Monday, December 29, 2008
Although it looks complete the new traffic island at SW 57th Avenue (Red Rd) and US -1 has a 4-6" wide channel cut about 6-8" deep on either side between the newly poured curb/ramp and the existing road surface. THIS IS EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS for bicycle riders, joggers or even pedestrians. The cut is not marked in either direction and is at an angle to the pedestrian crossing so could easily capture the front wheel of a bicycle. WALK bicycles across this intersection until it is repaired properly.
ANOTHER SAFETY ISSUE
The pedestrian crossing signals at SW 27th Avenue and US-1 were not operational this morning (12/29)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Back on the M-Path after a few weeks of travel and allergy stuff. Some observations:
- The South Miami intersection at Sunset Dr (SW 72nd St) is complete and nicely done. Nice signalization and clear crossing marks.
- New construction at the Red Rd (SW 57th Ave) intersection. No warning...you are in the intersection before it is obvious that a new median is under construction. BE CAREFUL!
- The sidewalk to path transition at Douglas Rd (SW 37th Ave)has been completed. Work on the adjoining sidewalk to the north continues...GO SLOW!
- The dangerously broken chainlink fence at the 27th Ave intersection has been completely removed...THANKS to M-D Transit?
This weather is great for commuting to work. The best areas of the Path are looking very good: Coral Gables in front of UM and through "The Roads" closer to Miami are the best...very relaxing.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Another salute to the grass trimmers working on the Path in the Gables between Lejeune and the new Ponce circle who were courteous enough to park their truck off of the paved pathway. Thanks guys.
Monday, September 22, 2008
SW 16th Avenue's intersection with US-1 is a "T"-type. There is no continuation of 16th Ave east of the Highway. The roadways are signalized but the crossing is not.
There is a sign hanging above the roadway facing 16th Ave which reads: "Right Turn On Red From Right Lane Only". And yes, there is second southbound lane on 16th Avenue so in order for a motor vehicle to turn right on red a driver in the right lane would have to :
- nose his vehicle out far enough to see around the vehicle next to him in the other lane
- to gain the required visibility to the high speed traffic coming south on US-1 he/she would by necessity have to cross the stop line and completely block the striped crossing
- because of the continuous southbound US-1 traffic during most of the day the entering driver could not afford to take his/her eyes off of the line of traffic and would therefore NEVER see a bicyclist or pedestrian approaching from the south on the M-Path
So by permitting this turn the vehicle driver is forced to break the law in order to even make an attempt to enter the traffic flow without signalized assistance. Look, what's the chance of making a safe merge onto a busy US-1 anyway? Why not use some common sense and replace the sign with one that says: "No Right On Red"?
There are other intersections with permitted right-on-red turns to Southbound US-1 along the M-Path. Who needs them? They are inconsistent and dangerous to drivers and M-Path users alike. I urge the County, City (who does have the authority?) to prohibit these turns all along the Path, BUT LET'S START AT SW 16th AVENUE!
Appreciative nod to the grass cutting crew working along the Path in the Gables this morning. They courteously parked their truck off of the pavement.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Re: Tuesday's Green Mobility Network meeting
The turnout was fantastic - JHop is claiming around forty - but even more exciting was the draft of the Bicycle Action Plan for the City of Miami. Though the M-Path is the County's domain, several bike lanes are now in the works that would intersect the path.
I will wait for the finalized plan to dive into specifics, but key East/West lanes seemed priority on the presented draft. This is both an exciting and critical moment for improving the bicycling infrastructure in South Florida. Though Mayor Diaz was a no show, he dispatched staff members who adamantly proclaimed his intent to create the action plan and set it in motion.
Now, if not more than ever, the importance of the M-Path is visible as a potential main artery for bicycling traffic south of the downtown area. For the sake of connectivity, it is absolutely imperative that the county cooperate with the City of Miami and respond to our initiative.
Finally, A big shout out to Mike Lydon from Transit Miami who worked very hard on developing this action plan alongside city staffers - and took the time to patiently go over the draft with everyone at the meeting.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The Green Mobility Network, quite possibly the solution to the rusted, clunky drive train that is South Florida's bicycling advocacy, will hold a meeting tomorrow night near downtown Miami.
There are all sorts of reasons you, the concerned cyclist and/or pedestrian, should attend. One is to take a sneak peak at portions of the inaugural Bicycle Action Plan for the City of Miami, drafted by city staffers and volunteers. Another reason to go is to network with like-minded cyclists/pedestrians and check out some good opportunities to find ways to do your own advocating (other than just riding and yelling at distracted drivers, of course).
I've attended a few meetings and the draw is usually very diverse, spanning all types of citizenry and everyone is very approachable. So don't be shy.
Place: Garden Center @ Simpson Park
Time: 7:30PM, Tuesday, September 15
Spoke's has the details.
Wait, wait, wait - bicycle, action, plan, AND Miami... all in the same sentence? If you didn't just fall out of your chair, you need to wake yourself up.
May your track stands be lengthy,
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Some observations after my first couple of rides:
The new paved path from the north end of the South Miami transit station to the controlled crossing at US-1 and SW 70th St is nearly complete. CONGRATULATIONS to Miami-Dade Transit for this improvement to safely lead users of the M-Path and station to and from this crossing point.
But what's the new fence and gate all about?
Also, because of the gate installation at the south end of the new pavement it remains very narrow where it joins the old path. So the old blind corner has not been substantially relieved. Why not lose the gate and make the intersection of the paths wider?
Yesterday there were 2 grass cutting crews working along the Path. Neither was blocking the pavement, a very good thing. Today there was another and, you guessed it, smack in the middle! I politely asked if next time the truck could be parked on the grass and was politely received. But wouldn't be easier to simply have a "no blocking" requirement for any contract or other maintenance work on or around the Path?
The work on the condominium constructuion at SW 1st Rd, south of Broadway has at least temporarily given back the street. No need these last few days to detour to S Miami Ave, although the resurfacing of Broadway has caused some resourceful re-routing. That should be completed by the end of today.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
- Substandard design
- Poor visibility
- Missing trail segments
- Lack of trail continuity and connectivity
- Encroachment of trail
- Deteriorating pavement conditions
Sunday, July 27, 2008
For anyone familiar with the M-Path this is a familiar and dangerous sight; Cars blowing right through crosswalks making right hand turns (or more likely, camping out there, because the traffic on US 1 is so thick that they'll never get to turn anyway) despite the fact that bikers and pedestrians having the green light. You would think threatening signs like this:
Friday, June 27, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Referring to the previous post, construction is continuing on SW 1st Ave just south of SW 15th Rd. The road is closed both ways and you can guess where traffic is redirected to... the M-Path, of course.
It's advisable to avoid this section altogether (one block east, South Miami Avenue has new bike lanes between SW 15th & 26th) or approach with extreme caution. Riding in this morning, the individuals responsible for flagging traffic were sitting in the shade enjoying a meal while cars drove up and down the M-Path unhindered.
As always, feel free to let us and others know about similar problems.
Be safe out there,
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
During one particularly spirited ride home from Downtown Miami, I crossed Alhambra Circle Road (in front of the U of M). If you've ever trekked through this area you probably noticed that the transition from crosswalk to sidewalk to parking lot (a conduit of the M-Path in this instance) is a bit disjointed on the southern side. The only way to avoid the curbed drop into the parking lot is to cut through a small grassy patch near the crosswalk signal.
It's no big deal, but I ride a road bike with skinny tires and my curb-hopping antics are reserved for special occasions. I crossed the street with a bit of momentum and detoured through the grass like I normally would, except I veered a little to the left for some inexplicable reason and found myself descending into the eternal pit of darkness. OK, it was only a hole about one-foot deep, one-foot around and just my front wheel went in - but the interaction of gravity and momentum resulted in a glorious face plant in clear view of rush hour traffic and a handful of UM students. If someone had it on video, the manuever would undoubtedly vault to YouTube greatness.
After a couple of indirect F-bombs that only added humor to the situation, I calmed down and found the hole. I put my foot in it. My foot was now completely hidden in the grass. The thing was completely invisible even standing in it.
Maybe it was because I grew up falling out of trees or something, but somehow I managed to escape relatively unscathed. The same grass that hid this demonic bike trap saved my face, but I stewed at the thought that this damned hole was perfect for swallowing a bicycle tire or an ankle.
After a quick adjustment to the handle bars (always carry a multi tool, kids) I made it home and plopped down in front of my computer, pompously reeling in dismay that such a landmine could exist along MY homeward commute. I found the complaint form on Miami-Dade Transit's website (see contact info). My initial response was not a cheerful one. I decided to sit on it for a few hours before submitting it.
Later that night, I rewrote it from a non-inquisitor's perspective. I concentrated on not sounding like a crazed maniac foaming with disgust and tried my best to express how this thing could do some damage. Someone may actually decide to read it, I figured, so why not. If I sound relatively sincere, something might get done.
In all honesty, I never expected to hear of it again. My only motivation was to say I tried. The thought about making a "China - This Way" sign to stick over it intrigued me, but I would give the county a shot first. I clicked send and imagined the complaint spiraling down a dark, never ending hole of its own.
Why the pessimism?
I, like many fellow Miamians, tend to hold the view of our local government and its departments as "the glass is not half-full, somebody drank it and chucked it against the wall". It seems that Miami has a long way to go as a large-scale metropolis in providing service and basic functions of government to its citizens.
Then my phone rang.
I received a phone call from a Mr. Reynold Monestine of Miami-Dade Transit (again, see contact info) about two days after my submitting my little incident report. His department received my complaint and he wanted to schedule a meeting at the site as soon as possible. After looking around in a mystified state for several moments I realized no, I'm not asleep, and set a date.
The next week I met with Mr. Monestine at Alhambra Circle Rd and showed him the hole. I even posed for a photo while standing in it. As the Property Manager for MDT, he was genuinely concerned and said he'd get it taken care of.
That he did. Though I recommended a ramp be installed in the sidewalk to provide a smooth transition to the parking lot, I knew it was a long shot. The immediate (ahem, cheaper) remedy was to fill the hole with dirt packing the hole and making it visible to pedestrians/cyclists.
Was it a final solution? No. Is it a big deal? Kind of. The small ramp from the sidewalk would be the way to go, but this did make it at least a little safer. Baby steps, people. This an example that people on the "inside" do exist and are listening to our concerns. If you're out and about, see something dangerous or have some sort of incident, report it. Communicate as well as you can and see it through.
If nothing gets done, be persistent. Once there is progress, thank those responsible. They need to know we're out there and Miami-Dade County officials and employees need to know we care that they care.
Friday, May 30, 2008
A big thanks to everyone who has given us feedback in the first week of our project. As you can see, we're working on organizing stuff and gathering data to make this as user-friendly as possible. We love suggestions or comments in general, so feel free to let us know what is on your mind.
If you haven't done so already, we urge you to review the M-Path Master Plan (yes, there actually is one!) drafted in 2007. It provides some good insight in regards to many issues cyclists and pedestrians deal with, including:
• Trail user safety
• Missing trail segments
• Lack of trail continuity and connectivity
• Deteriorating pavement conditions
• Poor visibility
• Encroachment of the trail
• Substandard design
• Limited signage
• Trail identity
The report can be downloaded here (.pdf): http://www.miamidade.gov/MPO/docs/MPO_mpath_master_final_200707.pdf
Look for a brief review in the coming days.
There are many meetings, plans, and events scheduled for the near future that could impact the M-Path and the overall state of bicycle-friendly infrastructure in Miami-Dade County. Now is certainly an exciting time to get involved and we hope that you stick with us.
So stay tuned - unlike the homeless guy I saw sprawled out in the middle of the M-Path today near 57th Ave, we're not going to sleep on this one!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Recommended improvements and repairs, ranked 1,2 or 3 [post date/transmit date/safety priority(1=highest)/1st cost category(1=lowest)/ongoing cost category(1=lowest)/fixed date]:
General: Every pair of Metrorail columns should be numbered from the start of the M-Path downtown. This would allow riders to know where they are in case of emergency or in the event they wish to report a maintenance item [5-22-08/_______/1/2/1/______]
General: Signs should be posted frequently reminding users to report maintenance issues to a central number easily accessible from a cell phone, like 311 for example. The chosen call center should be equipped to forward maintenance calls to Miami-Dade Transit [5-22-08/_________/2/1/1/_______]
General: Metro Rail contractors and maintenance personnel should be instructed not to park vehicles or equipment on the paved surface. They should also be required to post “work in progress ahead” signs sufficiently far from the work site in either direction so that Path users can be forewarned [5/29/08/________/1/1/1/_______]
General: ____________ should initiate a periodic (bi-weekly?) maintenance sweep during which broken glass is swept up, especially at intersections, and debris is removed from the paved pathway. In between routine cleanup excursions, there should be a response crew available to clean up reported dangerous conditions [[5-22-08/_________/1/1/3/_______]
General: There are several “End M-Path”, “Begin M-Path” signs currently installed at some, but not all, cross streets. These are confusing and unhelpful. Assuming they have been placed for some legal liability reason, they should be replaced with more useful signs such as: “M-Path continues 50 feet ahead” or “M-Path continues on other side of intersection” and then “M-Path continues here”. Begin and End signs should be reserved for the ultimate start and finish points. [5-22-08/_________/2/1/1/_______]
General: Warning signs should be placed along the M-Path at bicycle riders eye level to help anticipate difficult or dangerous areas. For example: there should be a warning sign before every intersection, in both directions: “Intersection Ahead, Slow Down”. Also, since the path weaves in and around Metrorail supports and other obstacles, upcoming curves should be indicated with appropriately drawn arrow signs, as on curved highways[5-22-08/_________/1/1/1/_______]
General: Broken pavement due to tree roots is a current and probably on going problem. These are dangerous to bicyclists at all skill levels. The path should be surveyed and the worst areas repaired promptly. There are other areas of pavement broken by other causes which should be repaired as well. [5-22-08/_________/1/3/2/_______]
Metrorail Stations: The current M-Path signage currently does provide clear instruction as to how users are supposed to go through or around the stations, and each one is different. The approach to each station should be marked with a large information sign, perhaps with a graphic showing the preferred route to the other end of the station. As riders approach the station there should be closely placed and clearly marked signs showing where the rider is supposed to go. In some cases the M-Path users may have to use the bus drive-thru, which should be striped, but signed to warn riders to “yield to bus traffic”. In other cases riders may have to cross the pedestrian plaza, and bicyclists should be instructed to “yield to pedestrians” [5-22-08/_________/1/2/1/_______]
Intersections (Users): At the approach to most intersections the M-Path pavement splits in two directions, but there is no indication as to which direction a rider should take for the safest (preferred) crossing. The intersection warning sign (#5) should have an add-on arrow which directs riders to the preferred crossing point[5-22-08/_________/2/1/1/_______]
Intersections (Cars): Every intersection should be posted with a bicycle crossing sign. Perhaps an enhancement could be added that says (“Do not block crosswalk”) [5-22-08/_________/1/1/1/_______]
Specific: Mile___ (North of Red Road Intersection). Contact FPL and insist that the low-hanging guy wire, which could cause serious injury, be removed and relocated[5-22-08/_________/1/1/1/_______]
Specific: Douglas Rd Station. The short section between the new circle at Ponce de Leon and the station has extensive broken pavement. The Path should be resurfaced in this area [5-22-08/_________/1/2/1/_______]
Specific: Viscaya Station. Resurface the concrete section of the Path between the station and South Dixie Highway[5-22-08/_________/1/2/1/_______]
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Ride carefully, tailwinds
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
It certainly has its share of problems, however. With enough effort we believe it can be improved to become a great example of why Miami-Dade should embrace bicycles as a mode of transportation.
Side note - tonight is the Ride of Silence on Key Biscayne. It is a slow, silent 12-mile ride in honor of all cyclists who have been injured or killed by motorists. The ride is going in conjunction with many others throughout the nation. I will be there, and hopefully will grab a pic or two to share. Then it's off to the M-Path for the evening ride home. I've yet to ride the M-Path in the dark and it should be interesting.
Miami-Dade County Transit Complaint/Concern Form
Harpal S. Kapoor - Transit Director
Address: Overtown Transit Village, 701 NW 1st Court, Suite 1700, Miami, FL 33136
Mayor Carlos Alvarez
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 N.W. 1st Street, 29th Floor
Miami, Florida 33128
Office of Commissioner Carlos A. Gimenez (District 7)
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 N.W. 1st Street, Suite 220
Miami, Florida 33128
District 7 Office
6330 Manor Lane, Suite 100
South Miami, FL 33143
West Grove Office
Frankie Rolle Center
3750 S. Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33133
George M. Burgess
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 N.W. 1st Street, Suite 2910
Miami, Florida 33128 E-mail:
Phone: (305) 375-5311
(Northbound from SW 67th Avenue & Southbound from SW 15th Street)
[Note: MR refers to the Metrorail structure]
Mile 0.3: There is a nice little wooden bridge across the canal. The approaches are partially obstructed visually so stay to the right at all times
Mile 0.4: There is a driveway from the doctors’ parking lot at South Miami Hospital to the southbound lane of South Dixie Highway. Watch out for the Docs leaving the lot on their cell phones and not paying much attention to their stop sign. There is a "X" warning sign northbound on the M-Path but no warning southbound.
Mile 1.0: At South Miami Station use the bus drop-off lane but stay to the left and stop for pedestrians crossing to and from the parking garage. Go slow and yield to buses.
At the North end, alongside the fire house, cross SW 70th Street carefully and pick up the sidewalk as soon as possible to get back on the Path.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE THRU STATION: Ride slowly on the station plaza to the north end where a concrete pathway leads off toward the SW 70th St/US-1 intersection. The head-high wing wall along the west side of this pathway creates a blind corner, but once thru that there is a new direct path to the signalized crossing. The approach from the north is a bit easier to see things.
Mile 1.3: Immediately after crossing Red Road (SW 57th Avenue) the path curves to the left and then once under the MR swings back to the right. AT THIS POINT there is a dangerously low guy wire supporting an FPL utility pole that comes up from the ground on the right. Northbound: keep LEFT around this turn but watch for oncoming traffic, Southbound: keep RIGHT.
Mile 1.5: Opposite San Amaro Dr near Mark Light Stadium, the M-Path appears to end at the south end of the parking lot. Stay in the lot and work your way to the drive area closest to Dixie Highway. When you get to the north end (Mile 1.7) there is a dirt path about 4 feet long between the walk light pole and the traffic light stantion to get you to the intersection where you can wait for a Walk Light. This is one of 2 locations along the route where one must leave a paved surface and it is very short.
Mile 1.9: At the south end of University Station the M-Path delivers you to the pedestrian plaza and there is no good way around it. Ride slowly thru the plaza and yield to pedestrians. The Path resumes after the parking lot on the north side of the station.
Mile 1.9 to 2.9: There are some nice, long, well-maintained sections here in front of the UM and in Coral Gables. Enjoy!
Mile 3.3: The LeJuene Rd, Ponce De Leon, Grand Ave Intersection is “a bear” Use the Walk Lights and be patient.
Mile 4.2: At Bird Road there 5 lanes plus a seperate right turn lane to southbound US 1 and no pedestrian lights. There is southbound and northbound traffic turning west which makes the traffic light sequencing completely whacky so approach this crossing with GREAT CAUTION! This is probably the most dangerous intersection on the route. Heads Up! Some northbound riders prefer to cross SW 37th Avenue on the north side of the Douglas Rd station, then cross Bird Rd to SW 29th St, then east to 35th or 34th Avenue and south a short distance to the M-Path. This can be done southbound in reverse, but that involves an unsignalized cross of Douglas Rd at 29th St. Pick your poison!
Mile 4.3: On most of the Path when it crosses under the MR columns the pavement straightens out a bit before returning to the other side and makes some nice, gentle variations in the trip. However, in this section there are two places where the Path weaves in and out around a single column set. The southernmost of these requires a slowdown in order to negotiate the tight turn which returns quickly to avoid a utility pole guy wire. There are no warning signs. There is also some tree root damage to the north of this reverse turn.
The northernmost has a more relaxed return but we suggest a slowdown at both.
Mile6.3: There is a portion of the path that weaves west and then back east around 2 or three MR column sets in which the top surface of the pavement is literally crumbling. It looks like a previous resurfacing just didn’t work at all. Be careful of loose gravel on this short section, especially in the turns.
Mile ____: Traffic southbound on SW 16th Avenue is allowed to turn right on red. In order to do so, drivers in this lane must nose out across the stop line and crosswalk to look around cars in the lane to the left so that they can have a chance to view fast-moving southbound drivers on US-1. THEY ALMOST NEVER EVEN THINK TO LOOK TO THEIR RIGHT!. So if you are northbound on the Path at this intersection, do not proceed unless you have positive eye contact or the intersection is empty.
Mile 6.9: The pavement around Viscaya Station is severely uplifted and broken. Slow down here and if safe to do so, pick your way around the worst spots.
Mile 7.3: The Path continues north after crossing SW 25 Rd (Mary Brickell Place). But it is unsafe because of the broken pavement caused by the routes of the Mahoghany trees planted between the path and the street. Until this portion is repaired get off and ride alongside on SW 1st Avenue until the end at SW 14th St. It has a good road surface and not too much traffic.
You’re downtown now…no more help. Except if you need to cross the Miami River, the best bridge is at SW 2nd Avenue which has a concrete surface (no metal grate…it’s great!). The M-Path continues to the South bank of the Miami River but it's "dicey".
Mile 8.1: The M-Path is unmarked but runs on a narrow path to the east of the MR columns on the north side of SW 14th St. Cross SW 13th St (Coral Way) @ SW 1st Ave where there is a Walk Light. Tricky tight left turn on the sidewalk to pick up the M-Path. It's difficult to follow the Path between here and the start of the last section.
Mile 8.6: On the north side of SW 7th St their is an "M-Path Begins" sign. There is a short 3-5' unpaved section after the ramp and then the pavement begins. BUT DON'T GO TOO FAST because...
Mile 8.7: The M-Path ends at the south bank of the Miami River. There is no warning and no barrier. If you're heading north too fast, you could go for an unintentional swim.
This blog exists to inform the public about the M-Path, a little-known utility path of approximately 9 miles that runs underneath the Metrorail from SW 67th Avenue (Ludlam, South Miami/Pinecrest) to SW 15th Street (Brickell).
Who We Are
The contributors are cyclists who use the M-Path to commute to work. At present, we believe that the M-Path holds great potential to provide a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to driving. We are everyday people who work in the downtown Miami area and have, at one time or another, discovered that commuting by bicycle is much more enjoyable than utilizing the personal automobile. Unfortunately, we also discovered that Miami has very little bicycle-friendly infrastructure and remains largely unaware of transit alternatives.
Our goal is to emphasize the importance of the M-Path and it's potential to transform Miami-Dade county into a bicycle-friendly area.
Quite simply, we want to create a medium in which users communicate with one another about the current state of the M-Path, how it can be improved to accommodate alternative forms of transit (with an emphasis on bicycling), and the benefits/dangers associated with utilizing it. Further, we intend to regularly inform those responsible for maintaining and improving the M-Path of its hazards, issues, and possible solutions.
- The M-Path is an excellent asset to Miami-Dade County but is substantially under utilized.
- M-Path utilization could increase if the existing facilities were made more user-friendly and in some cases safer.
- All types of riders should be accommodated on the M-Path, including (but not limited to) recreational riders, commuters, and visitors.
- Use of the M-Path is by necessity a blend of traffic regulations, pedestrian protocols, and common sense.
- Bicyclists are most vulnerable to falls and other accidents when they are starting or stopping, the times when bikes are inherently less stable and riders are most distracted. Necessary starts and stops should be easily anticipated and made as safe as possible.
We welcome your suggestions about how to improve the M-path, safety observations, and your M-Path stories of Joy and/or Horror. Feel free to drop a comment to us in the appropriate post.