Skip to content

Posts from the "Miami" Category

Streetsblog NYC 7 Comments

LeBron and Friends Reclaim Miami’s Streets in New Ad


Looks like the new LeBron James Nike ad that debuted during “Sunday Night Football” was at least in part the star’s idea.

The spot portrays the two-time NBA champion performing his off-season workout regimen, accompanied by hundreds of kids and adults on bikes as he rides through Miami. Bystanders watch or join in as the swarm of non-motorized humanity takes over the streets and disrupts highway traffic.

“They allow me to have a lot of input on the spots that come out and they’re basically geared to who I am and what I do on a day-to-day basis,” James told the AP. “It was great to put that together.”

James’s charity foundation has a program that links cycling and physical fitness to education in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and we’ve written before that he and teammates Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers are regulars at Miami Critical Mass.

The Heat played the Nets in Brooklyn twice in the preseason, and will be at Barclays and Madison Square Garden a few times this year as they go for the three-peat. We wouldn’t be surprised if LeBron already has a Citi Bike fob.

1 Comment

Miami DWI Death Galvanizes Cyclists in South Florida

lecanne1_1.jpgCyclists rally in memory of Christophe Le Canne. Photo: rydel/Picasa via Miami Bike Scene

The horrific death of a 44-year-old resident of South Miami has enraged
cyclists across South Florida, igniting a debate over street safety in
a region historically dominated by devil-may-care drivers.

On January 17, Christophe Le Canne was out for a Sunday
morning ride on the Rickenbacker Causeway, which connects the city of
Miami with Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, when he was hit from behind
and knocked from his bike by Carlos Bertonatti, a 28-year-old aspiring
musician with a long history of traffic offenses. Bertonatti drove for miles with Le Canne’s blue Cannondale wedged beneath his Volkswagen Jetta.
Le Canne died before paramedics arrived on the scene.

Bertonatti was arrested outside his Key Biscayne apartment after a police officer observed him
dragging Le Canne’s bike. He was charged with DUI manslaughter,
vehicular homicide, resisting arrest, driving without a license and
leaving the scene of a fatal accident. 

This could have been
written off as an isolated incident — another drunk driver with a
checkered driving record takes another life. But for several possible
reasons, that didn’t happen. Consider the arrogance of the killer.
Bertonatti’s website, according to the Miami Herald, "had boasted of his poor driving record." Police had to strap him to a fire department backer board in order to extract a blood sample. After the crash, Bertonatti issued regrets through his publicist. He is currently out on bail.

Read more…

6 Comments

Feds on New Miami HOT Lanes: Good for Transit

Miami’s conversion of HOV lane space to new high-occupancy toll (HOT)
lanes as part of the federal Urban Partnership
program, which also prompted New York City’s congestion pricing push,
is cutting travel times for local transit and boosting use — but
overall bus ridership in the corridor has stayed static, according to a
new report
from the U.S. DOT.

217665_600_0_4.jpgMiami’s 95 Express HOT lanes, at left,
with regular traffic at right. (Photo: SF
Biz Jrnl
)

The U.S. DOT, working alongside the National Bus Rapid Transit
Institute, found that the city’s 95 Express project has trimmed travel
times by as much as two-thirds for users of the bus service on
northbound HOT lanes.

But the picture is murkier for transit in Miami’s I-95 corridor,
which saw static levels of "mode share" (transportation-speak for the
percentage of area travelers using a particular option) between 2008 and
2009.

Overall bus ridership in the I-95 corridor decreased by 4.6
percent, even as 95 Express bus ridership rose by 30 percent during the
same period, according to the report.

Why did broad transit use fall while single-occupancy vehicles
flocked to the new HOT lanes? Service cuts and fare hikes of as much as
33 percent for monthly transit passes played a big role, the U.S. DOT
found, as did the economic recession and lower gas prices that made auto
travel more appealing to locals.

However, the report did contain some positive signals for transit
mode share in Miami’s I-95 area. Half of the bus riders surveyed by the
U.S. DOT said they had switched over from car travel, "which suggests
that the 95 Express bus service in general has had some success over
time in attracting private auto users," the report stated.

Moreover, the U.S. DOT noted that 95 Express buses constitute just
one-fifth of the corridor’s total transit ridership — meaning that even
a 30-percent increase in popularity can’t carry the whole system. That
could change this month, however, with the current northbound 95 Express
HOT lanes adding a southbound component and the state starting bus
service
connecting Miami-Dade with Broward County, its northern
neighbor.

3 Comments

Why Buy More Trains if You Can’t Afford to Run Them?

Down in balmy South Florida, D-Day is approaching for riders of the the popular Tri-Rail transit system. A looming $18 million shortfall has forced the Tri-Rail board to approve a budget that slices daily service and stops all trains by 2011 -- although ridership has doubled since 2005.

tri_rail.jpgTri-Rail trains like these could stop running by 2011. (Photo: National Corridors Initiative)

Tri-Rail's troubles are largely attributable to the bad economy, which has clipped the amount that the network's three participating counties can contribute to the transit system by an estimated $9 million. Making matters worse, the county aid must be matched dollar for dollar by the state DOT, doubling the size of that gap and forcing Tri-Rail to the brink.

As the Palm Beach Post noted yesterday, Tri-Rail's request that state legislators okay a $2 rental car tax to save transit service is hardly a politically extraordinary one. But the Post's editorial also reveals Washington's role in perversely perpetuating the funding crisis.

Here's the rub: Tri-Rail got $16 million for new trains in the recent stimulus bill, but none of that can cover the shortfall because federal money generally cannot be used to cover operating costs.

Making matters worse, the Federal Transit Administration has informed Tri-Rail that it risks losing a crucial $256 million grant if daily service dips below 48 trains. Meanwhile, members of Congress are requesting up to $400 million in earmarks to extend Tri-Rail service to the northern end of Palm Beach County. What's the use of money to lay new tracks if Tri-Rail can't afford to run any trains?

The simple fix for this conundrum would be allowing local transit agencies to spend money from Washington on operating costs, an idea welcomed by both Transportation Secretary LaHood and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Yet the devil will be in the details, because expanding the potential uses for federal transit aid doesn't mean an automatic increase in the size of that pot of federal aid -- which is already illogically small. Saving transit systems such as Tri-Rail could mean a painful trade-off between building worthy new projects and making sure existing trains can run on time.