FDOT Proposes Dangerous Bike Lane in Village of Palmetto Bay

drivers in bike lanes
Should Cars and Bicycles in Palmetto Bay Share a Lane on US 1?



As absurd as it sounds, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) wants to encourage you to ride your bicycle in rush hour traffic along US 1 in Palmetto Bay.

As part of a major roadway project on state road 5 (also known as US Highway 1 / South Dixie Highway), FDOT proposes to restripe the outside lane, from SW 168 street  to SW 136 street, to allow bicyclists to share the lane with motorized vehicles.

Are they serious?

Miami is a perennial top-ten finisher in studies that rank our area for bad drivers.  An Allstate Insurance study found Miami drivers 31.6% more likely than the average motorist to have an accident.  In another study, we earned the dubious distinction of being voted the home of the rudest drivers in America – two years in a row.*

Do we really want our bicycle riders to share a lane on South Dixie Highway with texting drivers and 18-wheelers???

bike lane presentation by FDOT
Bike lane presentation by FDOT

The roadway project was presented by FDOT in an informal public meeting on May 5.  Proposed work includes repaving the highway and upgrading sidewalks, signage, and drainage – and the addition of the bicycle lane.  At that meeting, EPB spoke with Charles Alfaro, a project manager with Metric Engineering, the firm contracted to oversee the construction.  According to Alfaro, “The state has mandated an increase in bicycle transportation corridors.”

We reminded Mr. Alfaro that a long and safe bicycle lane already exists just 100 feet west of US 1 – along the South Miami-Dade Busway!

The busway runs parallel to US 1 and extends as far north as the Dadeland Metrorail station, and as far south as Florida City.   It includes a wide, marked bicycle lane – a safe distance from the congestion and traffic of the highway.

Here’s the irony – the busway was built by FDOT.

Our village politicians, the Palmetto Bay Department of Planning & Zoning, and our residents need to step up.  A second bicycle lane is not needed along the US 1 transportation corridor in Palmetto Bay.  A shared lane with motorized traffic is not as safe as the existing bike path along the busway, and the project is a needless expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

Comments should be addressed to:

Florida Department of Transportation
District Six Public Information Office
1000 NW 111 Avenue, Room 6134
Miami, FL 33172

or email Marta.Rodriguez@dot.state.fl.us

or call  (305)-470-5873

Construction on the $3.8M project is slated to begin in July, 2012, and last approximately 300 days.


Are there other transportation and safety issues that need to be addressed in Palmetto Bay?  Please share your concerns with your fellow residents.  Drop us a post at info@eyeonpalmettobay.com or text us at 305-720-7245.

* The AutoVantage “In The Driver’s Seat” Road Rage study ranks the driving habits and attitudes of motorists across the United States and chose Miami as the unfriendliest place in America to get behind the wheel – two years in a row.

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  1. What…. are you kidding me? A BIKE LANE on South Dixie Highway? They've had bicyclists hit on the bridge going over the Rickenbacker Causeway, which is nowhere near as heavily traveled! What do you think is going to happen when you allow bicyclists on South Dixie Highway? It will be too late, after a bicyclist is killed, or sustains a major, life changing head injury, to "re-think" this idiotic idea!
    We paid millions for the Busway! Save the $3.8 million dollars and use part of that for bicyclists! I ride past the Busway EVERY day – and it's hardly even being used! You might as well put it to some good use! And while they're at it – maybe they should put an economist in charge of some of these programs! $3.8 million to pave & paint 2.5 miles of roadway? No wonder our country is in debt! People – wake up and start writing to your representatives! This is OUR tax money!!

    Michele Haber
    Palmetto Bay, Fl

  2. I agree. The bus lane has ample bicycle lane space and is much safer. I ride my bike on the busway regularly. Don't put this on US1

  3. Re: Bike lanes
    Al Merrill <almerrillfl@yahoo.com>
    View Contact
    To:"Rodriguez, Marta" <Marta.Rodriguez@dot.state.fl.us>
    Again I must ask WHO ARE THE IDIOTS THAT WROTE THIS PLAN because they surely
    are IDIOTS and need serious help with their thought processing. I can not
    believe that such stupidity is loose in our Transportation Department, but then
    again I see the so called improvements in our highway system. I guess I need to
    believe, but it is hard to understand because a 5th grader has more intelligence
    and could design a smoother flow plan than we have on South Florida roads.

    —– Original Message —-
    From: "Rodriguez, Marta" <Marta.Rodriguez@dot.state.fl.us>
    To: "almerrillfl@yahoo.com" <almerrillfl@yahoo.com>
    Sent: Fri, May 13, 2011 5:17:59 PM
    Subject: FW: Bike lanes

    Mr. Merrill:

    This is in response to your email about the Florida Department of Transportation
    (FDOT) projects #425348-1-52-01 and #425513-1-52-01 along US-1/South Dixie
    Highway. The design requirements for all Resurfacing, Restoration and
    Rehabilitation (RRR) projects are outlined in FDOT's Plans Preparation Manual
    (PPM) – January 2011 Edition. The PPM requires that an on-road bicycle facility
    be provided on RRR projects if the existing pavement width can accommodate such
    a facility.

    We recognize that a shared-use path (South Dade Trail) exists along the South
    Dade Busway adjacent to US 1 within the project limits. However, the PPM
    (Section 8.6.1) states that shared-use paths are not substitutes for on-road
    bicycle facilities (bicycle lanes or wide curb lanes). Therefore, the presence
    of the South Dade Trail does not eliminate the PPM requirement for an on-road
    bicycle facility. Additionally, Florida Statute 316.003 states that bicyclists
    have all of the rights applicable to any driver, including traveling within the
    travel lanes on a non-limited access roadway regardless of the presence of a
    parallel and adjacent shared-use path. Riders often choose to travel within the
    roadway to avoid conflicts with slower moving bicyclists and pedestrians that
    utilize shared-use paths.

    We hope the information provided in this correspondence clarifies both state law
    and FDOT design requirements. The project has been designed with the intent of
    providing a facility that accommodates all modes of travel that meets both state
    law and the required design standards.

    Thank you.

    Marta Rodriguez
    Public Information Specialist
    Florida Department of Transportation – District Six/Bermello Ajamil & Partners
    Office phone: (305) 470-5873 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (305) 470-5873      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Albert Merrill [mailto:almerrillfl@yahoo.com]
    Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 3:07 PM
    To: Rodriguez, Marta
    Cc: info@eyeonpalmettobay.com
    Subject: Bike lanes

    How stupid are we getting? I thought I had seen it all when we wasted
    hundreds of millions of dollars on the busway instead of extending the
    rail system to Florida City the way the FEMA money was intended after
    Andrew. Now you want to spend another 4+ milion (project like this are
    never complete within budget) to further impede traffic and duplicate
    what has already been built 100 or so feet away. IS THERE NO COMMON
    SENSE LEFT IN FLORIDA??????? I would like an answer. Albert

  4. With all due respect to those who have initiated this debate (thank you for that, by the way), the argument that this project is automatically a total waste because the South Dade Trail exists is weak. The South Dade Trail is a somewhat scenic bike route, enhanced only by the important Pineland Conservation area around SW 152nd Street. Besides that, with regard to its aesthetic merit, the Trail might as well be on the highway as all that there is to see there is the occasional bus or emergency service vehicle racing on the directly adjacent Busway. Its distance from the roadway does nothing to address the fact that South Florida is a particularly hostile place for all commuters (drivers, bikers, AND walkers); all it has done is hide the problem and provide a temporary patch to a litany of problems with the way we have built our roads. In fact, the Trail may be less safe at night than biking on US1 sidewalks because if you are injured or if someone decides to ambush you, there are less people around to see you and thus less of a chance that you are going to get any help.

    The shared-use path would provide visibility to bikers, raising awareness about healthier, greener ways to get around in South Florida. Multi-modal corridors –which allow PUBLIC roadways to accommodate drivers as well as roller-bladers, pedestrians, bikers, and perhaps further down the line, functional light rail and bus transport nodes– have the potential to make the road safer because over time it forces drivers to recognize the other users of the PUBLIC right-of-way, which shouldn’t only be for people with the means to afford a car … and gas. Furthermore, slower travellers like walkers and bikers have more time to look at their surroundings and are more likely to notice that local antique shop or restaurant and stop in. In Palmetto Bay, we are fortunate to have the historic Perrine quadrangle, which offers the potential for a real, walkable neighborhood center, especially with the newly-built Village Hall. If developed right, making US1 a shared-use path would help us realize our potential to be an even better community.

    If the new shared-use bike path is developed properly it will be different from all existing infrastructure in the area and has very real potential to add quality for ALL local US1 users. I encourage everybody to take a moment and re-think the way that highways should be developed, which has changed little in practice since the 1940s. If we consider the public right-of-way for US1 to be everything from the South Dade Trail to the sidewalks on the opposite side of US1, there is over 200 feet of space, 100 feet of which are used exclusively for the six lanes of automobile traffic. That leaves a lot of room to re-vision a thriving and beautiful complete street with a tree canopy and space for bikers and walkers. The more freedom we allow people to stroll along US1, the more people that will stop in at local shops, creating a stronger sense of community and neighborly friendliness, enhanced safety and quality of life, and –not to mention– more economic activity.

    All this said, I cannot argue for this plan. All I’m saying is that a shared-use path on US1 is not a bad idea as long as long as it is developed in the right way. Frankly, I would like to learn more about what exactly is in the works here. I don’t believe our local government does enough to involve its citizens in its actions. No plan will ever be good unless we, as residents, have all had a chance to offer our input on projects that are being developed in our city, county, and state. Recently the city planted an oak tree on the swale in from of my house which was a great idea in theory, but I (in fact no one in my house) had any idea it was going to happen. So at the end of the day, I resent as opposed to laud the city for it and it is a constant reminder the city’s issue with transparency. I would have this project put on hold until it has the REAL chance to be reviewed.

    Christopher Rodriguez
    Palmetto Bay, FL

  5. Hmm Interesting thought…a pleasant stroll along US Rt 1…….that would be like taking a stroll on the Indy 500 race track during a race. News about THOSE injuries would certainly attract people to the walking/bike trail and the local stores…..! And would certainly increase economic activity – at the local urgent care centers and the hospitals.

    Creating ANOTHER bike trail where a perfectly good one already exists is such incredible lunacy, It leaves one speechless. It is as stupid as that other incredibly wasteful activity I see our state performing in a tropical region where one cant stop plants from growing: laying sod on the side of the roadways. We aren't being represented. We are being fleeced. And happily accepting it as if we're all drugged.

    Who are the highly paid idiots who are salaried with good taxpayer money proposing this kind of idiotic stuff when we're taking away unemployment pay, school breakfasts, and eliminating Judges support staffs? THOSE FDOT positions are the positions that we should be cutting!

    If it ain't broke don't fix it was the old farmers cliche we always heard when I was a kid, and this certainly fits that category. But add a dollar sign and six zeroes behind it and it truly makes one wonder who the zeroes are that dreamt up this scheme so we can have them fired. Just a thought, but I can't help but wonder which FDOT director or manager is related to the contractors that will be doing the work….


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