UPDATED: In Miami, Cloaking an Anti-Cycling Proposal in Bike-Friendly Language

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa likes bike lanes just fine, except where there is on-street parking or high-speed traffic. Legislation she has proposed would set back cycling in greater Miami. Photo: Transit Miami

UPDATE: Commissioner Sosa contacted Streetsblog shortly after the story was posted to say she is pulling the proposed legislation “to ensure nothing in this item will negatively impact the cycling community.” The entirety of her response is in the comments section.

A county commissioner in Miami has introduced legislation to “provide greater flexibility to the Florida Department of Transportation related to bicycle lanes.” In other words, flexibility not to include them, even though federal rules require state DOTs to give “due consideration” to bike facilities in all federally-funded projects — a directive that US DOT clarified in 2010, saying that decisions should start with ”the presumption that bikes will be accommodated.”

The language of Miami-Dade Legislative Item #121569 initially goes on about the benefits of cycling, then launches into a list of situations in which bike facilities “conflict” with car infrastructure: essentially streets with curbside parking or high-speed traffic.

Matthew Toro at Transit Miami is sounding the alarm on this one:

The proposed resolution is littered with nonsense that would — with no far stretch of the imagination — actually curtail the expansion of bicycle facilities throughout our community. Four specific bike lanes, intended to exemplify inappropriately located bike lanes, come under attack in the current language of the resolution. This is where it implodes, demonstrating the detachment of many of our elected officials to the non-automobile reality on the streets.

The proposed County Commission resolution is not the path (pun unavoidable) to improving bikeability in Miami. As it currently stands, the language in the item would reverse the little progress we’ve thus far made.

Toro is encouraging local cyclists to contact the county to express their opposition.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Pedestrian Observations investigates whether freeways, designed to maximize safety for drivers, actually do. The Chicago Bicycle Advocate outlines the results of a Sun Times investigation on the biggest dangers to local cyclists. And the Transport Politic looks at Los Angeles County’s long history of support for transit referendums, and why progress still isn’t fast enough for Mayor Villaraigosa.