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"Ride the Rickenbacker"
Another Step Closer to the Realization of the Parks Open Space System Master Plan
January 10, 2009, was a beautiful, clear and sunny Saturday morning, as only Miami mornings tend to be. Under cloudless blue skies, a revolutionary event took place in Key Biscayne, across from Crandon Park Marina and Bear Cut Preserve, the likes of which had been in the works by the Miami-Dade Parks Department for a long time and which it hopes to replicate throughout Miami-Dade County.
Hundreds attended-young and old-biking, skating, walking, jogging, little kids riding their tricycles, parents pulling their children behind them in wagons, members proudly wearing the bright and distinctive colors of their respective cycling team. Helmets, knee and elbow pads abounded. The excitement and joy were palpable as everyone basked in the freedom of the outdoors without worrying about cars, buses and other vehicles interfering with their fun or safety. Northbound traffic lanes closed from Crandon Park to the West Bridge from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and traffic was re-routed to the southbound lanes.
The event, "Ride the Rickenbacker," marked the completion of improvements to the Rickenbacker Causeway and on- and off-road 8.5-mile bicycle lanes, an innovative movement aimed to make Miami-Dade County one of the pre-eminent cycling locations in the world.
When fully built, the 500-plus miles of trails and bikeways will form a more livable and sustainable community and will include etiquette, interpretive and educational signs; mile markers; trail maps; and pedestrian directional signs. These will form an interconnected system that provides transportation alternatives and reduces traffic congestion; creates new recreational opportunities; increases property values; protects natural resources; and encourages tourism and business development. The system will strengthen connections across the county, from the northern and southern county lines to the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades.
"The bike lane project on the Rickenbacker Causeway, along with the lanes on Crandon Park and the Village of Key Biscayne, link five beautiful parks for everyone to enjoy. This is the essence and vision of Miami-Dade County's Open Space Master Plan," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
The objective of the Rickenbacker Causeway road resurfacing and bicycle path improvement project was to create continuous bicycle lanes from the West Bridge to Key Biscayne and accommodate the volume of bicyclists who currently use the shoulder of this road. In combination with the Village of Key Biscayne's Crandon Boulevard project, these improvements were accomplished with bicycle lanes from the mainland to Cape Florida State Park.
The resurfacing of the Rickenbacker Causeway and the bike path was done in three phases. The first phase was from the east end of Bear Cut Bridge to the east entrance of the Crandon Marina, and consisted of milling and resurfacing the causeway and off-road bicycle path, widening at various intersections, pavement markings for roadway and delineation for future bicycle lanes. Construction of this portion of the facility was completed in July, 2006.
Phase two of the project extended from the west end of the Bear Cut Bridge to the east end of the William Powell Bridge. It consisted of the same improvements as phase one, and also included shoulder widening at various intersections. Construction of this portion of the facility was completed in July, 2007.
Phase three of the project is from Brickell Avenue to the west end of the William Powell Bridge. The work included the same improvements as phases one and two, from west of the toll plaza of the east end of Hobie Island, and milling and resurfacing of the Bear Cut Bridge and the West Bridge (southern section). This project also included the installation of handrails for the William Powell Bridge, the Bear Cut Bridge and the West Bridge, the replacement of joints on the Bear Cut Bridge and the West Bridge (southern section). Improvements further included shoulder widening at various intersections, signing and pavement markings to include conversion of the shoulders to marked and signed bicycle lanes for the length of all three phases, minor sidewalk repair, construction of concrete path to connect bike lane to existing path, and upgrading of pedestrian signals. Construction of this portion of the facility was completed in December, 2008.
Attendees at the dedication included Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez; County Manager George M. Burgess; representatives from the City of Miami and the Village of Key Biscayne; Miami-Dade County Public Works Director Esther Calas, P.E.; and Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Director Jack Kardys.
Commissioner Gimenez stated, "This project will improve safety and better accommodate the volume of cyclists who currently use the Rickenbacker. The improvements will bring Miami-Dade County one step closer to achieving its Open Space Master Plan vision that connects all parks, green spaces, and bikeways across the County. Our commitment is to provide a world class system of parks that connect 500-plus miles of trails and bikeways. This goal will make our community a more attractive one to live, work and play in."
"Reducing our carbon omissions by encouraging citizens to use dedicated bicycle lanes and pathways linked to our existing transit rail, mover and bus service will lessen our impact on the environment while providing outstanding recreational experiences," said Miami-Dade County Manager, George M. Burgess.
Other existing trails undergoing improvements include Commodore, Biscayne, Black Creek, Old Cutler, and Snake Creek.
Money for the realization of the trails comes from a general obligation bond and funding from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Back to Top Page Last Edited: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:27:06 PM
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