County transportation officials announced a series of safety changes on the Rickenbacker Causeway on Tuesday, including closing off a U-Turn near the spot where two cyclists were killed earlier this year. In a month long pilot program, the County said police will escort bicyclist pelotons Tuesday and Sunday mornings starting July 12.
The moves come as Mayor Daniella Levine Cava prepares her 2023 budget request, which is expected next month. Some of the changes could start today, wrote Transportation and Public Works Director Eulois Cleckley in a memo.
Source: Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Office
The department will install traffic delineators to prevent cars from turning across the bike lane into the park area on the west side of the William Powell bridge. On the east side, a longer-term project will involve closing an access point at Hobie Beach and creating a new one further east to allow more room for cars to slow down. Cleckley said that change will take four to six months.
District 7 Commissioner Raquel Regalado wrote to Levine Cava saying that a current law enforcement operation on the causeway has had a positive impact — but she said the more than 1,700 citations issued since May 20 are “unsustainable.”
She wrote the pilot peloton program, while useful, should be seen as “secondary in focus to the infrastructure considerations.” Regalado’s office is expecting the administration to increase funding for safety improvements in the budget, said one of her top aides, Rebecca Wakefield.
In Key Biscayne, officials thought the lane changes made sense, but were less sanguine about the peloton program. Manager Steve Williamson said it’s not clear that riders will agree to be led by police escorts.
“Would it be something that I would have proposed? Probably not,” said Mayor Mike Davey. “Guiding the pelotons, I think logistically, is going to be a very difficult proposition.”