Have you heard of the Commodore Trail? It is a wonderful multi-use County trail that goes through the heart of Coconut Grove and is one of the reasons why I moved here. It really is a beautiful trail used by hundreds of people daily.
As an avid recreational and transportation bicyclist, I use the Commodore Trail everyday for exercise and to do most of my daily errands including: groceries, pharmacy, library, post office, dropping off dry cleaning and of course to meet friends in The Grove at a restaurant or bar.
Having moved to the Grove 11 months ago from Miami Beach, I immediately noticed that the Commodore Trail is filled all day with vehicles illegally parking directly on the trail.
This is a serious public safety issue because these vehicles are forcing the pedestrians and bicycles into the street and traffic.
Including commercial trucks for both business and residential customers:
People being dropped off. Notice the bicyclist who had to swerve into traffic on the left because this car is blocking access to the bicycle trail.
Delivery trucks such as this dry cleaner parking on the trail….
…even though you can see in this next photo there is plenty of space to park at the customer’s house:
All throughout the week there are cars belonging to people attending one of the many houses of worship along Main Highway:
This driver is just talking on his phone which is particularly dangerous because of all the people trying to access Kennedy Park.
There are many homeowners who instruct their landscaping crews to dump yard waste directly on the trail despite having plenty of roadside yard space:
Contractors routinely park on the Trail even though there is plenty of off-street and on-street parking.
Yes, even school buses block the Trail so that the school’s own students are forced to walk on Main Highway right into traffic. What amazes me is that the private schools along Main Highway have acres of paved parking lots which the buses could use to safely board/drop-off the students but instead are doing this directly on the Trail. (Please note that the bus pictured here was not simply stopping for a minute to drop off a student. These buses illegally park unoccupied on the bike trail for 20, 30 and sometimes 45 minutes every week day.)
You may be wondering does this really affect that many people? Or is this just a middle-aged bicyclist griping about a personal pet peeve?
I encourage anyone to stand along the Trail around 3pm or after work on a weekday and you will be amazed at the amount of people using it, most especially school children.
When the schools are released along Main Highway the pedestrian and bicycle traffic increases dramatically.
Every week I will see groups of school kids literally walking out into traffic on Main Highway to walk around illegally parked cars on the Trail:
Besides school children, there are joggers, walkers, bicyclists:
Inline skaters and skateboarders:
Seniors getting their ice cream fix:
The scariest occurrence I’ve seen was a mom pushing a stroller right into traffic on Main Highway to go around a car parked illegally on the Trail:
You may be thinking that the problem is there isn’t sufficient signage to educate drivers about parking. In fact, there have always been signs along the trail, and most recently with the new Trail improvements, even more signs were installed:
So what’s the solution?
The answer is “Enforcement.” I believe fewer people would park illegally on the Trail if the Police Department regularly issued parking tickets.
I know the common argument is that “we just don’t have enough officers to do this.” But on my 45 minute bike ride there were many police cars parked all along the Trail but not one officer was issuing citations:
I’m showing just a few examples that I encountered on a 45 minute bicycle ride between 2:00 and 2:45pm on Thursday, March 7th. Throughout the course of a day, there are hundreds of vehicles illegally parked on the Trail creating a serious public safety issue.
We have this wonderful trail intended for pedestrians and bicycles but it has become dominated by cars and trucks.
If you believe this is a public safety issue, I encourage you to please contact one of the following:
- Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation Department
- City of Miami Police Department
- Miami Parking Authority
- Your City of Miami Commissioner
- CIty of Miami Mayor’s Office
Do you agree this is an issue? Have you had similar experiences on other bicycle trails? Feel free to comment here:
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