Green Transit Activist for Miami Beach Commissioner?

Posted in Left & Liberals, Miami, People by americatimes on September 7, 2009

Meet local cranktivist and rabble-raiser Gabrielle Redfern

Bike Pains
By Isaiah Thompson, Feb. 2007

Despite the fact that just four percent of the county’s population lives there, twelve percent of the county’s bicycle-related accidents in 2005 occurred in Miami Beach, where bike lanes are as rare as available parking. With those figures in mind, this past week I joined self-described “local cranktivist” Gabrielle Redfern for a tour of the Beach’s bike lanes. It didn’t take long.

“This was clearly the way the city thought they could make me shut up,” Redfern said cheerfully at the corner of 42nd Street and Sheridan Avenue, the start of the Beach’s first-ever bike lane, built in 2004. “Look at it: It’s a four-foot travel lane, no parking, well-striped.” But no sooner had she sung its praises than the lane vanished four blocks later. “And then it ends. And here we are, at the end.”

Redfern, a stylish, funny, and unceasingly energetic woman in her midforties, took up bikes as a cause when she moved to the Beach in 1998. She’s a member of the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), was president of her Orchard Park neighborhood association, and is on the steering committee for the Beach’s Alliance for Reliable Transportation. She’s running for city commissioner this fall.

Our next stop on the Beach bike tour was a lane on Alton Road. When resurfacing work began on Alton four years ago, Redfern clamored for bike accommodations. Instead, the Beach got “bulb-outs” on the northern stretch — aesthetically enhanced hunks of concrete that hug curbs, and are intended to have a “calming” effect on traffic. When the second phase of the Alton Road project began, Redfern redoubled her efforts. “I made big stinks,” she said. “Big stinks.” (…)

Redfern remains hopeful. She has lots more plans for bike lanes on the Beach, on Prairie Road and along the Dade Canal, as well as an extension of the existing Alton Road lane.

“If you build it,” Redfern assured, “they will ride.”


Bike Lane Bureaucracy
By Isaiah Thompson, Wed., Nov. 28 2007

Last night, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) held a meeting – one of many held already, one of many more to come – to solicit input from an advisory panel made up of seven Miami Beach residents on the upcoming Alton Road repaving project, expected to go into 2009. (…)

It turns out, though, that both columns wound up looking much the same: two of the seven people on FDOT’s advisory panel were against bikes; the other five were for them. The pros of having a bike path were: having a bike path. The cons were: having a bike path. The pros and cons of not having a bike path were similar: pro — no bike path; con – no bike path. More bike path, less sidewalk; more sidewalk, less bike path, etc., etc., etc.

Winner of Most Chutzpa at an Obscure Semi-Public Meeting is bike activist and general rabble-raiser Gabrielle Redfern, who had the audacity to suggest that everyone could have their cake and eat it, too, if the team simply removed the full lane devoted to on-street parking. The idea caused a stir: “I live in Miami Beach,” asserted advisory board member Marilyn Freundlich. “I take the local bus, and I walk like a madwoman, and I ride my bicycle. And that’s what we should encourage our residents to do to make our city less congested.”

It turns out that if you want raise a rabble with FDOT, just talk about getting rid of parking.

“We cannot do that,” Adebayo T. Coker, FDOT District Project Development Engineer, stepped in quickly to say. “FDOT cannot remove on-street parking. The process for that is we have to be completely assured by the city that it will build a garage and that these parking places will be in place.”


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