What I really, truly want in 2008, besides peace on earth and free beer, is a flying bike. But putting that dream aside for a few minutes, the Bike Blog has put together a slightly more realistic wish list for the coming year. Any suggestions, additions, or vitriolic ammunitions? Leave a comment below.
Without further ado, we present, in no particular order . . .
The Bike Blog’s 2008 Wish List
1) A bike lane on Northeast 2nd Ave: It’s a great stretch of road – straight, with little traffic, wide lanes, takes you right downtown, and there’s a nice coffee shop on it (Out of the Blue, NE 2nd between 24th and 25th streets). Despite evil opposition, sources tell the Bike Blog that it looks like the lane is probably going in after all.
(While we're wishing, Coral Way, Bird Road, Biscayne Boulevard, Alton Road, 79th Street, Flagler, and 27th Avenue would be good, too).
2) Fewer accidents – the stats aren’t available yet for 2007, but there were crashes, accidents, and deaths aplenty. Among the more notable: at least a couple dozen crashes, minor and major, on the Rickenbacker causeway due to poorly-thought-out construction; a whole flock of bicyclists who crashed into an S.U.V. as it pulled out of a Kendale condo parking lot (the vehicle’s view was blocked by vehicles parked in the paved bike lane); a couple Melanie Ashby and Wayne Phelps, who had to be air-lifted after a 22-year-old driver hit them and drove off (he was chased down by Haitian farm worker Jean Donatien and brought to the police).
3) Please, please fix the M-Path: The paved bike and pedestrian path below the Metrorail dubbed the M Path is probably the single most useful bike route in the county, albeit not the prettiest. It’s too bad, then, that the path itself is such a piece of crap. It’s unlit at night, making it a needlessly dangerous nocturnal route. The path winds obnoxiously between the columns of the metrorail, and worst, the M Path’s designers apparently thought that flying bicycles were already out, because at many intersections the path dumps riders violently onto the street, leaving them to figure out where the path connects again (in a few places, the M Path simply vanishes, only to reappear a mile later).
Dave Henderson, Miami-Dade Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator, says that a plan to revise the M Path is in the works.
4) Later Critical Mass rides – this year saw the birth of at least two “Critical Mass” biking groups in Miami. The most regular and popular of the groups rides monthly. It’s a friendly group of people, and a great way to meet other urban bikers, but MAN do they start EARLY! The group meets Saturday mornings at ten o’clock. That sort of thing is fine for spandex-clad racing groups, but for the scrappy sort that come to the ride, the sort who, like me, take their Friday nights rather seriously – it’s freakin’ early, man.
5) Bike lanes on all of the causeways in Miami-Dade county: We’ve got a way to go, but what the hell. Bike lanes are a plus on any roadway, but smaller urban streets are fairly bikeable with or without them. Causeways, though, are another story. Right now, only one of the seven causeways linking the mainland to Miami Beach has a dedicated bike lane: the Venetian. The rest are nightmares to ride across.
6) Another Metrorail line: It’s not directly bike-related, but the connection’s obvious: a new line would make for less traffic, easier transportation of bicycles across the county, and would demonstrate a good faith shift away from accommodating cars to the exclusion of bikes and pedestrians.
7) A Miami-Dade Bicycle Master Plan: Much of the success in getting bikes into new road projects in Miami Beach is due to the city’s having adopted a Master Plan for bikes. The county needs to do the same thing.
8) An attitude change: Cars best readjust their attitude towards bicycles, lest it be readjusted for them, compliments of a U lock. In one year the Bike Blog has heard unbelievable stories of bicyclists being run off the road or hit on purpose, slapped in the ass hard enough to knock them over, taunted, robbed, arrested, threatened for riding their bikes in the street.
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9) US 1 – all of it: The M Path is a good start, but the Bike Blog demands (why not, it’s easy) the whole shebang. We want the entire length of US 1 to have bike lanes in both directions. Bikers should be able to go between Miami-Dade and Broward counties safely.
10) Parties – Why not, the bike blog wishes there were more bike people parties, or parties on bicycles, or bicycles in parties, or something. Maybe we’ll just have to throw one.