Stiers Law, P.A. is pleased to announce that Eli Stiers has been appointed to the Citizens' Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) as a representative of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities.
The CITT is the independent board created to oversee spending of the half-penny transit surtax that Miami-Dade County voters approved in 2002 to finance transit improvements - better known as the People's Transportation Plan (PTP). The Office of the CITT currently receives approximately $250 million annually in surtax revenue to oversee for transit-related spending, and helps envision the future of Miami's transportation needs through its members' use of business or professional knowledge, skills, and experiences.
As Miamians know too well, the planned expansion of Metrorail never came to fruition, and the original PTP plans to add six new rail lines and over 88 miles to the Metrorail system never materialized. Meanwhile traffic in Miami-Dade has only gotten worse, with little in the way of relief.
Fortunately, a number of exciting transit solutions are on the horizon, and the CITT is playing an integral role in fulfilling the promise of the PTP. From purchasing a new fleet of state-of-the-art Hitachi Metrorail cars, complete with Wi-Fi and integrated bike racks at a cost of $376 million, to the recent completion of the Orange Line extension to Miami International Airport, the CITT is delivering results.
What truly excites Stiers, however, is the chance to work on expanding commuter rail service and connecting our community, finally realizing the vision of the original PTP. The newly proposed Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) plan aims to build out the original six lines envisioned by the PTP, in part by using these surtax monies as they were intended.
Moreover, the opportunities to participate and capitalize on the construction of several new "big idea" transit projects in Miami-Dade County - including All Aboard Florida, the Tri-Rail commuter expansion to downtown Miami, and the Baylink connection between Miami and Miami Beach - are happening right now.
"People are so desperate for transit solutions, these projects are going to be welcomed and I think they'll be wildly successful. Once they come online, it will be like the first dominoes to fall, and everyone is going to want to buy in." says Stiers.
An accomplished trial attorney and community advocate, Stiers looks forward to lending his voice to the CITT. "It's an exciting time to be a part of the CITT, as we are going to play a pivotal role in bringing lasting change to our community. The future is now in Miami, and I'm excited to lend my voice and experience to help define that future."
MIAMI, FLORIDA – June 24, 2016
Stiers Law, P.A. announces that Super Lawyers has named founding partner L. Elijah Stiers as a “Rising Star" in the State of Florida for the seventh straight year (2010-2016). Super Lawyers are considered the top attorneys in the state with a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Rising Stars are the up-and-coming attorneys in the state who are 40 years old and under, and have been practicing for 10 years or less.
“I am proud that Super Lawyers has again granted me the honor of being included in its list of top attorneys in Florida,” says Mr. Stiers. “I look forward to continued successes and to continuing to provide excellent services to my clients.”
Only 5% of lawyers in the state of Florida can be recognized as Super Lawyers, while only 2.5% percent are named Rising Stars. Both Super Lawyers and Rising Stars are selected based on a patented selection process, which includes nominations by clients, extensive research on the candidates, and peer reviews.
About Stiers Law, P.A.
Stiers Law, P.A. is a boutique civil litigation firm located in Miami, Florida that focuses on catastrophic personal injury matters including: medical malpractice, wrongful death, auto negligence, and general liability cases. The firm also handles a variety of business and commercial litigation disputes in state and federal court. Founding partner, L. Elijah Stiers, has been consistently recognized as one of the top young attorneys in Florida and has been selected as a "Top 40 Under 40," a "Rising Star," and an "Up and Comer" by numerous respected legal publications. Mr. Stiers has also been given an AV-Preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell, the highest designation conferred.
About Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Florida Super Lawyers Digital Edition
L. Elijah Stiers Super Lawyers Profile
This is Part I of a two-part blog discussing the recent tragic death of cyclist Annabelle Interian and discussing recommendations for ways to make our streets safer for all.
Our sympathies go out to the family of another Miami cyclist who was killed last weekend while riding in the area of Southwest Miami-Dade County known as the Redland. The cyclist who was killed, Annabelle Interian, was the wife of Miami-Dade Police Lt. Jorge Interian, who was also injured in the crash. Lt. Interian is expected to live.
What do we know about this latest tragedy? News reports say the crash happened while the cyclists were “riding through the Redland in deep South Miami-Dade County.” Although remote and rural, as any Miami cyclist can attest, the Redland is a popular cycling destination, widely considered to be one of the few safe places to ride. Indeed, a view of the Strava Heatmap for Miami-Dade County shows that the Redland’s “steps” are some of the hottest routes for cyclists in all of the County.
The area is popular, not for the quality of the scenery, topography, or roads, but because it is so remote. The isolation of the Redland, and its separation from the commotion of Miami, is its best quality. On any given weekend at 8:00 a.m., when this fatal collision occurred, cyclists usually outnumber cars. Many weekends I have joined friends for a ride out to Robert is Here or Knauss Berry Farm, with the reward of a fruit smoothie or cinnamon bun waiting for those willing to ride the (approximately) 60 mile round-trip. Sure, I’ve been buzzed by speeding cars near the Speedway more times than I can remember, but by and large you can count the number of cars you see on a trip to the Redland on two hands – more than you can say for almost any other cycling corridor in Miami-Dade County.
Unfortunately, like most roads in the suburbs and the peripheries of Miami-Dade County, the roads in the Redland were not designed for cyclists. The asphalt in the Redland is wide, smooth, and designed for the singular goal of moving cars quickly. Make no mistake, these are not complete streets. These roads, like much of Miami-Dade, were built with an undeniable “highway mentality,” meaning that they look and feel like highways. Drivers’ behavior, unsurprisingly, reflects that mentality.
Thus, without knowing any more than the fact that this crash happened in the Redland, I can confidently state that road design, and more specifically the speed generated by the road’s design, helped contribute to this fatal crash. I suspect the road where this crash happened was unnecessarily wide and fast, overbuilt for the volume of cars it typically services. I don’t know if the driver was traveling over the speed limit or not, but I suspect she was going at least 40-45 mph, meaning Mrs. Interian had no greater than a 35% chance of survival when struck by the car. If the driver was going 50 mph or more, the chances that Mrs. Interian would survive the crash drop to below 25%.
Do the flaws in road design exclude the conduct of the driver, reportedly a young female? Absolutely not. A commenter to the Herald article, who claims to know the driver, claims that she “dropped her phone and lost control of her car and hit the two people.” If true, it would indicate that the driver was certainly negligent in the operation of her vehicle, and was directly responsible for the fatal crash. This deadly mistake with horrific consequences means that the driver will almost certainly be sued in civil court by Mrs. Interian’s survivors for money damages.
My firm specializes in handling unfortunate lawsuits like this. As a personal injury attorney and cycling advocate, I am sadly all-too-familiar with the alarming statistics concerning distracted driving, which is now the leading cause of death among American teenagers. Statistics show that, at any given moment in the U.S., 660,000 drivers are texting or using their cell phones. I suspect the actual number is much higher than that.
You may think that a quick glance at your phone is harmless, but consider that at 50 mph, your car is moving at 73.3 feet per second, requiring 229 feet to stop. Even a quick glance away from the road for a few seconds means your vehicle -- two tons of moving metal -- has the potential to travel hundreds of feet without you knowing what lies ahead; whether it be a child playing in the street, a pedestrian crossing the roadway, or me riding my bicycle.
For these reasons, I say that this latest tragedy was no accident. It was, to the contrary, inevitable. Just the latest in a series of tragedies involving drunk or distracted drivers killing cyclists on Miami-Dade County’s dangerous roads, in and around popular cycling corridors like the Redland and Key Biscayne. This is a perfect and deadly storm, and one of the reasons I know that every time I leave my house to ride in Miami-Dade County, I am taking a risk.
We know that Miami's roads are some of the deadliest in the country, because our roads were built when design standards were different, and the County's transportation needs were different. But Miami-Dade County is changing rapidly, and our roads and infrastructure are not keeping pace. More people moving to South Florida means more distracted drivers encountering more cyclists on our outdated roadways. Unless we take strong, decisive action, serious cycling-related injuries and deaths, like the unfortunate death of Annabelle Interian, will continue to happen.
Watch this space for Part II, discussing initiatives and strategies to make our streets safer for all.