leading to the brief respite that came to be know as the Christmas truce. 
Read the full account on Christmas Truce of 1914
On December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus of the war for the celebration of Christmas. The warring countries refused to create any official cease-fire, but on Christmas the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial truce.
At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.
Some soldiers used this short-lived ceasefire for a more somber task: the retrieval of the bodies of fellow combatants who had fallen within the no-man’s land between the lines.
The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.
Info above taken verbatim from History.Com
Photo: “1914 Christmas Truce Monument, Messine.”

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Where is Santa now? NORAD Tracks Santa - 2020. This is for the young and young at heart

 NORAD Tracks Santa A recommended site.

Click on this link to Welcome to NORAD Tracks Santa to view where Santa is at the time.  

Or follow Santa on Google's Santa Tracker by CLICKING HERE 

Always a family favorite, at least until the kids age out.


Merry Christmas

Eugene Flinn and family

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

POD - Photos from the #GreatConjunction.

The photo of the day will be multiple photos of the day. I have received some photos from the #GreatConjunction that occurred on Monday evening, December 21, 2020. This apparent event occurred when Jupiter and Saturn aligned to appear as one single bright point. 

The event is not over, but the planets were best aligned on 12/21. They will still be in close proximity.  I set up one of my telescopes. The half moon and Mars were also visible. Monday was a great evening to view the heavens. 

It was great to see so many people watching the same event, socially distanced. For just a moment, it felt as if we were all in Brooklyn Heights, and we were all observing Cosmo’s Moon (sorry, inside movie reference). 

Above and below, great views of the Miami City Skyline. Fellow residents traveled to some unique places to take photos from farm fields near Krome Avenue, to Tamiami Trail and even to Downtown Miami. [Photo credit (above and below) - Mark Merwitzer]
Posted below are some great close ups. I don't know where or how far she had to travel to obtain these close ups:
Photo credit (above and below) - Jennifer Finger
A great time was had by many. Feel free to send any additional photos for me to post. Just let me know if you would like or would decline photo credit. My personal "best" photo is posted below (you can see the 'Christmas Star' just to the left of the palm tree in my neighbor's yard):