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Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 29th: Upcoming walking/running/biking/tri events



Upcoming events 

Running/walking:
Saturday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 2051 Cape Coral Parkway, Cape Coral (at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge). 2051 Cape Coral Pkwy. Registration 6:30 a.m., race 7:30 a.m., kids’ fun runs begin after 5K is completed. A portion of proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
·        Saturday, July 4: 4th annual Rotary's Star-Spangled 5K. Riverside Park, Pennsylvania Ave., Bonita Springs. (www.3dracinginc.com)
·        Saturday, July 25: Eagle Lakes 5K, Eagle lakes Community Park, 11565 East Tamiami trail, Naples. Starts 7 a.m. (www.eliteevents.org)
·        Saturday, July 25: 7th annual Beat the Heat 5K. Jaycee Park, 4125 SE 20th Place, Cape Coral. (www.3dracinginc.com)

Cycling:
·        Friday, July 3: 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 7:30 p.m.) at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (twitter.com/swflcm)
·        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.peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com)
·        Sunday, July 26: Join the Caloosa Riders to ride 100km as part of the Rapha Women’s 100, a global event getting thousands of women around the world to ride 100km. Meet at Daniels Crossing Plaza and ride from Fort Myers to Captiva Island, in a nonsupported, self-contained no-drop ride. Please be able to ride 18-20 mph, and helmets are required. (www.caloosariders.org).

Triathlons:
Sunday, July 12: American Sprint Triathlon & Duathlon (run/bike/run), based at Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. (www.eliteevents.org)

·        Saturday, July 18: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon 2015. Based at Englewood Beach, Shelter 3, 2100 N. Beach Road., Englewood (http://www.swflymca.org/programs/englewood-triathlon/)
·        Sunday, Sept. 5: Venice YMCA Triathlon. Sprint distance, based at Sharky's on the Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice. (www.swflymca.org/programs/venice-triathlon)
·        Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 12-13: Galloway Captiva Triathlon. Kid’s events Saturday, three age groups with different distances. Adult sprint tri Sunday, all based at South Seas Island Resort, Captiva. (www.captivatri.org)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Invite to July 16th Reconnecting Lee Presentation: "What are Blue Zones?"



Who: Deborah Chesna, Healthy Communities Program Consultant, Florida Department of Health, Collier County
What: Reconnecting Lee – “What Are Blue Zones?”
When: July 16, 2:00-3:00PM
Where: Location: Downtown Fort Myers Library, Room AB
Cost: Free and open to the Public
Presented by: Reconnecting Lee, “a group that advocates for new urbanist concepts, including transit-oriented design for Lee County’s emerging urban core."  1.5 AICP/CM credits pending approval.

Program Information and Details:

Deborah Chesna will discuss “Healthy Communities” and “Healthy Businesses” and the concept of “Blue Zones” in the evolving urban environment. The Healthy Communities Coalition is comprised of interested citizen, public and private organizations along with governmental agencies who believe in supporting and improving the health of their community. Increasing opportunities for active living and access to healthy foods are important components of health in the built environment. With 68% of Americans overweight or obese this is becoming the driving force for diabetes and other related chronic diseases even in children which are preventable. Consequently, unhealthy weight gain in the population is predominantly a result of consuming too many calories while involved in little or no physical activity.

Passport to Wellness is a free four-week program to raise awareness about making healthy choices. The Passport to Wellness uses a self-tracking system of "95210" which represent daily health goals: adequate sleep, fruit and vegetable consumption, limiting screen time, daily physical activity, and limiting sugary beverage consumption and tobacco use. Points are awarded when individuals reach daily goals and can earn extra points by attending worksite wellness events, attending a farmer´s market, preventative efforts and bonus opportunities.

BWL Column: Southwest Florida has plenty of bike/walk successes

How do we make Southwest Florida better for biking and walking? Plenty of ways can be found by looking at how other areas have improved their bike/walk climate — but we can also find inspiration right in our own back yard.

The latest in the “Share The Road” series which ran in the News-Press June 14 spotlighted seven cities across the nation that have taking major steps to improve the biking and walking conditions there, from improving facilities to enhancing education to gathering better data. All took a unique approach to addressing a common problem, which is the lesson we all should draw from their example — not to duplicate their efforts, but to decipher them to discern how they worked in those circumstances.

The path to better biking and walking in Southwest Florida will be similarly unique in both its approach and implementation, with solutions likely tailored to fit the special needs and demands of our area, its residents and visitors. To see this in action, one need look no further than the four local examples called out in the series of articles:

Sanibel: Sparked by moms worried about their kids biking around the island, the city’s now-extensive shared-use paths grew in response to tourism (people liked not having to rely on their cars all the time) and transportation (when you can make better time in season on a bike than in a car, that can inspire a number of new riders).

Naples: Combine the desire to revitalize some downtown streets with a new and growing health initiative, and you’ve got a recipe for better biking and walking. The Blue Zone Project, which promotes community efforts to encourage healthier living, is coming on strong in Naples, which should spark bike/walk improvements as a logical outcome.

Bonita Springs: Downtown revitalization is also a driving force here, as a way to showcase the unique riverfront assets of the town while also working to draw people back (or introducing them) to downtown businesses by making the area more walkable and bike-friendly.

Cape Coral: A public-private partnership based on tourism and tying together the existing bike facilities has resulted in a major campaign to mark and promote more than 90 miles of lanes and paths as a major draw for both residents and tourists.

See the themes — promotes tourism and transportation, good for the economy and good for your health. Stir in a welcoming climate (yes, it’s hot now… but it beats riding in a snowstorm!) and an unending stream of potential riders and striders (in visitors and residents), and you could have a success story in the making.

Yes, there are obstacles… gaps in existing facilities, a continuing shortfall in funding to construct long-sought projects, and a built environment that often seems hostile to cyclists and walkers. And it is a “chicken and egg” situation… some people want to see strong usage before they’ll commit necessary resources to improvements, which are crucial to getting more people out biking and walking.

But we can point to some progress locally as we look longingly at what other areas have accomplished — and, as we can continue to build on local successes, more demand will spur more supply. It’s doesn’t need to be major projects… something as simple as wayfinding signs or painted marking to delineate bike/walk facilities or enhance safety at intersections can make a big difference.

We’ve seen steps in the right direction but, as the News-Press vignettes underscored, other communities have gone much further — in both infrastructure and innovation — to enhance their walkability and bike-friendliness.

Who knows? Maybe — just maybe — if we keep moving forward on the bike/walk front, someday folks will hold up this area as a shining star in bike/walk successes.

BikeWalkLee is 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.


Ready to ride or run?
Run: Celebrate the Fourth of July on the run, with morning 5Ks scheduled for Cape Coral and Bonita Springs. Details for the Cape event at www.ftmyerstrackclub.com and for the Bonita run at www.3dracinginc.com.
Ride: Go slow and enjoy the show at the July 3 SW Florida Critical Mass ride through Fort Myers, which gathers near the downtown Publix around 7:30 p.m. Lights (front and rear) required, helmets recommended. Planning ahead? Then sign up today for the July 12 Wings and Wheels ride in Punta Gorda at www.peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com. Lots of distances and events to keep everyone engaged.
Both: Want to try a tri? There’s a traditional sprint or a dualthlon (run/bike/run) at Sugden Regional Park in Naples on Sunday, July 12 (www.eliteevents.org).

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dan Moser Column: Early local advocates set the stage

In today's column, Dan traces his journey to advocacy and encourages you to get involved.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to the original Lee County team of Harold, Ed, Moshen, Stu, and Dan.
Florida Weekly, Outdoors: June 24, 2015

Whether it be for recreation, exercise or transportation, being able to safely and enjoyably ride a bike, run, walk, skate or take part in any other human-powered activity that takes one out into the public way has been the focus of my interest for decades. Sparked by my experiences when I ventured into the running world in 1978, it quickly became my passion and then my full-time profession. And although I truly believe we (i.e., those in charge) should be doing a much better job in making that a reality for anyone wanting to do any of those activities, the fact is that much progress has been made since my days as a newbie advocate. The reason for that progress has a lot to do with the people who were my major local influences in the early days, which eventually led to the BikeWalkLee advocacy group coming together.

For me, it all began when I decided to do something about not being able to get to Lakes Park’s only entrance on foot or by bike when I lived only one mile from the access (there was no Summerlin access back then). At the time, Gladiolus Drive had a deathtrap curve with ditches as shoulders in the area of the park’s entrance. Even as a young man who loved trail running, I knew it was too risky to make that one-mile trek on foot. I also knew it wasn’t fair that access into what was even then one of our gems of a park was limited only to those in cars. This inequity not only impacted my personal desire to run and bike to and from my own park, but shut out those in neighborhoods like nearby Harlem Heights at a time when that community had no park of its own.

As a customer of Benjamin Cyclery, I found an effort to advocate for change already happening. Harold Benjamin, the store’s owner, was one of our area’s first true bike/ped advocates, but I was exposed to Bikeways Lee County by his son, Ed, who was part of the family business. It wasn’t long before I attended my first meeting of the newly formed Lee County Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee. There I met the sacrificial lamb for the Lee Department of Transportation who was stuck in the thankless job of bike/ped coordinator at the time, Mohsen Salehi. I also met vocal committee board member Stu Hodes. Between Ed, Mohsen and Stu, I found inspiration and knew I’d be involved in this ongoing effort for a long, long time. The things I learned from each of these individuals have been the basis for my approach ever since.

From Ed I learned that one needn’t acquire endless degrees and certifications to be credible because practical knowledge of the subject is key, whether as an advocate, professional or combination of the two. From Mohsen I learned to work with the key entities involved (i.e., government and private interests), even when they appear to be uncaring and unwilling to move in a different direction. And from Stu I learned the value of showing up and being persistent. Along the way there were many others who deserve credit for getting us to where BikeWalkLee picked up in 2008, but I consider Harold and Ed Benjamin, Mohsen Salehi and Stu Hodes to be the foundation of our advocacy efforts here in Lee County. Harold passed away in 1997 but the others are still in our community. When you see them, be sure to thank them for the work they did and continue to do.

Advocacy update
It’s that time of year when budgets are being developed and our long range transportation plan is being updated, so we’ll soon find out where our various government leaders stand on continuing to improve bike/ped and transit. We hear lots of support in public settings for efforts that make things better, but too frequently it turns out to be business as usual when limited resources are divvied up. And now that the local economy is back on track (if you call cookie-cutter and high-end gated developments being “on track”) the private interests that make their money off the old ways of developing our community (and, by default, our transportation network) seem to be running the show. Gee, what a surprise. All one can do is hope those of us who have to live with the effects of sprawl and turning roads into highways will eventually get fed up and take action. I suggest following the predictable but regressive decisions of those elected officials who have become proxies of developers by visiting BikeWalkLee’s blog (bikewalklee.blogspot.com) and by signing up for regular updates via email at info@bikewalklee.org. Who knows? It may inspire you to get involved, just as I did via Bikeways Lee County back in the day.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways. ¦

Upcoming Events

 Running/Walking:

Freedom 5K, Saturday, July 4, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com)

Bonita Rotary Star Spangled 5k, Saturday, July 4, Bonita Springs(3dracinginc.com)

Beat the Heat 5K, Saturday, July 25, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)

FMTC Summer Fun Runs, various dates (ftmyerstrackclub.com)

3D Racing Summer Series, various dates (3dracinginc.com)

 Cycling and other events:

Wheels & Wings, Sunday, July 12, Punta Gorda (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com)

SWFL Critical Mass, Friday, July 3, downtown Fort Myers (swflcriticalmass.wordpress.com)

Captiva Triathlon, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12-13, Captiva (captivatri.org)

— Contact Dan Moser at bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334- 6417.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 22nd: Upcoming running/biking/tri events



Upcoming events
Running/walking:
·        Saturday, June 27: 7th annual Summer Sizzler 5K. Jaycee Park, 4125 SE 20th Place, Cape Coral.  (www.3dracinginc.com)
·        Saturday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 2051 Cape Coral Parkway, Cape Coral (at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge). 2051 Cape Coral Pkwy. Registration 6:30 a.m., race 7:30 a.m., kids’ fun runs begin after 5K is completed. A portion of proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
·        Saturday, July 4: 4th annual Rotary's Star-Spangled 5K. Riverside Park, Pennsylvania Ave., Bonita Springs. (www.3dracinginc.com)
·        Saturday, July 25: Eagle Lakes 5K, Eagle lakes Community Park, 11565 East Tamiami trail, Naples. Starts 7 a.m. (www.eliteevents.org)
·        Saturday, July 25: 7th annual Beat the Heat 5K. Jaycee Park, 4125 SE 20th Place, Cape Coral. (www.3dracinginc.com)

Cycling:
·        Friday, July 3: 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 7:30 p.m.) at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (twitter.com/swflcm)
·        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.peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com)
·        Sunday, July 26: Join the Caloosa Riders to ride 100km as part of the Rapha Women’s 100, a global event getting thousands of women around the world to ride 100km. Meet at Daniels Crossing Plaza and ride from Fort Myers to Captiva Island, in a nonsupported, self-contained no-drop ride. Please be able to ride 18-20 mph, and helmets are required. (www.caloosariders.org).
Triathlons:
·        Sunday, July 12: American Sprint Triathlon & Duathlon (run/bike/run), based at Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. (www.eliteevents.org)
·        Saturday, July 18: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon 2015. Based at Englewood Beach, Shelter 3, 2100 N. Beach Road., Englewood (http://www.swflymca.org/programs/englewood-triathlon/)
·        Sunday, Sept. 5: Venice YMCA Triathlon. Sprint distance, based at Sharky's on the Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice. (www.swflymca.org/programs/venice-triathlon)
·        Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 12-13: Galloway Captiva Triathlon. Kid’s events Saturday, three age groups with different distances. Adult sprint tri Sunday, all based at South Seas Island Resort, Captiva. (www.captivatri.org)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Video of June 9th special public workshop on Bonita Springs' downtown improvement plan

As a follow-up to BWL's June 5th blog post Action Alert about the June 9th Bonita Springs special workshop on Bonita's downtown improvement plan, we are posting the very informative video from the 3-hour workshop.   You'll learn a great deal about complete streets, livable communities, and downtown improvement projects from the consultant team (which included Michael Wallwork, the roundabout and complete streets international expert), and you'll see how one community addresses public concerns about a project that involves a great deal of change.  Kudos to the Bonita City Council for scheduling this workshop (and for posting this video on their website), to the consultant team for their excellent presentation and responses at the workshop, and to all the citizens who participated.  The video that the consultant team showed at the beginning of the workshop includes before and after footage and interviews from several other communities in Florida and beyond that have undertaken similar downtown improvement projects, and the benefits of these changes are compelling.
 
The video is in 2-parts:  The first two hours are in video 1; and the third hour is in video 2.

Video 1:


Video 2: 


 Background

On May 6th, the Bonita Springs' City Council approved ( 5-1 vote) an innovative downtown improvement plan, that has been under development for over a year. The City has committed $16 million to this downtown improvement project along Old 41 from Terry Street south to Oak Creek Bridge.  The planned improvement includes sidewalk and bicycle facilities, drainage, landscaping, utility relocation, parking, streetscape, medians, and two roundabouts, i.e., many features of a complete streets approach.  The City's stated goal for the project is to attract businesses to downtown Bonita and promote urban infill development. 

 
 At the June 3rd Council meeting, based on concerns raised during public comment, Council voted to hold another special workshop to receive and understand questions regarding the project and its components.  That workshop was held on June 9th and the video of the meeting is now on the City's website (and embedded above).

Background:  BikeWalkLee Honors Bonita

In December 2014, BikeWalkLee presented the Bonita Springs City Council and staff with its "2014 Complete Streets Champion of the Year" award for its embrace of a comprehensive complete streets approach, which culminated in its October 2014 adoption of a complete streets policy.  The award recognized several actions taken by the Council in support of complete streets and livable communities, including the design of this downtown improvement project.  BikeWalkLee's Dec. 3rd press release made the following statement about this project:
"The integration of complete streets concepts in the downtown redevelopment project recently awarded to a consultant team for design and construction. The design for this project holistically incorporates complete streets and livable community concepts in a visionary way from safe walking and biking facilities, to roundabouts, on-street parking, attractive streetscape designs, innovative storm water treatment, to creating attractive public spaces that will draw people and investment to a vibrant downtown."


Below are links to articles about this project as it has progressed through the process: 





(This in-depth article provides extensive information about the various features of the project and their potential benefit in terms of walkability, safety, economic development, etc.)
Report by Darla Letourneau


Invite to FDOT District 1 Multi-modal Planning and Complete Streets Workshop

FDOT adopted a complete streets policy in 2014 and is busy working on the accompanying implementation plan.  As part of their focus on complete streets, they're offering two exciting workshop opportunities for partners in Lee County--July 16 or July 22nd.   See details below and sign up by July 2nd.



Hello!

Please join us for an exciting Districtwide workshop series on Multimodal Planning and Complete Streets.  These workshops are being hosted by the Department to explore with you, our planning partners, on how Complete Streets can be successfully planned, designed, and implemented. 

The workshops will touch on the FDOT Central Office Complete Street Policy and other recent changes in standards.  We will also explore lessons learned from other regions and apply these to case studies tailored to the needs of District One communities.

You may attend either one of the two workshops.  Each session will focus on unique themes that relate to communities in District One.

Port Charlotte Workshop

   Arcadia Workshop
What:
Hands-on Workshop Focused on
Complete Streets Planning and
Implementation in
Fast Growing Urban Areas

What:
Hands-on Workshop Focused on
Complete Streets Planning and
Implementation in
Rural Villages and Transitioning Areas
Where:
Murdock Administration Building
School Board Room
1445 Education Way
Port Charlotte, FL 33948

Where:
Desoto Adult Education
Family Service Center Annex
310 West Whidden Street
Arcadia, FL 34266

When:  

July 16, 2015
8:30 AM to 3:30 PM


When:  

July 22, 2015
8:30 AM to 3:30 PM











Other Workshop Details
·         Boxed lunches will be available for purchase (Cost $5.00) during the workshop. 
·         AICP and PDH Credits are being applied for each workshop.
·         Please RSVP to lirvin@kittelson.com by 7/2/2015 so we can plan for the accommodations accordingly. 

We hope you can join us at this unique training opportunity!  Please feel free to share this opportunity with other colleagues who might be interested. 

A more detailed agenda will be sent out closer to the date.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Jennifer A. Stults, AICP CTP, CPM
Intermodal Systems Development Manager
Florida Department of Transportation, District 1
801 N. Broadway Ave.
P.O. Box 1249
Bartow, FL 33831-1249
Office 863-519-2656
Cell 863-221-9193 
Fax 863-534-7172