Please Help Me with a Class Project Survey on the Urban Development Boundary

Hello any friends who are Miami folk!

I am conducting a survey for a group project on Miami-Dade’s Urban Development Boundary and could use your input!

This is a project for a public policy analysis course involving a survey of Miami-Dade residents and their feedback on the Urban Development Boundary. Since this topic has come up at many Emerge meetings lately, it seems like a good time to use this class project to both gauge interest in this issue and maybe consider the data for future initiatives related to it. The survey is only 9 multiple choice questions, and shouldn’t take more than five minutes to complete.

This data is going to be finalized and charted on Thursday, 7/12. Please submit your responses before then.

Feel free to pass this link on to other people you feel might be interested in participating.

The survey is here:

Thanks for your help!


Won’t You Be My Neighborland?

So yesterday, on my way way west to take my Quantitative Analysis class, I was trying to quantify a value for effectiveness around town. I mean, we do our thing with the bikes and the building better communities and the veggie potlucks and the civic engagement and such, but how do you place a value on the work that’s done and gauge whether or not it was wanted in the first place.

Then National Party Radio’s “All Things Considered” came on with a special on something ridiculously and cosmically coincidentally awesome!

Miamians- I want you to meet Neighborland, a happening out of New Orleans that took the water swept aftermath of historic catastrophe and made an experiment in opportunity democracy. A beautiful meshing of “Hello: My Name Is” and Madlibs, Neighborland set up its beloved community with a device for voicing their expectations, desires, and ambitions for a thriving and creative community.

Let’s get this clear: Neighborland has developed a conduit for a city on the path to recovery with a blank template full of opportunities to develop, improve, and declare its creative capabilities.

Maybe I am being a little presumptuous speaking on your behalf, South Florida, BUT THESE GUYS GOT WHAT MIAMI NEEDS!

With Build a Better Block Miami coming up in October, our city is welcoming vocal locals with a forum to express what they want from their town.

Currently centered around New Orleans, but dashing into cities across the country, Neighborland is helped residents envision the city they want. And we’ve asked them to put Miami on their map. Our town is a growing sensation built upon ongoing experiences and experiments in engagement and emergent behavior. Picture having the chance to declare your vision on a wonderfully creative and interactive network for community-building. Make your dreams heard. Bring them to life.

We will update more, as we continue to reach out to Neighborland and make Miami a part of its neighborhood.


A Gratifying Moment Biking with Folks

Miami Beach Police Keeps it Real

This is a happy story.

It may not seem to start that way:

Straight up- biking in Miami is a challenge.

We come to terms with this and try to ride like traffic- fearless and assertive. Some days are harder than others to keep the resolve. There are multiple ways in which the ride is challenging. Among them are chiefly aggressive traffic and, at times more disconcertingly, a feeling that we are not afforded protection by the authorities responsible for keeping all traffic safe. I’ve heard many a cyclist implore “Where was the police?”

I’ve been hit- and thank goodness its never been an issue. A bent fork here, a bumped shin there- I am thankful for being intact. But in each situation, the conflict was resolved with words between myself and my new acquaintances. No interventions.

Stories get told from all around the perspective on law enforcement and its knowledge or interest in bicycle issues and rider safety. Everyone I speak to seems to have an opinion- mostly critical.

So here’s our happy story, for a wonderful change of tone:

Last Saturday, @EmergeMiami and friends took our 3rd Annual Sweet Treats ride, and it was fantastic! We hit up Wynwood and the Beach, and brought tasty love to all of our 60 or so riders.  Thanks go out to Blissberry Yogurt, The Frieze Ice Cream, and Panther Coffee, for making our ride a memorable sampling of Miami’s finest snack shoppes!

But I digress, this is a happy story about seeing roadway protection at work.

Our ride took us up Meridian on the Beach, through a lovely shaded strip along Flamingo Park, which was both beautiful to observe and a welcome cool down from an otherwise tepid midday sun. Our riders kept a great pace, chatting and comparing notes on Miami stuff. We took up the lane, as group rides do, while working hard to maintain roadway decorum. We corralled our riders to their allocated road space and stopped at the lights, the signs, and so forth.

As we got to 16th, some malcontented motorist, ironically driving Smartcar, drove in a most unintelligent manner and figured there was no better time than the present to tear up to the left in the oncoming traffic lane and vivisect our group to make a circuitous right.

As one rider, Ahmad, puts it, the driver “decided to take a right turn into us from the wrong side of the street- right in the middle of the pack…she brushed my elbow and that’s when she stopped and I got right in front of her”.

Brushed elbows and disrupted rides- when does this get happy?

Enter the Miami Beach Police Department.

Ahmad continues: “The cop, he saw it, pulled it right over and said ‘I got this. I saw everything.’ I feel good about it- I’m glad the cop was there.”

We agree, Ahmad.

This was a gratifying moment in bicycle riding. The Police stepped in a supported, and thankfully the incident did not require emergencies or enduring agonies- except, perhaps, for the Smartcar who couldn’t wait a minute.

Here’s what I find most satisfying about this situation. We’ve got a reputation as a city that shuns it roadway responsibilities, Miami, and we are working hard to overcome it with advocacy, facilities, and initiatives. Still, each effort these days feels like a response to a tragedy. We’ve chocked up a growing collection of hit-and-runs, we’ve organized our share of memorial rides and ghost bike dedication for crash victims, and the question is asked again and again: “Where is our protection?”

So this wasn’t an extravagant encounter on Meridian, but it was a spectacular validation- there was protection. A Miami Beach Police Officer- I wish I knew his or her name- saw an incident and did something about it. I don’t know what the outcome was- word came to us at the front of the group that we were cool and were told to ride on. But I do know what those flashing blue and red lights I saw meant, and it was good for us.

We saw a response to a clear infraction: a bully in a car bending the rules in a clearly unbalanced risk between automobile and bicyclists.

We would have been on the losing end of this conflict, if not for protection from Beach Police.

I am thankful they represented.