This article compares the bicycling environments between Boca Raton and Miami Beach. Miami Beach was chosen for this study because it is similar to Boca Raton in several key areas. The conclusion is that Miami Beach is more aggressive in implementing measures that encourage cycling and protect the safety of cyclists.
In 2019 we provided some history as well as information on Boca Raton and Miami Beach’s Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) status. Bicycle Friendly Communities: We Can Do This! – BocaFirst. The BFC awards receive national attention and are a recognition of the extent to which communities have successfully prioritized and invested resources in the bicycling environment.
Miami Beach provides a useful bicycling benchmark for Boca Raton. Both cities have similar demographics. For example, both have resident populations around 100,000 and both are trending toward a younger average resident age. Boca Raton has an average resident age of about 47.5 and Miami Beach’s average resident age is approximately 39.8.
Both cities also have similar geographies and climates. Both are relatively flat and have mild climates. These factors have a favorable impact on bicycling.
While there are numerous similarities regarding the bicycling environments between Boca Raton and Miami Beach, there is also a large difference. Miami Beach has embraced the idea of cycling as a desirable alternative to vehicles and is investing considerable resources to make that happen. Boca Raton, on the other hand appears reluctant to make more than a token investment. The fact that the city of Boca Raton has not advanced it’s BFC status beyond “getting started” for 18 years is proof.
The driver of success regarding a city’s bicycling environment seems to be one of city leadership priorities. The Miami Beach city manager letter in the following link is an example of such leadership I downloaded from miamibeachfl.gov: LTC 242-2017 Miami Beach Recognized as Most Bicycle-Friendly City in South Florida.
Note that the City of Miami Beach has committed to implementing 23 miles of protected bicycle lanes by 2035 and has already “implemented a significant amount” of these. Appendix A provides links to some of Miami Beach’s bicycling transportation information.
Contrast this with Boca Raton, which has implemented no protected bicycle lanes and has no plans to do so. Boca’s transportation plan favors vehicles over other modes of transportation.
Here are some pics of Miami Beach’s bicycle infrastructure:
Miami Beach could be used as a local benchmark for a successful bicycling infrastructure in Boca Raton. A potential next step is to hire a creative design firm to provide guidance. The Street Plan Collaborative design firm, based in South Florida, was retained for design assistance by Miami Beach. It would be a good fit for Boca Raton Miami Beach Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan & Street Design Guide > Street Plans (street-plans.com). Another recommendation is to hire a design firm from the international hotbed of cycling – Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagenize Design Company is one firm that comes to mind Copenhagenize Design Co.
Links to Miami Beach Bicycle Transportation Information
Bicycle Program Coordinator Job Description – CITY OF MIAMI BEACH (governmentjobs.com)
Street Design Guidelines – Street-Design-Guidlines-(FINAL).pdf (miamibeachfl.gov)
Bike Friendly Miami-Dade Program Report – www.miamidadetpo.org/library/studies/bike-friendly-miami-dade-program-report-2017-08.pdf
Protected Bike Lanes Master Plan – Protected Bike Lanes Master Plan Final Report, August 2017 (miamidadetpo.org)