New protected bike lanes will open in Downtown Miami next month, signaling the completion of a year-long pilot project that aims to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety.
The $500,000 collaborative venture between the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, The Health Foundation of South Florida and The Miami Downtown Development Authority was established to create a "high visibility bicycle lane." The street will also include a lane just for buses.
Poles along the street will separate cars from the cyclists, serving as a barrier to traffic. The number of cyclist-related intersection injuries decreases 75 percent if protected lanes are in place, according to a 2013 report.
Eighteen bike-related fatalities and 833 injuries were recorded in Miami-Dade in 2015, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Statistics for 2016 have not been released yet.
Nelson Nygard and CALTRAN Engineering were the consultants behind the project.
The new lanes will be placed along Southeast/Southwest 1st Street between Biscayne Boulevard and Southwest 2nd Avenue. Because the construction will take place in phases, the entire street won’t be closed at any point. Sidewalks will not be altered, and most of the work will be done after rush hour.
"The new lanes will be significantly safer for cyclists of all ages," Tony Garcia, the president of Street Plans, a firm that authors bicycle plans, said. "We should also see increases in the number of people using bikes as their main form of transportation."
The firm plans to build protected bike lanes under the Miami-Dade Transportation Quickbuild Program, an initiative that "provides funding and technical assistance to anyone who wants to make short-term, low-cost transportation improvements to their neighborhood."
Garcia said Street Plans received $150,000 from the Knight Foundation to fund the project.