Miami Springs city leaders updated residents at Monday’s council meeting on progress toward building a new bikeway along Westward Drive.
“The grant was awarded in July 2013 with the state funding becoming available for 2016,” Finance Director William Alonso said. “We are currently working with FDOT on approval of the 90 percent design documents.”
A traffic study is required, Alonso said, before work starts on the Westward path “later this calendar year.”
Miami Springs was awarded a $597,466 transportation enhancement grant in 2013 to install a paved bicycle path that will connect the library to the community center, pool and ballpark.
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There will be some curves along the path to protect historic oaks and other trees, officials said. The city expects to plant 33 new trees, 300 bushes and have landscaping and lighting similar to the heavily-traveled Curtiss Parkway path.
Plans show the Westward path will stretch nearly a mile running from Flamingo Circle to Hammond Drive. From there, a striped “shared lane” will connect to the Ludlam Road bike path.
In 2013, a Miami Herald story uncovered plans to uproot nearly two miles of trees along the Ludlam bike path to make way for a jet-fuel pipeline. After the story was published, an outcry by residents forced the city to halt its plans.
The grant stipulates bicycle paths must be “principally for transportation,” according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
However, part of the Curtiss Parkway bike path near the city’s circle is inaccessible to riders on Saturdays as a farmer’s market takes place there. The market is run by a for-profit corporation called Human Powered Enterprises that received $2,115.90 in city funds, at the Jan. 25 council meeting, to promote future events — on or near the bike path.
“This is something the city council has facilitated in order to provide residents some activities on weekends,” Alonso said. “We are also not contemplating renting it out since this is for residents to use and not for commercial purposes.”
The Curtiss Parkway bike path is also obstructed during other commercial events like the annual River Cities Festival. Signs along the path warn pedestrians to yield to vehicles.
“It seems like they would want to improve access for people to get to the market on bike,” said David Henderson, the county’s bicycle pedestrian administrator. “If the organizers don’t see it that way the city would have to be enforce the access and public right of way.”
Henderson added that the city can also explore requiring event organizers to provide bike parking to encourage people to ride to their event.
Currently, the city has four bike paths that run along the golf course, Curtiss Parkway, Ludlam Drive and part of North Royal Poinciana Blvd.
For information about Miami Springs’ bike paths, call 305-805-5000.