After a five-year process of planning a facelift for 41st Street, and two years after the Commission’s approval of the design concept, one of the final steps before permitting and construction is set for this Wednesday.
This project came out of the Mayor’s 41st Street Blue Ribbon Committee, with goals and objectives to “improve quality of life through multi-modal transportation design and community engagement”, as well as revitalizing the gateway to Mid-Beach through proven urban design strategies.
The Miami Beach Design Review Board is set to review the final design of the 41st Street renovation, a project funded by a GO Bond which voters approved back in 2018.
The project is notable for what it doesn’t include.
While the Florida Department of Transportation is constructing dedicated bus lanes on the inside shoulder of I-195/Julia Tuttle Causeway as part of Miami-Dade County’s Bus Express Rapid Transit (BERT) network, the 41st Street project will not include dedicated bus lanes.
The project also doesn’t include dedicated bike lanes along 41st Street. The plans, which will be presented on Wednesday, depict a shared 14-foot outside lane for bicyclists. Sharrows, which have been universally criticized by mobility advocates, will be repainted along the street. Some studies suggest that these may be even worse than having no markings at all.
In addition, thanks to a 2021 resolution — passed following a nearly two-hour discussion focused on palm trees — the large canopy initially designed to provide shade for pedestrians has been scaled back.
Instead, the visually pleasing Royal Palms will be retained for drivers passing through.
Among the noticeable improvements are a minimum 7-foot wide “clear barrier-free path of travel” along 41st Street, enhanced lighting, and increased seating—albeit designed less comfortably to discourage loitering.
The Design Review Board will have the opportunity to provide input on materials and design options. Construction funding is in the GO Bond’s second tranche, currently scheduled to be issued next year. Additional funding may be required beyond the project’s allocated $15 million.