To mitigate the safety concerns of pedestrians using the beachwalk and baywalk, the City’s Transportation and Mobility Department staff explored the possibility of delineating separate lanes for pedestrians and other uses. However, based on the existing width of 15 feet for the vast majority of the beachwalk, delineating lanes is not feasible or effective and would not meet the minimum standards and guidelines established by FDOT, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, (AASHTO), and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). For example, to safely delineate a two-way bike path, a minimum width of 10 feet for bicycles would be required. With the high number of pedestrians using the beachwalk, a width of 10 feet would be desirable to delineate a two-way path for pedestrians. Thus, a minimum continuous width of 20 feet is desired to safely segregate pedestrians and bicyclists, yet approximately 70% of the entire length of the beachwalk is only about 15 feet wide.
Pursuant to the NQLC’s recommendation at its March 4, 2020 meeting, various city departments, including Police, Communications, Property Management, and Transportation and Mobility, coordinated to develop an approach to address the pedestrian safety concern on the beachwalk. City staff visited the beachwalk during March and April 2020 to survey the existing signage and determine potential locations for additional signs and markings. Based on staff’s field reviews, it was determined that additional signage was warranted. An inventory of the existing signage was mapped to assist in the development of a comprehensive signage plan for the area. The design of the advisory signs was shared with the Mid-Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA) at its June and July 2020 meetings for endorsement. Furthermore, staff conducted various walk-throughs of the beachwalk with Mr. Henry Stolar and, based on his input, adjustments were made to refine the signage plan.
UPDATE SINCE THE FEBRUARY 24, 2021 NQLC MEETING
Since the February 24, 2021 NQLC meeting, the City has installed 116 new regulatory signs along the open sections of the beachwalk and at all beachwalk entrance points to assist Police and Park Rangers with enforcing applicable provisions of the City Code. Furthermore, the City has completed the installation of 70 advisory signs along the open sections of the beachwalk to advise users that the area is a pedestrian-friendly zone where permitted/non-motorized devices such as bicycles, skates, and skateboards, must slow down and yield to pedestrians. Approximately 26 additional signs will be placed within the portions of the beachwalk currently in construction and not yet open to the public. See attached updated beachwalk signage plan.
Police has advised that the newly installed diamond-shaped regulatory signs, which include the applicable section of the City Code, are sufficient for Police to effectively enforce mobility rules on the beachwalk.
The Miami Beach Police Department has begun a daily beachwalk pedestrian safety detail entitled Clear Path. Clear Path has been carried out by officers in the Redevelopment Agency, Park Rangers and North Beach units beginning on March 15 with great success as shown by the below statistics over the month of April:
Between 15 St and 23 St:
· One felony arrest
· Two misdemeanor arrests
· One Baker Act
· Ordinance enforcement:
o 13 Uniform Traffic Citation
o 21 written warnings
o 8 verbal warnings
Between 23 St and 63 St (Park Rangers – March 18 – April 30, 2021):
· 328 spot/safety checks
· 137 dog off-leash warning
· 52 Homeless Outreach interventions (1 case where assistance was accepted)
· 14 individual camping sites removed
· 65 electric vehicles removed
· 223 face masks warnings
· 53 face masks issued
· 6 open alcohol container warnings
· 88 visitors removed from playground after hours
· 3 adults without children removed from playground
· 2 marijuana offenders removed
· 1 public urination
· 1 assist with boat that washed up on the beach
· 1 person selling food without permit removed
· 2 stolen CitiBike found and returned to bike station
· 1 warning for stealing electricity
One officer in North Beach is assigned to a “mule” to address pedestrian safety on each shift.
POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION
Due to current FDOT standards and guidelines governing shared-use paths constructed with federal grant funds, the Administration consulted with FDOT to determine if the City could legally prohibit or restrict bicycles and other non-motorized means of transportation on the beachwalk in the interest of public safety. FDOT consulted internally and with the Federal Highway Administration and advised that the City can address enforcement issues on the beachwalk as it deems appropriate. Given FDOT’s response, Transportation and Mobility Department staff has been exploring the feasibility of segregating pedestrians and bicyclists within the beachwalk sections that are wide enough to safely and effectively do so. This issue will be discussed as part of the upcoming Commission Workshop on Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety on May 24, 2021.