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Friday, January 09, 2009

Miami making bicycle progress, at last

Image of bicycling couple in Miami FL
From the Miami Herald, 01.09.09:

More and more, Miami becomes a bike-friendly city
Miami's long-downtrodden but growing community of bicyclists is reaping a sudden bonanza: Miles of new bike lanes and plans for more. A new monthly, family-friendly bike festival downtown. And a clutch of bike-friendly proposals designed to promote cycling for recreation and commuting.

On Saturday, Miami-Dade County will formally inaugurate new dedicated bike lanes along the full length of the Rickenbacker Causeway by closing half the roadway for the morning and letting cyclists, roller bladers and pedestrians have the run of it.

The following weekend, on Jan. 18, the city of Miami will host the third, expanded edition of Bike Miami Days, the monthly effort by the administration of Mayor Manny Diaz to promote urban fun and safe cycling by closing off streets in downtown and the Brickell area in hopeful emulation of the famed Ciclovía in Bogotá.

And that's not all: Miami-Dade Commissioner Carlos Gimenez is sponsoring an ordinance, patterned after regulations in Portland and other famously bike-friendly cities, that would require bike racks in all new public and private commercial developments in unincorporated areas, plus encourage installation of showers and lockers for bike commuters.

"There's a lot of big momentum," said Brett Bibeau, chairman of the county's Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee. "There is significant progress being made."

If anything, Miami is coming late to the pedal party. The popularity of cycling is rising sharply across the country, and bike lanes, bike parking and other forms of "bicycle infrastructure" are increasingly seen as essential urban amenities.

Cities from New York to Chicago to San Francisco have installed miles of dedicated bike lanes, instituted bicycle days in which major streets are closed to cars, and launched programs to promote bike commuting and safety. (Read more.)
Great news from Miami, named last year by Bicycling magazine as one of the three worst cities for bicyclists in the U.S. Clearly city leadership has gotten the message. This article suggests that bicycling has become a favorite cause of politicos eager to tame traffic and burnish their "green" credentials. There's now much optimism. With its flat terrain and year-round warm weather, Miami could be an outstanding bicycling city. And an inspiration to bicycle advocates across the nation--if it can happen in Miami...

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Florida Bicycle Association
Visit: Bicycle lanes on Rickenbacker Causeway first of many Miami cycling projects, Miami Herald
Visit: Cycling The Contours of Miami, Planetizen
Visit: TransitMiami Bicycle Lanes
Visit: Miami getting friendlier for cyclists, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Make Miami a bicycle friendly city, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

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