Miami Beach crosswalks are unsafe for pedestrians and this is why…

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For the record, I’m NOT one of those disgruntled citizens who constantly complains about life in Miami Beach.  On the contrary, I’m usually the one person in a crowd who talks about how much I love living here.  Miami Beach is a great city.  Additionally, I think the Miami Beach Police Department does a good job.  I mean, in general, I feel very safe living here.  I like to look at the “Big Picture” and Miami Beach’s big picture is very good.  There are, of course, exceptions and today I experienced one of the most blatant issues about living in Miami Beach: crosswalks.  You see, I’m one of those naive people who think motorists should yield to pedestrians in a cross walk.  But in Miami Beach, on a daily basis, I see examples where motorists don’t yield.  Today was one of the worst examples of how the Miami Beach Police choose NOT to enforce this law, thus exacerbating the issue.

At 12:20pm today I was riding my bike Northbound from my home on the 800 block of Lenox to Lincoln Road.  There is a brand new, extremely visible crosswalk the city recently put up at the entrance to Flamingo Park at the corner of Jefferson and 11th right by the fire station.  I mean it’s really VISIBLE: a big neon yellow sign, with flashing lights, a clearly painted crosswalk, curb extensions, etc.  As I approach the cross walk, I stop my bike because I see a car to my left heading Eastbound that is about 75 feet away.  I begin to cross the walk with my bike and as I’m in the walk, it’s clear to me the car is not going to yield so I stop walking and wait.  As the car passes by, to my amazement there’s a City of Miami Beach Public Safety vehicle coming in the other direction who had stopped to allow me to cross.  I begin to wave my arms to say, “Hey, aren’t you going to do something about that car that nearly clipped me while I stood in the cross walk!!”  There are 3 public safety officers in the car and they just stare at me blankly, as if to say “Why are you bothering us?”   So I walk over to their car again waving my arms trying to get their attention.  As I get closer, I notice the officer in the front passenger seat is eating what looks like a fruit salad out of a Tupperware container, she looks right at me, smiles and then they drive off heading West bound.

I stood there dumbstruck at what just happened…..but I had the presence of mind to record the Public Safety license plate number: 238105

So I called the non-emergency phone number (305-673-7900) for the Miami Beach Police and got a very nice and helpful dispatcher who took my information, put me on hold and then told me a Sergeant would be calling me to follow up my report.  I still have not heard from anyone at the Police Department.

What good is a great cross walk if the Police Department doesn’t enforce the law about yielding to pedestrians?  Have you had any similar experiences?  What can we do to improve the situation?

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  1. Charlie Fischer March 21, 2011
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