The goal of the proposed 17 Street Dedicated Transit and Protected/Buffered Bicycle Lanes project is to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities along the 17 Street corridor from West Avenue and the Beachwalk.
Improving transit facilities on 17 Street is important because the Miami-Dade County Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) plan proposes three Bus Express Rapid Transit routes and the Beach Corridor Rapid Transit project connecting to the Miami Beach Convention Center. Due to these SMART Plan connections, the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) partially funded this study through its SMART Moves grant program.
Improving transit facilities on 17 Street will also improve service reliability for the existing 385 buses with 1,400 daily riders that currently travel along 17 Street on a daily basis.
Improving pedestrian and bicycle facilities on 17 Street is essential given the high volumes of bicyclists and pedestrians who currently travel along the corridor. Furthermore, 17 Street provides a direct connection between the Venetian Causeway (with green bike lanes) and the Beachwalk (a shared bicycle-pedestrian facility). Approximately 500 bicycles traveled through the intersection of West Avenue and 17 Street during the 13 hour count period, according to data collected for this study. According to the same data, over 13,000 pedestrians were counted daily at the east end of the study area.
Three mutually exclusive concepts were evaluated as part of the study.
Concept 1 – Upgrade pedestrian infrastructure (Attachment 2)
Concept 1 brings the corridor up to current roadway design standards by repairing sidewalks and installing pedestrian enhancements such as high emphasis (zebra) crosswalks and automated crossing signals. This concept has no parking impact and no traffic impact. Recommendations to increase shade canopy were developed, where right-of-way permits. Draft landscaping improvement concepts are included as Attachment 3 and 4, and will be finalized in design.
Concepts 2 – Add bicycle lanes from West Avenue to the Beachwalk (Attachment 5)
Concept 2 continues the Venetian Causeway green bike lanes from West Avenue east to the Beachwalk, which are buffered where possible. This concept has minimal parking impact, with the total loss of only five on-street parking spaces between Collins Avenue and the Beachwalk.
Concepts 3 – Add bicycle lanes from West Avenue to the Meridian Avenue, shared transit/bicycle lanes from Meridian Avenue to Collins Avenue, and add buffered bicycle lanes from Collins Avenue to the Beachwalk. (Attachment 6)
Concept 3 continues the Venetian Causeway bicycle lanes from West Avenue to Meridian Avenue. New shared transit/bicycle lanes are proposed between Meridian Avenue and Collins Avenue. This new facility will accommodate the existing and proposed bus routes to the Convention Center. The shared transit/bicycle lanes are a relatively new concept,and have been approved by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) for implementation. Shared transit/bicycle lanes have proven effective in major US and European cities. New buffered bicycle lanes are proposed from Collins Avenue to the Beachwalk.
This concept has minimal parking impact, with the total loss of only five on-street parking spaces between Collins Avenue and the Beachwalk.
Existing traffic data was gathered during this study, and the traffic impact was simulated using the Synchro Model for Concept 2 and Concept 3. As proposed, pedestrian, bicycle, and transit level of service is improved in concepts 2 and 3 and shown in the table below.
Vehicular level of service impacts varies by concept (see Traffic Impacts table below). Concept 1 has no vehicular level of service impact. For Concept 2, future vehicular level of service impacts modeled for 2023 will maintain the same level of service as compared to the No Build 2023 scenario, with minimal additional peak hour delays at Collins Avenue and at Jefferson Avenue. For Concept 3, future vehicular level of service impacts modeled for 2023 will maintain the same level of service as the No Build 2023 scenario west of Meridian Avenue. At Meridian Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Collins Avenue, vehicular level of service will worsen. However, in this area, vehicular trips will decrease by between 600 and 1,300 trips per peak hour due to implementation of SMART Plan transit improvements proposed by the County.
Traffic Operations Analysis
Concepts 2 and 3 include modifications to the typical section of 17 Street. Below is a description of the alternatives evaluated in the traffic operations analysis:
Future Pedestrian No-Build Alternative – Includes a forecasting of current traffic volumes to 2023; however, it assumes no change in the existing conditions.
Concept 1 – Implementation of automatic pedestrian intervals at intersections.
Concept 2 – Removal of the center turn lane to include bicycle lanes on 17 Street between West Avenue and Collins Avenue. Concept 2 also includes a new signalized mid-block crosswalk to improve connectivity between the Fillmore Theater and Soundscape Park.
Concept 3 – Same as concept 2 between West Avenue and Meridian Avenue. In the section between Meridian Avenue and Collins Avenue, this concept proposes narrowing the typical section to one lane in each direction and repurposing the outside travel lane as a shared bus/bike lane.
To determine the potential impacts to existing and future traffic, the city’s consultant analyzed the level of service for each concept:
Concept 1 – The implementation of automatic pedestrian intervals at all intersections do not significantly accept intersections along the corridor. Most intersections do not experience increases in delay except for the 17 Street and Convention Center Drive intersection. The southbound left turn movement is the most affected movement. To mitigate this impact, it is recommended that the intersection be modified to add vehicular detection on all phases. This would reduce the amount of unused green time on 17 Street and allow the unused green time to be allocated to Convention Center Drive.
Concept 2 – The modifications proposed as part of this concept do not result in any significant impact to the intersections in the corridor. It is worth highlighting that this concept includes a reconfiguration of the intersection of 17 Street and Alton Road. This reconfiguration would result in a reduction of approximately 46 seconds of average delay per vehicle traveling through this intersection.
Concept 3 – While the corridor does not experience any impact west of Meridian, the proposed repurposing of the outside travel lane would result in increases to single occupant vehicle delay for the intersections between Meridian Avenue and Collins Avenue. The most impacted intersections are Meridian Avenue and Washington Avenue. Both intersections experience an increased average delay of approximately 35 seconds per vehicle traveling through the intersection.
Public response to the proposals has been positive. There was consistent support for the pedestrian improvements proposed in Concept 1 and the bicycle and bus improvements proposed in Concept 3.
Staff was able to upgrade the concepts, based on public input received during this process:
Additional Landscaping: Staff has worked with the City’s Urban Forrester and Green Space Management to develop short term and long term landscaping enhancements for 17 Street;
Additional Pedestrian Crossings: Pedestrian Crossing were added at Lennox Avenue, the 17 Street Garage entrance and at the New World Symphony, pending Miami-Dade County review and approval;
Dedicated Left Turn Lane: A dedicated west-bound left turn lane at Pennsylvania Avenue was added at the request of the New World Symphony.
Tactical Urbanism: Decorative street designs were proposed at the entrance to the 17 Street Garage and a wider pedestrian crossing was proposed at the New World Symphony.