Critical Mass Heads West Into Coral Gables Tonight

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Photo by Michael E. Miller
Critical Mass, the monthly bike ride that takes over entire roads, happens to occur on Black Friday this month. At least fewer people are working today. Which is a good thing, unless, of course, you're coming home with a car loaded with shopping bags sometime after 7:15 tonight.

Tonight's ride, like all Critical Masses, will start at Government Center in downtown before taking a route through the southwest portions of the city and heading as far west as Ponce de Leon Avenue in Coral Gables. Take a look at the map below, and, drivers, plan to avoid the areas beforehand.

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Parking Authority: No More Pay By Phone Service Fees For Customers

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Rich Robinson
Happy Thanksgiving, Miamians.

And here's something to legitimately be thankful for: No more Pay By Phone parking service fees. Seriously. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, the Miami Parking Authority (MPA) announced this week, the authority will absorb the $.35 fee that accompanies each Pay By Phone transaction.

"As a measure to try to give back to the community that we serve, but also to incentivize people," Rolando Tapanes, MPA's director of planning and development, told Riptide. "We did the numbers and we decided that it would be worthwhile for us to absorb the transaction fee."

See also: Parking Authority Announces New Plan for Wynwood

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Florida Turnpike Will Offer Free Coffee Over Thanksgiving Travel Rush

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Julius Schorzman | WikiCommons
Taking a trek to elsewhere in the state for Thanksgiving? Sounds unfortunate, but at least you can look forward to one perk if you take the Florida Turnpike. The road's 24 -hour service stations will be offering everyone free coffee during specific hours during the busy travel time.

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Miami Beach's Hellish Year of Traffic Is Over: Most Alton Road Construction Now Completed

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Lyssa Goldberg
If you live in Miami Beach, the past year has been a steady descent into driving madness. First, it was impossible to travel south on Alton Road. Then random cross streets were also closed. Lanes began to magically merge and disappear like an M.C. Escher drawing. Buying organic kale at Whole Foods suddenly because an odyssey worthy of an epic poem. Some local businesses simply gave up.

But that nightmare is now over. After a year of construction, FDOT contractors have completed most of their work ahead of schedule.

That means you can now drive north and south on Alton Road -- just in time for Art Basel.

See also: Businesses Worry as South Beach Construction Moves on to West Avenue

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Florida's Text While Driving Ban May Actually Get Some Teeth

Categories: Road Rage

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Intel Free Press via Wikimedia Commons
Passed in 2013, Florida's law outlawing texting while driving isn't really so much of a ban as it is a gentle plea to "please don't do that." Cops cannot pull you over solely for texting while driving, and even then the highest fine is just $60.

In fact, as of September, when the law had been in effect for a year, only 352 tickets had been issued here in Miami-Dade, the state's largest county (with perhaps the worst drivers).

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Motorcyclist Loses Control During Wheelie Spree, Falls From I-95 to His Death

Categories: Road Rage

photo by Xemenendura via Wikimedia Commons
A man performs a stunt on his motorcycle.Motorcyclists performing death-defying stunts at high speeds while weaving through traffic on I-95 are not, unfortunately, an unusual sight in Miami, but last night those tricks proved deadly for one man.

Police say the man, either 25 or 26 years old, lost control of his bike while driving at high speeds and popping wheelies. He crashed into a light pole, the bike caught fire, and the driver was ejected over the side of the elevated interstate.

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Judge: Hollywood Violated State Law With Red Light Camera Ticket

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Derek Jensen via Wikimedia Commons
Yesterday Eric Arem, a Hollywood resident, won a court ruling: His red light camera citation was thrown out.

At issue was that Arem hadn't actually received the ticket from the City of Hollywood. Instead, it was issued by a Tempe, Arizona-based company, American Traffic Solutions (ATS). ATS operates the majority of Florida's hugely unpopular red light cameras, and the City of Hollywood had allowed the company to issue tickets when it caught cars speeding through the lights.

"Such outsourcing to a third-party for-profit vendor... to issue uniform traffic citations for red light camera violations is contrary to the plain wording of the Florida Statutes," wrote Judge Mark Klingensmith.

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Venetian Causeway Now Set To Close Next Spring For Nine-Month Construction Project

Categories: Road Rage

Photo by Marc Averette via Wikimedia Commons
The news hit Miami Beach residents back in April like an early season tropical depression: the decaying Venetian Causeway would have to close for the better part of a year for a rebuilding project. For residents who've lived through more than a year of Alton Road traffic-pocalypse, losing the causeway would be a nightmare.

That construction was originally projected to start this fall, but SoBe drivers can hold off on the extra therapy sessions for another few months. City officials now tell Riptide work won't start until next spring.

See also: Venetian Causeway Will Close for Months, Then Beach Residents Won't Get Toll Passes

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Dozens Are Injured Every Year on Miami-Dade Buses, Often by Drivers With Bad Records

Categories: Road Rage

Photo by Ed Webster via Wikimedia Commons
The afternoon of May 31, 2008, a vigorous 95-year-old named Alice Mathas spent hours walking around South Beach with her son Paul. Around 7:45 the pair boarded a Miami-Dade bus headed back to their apartment in Bal Harbour.

They didn't make it. As Alice started down the aisle of the crowded bus, the driver pumped the accelerator, and the tiny nonagenarian went crashing forward.

The bus driver, Faydra Cooper, had already racked up a worrying history during five years as a county bus driver. Among others things, she had been cited three times for preventable accidents and once for squatting next to her seat and urinating on the bus floor. She was reprimanded on several occasions and suspended once, but still allowed to get behind the wheel. After the incident, Paul Mathas says, his mom has never been the same.

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Businesses Worry as South Beach Construction Moves on to West Avenue

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Lyssa Goldberg
Anyone who's tried to drive through South Beach in the past year can tell you that Alton Road has been a construction-induced nightmare: snarled bumper-to-bumper traffic and nearly impossible pedestrian access to shops and restaurants.

Good news! The work on Alton is nearly done. But that means the next phase of the work will soon begin on West Avenue -- a street with nearly as many businesses and far more residents. Some businesses owners are already crying mercy.

"The pace of the construction, it's so slow," complains Mishal Alsabbagh, who owns Pure Pharmacy on West Avenue at Ninth Street. "And the fact that they wanted to start on West Avenue right after that? It's a killer for us."

See also: Alton Road Construction to Finish Up Seven Months Early

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