I recently returned from a trip to Florida, where my relatives enjoy nothing more than talking about the weather: How the weather in January is better in Florida than in New York. How much ice there must be on the ground in New York. How we are such crazy tourists for wearing shorts when it’s only in the 70s. How chilled to the bone they are when they merely think about the northern states. How happy we must be to see the sun. [Loop this for three days.]

The issues clearly extend beyond the weather, to a weird passive-aggressive family competitiveness that cloaks itself in Fahrenheit-related chit-chat. Florida [WE] is [ARE] better than New York [YOU] because of the weather [???].

So I kept my mouth shut, nodded and smiled, and gestured blandly at my bare knees. What I didn’t yell at them was: BUT THE ROADS! LOOK AT YOUR ROADS! NOT TO MENTION THE STRIP MALLS! GAAK!

An average specimen.

IS there a road in that state with fewer than six lanes? I don’t know. Sometimes there’s a sidewalk, though I’ve rarely seen a human being use one, and never a white one. I have seen lovely birds occupy a spot in a parking lot, though I’m not sure what that proves.

At one point during my trip I spotted a share-this-road-with-bikes sign, but as it was stuck on the side of a fast-moving six-lane road with no marked bike lane, I found it a wee bit difficult to take seriously.

I felt feelings of despair surging through me (especially whenever I slid into the back of our rented sedan for a five minute drive) (also especially when we were waiting to make a left turn across four lanes of cars and I thought my minutes were numbered) about the future of our transportation nation. What can possibly be done to make Florida a more bike and ped friendly state? I couldn’t imagine what simple steps could be taken. The infrastructure just isn’t there.

But there must be something, right?

So. I herein launch my investigation into Floridian transportation. I’m hoping to find out what is being done, what can be done, and what people wish would be done to create alternative methods of transportation. I’ll aim for weekly installments. Feel free to chime in with comments, observations, suggestions, or just to talk about the weather.

*Disclaimer. I’ve only ever been in the Fort Lauderdale region of the state, so please forgive me if I’m making gross generalizations, which I am.


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