Politics: Nattering Nabobs of Nuttiness—And Bicycle Lanes Too

Say It Ain’t So, Joe. And Why Indian Creek’s Too Dangerous For Bikes

By Jeffrey Bradley

Recently, gaffe-prone Vice President Joe Biden compared legislators wishing to reign in the 7 trillion dollar budget he helped foment as “rape apologists.” While no doubt that kind of flapdoodle plays well down at the local Local, Joe’s astute—or boneheaded—enough to acknowledge the role that unions played in launching his own political career. (We’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge ‘Uncle Joe’ Stalin for showing the happy side of Marxism.) Our Uncle Joe, of course, is the same then-presidential candidate who (in)famously described O’bama (Happy St Patrick’s Day, dude!), his current boss, as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate, and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” to boot, making the uncouth, dim and dirty and no doubt offensive-looking Reverend Al positively ecstatic.

We bet that Joe’s even the kind of guy you could sit down and have a beer with… if your name was Spiro Agnew and you were still alive. The term, we believe, is birds of a feather.

Unraveling unbidden Bidenisms is also essential to understanding that when a presidential candidate clearly says “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation”, and then becomes president, what he means is “except for Libya.”

Good thing that war-mongering George Bush isn’t around any more!

But enough of red herrings. We’re far keener to address the ‘new and improved’ Indian Creek Drive right here in Miami Beach, the better to see which of our vaunted commissioners is embracing the mantle of leadership. Or not.

On a recent Sunday we left our lair for a short trip to the beach—yes, Gertrude, sand and waves and jellyfish, that beach—but, Good Ford!, we mistakenly drove. Traffic along 41st Street was clogged bumper to bumper enough heading into the beach on a late afternoon to make Arthur Godfrey himself roll over! It was as if every vehicle from every used car lot on the way to Homestead (with gigantical waving American flags) had sold out their inventory simultaneously which then headed straight for the Beach… so many, we say, that we sat idling and fuming in traffic concerned for our place in the drum circle that was to usher in a millennial celestial event.

We’re not talking small-fry Halley-Bopp comet stuff, either. No. What we mean is the rise of the supermoon, which, if mention of it makes you go huh?, you couldn’t afford it anyway. See, after having arose from the ocean, the moon in its nearness to earth was supposed to hang in the sky like a continent; what made it so special, we think, had to do with azimuths and apogees and atmospheric amplitudes, but we’re not very sure, so don’t ask it. And we were gonna miss it stuck in traffic? Luckily, our driver knew what “Act like you’re from Miami” meant and gunned the car like we saw in a cartoon once and drove swervy and twirly enough that we gained the beach in plenty of time. <Phew!>

(The whole moon thing was a bust, but that’s another story.)

Getting to the beach involved careening over the humpy little intracoastal bridge with a sharp right down Indian Creek. What struck us was—granted we didn’t go far before veering left on two wheels to find lot parking (that’s another story) but, like we said, Homestead beat us to it—there was no construction!

(The City and FDOT will be fixing that; they’re digging up 41st Street in its entirety when, you know, season is here. And why were no medians planned for this remade street? No wider sidewalks? Or better street crossings and other pedestrian enhancements? Oops—silly us! The answer ‘s obviously vroom, vroom!)

Where were we? Yes, down Indian Creek without a paddle.

Now, we understand the restriping and repaving and all the other re work still needs doing. But we have it on good authority (the 17th Street Irregulars, our lumpenproletariat whom roam the halls of power, again) that the City/FDOT axis reckoned Indian Creek traffic as “too dangerous” to put down bicycle lanes. Wouldn’t you think they’d want to slow things down—especially the nether reaches of the road where those Dead Man’s Curves pinch traffic into a snarl? Isn’t Miami Beach’s pedestrian population second only to that of New York City? Just make it look like Washington Avenue south of Fifth, near the Ziff Museum, with superwide sidewalks, open plazas and unlethal pedestrian crossings. It’s not so hard to calm cars, or even kick ‘em right off the Beach. Not really.

Here’s what we did see, instead of construction, and what you will see when all is said and done: A ROW varying between 50 and 80 feet with a whopping 9½ feet for parking! Meaning that we’ll have parking spaces big enough to land a Piper Cub on but not big enough for bicycles because, anyway, it’s “too dangerous”. C’mon. Why not just throw the cars off and declare them nice, wide bicycle lanes? With the post stamp-sized sidewalks of Indian Creek cluttered with meters, lampposts and other paraphernalia of parking, that 41st Street pedestrian kill-zone, and the way the cars fly by, no wonder it’s designated “too dangerous”. And the solution is to make it more so?

However the City got it right—we’re shocked, shocked!—with the DecoBikes project, we already see them struggling to share those miniscule sidewalks. Sooner or later, the City will have to confront its schizophrenia over supporting either pedestrians and bikes or automobiles. Maybe when gas hits 8 bucks a gallon the light will start to shine. But we doubt it.

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