The coronavirus pandemic presents our community with enormous challenges. Mobility is essential to our crisis response, from the essential workers delivering your food to the hospital staff saving lives – it serves as a lifeline now more than ever. As our streets see much less traffic, more people are turning to bikes and scooters to perform their essential trips.
With thousands of residents losing their jobs and facing financial instability, mobility policy that aids our recovery will become increasingly crucial.
We are advocating for widespread coronavirus testing that is accessible to those without cars, permanent street improvements for a stronger recovery, and the adoption of best practices for transit that are emerging nationwide.
Make widespread testing accessible without a vehicle
On a normal day, 36% of essential workers in Miami are transit commuters. This population is continuing to work during the crisis and is at a higher risk of being exposed to the disease, however, it is largely left out by most current testing sites that require a vehicle.
Until recently, Miami-Dade County was only offering COVID-19 testing through drive-through sites, except for senior citizens in the City of Miami, where the fire rescue made homebound visits for testing.
Widespread testing that is accessible without a vehicle is extremely important, such as at-home testing, walk-in centers and mobile test sites in neighborhoods.
Streets for People
Repurpose Streets as Shared Spaces
Throughout the nation, with the significant drop in car ridership, cities are repurposing their streets to accommodate for safer social distancing given the increase in pedestrian and cycling activities. We are calling for the closure of streets to reclaim them as shared spaces for pedestrians, cyclists and businesses.
Build bicycling infrastructure before traffic returns to normal
More people are choosing to use their bikes and scooters to take care of their essential trips. As thousands of people lose their job and financial stability, many will give up or choose not to drive their cars to lower their expenses. We must start planning and building proper biking infrastructure now so that our residents can continue to move around safely once traffic returns to normal.
Keep Miami Moving
Maintain Frequent Service on High-Demand Routes
It is important to keep frequent service on high-demand routes to reduce crowding and allow riders that still depend on transit to adhere to safe social distancing practices, as well as protect operators from packed buses. The Better Bus Project's high frequency network should be used as the basis for service adjustments.
Deploy bike and scooter sharing for essential workers
Miami-Dade is also the only county nationwide to ban both shared bikes and scooters. In other cities, shared scooter and bicycle operators have stepped up to provide free rides to essential workers, but the ban prevents this from being adopted in Miami-Dade County.
Communicate service changes with at least 48-hour notice
In order to allow riders to plan ahead, especially those that exclusively depend on mass transit, riders need at least a 2-day advance notice of any potential service changes or service reductions. So far, service changes have been communicated overnight or on the same day they have gone into effect.
Prioritize the safety and health of operators and riders
Nationwide, agencies are following CDC recommendations to ensure that transit operators are adequately supported with masks, gloves, and other protective gear. This also protects against any potential spread of the virus to passengers in the event transit operators become exposed.