Well, it happened: last week, we wrote that Miami mayor Manny Diaz was expected to announce the formation of a bicycling committee at last Thursday’s City Commission meeting. He did: from high on the dais, the mayor announced the formation of the Miami Bicycle Action Committee, a subcommittee of the city Green Commission, to advise the mayor on bicycle issues and to help promote and guide bike initiatives. He called the move “long overdue.”
Cynical as the Bike Blog often is when it comes to bike progress, there’s no two ways about it this time – this is a good thing for all Miami bikers.
Details are still sketchy as the eight or so Committee members work things out – it’s still unclear exactly when and how often they will meet, whether or not they’ll have a chairman or other positions within the group, and whether or not the meetings will be announced and open to the public. On that last point, the Bike Blog feels strongly that meetings should be open to all, as is the case for the county-wide Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC).
“The bottom line is we’re feeling our way along,” BAC member John Hopkins told me over the phone today, “but the mayor has told the city to be responsive and quick.”
Indeed, this blog got it wrong a week ago when we thought the ‘A’ in the BAC stood for “advisory” – no, it stands for “action.”
“[The Mayor] signaled to us that he wanted the name to be action," Hopkins added, "because he wanted everybody to know this wasn’t going to drop into o a hole somewhere and be forgotten.”
Meetings will probably be held monthly, with special aid to the mayor Kathryn Moore
present at each; representatives from the Capital Improvements Program, Planning, and Transportation are expected to attend from time to time as well. Meeting minutes will be posted online, as well as sent right here, to the Bike Blog – we’ll keep you, gentle reader, informed.
Mayor Diaz deserves some credit for this one. And so do the members of the newly-ackronymed BAC for recognizing a problem, and joining forces to approach the mayor and get something done about it. “They asked for a meeting, so they got one; they asked if they could form a committee, and the mayor said yes,” asserted special aid Moore on phone last week. “It was that easy.”
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As for first priorities, BAC is working on developing a bike map for the city as a starting point for planning new projects, and they could use some input: “There is a need for the cyclists of the city to articulate the places that they don’t dare ride and the places that they feel the most comfortable riding,” is how Hopkins put it.
So go ahead: Worst place to bike in the city of Miami? Best? Post your answers below, if you like – we’ll make sure they get relayed.