By Meg Daly, Friends of The Underline CEO/President
With cars off the roads, we have taken to the streets and sidewalks walking and biking in droves. Bike sales have surged with The Guardian
declaring “Bicycles are the new toilet paper: bike sales boom as coronavirus lockdown residents crave exercise.” A recent Reuters article
says that US bike sales have boomed with bikes being considered essential transportation. And, back home in Miami on the MPath, the future Underline, neighborhood residents have doubled their use of the current narrow trail to get outdoors alone and with their families.
With the global shift to walking and biking during the coronavirus crisis, cities like Paris have added miles of new temporary bike lanes to build capacity, and cities from Bogota to Oakland are closing streets to make room for pedestrians and bikers.A flurry of articles explore a larger question: Could this crisis create an opportunity to remake our cities? Many experts think we would be healthier if our cities had more room for bicyclists and pedestrians. “Urbanists see a chance to save city dwellers not just from the sweep of a pandemic, but from the auto-centric culture that has dominated urban life for decades. They want to prioritize the movement of people, pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and their ilk-over cars,” says Wired Magazine.
And what does this mean for Miami? Certainly, projects like The Underline provide a large swath of safe, off-road, navigable trails for all ages and levels of ability. It provides a spine that connects to other off-road trails including Ludlam Trail and Miami River Greenway––and also connects to the popular Rickenbacker trail. In other words, we have an opportunity to be a city that embraces walkability and bikeability to ultimately be more resilient for future generations.
Let’s do this, together.
Photo courtesy Carl Kafka Photography 2020