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Monday, April 27, 2009

Bike Day is a perfect fit for Coconut Grove

Kathryn Moore (above left), from the Mayor's office, and her Miami Bike Team should be very proud of themselves today. They did an incredible job bringing Bike Day to Coconut Grove yesterday.

It was a perfect day for the event and the Grove was packed with happy bikers, skaters, bladers and the like. Two new bike racks were introduced, too. You can see the bike-shaped green rack, proudly displayed by Miami's Magnificent Six Bicycle Action Committee. This is right next to the Bookstore on Virginia Street.

A red, guitar-shaped bike rack was also installed on Main Highway, across from Le P'tit Paris, Marshall and Douglas were the first to try it out yesterday morning. Everyone was very impressed at how they were installed in the middle of the night, so as to be a surprise the next morning. Richard and David from the BID and Chamber, respecively, manned the info booth next to the bike rack all day. I also worked with Manny and Ingrid from the BID office, at another info booth. They actually spent more time there than I did, since I was wandering all over the place taking photos.

The whole Grove partook of the fun. Even the Grove's own angel was out at the triangle in the center of the village, posing for photos. The Guys from Smoothie King, like most of the merchants, had a busy, successful day. That's my friend Alex, in the center photo. He's with FIU, they took surveys on biking in the county, to see what people are looking for in the way of bike paths and things like that.

The streets were void of cars, except for the few parked on the side and just a few were let in and out, so it was a strange feeling at first, but pretty quickly, people got used to not having motorized vehicles around. It actually was quite pleasant.

Peacock Park was the center of activities and the rally point, but people ended up all over the place -- riding, visiting, eating, drinking. It really was an amazing experience.

A couple of bike valet stations were set up and people could leave their bicycles and go eat or visit art galleries, and they knew their bikes would be safe. CocoWalk had one set up in an empty storefront and I suggested to them that this would be a good thing to have all the time.

It seemed that every city politician was out, which was great, but it would be a much better event in the future if it was a bit more low key. By that, I mean, no speeches and grandstanding and photo opps. Just close the streets to autos and let bikers take over like was done yesterday.

I spoke with many people and everyone would like to see this happen on a regular basis. Hopefully the BID can come up with something and this can be a once a month happening. The merchants were happy, the bicyclists were happy, the town leaders were happy. It's a win-win-win situation for everyone. Some merchants started out slow, but it picked up throughout the day and with more people here on a Sunday since maybe the King Mango Strut in December, there is no reason that anyone could not be happy with the results.

Bike Day brought so many new people into the Grove and so many people that had not been here for awhile. The streets were crowded, there was music all over the place -- flute playing, drummers, guitars and singers. It was a happening. And it was an organic happening. Very organic, natural and what the Grove is about.

Photos by Harry Emilio Gottlieb and Tom Falco for the Grapevine

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a great day to be out here in the Grove. Place was packed, I bet people came from all over Miami, real Dutch people too.. You could see the smiles on peoples faces, kids with their mothers on tandem. I was surprised to see so many skaters too.

Great job by the officials to organize such a neat event. It brings a lot of awereness not just about biking, but to simply step out ther on foot or whatever and enjoy the day. Give the cars a rest, and see the Grove up close, no hurries. I noticed tons of new trees too that are being planted on South Bayshore, etc.

Hopefully the businesses did ok. I'm sure that if this were a regular event, one Sunday every month, it would be great for everyone, and even more people would show up. Excellent day, felt like a very civilized european city or something..Carlos Iglesia

April 27, 2009 8:37 AM  
Blogger aCause4Concern said...

Hopefully people liked it enough to voice their desire for more designated bike lanes and bike racks. With these, a day like yesterday could be a regular thing with no special planning.
All the money spent on 'Public Service Aides' directing traffic for this one event? wow...

April 27, 2009 9:43 AM  
OpenID bikemiamiblog said...

Your words are too kind - no one person is the Bike Miami Days Team - and my thanks go to the businesses, NET and BID for making the Grove so accessible for people to explore. We've been getting calls and emails from people who drive through the route everyday and only on Sunday discovered Peacock Park, Brenda's and Ludo's, the dog-friendly services at St.Stephen's, and the Bookstore in the Grove. We'll post some of them in the next few days and ask everyone so inclined to share photos! Thank you again- Kathryn

April 27, 2009 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yesterday was so enjoyable. we were only going to check it out for a couple hours, but we ended up staying the whole day, riding through the car-less streets, meeting new people, browsing in shops we'd never been to. it was perfect.

April 27, 2009 10:31 AM  
Anonymous AnaJ said...

The event was so wonderful....very well planned and executed. My friends and I rode around for a while and then ended up at the Barnacle for a game of croquet. How lucky we are to be Grovites!

April 27, 2009 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

It was a spectacular event. I sent out 3.500 e mail invitations to this and my reception. Today I had e mail requesting more lead time on info all the way from Palm Beach. A Dutch family visiting stumbled on it and were interested in bike rentals, gave them my Amsterdam bike poster today Monday. Fabulous event the marketing was iffy.

April 27, 2009 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Maria Freed said...

Congratulations to all who helped organize & promote this wonderful outdoor event and kudos to all the neighbors who took to the streets on bikes, skates, and on foot. I hope there are plans to bring this type of event on a regular basis to the Grove. My family and I had a GREAT time.

April 27, 2009 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be blaringly obvious but WHY do I see a zillion shirts & stuff promoting 'HOLLAND' and NONE promoting the PLACE this is happening COCONUT GROVE!?! A prime opportunity was lost: If I had no captions on these photos & saw them on the web, I'd think, "Wow, isn't that nice what they're doing in HOLLAND." Was this not considered? I don't think I'm too far off the mark with this opinion...

April 27, 2009 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Liliana Dones said...

Answer to 4/27/8:22pm:

Because this is not so much about Coconut Grove as it is about a universal idea which has finally come to the Grove. Holland has been promoting biking long before it became fashionable for major cities to close off streets and do the same. It is a point of recognition well deserved.

April 27, 2009 11:50 PM  

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