Miami Lakes

Letter: Car-centric Miami Lakes is not safe to travel on foot or bicycle

Miami Lakes is a beautiful place to live. Our town population has grown more than 30 percent over the past decade. One of the consequences of this growth has been increased traffic, especially on arterial roadways. With our continued growth and the threat of increased traffic related to the proposed nearby mall, the future of transportation in Miami Lakes requires serious attention.

Miami Lakes has nice, wide sidewalks that are set back from the roadway, separated by rows of beautiful trees that buffer cars from vulnerable road users. However, as anyone who has attempted to traverse the town on foot or bicycle can attest, those wonderful sidewalks lack basic connectivity. Many intersections have dangerous or insufficient pedestrian crossings, there are zero bicycle lanes, and many intersections are lacking infrastructure for anything but cars.

It is no wonder that a town that was designed to be walkable has shifted to a car-centric community, even though the USDOT estimates that one quarter of all trips in our area are one mile or less. Many people feel unsafe being outside of their cars. I am saddened to live in a town where we have to hire people to stand outside of our schools because we are afraid that drivers are going to run over children while they cross the street. It is not like this everywhere, and it does not have to be here. If we want less traffic and a safer place to live, we need to make it safer for people to exit their cars and enjoy this beautiful town on foot or bicycle, but residents won’t do this if we continue to prioritize moving cars through our town as fast as possible.

Many communities across the country have embraced the concept of Complete Streets. Complete Streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. Complete Streets allow for safe travel by those walking, bicycling, driving automobiles, or riding public transportation. Complete Streets is not about retrofitting our town, it is about moving forward with a different perspective. The Neighborhood Improvement Committee recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of Complete Streets for Miami Lakes, and the council will discuss the concept on July 21 at its next meeting. I’ll be there encouraging them to make Miami Lakes a safer town — one we all can enjoy no matter our form of transportation. I encourage you to come out to share your thoughts to the council.

The motto of our town is “Growing beautifully,” but there is nothing beautiful about sitting in gridlock traffic. We also need to be “Growing wisely.”

Geoffrey Shideler, Neighborhood Improvement Committee Member

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