Monday, July 22, 2019

July 22: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • July 22-26: Wheel Lee Fun Session 6 (final session) summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org)
  • Monday, July 22: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, July 23: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Friday, July 26: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m., roll at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, July 27: Saturday Slow Roll. 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, July 28: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) for details.
  • Friday, Aug. 2: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers gathering at 7:15 p.m. and starting at 8 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, Aug. 10: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).
Triathlons:
  • Sunday, Aug. 4: Siesta Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon (trifind.com
  • Monday, Sept. 2: Venice Sprint Tri, Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7-8: Galloway Captiva Tri. Sprint on Saturday, kids’ events Sunday (www.gearedup.biz)
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: The Original Siesta Key Tri, sprint (runsignup.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: Longboat Key Sprint/Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon and 5K (imathlete.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.









Thursday, July 18, 2019

BikeWalkLee: Safety? Think inside the box

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, July 18, 2019
by Ken Gooderham

Motorists and cyclists who frequent the Daniels Parkway-Treeline Avenue intersection will see some changes in the weeks ahead – hopefully changes for the better.

bike box design picture
Courtesy Florida Dept. of Transportation


As part of an ongoing resurfacing project contractors with the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) are planning to install bike turn boxes at this high-volume (for both cars and cyclists) intersection. This is a pilot project partnered by FDOT, the county DOT and the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization.

It’s another step in the slow evolution of local roadways to better accommodate on-road cyclists and motorists sharing the same asphalt – by ensuring everyone has a space on which to travel in a way that’s safer for both users.

In this instance, the test bike boxes are meant to make it easier for cyclists making left-hand turns at intersections such as this one – multi-lanes, lots of signals and traffic, plenty of potential for confusion. These green-colored boxes make it clear where and when cyclists should go to safely turn. Here’s how it works:
  1. Cyclists heading east on Daniels (and wanting to turn north onto Treeline) approach the Treeline intersection using the “keyhole” lane (the narrow lane at an intersection between the right-hand turn lane and the right-hand straight lane of traffic). If the light is red, they gather in the green box in front of the right-hand lane of eastbound traffic (but clear of the right-turn lane leading south on Treeline).
  2. When the left-turn signals turn green, vehicles from both directions on Daniels make their left-hand turns. Cyclists wait.
  3. When the straight-ahead signal turns green, vehicles proceed east and west on Daniels. Cyclists leave the first green box and cross the intersection to gather in the green box on Treeline in front of the right-hand lane of traffic (but, again, clear of the right turn lane from Treeline to Daniels).
  4. After the left-turn signals for Treeline onto Daniels have cycled through and the straight-ahead green comes on, cyclists proceed north on Treeline with the northbound vehicle traffic.

Trust me, explaining it in writing is confusing, seeing this work in a graphic or video (one is in the works) is easier to understand.

So how is this better for everyone moving through the intersection?


Cyclists: The keyhole lane gives them a safe way to approach the intersection from the bike lane without impeding motor vehicles wanting to turn right onto Treeline. They can gather in front of vehicles and out of the crosswalk (and pedestrian traffic), and move across the intersection with traffic to the northbound Treeline box – again, out of the crosswalk and the Treeline left-turn lane. Once the Treeline signal turns green, cyclists can proceed with traffic north on Treeline to the bike lane. It might end up taking a little longer for cyclists to make the turn, but it will be a whole lot safer.

Motorists: By giving cyclists their own space at the intersection, motor vehicle traffic can continue on its merry way in concert (not in conflict) with cyclists. Right- or left-hand turns can proceed based on traffic, and crosswalks will be reserved for pedestrians only – which, to be blunt, already are an endangered species at this and many other SW Florida intersections. For the most part, motorists will be able to proceed at the same forward speed cyclists or no cyclists… just not so much season (snowbirds) or no season.

By moving with traffic, cyclists are safer. By creating distinct and separate spaces for cyclists with a clear path to proceed, drivers can worry less about sharing the road with bikes and more whether that big truck pulling up behind is really going to stop.

A brief shout-out to keyhole lanes, which are being added to more and more intersections locally. If you’re up to riding on the road to begin with (a big IF for some cyclists), these lanes are a much safer way to go through intersection by moving with traffic – rather than hoping a driver sees you in the crosswalk, or doesn’t pull so far forward to see oncoming traffic prior to a turn that they block the crosswalk altogether. Let’s hope Lee DOT keeps adding these lanes wherever possible, and thanks.

Nevertheless, these boxes are a safe solution for intersections such as this – lots of lanes and lights, not much opportunity for cyclists to proceed with traffic safely, and plenty of both bicycles and motor vehicles trying to get from Point A to Point B. (Both Daniels and Treeline are popular with road cyclists both because of their bike infrastructure and because they tie in to other bike networks well used by local (and serious) cyclists.)

At smaller, less frantic intersection, cyclists can still act like vehicles when approaching and traversing… pulling into the left-hand turn lane (if one exists) to turn left with the other traffic, or using the keyhole land (if one exists) to proceed straight ahead. It’s only the big, busy intersections that benefit from thinking outside (or, rather, inside) the box.

Want to find out more about the boxes? Download the explanatory handout at FDOT.

Ready to ride or run? 

Run? A pretty empty calendar for organized events, as you’d expect given the weather… with only two Elite Events offerings through the end of August – the Eagle Lakes 5K on July 27 at Eagle Lakes Community Park, Naples, and the Rampage 5K on Aug. 24 at North Collier Regional Park (runelitevents.com).

Ride?  Critical Mass amasses tomorrow (July 19) for the NE Lee ride, July 26 for Cape Coral ride, and July 27 for the morning Slow Roll through downtown Fort Myers. For the night rides, front and rear bike lights required; helmets recommended for all (meetup.com). Next week is the final session for the Wheel Lee Fun camp for ages 8-15, details at caloosariders.org.


Both? Upcoming events include:

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org. 


 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Upgraded bike infrastructure features finally appearing in Lee County


Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, July 17, 2019
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Sharrows remind drivers that bikes will be using the whole travel lane. COURTESY PHOTO
Anyone who’s travelled outside Lee County has likely seen or used features and treatments on roads, pathways and intersections that are intended to make the environment safer and more accessible for non-motorists. In many transportation-progressive communities, state-of-the-art signage and pavement marking are being incorporated to assist non-motorists on roads and pathways, particularly at intersections. Lee County, unfortunately, hasn’t been among those places. But maybe a baby-step in that direction will lead to some progress on that front.

Other than FDOT recently expanding the width of bike lanes and adding a second white line between the bike lane and motor vehicle traffic lanes on segments of U.S. 41 — the current standard required whenever adding bike lanes or resurfacing existing roads with them already in place — the only “new” feature that’s been used in decades are sharrows (chevrons and a bike symbol pavement marking reminding road users that bicycles may be using the entire travel lane). And even those are few and far between. Now, finally, FDOT is placing road markings to assist on-road bicyclists in making left turns on a multi-lane intersection. Indeed, a baby-step, but a move in the right direction nonetheless.

“Two-stage bicycle turn boxes” will be painted at the four quadrants of Daniels Parkway and Treeline Avenue. Ironically, both roads and the intersection are within the jurisdiction of Lee County DOT. But because it’s close to the Daniels Parkway interchange with I-75 — where Daniel Parkway is within FDOT’s jurisdiction — and resurfacing and other improvements are being done in the whole area, FDOT is funding this pilot project in partnership with Lee County DOT and Lee County MPO.

Here’s how FDOT’s describes this feature in its informational flyer: “Two-stage bicycle turn boxes are high-visibility traffic control devices that offer an alternative way for cyclists riding in bike lanes to make left turns at signalized intersections. They can be especially effective at multi-lane, high-volume intersections where they can reduce cyclist and motorist conflicts.”

As Lee MPO’s Ron Gogoi further describes it, “For cyclists weaving across traffic to make a left from an existing turn lane, it can be challenging and sometimes dangerous, especially on busy, multi-lane roadways. Two-stage turn boxes split the left turn movement into two separate, through movements, which allow the cyclist to travel through the intersection in a much safer manner.” The FDOT flyer can be found at www.leempo.com.

It might be compared to a jug-handle turn but without the user having to complete a right-turn and then a U-turn, which can be as difficult as trying to use the left-turn lane in the first place since the operator may have to cross multiple thru-lanes after making a right-turn in order to make that U-turn. The bike box user simply rides straight across most of the intersection, lands in the box positioned in front of the bike lane at that intersection, then turns the bike to the left and awaits the green light for through traffic. For intersections with as many lanes as Daniels and Treeline (one quadrant has 10 lanes) having this option can be very helpful.

If this pilot project is successful, perhaps it will lead to other features such as green bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, leading pedestrian signal phases, contraflow bike lanes on one-way roads (Evans Avenue could use one until Fowler Street is finally reconfigured), better detection of cyclists at signalized intersections, and many more sharrows (west First Street in downtown Fort Myers is long overdue for them). FDOT appears to be taking the lead so we may see some new features on Cleveland Avenue once this current project is complete. As well, the city of Cape Coral, being a Bike Friendly Community, is a good prospect for using state-of-the-art features. I know there are knowledgeable traffic planners working for all of our transportation departments and consulting firms who are anxious to implement forward-thinking features. Now it’s up to their bosses — and our political leaders — to have the will to do so.

To learn about this topic and more, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com and www.streetsaliveswfl.org



 
- Dan Moser is a long-time bicycle/pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him at bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 

For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.