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Miami-Dade's BIKE305 Initiative Aims to Add Hundreds of Miles of New Bike Paths

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It's no secret that Miami's not the most bike-friendly metropolis. But hell, at least we're trying. In addition to the many bike collectives and advocacy groups popping up around town, the city itself has now jumped on the green transit bandwagon.

Last week, Miami-Dade County rolled out the BIKE305 initiative, a program designed to raise awareness about the city's bike paths and get people to hit the trails on two wheels.

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The project is summed up through its website, which features an interactive map of the city's Rickenbacker, Commodore, Old Cutler, and Biscayne bike trails. Visitors can scan the trails, check out Google street view, and learn more about the various stops along the way.

Last week, as part of the mission, Commissioner Rebeca Sosa proclaimed March Bike305 month in Miami-Dade.

The overall concept is in keeping with the county's parks and rec master plan. Basically, they're looking to create a "seamless, sustainable system of great parks, public spaces, natural areas, cultural areas, greenways, water trails, and streets throughout the county." Eventually, planners envision over 500 miles of greenways and trails for the county. Currently, there are 130, with another 30 in development.

According to Kevin M. Kirwin, Assistant Director for Operations for the city's Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (PROS), the mayor is deeply committed to the Open Spaces endeavor. And he's not alone. Mayors from other participating cities and other partners in the BIKE305 endeavor have been gung ho as well.

"Everyone's been like, this is a good thing, let's do it," he says.

In addition to maps and event listings on the BIKE305 site, there's an interactive SCVNGR app component, where riders can download the app to complete simple tasks and earn rewards. There are also incentives during the month of March from local businesses on the trails, like discounted admission prices for those on two wheels.

According to Kirwin, the overall concept is in a league of its own.

"We scanned the horizon of what other folks are doing around the country and we couldn't find anything like this, that wasn't geared towards road cyclists, but geared towards every family getting out onto the bike paths. It's really unique," Kirwin says.

According to Kirwin, the project is much bigger than a website, event, or app. It's an all-encompassing movement designed to get Miamians out and about. In the future, they hope to get other municipalities involved and expand the efforts.

"This is a promotional movement, so the idea now is to grow this so that next year we recruit other municipalities that the bike paths connect to, to participate."

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