KEY BISCAYNE (CBSMiami) — Biking across the Rickenbacker Causeway on Key Biscayne can be dangerous. Now a new plan is in place to give cyclists, walkers, runners and other users a wider area so they’ll be safer.
Images shown to CBS4 indicate that the new parkway would start even before the toll that leads on to Key Biscayne. It would use the third lane on the right for the parkway, leaving two driving lanes for the length of the Causeway.
The architect and avid cycler who came up with the plan is Bernard Zyscovich.
“We ride in a 4 foot wide strip,” said Zyscovich. “A lane is 11-12 feet so that would be 16 feet for recreational use.”
The “Z” plan (Z from Zyscovich) is supported by Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla who said, “I’m trying to make it a reality.” He says they’ll work with FDOT and Miami-Dade and put a grassroots effort in place to build support.
“This has been the scene of many deadly accidents and part of that reason is the design,” said Diaz de la Portilla.
The Aaron Cohen Foundation backs the move. Aaron Cohen is a cyclist who was hit and killed on the Causeway.
Foundation representative Mickey Witte said, “It really is a proposal to get up to speed for this area in what it’s already being used for and that’s recreation, recreation, recreation!”
Cyclists who regularly use the Causeway can see the benefit to The “Z” plan. “The number of cyclists over the years has increased and that’s not going to change,” said cycling advocate Lee Marks.
However, not everyone thinks this is a good idea. Judy Rienach has lived on Key Biscayne for 4 decades and knows how much the driving lanes on the Causeway are needed.
“I think it’s a bad idea because it’s not logical,” said Rienach. “We need every lane we have.”
Deborah Berstrum, a motorist that regularly uses the Causeway agrees that the change would not be a wise one. “The original design is so the traffic could move,” explained Berstrum.
Proponents say right now the road goes from two lanes to three lanes to two lanes, creating bottle necking. They say by having two lanes, the whole way there would be a smoother flow.
The toll booths are also going away and will be replaced by Sunpass express lanes to help with flow. Additionally, creating a parkway means federal funding is possible. Right now the proposal sits in the hands of the FDOT for plenty of research.
Watch Cynthia Demos’ report, click here.