Collin Worth: Living the Bike Life

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As the City of Miami’s first bicycle coordinator, Collin Worth is determined to make Miami a more livable city, one mode of transportation at a time.

“We have a lot of problems with the way our city’s been developed over the past hundred years — it’s been primarily based on designing for the car,” he said. “I guess I’m trying to do a little bit to stem that tide, to reverse it.”

For Worth, bicycling is an integral part of his life. He owns three bicycles, serves as a cycling instructor and has spent eight years closely involved with community activist group Emerge Miami, which includes supporting Miami’s cycling community among its primary goals.

Throughout the seven years Worth has served as Miami’s bicycle coordinator and transportation analyst, he’s been a strong advocate for turning the city into a bicycle friendly community by coordinating with other government agencies to develop new policies and projects, review transportation plans, and conduct traffic studies.

According to Worth, one of the hurdles facing Miami is the need for more government support and even stronger advocacy groups to push for safer streets and more bike lanes. “It’s not just about livability, it’s also about creating a place where people want to live,” he said. “People don’t want to drive. Driving is frustrating here. You sit in traffic.”

He’s working on solutions to reduce that impact by making more modes of transportation available. Before taking the car out, Worth hopes people will consider alternatives like the Metrorail, Metromover, and Miami Trolley, as well as bike share programs like Citi Bike Miami.

One of the projects he’s most looking forward to working on is the Little Havana pedestrian mobility plan, which involves will analyzing the area to help develop new ideas for improving the environment for pedestrians and bicyclists. This is similar to the plans he helped create for Overtown and Wynwood, part of a greater transportation vision plan for Miami hopes to roll out this year.

“Active citizenry can go a long way in getting things done,” he said. “It’s hard in Miami because so many people are just passing through or this is their second home, so they’re not invested. It takes getting the people who do live here, who are invested, to speak up and get involved.”

Recent issues affecting bicyclists include the longterm closure of the Venetian Causeway, once a safe haven for pedestrians and cyclists traveling between South Beach and Miami. During the eight months leading up to the closure, there was a strong push from local advocates and active cyclists demanding a safer alternative route. But while the county offered to provide a water taxi to transport people across  people off on the other side, that solution was never implemented. “I remember telling them ‘I don’t think that’s gonna happen, so what else are you going to do to make people safer?’” he recalled. “But they never really had an answer.”

For his part, he’s been able to get signs installed and bike lanes marked off in an effort to make the long ride over MacArthur just a little safer. But he recognizes there’s so much more that needs to be done.

“We have a lot of catching up to do if we want to have a place that we can live in for the next 100 years,” he admitted. “We need to make some changes.”

This article originally appeared in The New Tropic June 16, 2015.

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