Thursday, February 3, 2011

C'mon FDOT... can do better than this:

According to city planners and elected officials, residents and activists, the reason is simple: Brickell Avenue, the spine of Miami's densest pedestrian district, lacks sufficient marked crosswalks and traffic signals.

But according to the Florida Department of Transportation and its traffic-engineering manuals, that's not reason enough to undertake substantial pedestrian-friendly changes on Brickell.

FDOT, which is about to embark on a year-long resurfacing of the 1.6-mile roadway, has rebuffed pleas from resident and business organizations, activists, city planners and even Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, all of whom say the $9 million project presents a golden opportunity to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists on Brickell.

FDOT officials say their hands are tied because of the limited nature of a resurfacing project, which typically doesn't include extensive roadway redesign, as well as regulations which restrict placement of crosswalks and traffic signals along a designated state and federal highway such as Brickell.

The resulting clash is shaping up as the highest-profile example of an increasingly common standoff in Miami and other cities across the country: local officials and residents who want livable, pedestrian-friendly urban neighborhoods going up against state traffic engineers whose mandate is to keep large volumes of cars moving as fast as possible.

``There has been this huge resistance by FDOT to do anything to slow cars down,'' said Natalie Brown, communications director for the Brickell Homeowners Association, the area's largest resident group, which has asked for additional crosswalks and lower speed limits along Brickell's residential stretch, where the posted limit is now a neighborhood-incompatible 40 mph

Read the entire story about FDOT's inability to think outside the manual, here.

Chad Emerson

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