Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, April 21: Friends of Foster Children Forever 5K. Friends of Foster Children Forever is excited to announce its 2nd Annual 5K Race! This event is designed to bring awareness to our community about the foster care system. All proceeds from the race will benefit foster children in our community. Vineyards Community Park, Naples (gcrunner.org).
  • Saturday, April 21: Lipman 5K Run For Backpacks. Come help support students in Immokalee by signing up for the Lipman 5K Run For Backpacks. All proceeds from this event benefit the Lipman Backpack Giveaway in August. Runners and walkers are welcome! Registration on race day begins at 6:30am. Race begins 8 a.m. (active.com)
  • Sunday, May 6: Tropicool 5K. Enjoy a wonderful 5K race that showcases the beautiful streets of Olde Naples. This course is two loops starting on Broad Street. Proceeds of the Tropicool will go to the Gulf Coast Runners Youth Development Fund. 1161 Third Street South, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, May 12: Turtle Trot 5K, This unique trail course takes runners through a shady maritime hammock ecosystem on a hard packed shell path. No part of the course requires running through beach sand. The course ends at our pavilion overlooking the beach where refreshments will be served and awards will be presented. 8 a.m., Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, May 19: Cape Cops 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com
  • Monday, May 28: SNIP Collier Memorial Day 5K, 8 a.m. (gcrunner.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:

  • Wednesday, May 16: Ride of Silence, to remember cyclists killed or injured on public roadways. Centennial Park, Fort Myers, ride starts at 7 p.m. Details at www.caloosariders.org
  • Friday, April 27: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, April 28: 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/events/)
  • Friday, May 4: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 7:15 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/events/)
  • 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:
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (active.com).
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com)
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Editorial: Bringing walkable communities to Lee County



Bringing walkable communities to Lee County


Tom Hayden, THAYDEN@NEWS-PRESS.COMPublished 5:00 p.m. ET April 13, 2018



The standard blueprint for building a community over the last 50 years has become a predictable nightmare.

It went something like this: Find ways to pack as many homes into an area as possible, try and build a school nearby, and by all means build wide roads, to handle lots of traffic created by these huge residential developments and commercial centers.

The problem with the template is it encourages more cars, encourages more suburban development, takes people away from what could be enticing downtown centers and limits the ability of people to walk, cycle or take public transit to places. And in Lee County, the model has led to a high number of traffic fatalities,

Building bigger roads is not the answer for many designers and innovators of walkable communities using smart street designs. Encouraging walkable communities is working in places like Asheville, North Carolina, and even in bigger cities like Chicago and New York.

That's why local civic activist Ann Pierce has organized her second walkable community event, bringing in experts in redesign of communities who have wanted fewer cars, more walkers and cyclists, more public transit use and safer streets.

The event, called Creating the Future Today Designing for People, Place & Profit, is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19 in Building U-102 on the campus of Florida Southwestern State College.

Communities encouraging less vehicle traffic are not someone's pipe dream. They are happening and working. Cape Coral has embraced some of it by creating over 90 miles of cycling paths. Fort Myers Beach has some of it with new sidewalks. Fort Myers has a walkable downtown area. But we need more, especially with new projects online for the Beach, Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

"We have got to put everything to better use," said Dan Burden, one of next week's speakers who has authored safe streets and walkable communities programs throughout the country. "We have to build the kind of streets that allow for the right development."

Young adults, the millennial's and the Generation X population, aren't interested in being dependent on their vehicles to get around their communities. According to the National Association of Realtors, 79 percent want to live in walkable communities, and only 14 percent of them live in neighborhoods they consider walkable.

Collier County is looking at putting sections of U.S. 41 on a road diet, decreasing the number of vehicle lanes from six to four. The other two lanes could be used for street parking or for buffered bike lanes.

Building more roads or expanding current roads to handle more traffic isn't working in Lee County. More cars simply increase the chances for more road fatalities. The National Complete Streets Coalition ranked the state the most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians, with 5,189 people killed between 2003-12, including 163 in Lee County.

And the number of people killed has only continued to go up as 117 people died in Lee County crashes in 2017. Reversing this horrifying trend is not in our near future as the state continues to be a popular destination for domestic visitors with a record 98 million coming last year, as well as another 14.8 million international visitors. In the Dangerous By Design Report issued by Smart Growth America in 2016, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area ranked the worst for pedestrian deaths.

Communities are not ignoring the importance of complete streets as 1,200 policies are now in place at state, regional and local levels. Lee County created a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan in 2013 with the goal of reducing fatality and serious injury rates each year through 2019. There is plenty of work to be done to reduce those rates by 17 percent over three years.

It starts with parking cars, and walking, cycling or using public transit as next week's speakers will frame in their presentations.

Joe Minicozzi, who analyzes return on investment outcomes of local government decision making, will tell you government engineers need to break from the habit of building wider roads. "They don't understand the diet problem," he said. "You just don't go out and buy a bigger set of clothing. You don't induce people to go farther out (from urban areas)."

He wants people to look at how much their cities are worth in terms of taxable value and how suburbs can drain a government budget because of the need to try and keep up with infrastructure as people crowd into gated communities.

He uses a baseball analogy to sum up the wrong thinking of some community planners. He says one has a better chance of getting to "home," if you take more pitches and draw a walk, rather than the low percentage route of swinging big and trying for a home run.

Minicozzi wants city planners to not focus on parking requirements where there is no real return on investment for businesses, but rather a design that limits parking spots and encourages people to leave their car in one location and then walk from place to place.

Another speaker, Victor Dover, who helps create sustainable, walkable communities, says it's only a myth that bigger, wider routes help move vehicles through an area quicker. He believes roads should be built to give a person a choice: driving, walking, cycling or public transit.

He believes in tree-lined streets because shade - especially in Florida - can encourage walking. He believes in restoring dying shopping centers and malls into small communities where people can live, work, shop and play. "There is a need for more housing at all price points," he said. "We need to look at life between the buildings."

People want to be encouraged to get out of their cars and away from the congestion. It's good business and it's good health.

Walkable communities event

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19

Where: Building U-102, Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers

Cost: $90. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack included.

To register: MoveForward.ezevent.com

Speakers

Dan Burden, director of Innovation and Inspiration, Blue Zones, LLC. He will talk on Blue Zones or community improvement initiatives.

Jerry Champa, engineer, GHD. He will talk on transportation systems and other safety innovations.

David Clark, deputy secretary, Florida DEP. He will talk on integrating greenways and trails.

Victor Dover, principal-in-charge at Dover, Kohl and Partners. He will talk on thriving, walkable, thriving communities

Billy Hattaway, director, DOT, Orlando. He will talk on local government integration of land use and the new FDOT program.

Ian Lockwood, engineer, Toole Design Group. He will talk on solutions to increasing safety, economic and social value.

L.K. Nandam, FDOT Division 1 Secretary and DeWayne Carver, AICP. They will talk on the state's new complete streets program.

Joe Minicozzi, Urban 3. He will talk on analyzing return on investment outcomes of local government decision making.

Tom Hayden, senior engagement editor at The News-Press, writes this editorial on behalf of the editorial board.









Thursday, April 12, 2018

Getting your bike back home


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 4/12/2018
by Ken Gooderham



If you’re one of our many winter residents who is also a cyclist, what do you do with your bike when it’s time to head north?

For many, the choice is between taking it with you vs. leaving it here until you come back next fall. Either way, you’ll need to be prepared to ensure everything goes smoothly.

If you’re planning to take your bike back home, great. You can ride through the summer and keep your fitness level up (in temperatures hopefully more moderate than the ones we’ll be riding in here). Your choices will be guided by how you are transporting yourself northward.

If you’re driving, invest in a bike rack to carry your bike safely. You can find styles that strap onto your vehicle (behind or above) or that attach to your vehicle using a trailer hitch attached to the frame.

The removable racks can be eliminated once the need for transport is done, but they also are less secure (unless you have a way to lock your bike to something that cannot be removed easily) and will need to checked in route to ensure that straps and tie-downs have not loosened.

Trunk racks are easier to load than roof racks, and both types require you to get used to having something either behind or on top of your vehicle (so you adjust your driving habits appropriately).

The hitch racks enable you to lock your bike(s) down and are the best choice for carrying multiple bikes. If you’re planning to carry your bikes a lot, it’s probably the best choice and a wise investment… particularly to keep an expensive bike safe.

If your transportation northward is by air, you face the decision of whether to treat your bike as luggage or to leave the transport to someone else.

Flying with bikes can be expensive (it’s the airlines, after all) and potentially dangerous for your bike unless you invest in a sturdy case to protect it in transit. (Imagine what the airlines already do to your luggage – on steroids).

You could also look into a bike shipping service, which cuts hassle and the potential for damage. Your local bike store may be able to help with this, or let Google search one for you.

Of course, there may be a few hardy souls up for the Plan C option – ride your bike up north. If that’s your idea of a good time --  hood luck, have a great trip and send postcards from the road.

You could always leave your bike here, awaiting your return next fall. If that’s for you, just a few thoughts:
  • Store your bike in a secure place indoors. You do not want to see what a Florida summer could do to your ride.
  • Remove any electronics (or remove the batteries) and stow your water bottle (after cleaning, of course).
  • Speaking of cleaning, give your bike a good going-over to remove dirt and grime… one less thing you’ll need to do on your return.
  • Either have your bike mechanic give it a tune up, or do it yourself. In particular, lubricate the chain and cables, check the brake pads and top off the tires.
  • Depending on how long you’re going to be gone, you may want to flip your bike over so it’s resting on the seat and handlebars. Takes the pressure off the tires.
  • If you’re planning to hang it up, say in your garage, hang it by the frame rather than the wheels to avoid warping the rims.
That’s it! Enjoy your summer!

Blue Zone update

Want to find out more about the Blue Zones Project, an effort to learn from some of the world’s longest living citizens on ways to help you live a healthier and longer life?

You have an opportunity to hear from project co-founder Dan Buettner next Monday. He will share insights on living longer and better… and celebrate National Walking Day with a short jaunt (optional).

Many may not know that Southwest Florida is one of nine Blue Zones sites in the U.S. Per the website: “A Blue Zones Community® is an area in which citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores, and community leaders have come together to optimize residents' longevity and well-being. ... By impacting environment, policy, and social networks, Blue Zones Project makes healthy choices easier.”

RSVP at https://southwestflorida.bluezonesproject.com/ for the event, which starts at 6 p.m. April 16 at Alico Arena. The event is free, and the project is worth finding out about.


Ready to ride or run?


Run? The Friends of Foster Children Forever 5K and the Lipman 5K Run for Backpacks will both compete on Saturday, April 21 (and both in Collier County), while the sixth annual 5K Run/Walk to Support Head & Neck Cancer Patients will be held at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers on April 28.
 
Ride? Critical Mass meets up for its NE Lee ride tomorrow (April 13), and for its Sanibel ride Saturday (April 14). Both are night rides, so lights are mandatory; for all rides helmets are suggested. Details at  Details at  Details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.

Both?  Sunday brings the FGCU Eagle Sprint Tri and Dualthon, and bring your wetsuit if you wish; details at active.com Other upcoming tris:
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (active.com).
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com).
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
  • Also, registration opens for the Galloway Captiva Tri on May 1; the race weekend is Sept. 15-16, with the kids’ events Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.

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.