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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fort Myers’ bike-ped safety advocate Dan Moser honored

Congratulations to BikeWalkLee's own Dan Moser who received an award from Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) for his many contributions to making Florida and Lee County a more bike/ped-friendly place.  And thanks to News-Press' Craig Handel for his great feature story about Dan's contributions to our community.  Love the front page highlight!  Below is both the News-Press story and BikeWalkLee's write-up and photos from the award event at Friday's Critical Mass Ride.

News-Press, May 5, 2015,  By CRAIG HANDEL, CHANDEL@NEWS-PRESS.COM 


Depending on one’s point of view, Dan Moser either has been a voice in the wilderness or a PITA — pain in the arse.

 For more than 25 years, the Fort Myers resident has butted heads with local decision-makers over safe pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians. His advocacy got the attention of others who formed groups including BikeWalkLee.

Moser also has instructed, assessed and evaluated walkers, bicyclists and even motorists on rules of the road. Just about anything involving bicycle or pedestrian safety in Lee County, he has his thumb on.

Dan Moser (photo by Amanda Inscore/News-Press)

He’s also involved with EMS, as well as Walk Wisely and the Florida Traffic and Bike Safety Education.

And if you’re a competitive cyclist or runner, there’s a good chance he either competed against you or was along the course as a volunteer for the event.

These years of dedication led the Florida Bicycle Association — another group Moser was involved with — to honor him with special recognition, a lifetime achievement award if you will.

“Dan’s outgoing personality, tireless energy, especially at special events, and overall knowledge of bicycle education are just a few of his strengths,” the award says.

Moser downplayed the honor, calling it a “gold watch sort of thing.”

But long-time friend Jay Anderson said the acknowledgment is earned.

“It’s people like him that make a difference in our community,” Anderson said. “That’s extremely important.”

Darla Letourneau, who works with Moser on BikeWalkLee, said, “He’s the pereminent safety expert. He knows every road in the county and how it got the way it was.”

Glenda Wolnik, Moser’s supervisor while being Nursing Supervisor of the Injury Prevention Program until her retirement in 2007, said Moser mainly managed himself because he had the best interest of the people.

“I used to get some interesting calls from people about Dan and they’d go on and on and I’d say, ‘Who’s gonna do it if Dan doesn’t do it? Who’s gonna take this abuse?’” Wolnick said. “If I have to err, I have to err on the side of good. I love his passion.

“People like that, you either love them or hate them. He’d say, ‘I’m not a politician. I’m a dedicated, bike-pedestrian enthusiast.’ His real skill is love for people of this county. His integrity cannot be questioned. He doesn’t say anything without having proof behind it.”

Moser understands that his vocal opinions and outspokenness have at times made him a polarizing figure.

“I’m sure a lot of people don’t like me,” Moser said. “But I don’t make it personal.”

Moser learned advocacy from Ed Benjamin, a long-time bicycle-business owner, and Mohsen Salehi, a former biker-ped coordinator.

“You lose the pit bull after so many decades,” he said. “It’s not always the best approach. The main thing is to be there and show up and keep track of things and get the information out and check if government is doing or not doing what it should. Persistence.”

A person who practices what he preaches, Moser bikes about 2,500 miles a year. His goal would be to make the roads safe enough that people exercising could do it in their neighborhoods.

“It doesn’t make sense to me for someone to leave their home and drive somewhere to go on a stationary bike,” Moser said. “It would be nice for parents to let their children ride, or bike to work but I look at the conditions now and I can see why.”


BikeWalkLee's report from Friday night's award presentation:

FBA's Earl Lang presents award to Dan Moser, with BWL team members Darla Letourneau, Ann Pierce,Margaret Banyan

On May 1st, FBA Board member Earl Lang, presented Dan with his award before the SWFL Critical Mass May Day ride in downtown Fort Myers on Friday night. A crowd of 326 Dan fans and riders were there to cheer Dan's many contributions to better biking and walking in Lee County. Dan encouraged everyone to get involved--to become advocates, to ask elected officials to make more investments in bike/ped facilities and to make our roadways safer for vulnerable road users.
Dan encourages everyone to get involved in advocacy!
Florida Bicycle Association awards are presented to worthy recipients for their contributions to bicycling. The purpose of the awards is to bring attention to the efforts and achievements of groups, organizations and individuals that help shape our vision for all Florida bicyclists to be safe, respected and encouraged to bicycle for transportation and recreation. Over the past 15 years that FBA has presented these awards, Lee County recipients have frequently been among the awardees. This year, 3 of the 16 award winners are from Lee County. We will be reporting on each of the award winners at the time that FBA makes the award presentations in person, so stay tuned! (link to previous blog to Lisa Indovino's April 16th award presentation).  Click here to read about the FBA award program and the narratives on all the 2014 award winners.

Here's a link to the full photo album from the May 1st award presentation and SWFL Critical Mass Ride.

Below is FBA's award write-up about Dan Moser: Special Recognition: Dan Moser

Dan has worn many hats during his association with FBA that began in 1998 when joined the board of directors. His leadership and expertise helped pave the way for the many successes FBA has achieve over the years. In 2008 he resigned from the board but was quickly put to work on a contractual basis as the conference director for FBA’s 2008 ProBike/ProWalk Florida conference. His duties expanded to the role of program director, a position he held until the fall of 2014. Dan’s outgoing personality, tireless energy, especially at special events, and overall knowledge of bicycle education are just a few of his strengths.

 In addition to Dan’s FBA duties, he consulted with a variety of organizations throughout Southwest Florida to teach injury prevention, driver education and bicycle/pedestrian education. As a regional trainer for the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education program, League Cycling Instructor and CyclingSavvy Instructor, Dan has taught 100’s of students of all ages. Along with Dan’s teaching skills, he is a founding member of BikeWalkLee and serves on its steering group. He has served in leadership positions on the City of Fort Myers Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Board, Lee County BPAC, Lee MPO Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinating Committee, Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition, Healthy Lee Coalition and the Fort Myers Track Club. He also writes a column for The News-Press and is involved with the organization of just about every running, biking, walking or festival throughout Lee and surrounding counties. As a Lee County resident for over 40 years, 25 of which as a devoted advocate for biking and walking, Dan has influenced positive change throughout Southwest Florida.

Bonita Springs’ Scofield also honored 
(from News-Press story re: Dan Moser)

The Florida Bicycle Association also is honoring citizen bike advocate Ryan Scofield of Bonita Springs.

According to FBA, Scofield’s GoPro videos of being pulled over by law enforcement for cycling in the middle of the lane for his legitimate safety or of being harassed by a truck driver have sparked a flurry of discussion. He decided to use GoPro cameras on his bike after having experienced several incidents with aggressive motorists. He also began researching safe cycling on the Internet, in particular, the CyclingSavvy education program.

By positioning himself in certain places, Scofield is able to eliminate right hooks, left hooks, in-lane passing, and most other common crash causes. He prefers to wear a reflective vest, and has two flashing lights for safety, in addition to his helmet, while riding early in the morning to his Crossfit class or work.

To read and see more of Scofield’s experiences, go to:
http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2015/01/07/bonita-springs-cyclist-captures-road-rage-naples/21389015/
http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2015/03/07/gopro-view-swfl-bicyclists-share-rides/24558715/
http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2015/01/28/cyclist-fights-ticket-using-full-lane-wins/22494755/

Monday, May 4, 2015

FGCU student study on economic benefits of complete streets in Tice community



BikeWalkLee has for some time focused on showing how a paradigm shift to complete streets has many benefits that go well beyond safety and livability.  FGCU Student Hailey Amundson recently completed a study on the economic benefits of complete streets. Using the Tice neighborhood as a study area, Hailey showed how a complete street could not only be safe, but economically beneficial.

  by Hailey Amundson (FGCU student)
Haley Amundson (Left) on
Tice bike audit 4/26/15


Among the many benefits of complete streets are neighborhood revitalization, physical safety, and individual and community economic growth. This study estimates how an increase in walkability resulting from constructing complete streets in the Tice neighborhood has the potential to increase community engagement, property values, the tax base, and the individual economic prosperity of residents.

The implementation of safe pedestrian and bicycling facilities is known as complete streets. Complete streets facilitate a wider range of multi-modal options for transportation to work, school, grocery stores, and service providers.

This study uses estimates from the National Complete Streets Coalition that shows that implementing complete streets has shown to increase property values and walkability, subsequently raising more funding for the local public schools and increasing the earnings potential of residents. National estimates cite a one-point increase in a neighborhood’s walkability with an increase of $700 to $3,000 in home values.
complete streets drawing for Ortiz Ave. in Tice

 As a result of increased property values, a complete streets initiatives can lend themselves to improved funding for local public schools and create an environment attractive to potential homeowners. The current high numbers of bicycle and pedestrian counts within the Tice neighborhood—as well as the secondary data from the National Complete Streets Coalition—suggest that if streets were designed as a complete street, then more residents would participate in physical activity, engage more as a community, and enjoy the economic benefits that come from smart investments in infrastructure. With these positive externalities associated with complete streets, suggestions for Complete Street policy implementation is recommended.



Time to participate in development of Lee County's Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)

The Lee MPO's 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) process is underway and it's time for citizens to participate.  Below is an overview of the process, along with a resource document prepared by BikeWalkLee.
 Background:
The Lee MPO is in the midst of developing the countywide 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), which sets the direction for the County's transportation future and dictates how transportation funds are spent in the region.  Given the shrinking revenues from all sources and the growing population, it is imperative that these are smart investments, getting the most bang for the buck for the county's highest priorities, consistent with the Board's goal of a balanced multi-modal transportation system.

For the uninitiated, MPOs are largely creatures of federal law and were created to coordinate the various elements of the fragmented regional transportation networks into one cohesive regional transportation system. One of the core functions laid out by the federal legislation is to prepare and maintain a long-range transportation plan.  MPOs must develop a 20-year LRTP that "supports improved mobility and access for people and goods (including operations and maintenance) and supports a good quality of life."  The plan includes a list of priority investments, anticipated available funding, and the regional goals and policies that will be pursued during that 20-year period.  It must be formally adopted by the MPO and updated at least every 5 years.  The 2040 LRTP must be adopted by the Lee MPO Board by December 18, 2015.

One of the goals of the federal law is to ensure that the public, especially those traditionally underserved by the transportation system, have opportunities to participate in the decision-making process, so there is increasing emphasis on improving public involvement in the development of the LRTP.

BikeWalkLee has been an active participant in the MPO transportation planning processes over the past six years, and has put together a resource document for the 2040 LRTP Process (with lots of links) based on our many related blog posts.  

Opportunities for participation:
The process is beginning in earnest, so now is the time to begin participating in the committee and Board meetings.  Click here to access the monthly agenda packages.
Here's the calendar of upcoming MPO Board and MPO committee meetings (Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)):

TAC and CAC committees generally meet the first Thursday of the month, with TAC at 9:30 a.m. and CAC and 3 p.m., both at the MPO staff offices (815 Nicholas Parkway East, Cape Coral).  

The MPO Board meets monthly on the third Friday of the month at 9 a.m. in the Cape Coral City Council Chambers.

Public Comment is taken at all these meetings.

 Later this summer/Fall there will be an opportunity for participation in a public workshop about the 2040 LRTP and we'll keep you posted when that is scheduled.

Participate in annual Ride of Silence May 20th

Plan to join one of the two local Ride of Silence events on Wed. evening May 20th to honor fallen cyclists and promote road safety.
2014 Ride of Silence, Fort Myers

 

 What began in 2003 in Dallas as a spontaneous outpouring of grief for a friend and fellow rider, struck and killed by the mirror of a passing vehicle, has rolled across the globe to become an international annual event memorializing and honoring cyclists who have been injured and killed while riding. The Ride of Silence is a worldwide event. In 2014 315 events were held in 49 states, 22 countries, and 7 continents.

The many hundreds of events share the same goals:  "To honor fallen cyclists, to promote road safety, and to make a difference."

Bike safety is not a fleeting issue, especially here in Florida which ranks as the very worst in the nation for cyclist safety with the highest fatality rate for ten years in a row.  In 2014, eight cyclists were killed in Lee County crashes, and one fatality in 2015 to date.

The Ride of Silence, in memorializing riders injured and killed, seeks to draw motorist's attention to cyclist's legal rights to full use of the roadways, to inform motorists that we are here, to watch for us--as if our lives depended on it.  Please come out to show your support and send the message that we deserve our right to operate on our own roads.  We are not just bike riders, but friends and neighbors and we must all Share the Road.


Locally there are TWO Rides of Silence planned--downtown Fort Myers and Sanibel.

Fort Myers Ride of Silence:  Sponsored by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club
  • Arrive by 6:45, ride begins  promptly at 7:00 PM 
  • Centennial Park 2000 W First St, Fort Myers (Under the Bridge at Heitman and Bay Streets)
  • Cyclists will ride in a silent, funeral-style procession at 10-12 mph for 8 miles to honor those who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. 
  • Riders are requested to wear black arm bands or red if they have personally been injured in a cycling versus motor vehicle accident. 
  • Everyone welcome, free of charge. No registration necessary. 
  • Helmets are required, no headphones please. 
  • For further details email: ros@caloosariders.org

 Sanibel Ride of Silence: Sponsored by the Sanibel Bicycle Club in partnership with Matzaluna Restaurant and Billy's Bikes.
  •   Riders are encouraged to arrive at 6:15 p.m. at Matzaluna Restaurant (1200 Periwinkle Way) for a short educational program. 
  •  At 7:00 p.m. promptly the ride will leave Matzaluna's, down Periwinkle Way to the Sanibel Causeway.  The ride will cross over the first 2 bridges of the causeway, do the turnaround under the main span, and return to Matzaluna (approximately 7 miles round trip).
  • Helmets required for all riders and front and tail lights are required if you plan to ride your bike home after dinner. 
  •    Matzaluna will provide discounted food and drink for all riders. 
  •    For further details, contact Patti Sousa: 395-1695.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 4th: Upcoming walking/running/biking/tri events

Here's what's in store around SWFL. Mark your calendars for the May 20th evening Ride of Silence (in both Fort Myers and Sanibel this year). Thanks to everyone who came to the May Day SWFL Critical Mass ride last Friday...we broke the goal of 300 riders, with a total of 326!  Plan now to join the ride on June 5th.  

Upcoming events 
Running/walking:
·         Saturday, May 9: 10th annual Turtle Trot 5K at Lovers Key, to support The Friends of Lovers Key, Inc. Trail course on shell paths (no sand). Registration 7 a.m. (www.fortmyerstrackclub.com)
·         Saturday, May 16: Cape Cops 5K, Cape Coral Yacht Club. Run, walk and kids’ fun run, starts at 7:30 a.m. (www.fortmyerstrackclub.com)
  Saturday, May 23: Mosquito 10K / Run-4-Others 5K, Edgewater United Methodist Church, 19190 Cochran Blvd Port Charlotte. Proceeds benefit "Imagine No Malaria." (www.active.com)
·         Saturday, June 20: Sugden Stride 5K, the first event in the Elite Events Summer 5K Series. Sugden Regional Park, Naples. (www.eliteevents.com)
  
 Cycling and other events:
     
2014 Fort Myers Ride of Silence











Wednesday, May 20: Ride of Silence, to honor cyclists killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Leaves at 7 p.m. from Centennial Park, 2000 West First Street, Fort Myers. Riders are requested to wear black armbands, or red if they have personally been injured in a cycling vs. motor vehicle accident. Also the Sanibel Bicycle Club, in collaboration with Billy's Bikes and Matzaluna Restaurant, has organized a ride from Sanibel, leaving from the Matzaluna Restaurant (1200 Periwinkle Way) over the Causeway bridges and back.  Arrive at 6:15 for a pre-event, with ride starting at 7 p.m.  Both are free, no registration necessary.      
2014 Sanibel Ride of Silence
   

 
May Day SWFL Critical Mass Ride

Friday, June 5: SWFL Critical Mass ride. Join a family fun slow ride through Fort Myers. 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. (www.SWFLCM.com)
 
·         Sunday, July 12: Wheels and Wings VI, Beef O'Bradys, 1105 Taylor Road Punta Gorda. Five different rides: 15 mile (Mystery Ride) 32-/50-/62-miles and a 40-mile Gravel Grinder. Food, fun and more. (www.active.com)

Triathlons:
·         Sunday, May 3: Lake Avalon reverse triathlon and duathlon, Sugden Regional Park, Naples. Details at www.trifind.com.
·         Saturday, May 9: Cape Coral sprint triathlon, Cape Coral Yacht Club. Details at trifind.com.
·         Sunday, June 7: Naples Fitness Challenge Triathlon, Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. (www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
    Sunday, July 12: American Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon (run/bike/run), Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. (www.active.com)
·         Saturday, July 18: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon 2015. Englewood Beach, Shelter 3, 2100 N. Beach Road., Englewood (www.active.com)



Friday, May 1, 2015

SWFL bill to protect bikers, walkers dies

Very disappointing to see that one of the many fallouts of the Florida House abruptly ending the legislative session on Tuesday was the loss of the bike safety bill, championed by Rep. Passidomo, that had been passed by both the House and Senate.  Thanks to Tish Kelly who fought tirelessly for this bill along side Rep. Passidomo and other supporters.  We'll be back next year!

News-Press 5/1/15,   By  JANINE ZEITLIN
http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2015/04/30/swfl-bill-protect-bikers-walkers-dies/26653365/


A Florida bill that, among other things, would have boosted penalties for drivers who injure walkers, motorcyclists and bicyclists was a casualty of the legislative session; its supporters plan to revive it.
The bill passed the House and Senate, but the versions were different and it died after being sent back to the Senate, said Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican and lead sponsor of the bill.
"The good thing about it is that now it's on people's radar screens," said Passidomo.

She plans to reach out to law enforcement, cycling groups, drivers and the Florida Department of Transportation to hone it and build consensus before introducing it next session. Passidomo received positive emails about the bill from cyclists, but also negative ones from drivers who feel bicyclists should not be on the road.

"Believe it or not, it's a controversial bill," she said.




Passidomo championed the bill after her Naples law partner, Chuck Kelly, was hospitalized with more than 20 broken bones after being hit while cycling in January 2014. The driver did not have to appear in court. Instead, he paid a $170 fine.

Tish Kelly, Chuck Kelly's wife and a competitive cyclist, advocated for the bill in Tallahassee and shared stories of her husband and other riders who received life-altering injuries while responsible drivers faced minor consequences.

"I drove home the injustice," she said. "We need to stiffen our laws and increase our penalties as a deterrent because there is no deterrent."

The original bill was parsed down during session, but the most recent version included increasing the fine for careless driving that harms a vulnerable road user up to $2,000. The standard fine now for careless driving is $161. Lawmakers also kept the provision that vulnerable users should be given three feet of space starting from the widest part of anything on the vehicle.




Kelly and Passidomo hope to build support for the bill in the coming months. Kelly said a stumbling block during the process was feedback from lawmakers that cyclists were not following the rules of the roads.

"If cyclists could please behave on the roads across the state, that would make a huge difference," she said.

Connect with this reporter: @Janinezeitlin (Twitter).
Share and learn about ideas to make the roads safer on The News-Press Facebook page, Share the Road Florida.

Cape Coral's Bimini Basin Visioning Process



Exciting conversations are going on in our local communities about how to revitalize and redevelop our civic cores. BWL's Ann Pierce reports on one of these--Cape Coral's visioning process for the Bimini Basin.
By Ann Pierce 5/1/15
Ann Pierce
Look out Fort Myers; Cape Coral is coming after you! Such was the good-natured introduction last Thursday by Mayor Sawicki to the final community presentation of the Bimini Basin Redevelopment Visioning Process.  Fort Myers’ beautifully redeveloped downtown has become a local model of revitalization, but if these plans in the works for Cape Coral are realized, it will be the model to beat. 

Over 300 interested and enthusiastic Cape Coral citizens crowded into the standing-room-only presentation given by fifteen advanced design students from USF’s School of Architecture and Community Design. In three teams of five, the students presented a beautiful series of development variations informed by researching the City’s previously commissioned plans and soliciting citizen input during a well-attended Charrette and midpoint-review meeting in January and March. 

Mayor Sawicki discusses plans with Cape resident
Even with distinct creative differences there were common themes that ran strongly through the individual plans.  The future city depicted by these millennials was decidedly different from that of the previous generation - this was definitely not your father’s city.  Yet the vision of pervasive open public spaces; greenscaping; active transportation; minimization of the presence of automobiles; human-scale, mid-rise structures; and vibrant, diverse city life seem to get a positive reception from the audience of aging Baby Boomers.  

With a strong emphasis on “The Outdoor City” and maximization of water and view and access as a public asset to be preserved, each team proposed accommodations for business, entertainment and residential districts. From Class A office space to mid-rise, mixed-use, multifamily residential, to a basin-encircling boardwalk, each plan emphasized strong connections to active outdoor living with community-wide networks of shaded greenways for walking and cycling, connecting every district to the other and to the water's edge.   
  
Local architect Joyce Owens discusses plan with USF presenter
Banished were the massive seas of asphalt parking lots, storm water retention ponds and forlorn transit stops.  With an emphasis on walkability and active transportation, each plan featured rich cityscapes of multi-story buildings with retail and open air restaurants on first levels and office, studios or residential space above.  A continuous flow of shaded walks and linear parks knit the community together. With this emphasis on connective walkability, was an equal de-emphasis of automobile primacy. 

Streets were to be narrowed or ‘right-sized’ and traffic slowed, sidewalks and bike lanes installed or widened and parking directed to on-street or multistory garages. A truly multimodal transit hub with bus access, bike share stations and kayak rentals was envisioned as a central city feature, fulfilling aesthetic, transportation and social gathering space needs.  

Sustainability was cleverly integrated in detail through each of the plans where every roof surface served multiple purposes of hosting solar arrays or gardens designed to detain and process storm water, cool the surrounding air and provide fresh foods for the restaurants below. Dense tree planting and innovative ground-level, low impact storm water management, both visually and functionally appealing, were the standards. Parks large and small were shown as accessible from every part of the redevelopment area. Some to serve as community farms or public flower gardens, but all acting to unify the whole of the redevelopment area. 

USF student Ashley Barkley explains model to resident
In a reverse of many of today's cities, parks and connected treed greenways totaled 20% or more of the total acreage, with active transportation avenues replacing much of the land typically given over to roadways and parking.

Bimini Basin itself was to be enhanced with the extension of the Rubicon Canal creating a larger and more dramatic waterfront, a waterfront designed to remain publicly accessible, with the tallest buildings kept the greatest distance from the water's edge. Mayor Sawicki announced that she had already received a positive response from the Florida based director of the Army Corps of Engineers regarding possible enlargement of this canal.  With the emphasis on visual and physical public access to the waterfront and to the mixed use business, entertainment and residential districts beyond; high rises were not part of this millennial vision and no structure reached more than 7 to 10 stories tall.  

The need to create and retain local jobs and increase access to higher education were issues also addressed in imaginative ways.  Certainly, practical realities will temper some of these visionary flights.  But, the message presented by these very talented students was clear; they did not see a future of auto centric single-family homes, garages or private backyard entertainment or even the glitz of high rise living. Instead, they were creating highly dynamic and beautifully organic shared public spaces, rich with opportunity ranging from quiet contemplation to robust activity.  The indivisibility of environmental and economic sustainability was a matter of course, with deeply integrated planning and design drawing together the business, entertainment and residential districts into a socially nurturing place to thrive.

 All three plans and their component parts will be posted on a City website with citizen engagement and feedback encouraged. After which, the preferred elements can be further developed, vetted for practical application and consolidated into a final implementable plan.