Op-ed: Miami-Dade Commissioner’s Resolution Is Bad for Bicycling

By | September 4th, 2012 | No Comments
Miami Critical Mass by @jaredaronson

A proposed resolution would hinder the construction of bike facilities on Miami streets, activists say. — photo by @jaredaronson via Instagram

Hank Sanchez-Resnik is on the Board of Directors of Green Mobility Network, which advocates “to make Miami-Dade County a safer and more enjoyable place to bike, run, and walk.” Beached Miami does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in this op-ed.

Too often in Miami-Dade County the dramas related to bicycling involve crashes, cyclists who have been injured or maimed, and hit-and-runs caused by irresponsible drivers. Just before the 2012 Labor Day Weekend, a new and unexpected drama began to play out when County Commissioner Rebecca Sosa (District 6) introduced a resolution that has the potential to make things much worse for bicyclists, not just in Miami-Dade County but throughout the state.

Originally the resolution, Agenda Item #121569, was scheduled for a vote at the regularly scheduled County Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 4. The agenda called for a vote without a public hearing, and the resolution was developed without input from local cyclists and advocates. It felt like a sneak attack.

Whether it was intended as a sneak attack is a mystery. The language of the resolution is so ambiguous that it’s hard to tell what Commissioner Sosa actually intended. But the implications of the resolution are clear: it has the potential to change a progressive state law that requires the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians when building new streets or repaving existing streets on state roads in urban areas.

The law was virtually ignored in South Florida for most of a generation. Now that advocates have succeeded in getting FDOT to follow the law, it is meeting with resistance — first in Miami Beach in the debate about Alton Road and now in the Sosa resolution. Although the resolution seems to praise bicycling as a mode of transportation, in trying to get more local control over street projects, it has the potential to move the entire state backwards with regard to bicycle facilities on major streets controlled by FDOT.

Fortunately, the drama will not be resolved on Tuesday, September 4. The entire County Commission meeting has been postponed to Thursday, September 6.

Green Mobility Network has taken the lead in asking the commissioners to pull the resolution from the agenda so cycling advocates can meet with Commissioner Sosa and work out new language for a resolution that won’t put cyclists at risk.

Please copy the following message and send it to the e-mail addresses below. Do it now! It’s not too late to stop this ill-advised resolution.

Re: Sept. 6, 2012, Agenda Item #121569–Bad for Bicycling–Please Pull From Agenda

To the Board of County Commissioners:

Item #121569 on the Sept. 6 agenda is bad for bicycling in Miami-Dade County and potentially the entire state of Florida. It would turn back the clock on significant progress in winning accommodation for bicyclists and pedestrians using urban roadways. It was placed on your agenda without public input. I urge you to pull it from the agenda and make time for public discussion of this important matter.

Here is a list of email addresses for Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the various districts:

mayor [at] miamidade [dot] gov, officeofthechair [at] miamidade [dot] gov, bjordan [at] miamidade [dot] gov, district2 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, district3 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, district4 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, district5 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, district6 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, District7 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, District8 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, DennisMoss [at] miamidade [dot] gov, district10 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, district11 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, District12 [at] miamidade [dot] gov, district13 [at] miamidade [dot] gov

If you would prefer to register your concern by phone, please make two phone calls to request that the resolution be pulled from the agenda. You can call the following:

Mayor Carlos Gimenez: 305-375-5071
Commissioner Rebecca Sosa: 305-375-5696

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