Responding to a troubling pedestrian and bicycle crash rate, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and Miami- Dade County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, District 9, on recently launched the Miami-Dade Local Action Team for Safer People, Safer Streets.
This taskforce of 19 community leaders is charged with developing an action plan of high level legislative, educational, engineering and enforcement recommendations to improve the safety of Miami-Dade’s streets. As a participant in the U.S. Department of Transportation Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, the county has brought together representatives from various fields to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
“Clearly, the status quo isn’t preventing these avoidable pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and injuries,” Mayor Gimenez said. “I am proud to bring in outside experts to challenge and change the norm to help us stop this epidemic in its tracks.”
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study on bicycle mortality, which stated that at the rate of 0.57/100,000 people, Florida was the worst state for bicycle deaths — more than doubling the national average of 0.23/ 100,000. Miami-Dade’s bicycle fatality rate in 2013 was 0.4/100,000 residents and its pedestrian fatality rate was 2.7/100,000 residents, which was the highest among Florida’s urban counties.
“For years, we have worked with municipalities and the Florida Department of Transportation to improve the safety of our roads. Now we are engaging new partners to identify innovative solutions,” Commissioner Moss said. “Creating a safe environment for bicyclists and pedestrians will increase mobility options for all residents, visitors and employees.”
With the vision of “a more livable Miami-Dade through the realization of healthier, safer streets accommodating all modes” this initiative is supported by the Health Foundation of South Florida (HFSF) which strives to create healthier communities through such strategies as increasing physical activity opportunities. HFSF has invested in several Miami-Dade pedestrian and bicycle programs.
“We understand that safer streets mean more opportunities to be physically active,” said Peter Wood, vice president of programs and community investments. “HFSF is investing in this program to create safer, healthier communities.”
The Local Action Team will research existing practices; identify national best practices to be adopted in Miami-Dade; hold a public meeting to solicit input, and expects to release its findings in March 2016.
Local Action Team Members: Brian Breslin, ReFresh Miami; Alice Bravo, Miami-Dade Transit; Claudius Carnegie, PhD, Florida International University, Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee, Neat Streets Miami; Benjamin de la Peña, Knight Foundation; Tabitha Fazino, Miami- Dade County Public Schools Board; Cesar Garcia Pons, Perkins + Will; Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III, City of Miami Gardens; Alina Hudak, Miami Dade County Mayor’s Office, Public Works & Waste Management; Ramiro Inguanzo, City of Bal Harbour; Kevin Kirwin, City of Miami Parks & Recreation; Jimmy Morales, City of Miami Beach; Nicholas Namias, MD, Jackson Memorial Hoapital; Gus Pego, FDOT – District 6; Juan Perez, Miami-Dade Police Department; Alyce Robertson, Miami Downtown Development Authority; Paul Schweip, Citizens Independent Transportation Trust; Eli Stiers, Aronovitz Law; Mayor Philip Stoddard, City of South Miami; Debbie Swain, Milian, Swain & Associates, and Peter Wood, Health Foundation of South Florida.
For information about Health Foundation of South Florida call 305-374-7200 or visit www.hfsf.org. For information about the USDOT Mayors’ Challenge visit online at www.transportation.gov/mayors-challenge.