Announcing the WHEELS Bike/Walk/Transit/Trails Event
The East Coast Greenway Alliance, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, and many other Miami, Florida and national organizations have teamed up in a campaign to get people out of their cars and get WHEELS Rolling in Miami this fall. Read the full story below.
Business leaders glimpse bike/transit “revolution” Herb Hiller
MIAMI, Fla. [March 19] Miami business leaders today caught a glimpse of a milestone move to encourage more Floridians to get out of their cars.
“The most helpful, revolutionary act an American adult can legally perform,” said town planner Victor Dover, “is to pocket the car keys and get on a bike instead of driving.” Dover called the five-day November 11-15 “green mobility” event called WHEELS, announced this morning, “a chance to see the future.”
Dover, who chairs the November program, wrapped up a two-hour breakfast meeting of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Here's Victor appearing at the soft roll-out of WHEELS at a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Victor is managing partner of Dover, Kohl & Partners, town planners.
The group also heard from Miami trail leaders Meg Daly of the Friends of The Underline and Bernard Zyscovich of Plan Z for the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Keynote speaker Ryan Gravel set the stage when he described the Atlanta BeltLine, which he originated fifteen years ago. “It’s an infrastructure for a new economy,” he said, “transforming the region because a decade ago the private sector bought in.”
Today the BeltLine is a $2.4 billion public-nonprofit-private sector initiative that connects 45 in-town communities, 40 parks and hundreds of workplaces by multi-use trails and transit, said Gravel, now a senior urban designer with Perkins+Will, Atlanta.
“It’s a loop of abandoned rail corridors that is helping Atlanta reach new levels of social equity and civic engagement. The poster city for sprawl is becoming the poster city for green mobility.”
In five days, WHEELS aims to introduce at least 10,000 Floridians to green mobility. According to organizers, videos at the WHEELS website – www.wheelsflorida.org – will show how people with bikes can mount them on buses, access Metrorail and Tri-Rail stations, and board and leave trains.
Everglades Bicycle Club, Green Mobility Network, Bike 305, Emerge Miami, Bike SoMi and Human Powered Delray are among nonprofits already planning to help.
Additional plans also include five days of trail rides and group runs, bike-in block parties below Brickell Station and in South Miami, and a conference for bike advocates and transportation leaders.
“Eight months out, it’s a work in progress,” said Dover. Early sponsors already include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, Florida Bicycle Association, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Miami-Dade County, South Miami Hospital, and the East Coast Greenway Alliance.
Dover said it was a decision by the Greenway Alliance to hold its 2015 annual meeting in South Miami that spurred cycling and trail advocates to launch WHEELS.
Alliance trustees and members will fly into MIA, ride the Orange Line to hotels in Downtown Kendall, pick up rental bikes in South Miami for rides while in town, hold meetings at South Miami Hospital and at the Tropical Audubon House, and return home without need for cars.
The Alliance chose South Miami because Metrorail and the Underline (part of the East Coast Greenway) pass through its historic downtown. But with the Ludlam Trail and other greenways in the works, the Underline is just the beginning.
“Miami may not have Atlanta’s loop shape” said Dover, “but our geography suggests an equally iconic hub-and-spoke system. Transit and bikeways, networked together, will be the most exciting, brand-setting part of our region’s next-generation infrastructure. WHEELS will demonstrate the rising demand for this.”
To make the point, he showed plans for how the Ludlam Trail should eventually connect to the Miami River Greenway that’s meant to link the airport to downtown. There it would join up with the Underline, heading south, and the reimagined Rickenbacker Causeway—which could be radically transformed under Zyscovich’s “Plan Z”—on the east. Going west, the River of Grass Greenway would connect to Shark Valley and Naples, paralleling Tamiami Trail. Heading north, bike advocates are pushing for a rail-with-trail in the All Aboard Florida corridor as a northward extension of the Underline.
The 2,900-mile East Coast Greenway, stretching from Maine to Key West, is already more than 35% complete in Florida.
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