Bicycle paths shall be established unless the Department exercises its discretion not to establish bicycle and pedestrian ways where any of the conditions in section 335.065(1)(b) are demonstrated. Accordingly, we agree with appellants’ interpretation of the statute and find that the Department’s discretion is limited.
The key point in that to my ears is "demonstrated." The Department must now demonstrate that a particular project cannot include bike lanes and/or sidewalks, due to reasons of safety, excessive cost, or an absence of need. The Court also made clear that cyclists and pedestrians clearly have legal standing in such matters. Cycling and pedestrian advocates must still be watchful on projects, but now have a much stronger hand to force FDOT to prove any of those three conditions. Indeed, FDOT procedures have long required that Districts record any variation from the requirement to provide bicycle and pedestrian facilities; now the Court says they must do so as well.
Unfortunately, due to procedural matters, the plaintiffs were not able to show that the cost of providing bike lanes and sidewalks on A1A in particular were within a reasonable cost range. Discussion is on-going to determine if they will pursue the procedural matter up to the Florida Supreme Court.
The decision can be read here in its entirety.
Huge thanks are due to plaintiffs Bruce Rosenzweig, the Boca Raton Bicycle Club, and the League of American Bicyclists for stepping forward, and especially to the law firm of Akerman Senterfitt for its untold hours (though I'm sure they know how many!) of effort.