Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida, Europe and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Barrier-protected bike lanes are smart and safe, yet only six weeks into 2013, we may already have THE year's worst portrait of self-justifying govt. bureaucracy run amok: State of Illinois blocks Chicago's plans for barrier-protected bike lanes on state-run roads. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to install 100 miles of protected bicycle lanes by 2015 is running into a speed bump; the more you know about this subject the more galling IDOT's decision seems

ChicagoMayorsOffice YouTube Channel video: Dearborn Bike Lanes. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially opens barrier-protected bike lanes on Dearborn Street through the Loop, becoming the first two-way dedicated bike route with traffic signals in Chicagoland. Uploaded December 19, 2012. http://youtu.be/6rzQXhcaFlY
Active Transportation Alliance Vimeo video: Dearborn Protected Bike Lane - Before and After. Uploaded January 2013. http://vimeo.com/55752870

Chicago Tribune
State blocks city's plans for protected bike lanes on state-run roads. 
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to install 100 miles of protected bicycle lanes in Chicago by 2015 is running into a speed bump. 
February 12, 2013

More on this subject from a straight-shooting Chicago-area blog that doesn't miss a thing: Streetsblog Chicago

So why is IDOT delaying designs that several American cities have already been implementing for years? 
The agency says it wants to measure safety impacts based on robust statistical evidence, and that three years provides a representative sample. The rationale for requiring this information would be reasonable if Chicago was the first city to ever implement protected bike lanes, but it doesn’t hold up because the results have been the same wherever protected bike lanes have been installed:IDOT,  The injury rate of all street users is reduced, be they walking, biking, or driving.

I know, I know... it's like "When Worlds Collide"
This is one of the few times I've ever been on Rahm Emanuel's side in an argument, but even one of my former nemeses can't be wrong all the time, and on this particular subject, he is clearly not wrong, as bureaucrats in Springfield try to pull the musty wool of bureaucratic self-justification over Chicago-area taxpayers and biking enthusiasts who merely want to use state roads -they've already paid for.

Reminds me of when I was living and working in D.C. area and was pretty involved in international trade issues, which even more than usual, required my attending lots of long, jargon-filled Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill on topics that were often hard to explain to either my friends and family. 
Like the "Structural Impediments Initiative."

When the Japanese government -buttressed by powerful Japanese manufacturing companies afraid of fair competition from the United States- kept saying that American-made baseball bats and snow skis should not be imported into Japan  because they would have very different performance characteristics in Japan, as if snow on the ground in Japan, real or artificial, was so different from snow in the U.S. that it would cause the skis not to work if properly used, well, those sorry excuses from Japan has a very logical consequence.

Those true-life anecdotes soon turned into fodder for lots of influential scholarly reports and books -and a much-more aggressive approach in U.S. export policy in the early 90's against Japanthat were damning in their conclusions about the power of the Japanese  bureaucracy within every Japanese govt., and their complete unwillingness to accept reality and the facts staring at them.

And now, I read that into that small straight-jacket of bureaucratic conformity and unreality has jumped the Illinois Dept. of Transportation, and their cadre of management types and engineers, who imagine that something that has worked successfully everywhere it has been tried -and worked safely- would somehow produce completely different results if tried on the roads of Chicagoland.

I lived there for a few years in the 1980's and there are no mountains or canals or natural impediments to this smart plan being adopted other than IDOT's intent to keep it at bay for reasons that don't pass the smell test.

And so, once again, government bureaucrats seek to hold innumerable law-abiding citizens and visitors hostage to their old view of the world, until the citizens learn to either accept that bureaucrats know best -or three very long years pass.

If I ever hear of anything even half as asinine as this by FDOT, policy-wise, you can count on reading about it here in detail, but I doubt they'd try it, because IDOT has set such a jaw-dropping low standard to replicate. 
They'd have to try awfully hard to fail their taxpayers this badly.

Active Transportation Alliancehttp://www.activetrans.org/
Their Vimeo Channelhttp://vimeo.com/user11296014

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.