Wednesday, March 10, 2010
BikeWalkLee Letter to Florida Legislature: Take action to make roads safer for pedestrians & cyclists
On March 9th & 10th BikeWalkLee sent the following letter to the Lee County Legislative Delegation, the House & Senate Leaders, members of the House Roads & Bridges Committee and Members of the Senate Transportation Committee. A copy of the letter was also sent to Governor Crist. Add your voices to the conversation!
Senate President Atwater,
BikeWalkLee, a coalition working to complete Lee County’s streets, urges you to take action this legislative session to make Florida a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists. A complete streets approach is needed by the state in designing roads so that they provide safe and convenient travel for all road users—pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
We are pleased that the News-Press published an editorial on Saturday, urging the State Legislature to act. (See editorial.
BikeWalkLee wrote the Lee Legislative Delegation on February 22nd (BikeWalkLee study on FL federal safety programs, pedestrian/bicycle improvements & recommendations for action, with a specific list of the budget-neutral proposals we would like to the Legislature act on this session:
• Urge FDOT to aggressively promote “complete streets” as a statewide approach for design and operations of roadways.
• Require FDOT to allocate all its federal safety funds for safety improvement projects, and then ensure that pedestrian/bicycle safety improvement projects receive a “fair share” of those funds, using the share of all traffic fatalities that are pedestrians and bicyclists (21 percent).
• Enact the strongest legislation possible to prohibit texting while driving.
• Urge FDOT to issue the long-overdue updated road design standards to reflect the latest guidelines for accommodating bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users.
• Reinstate a state-level Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Board that would make recommendations to elected officials and FDOT.
• Encourage another Florida Safety Summit to develop Florida’s next five-year plan with goals to reduce traffic pedestrian/bicyclist fatalities by at least 50 percent to bring Florida in line with the national average.
The need for these actions was reinforced by a March 1st featured article in USA Today: Fla. deadliest state for walkers, cyclists. This article quoted a FDOT official who said, "The roadways aren't as dangerous as the (study) would have made it seem,"…. "It's not the roads. The roads are just sitting there by themselves.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Florida has been either the deadliest or the second deadliest state in the nation for walkers and cyclists for the past seven years (2002-2008). Yet, this quote demonstrates that FDOT refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem with road design, that measures can be taken to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and that it is its responsibility to take action.
FDOT should be setting rigorous goals to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, developing effective strategies for reaching those goals, targeting safety funds to reduce the unacceptable rates, and closely monitoring progress towards those goals to ensure that they are reached.
On November 20, BikeWalkLee sent a letter to Governor Crist asking for a plan of action to reverse this long-standing stain of being the most dangerous state for pedestrians and cyclists. To date, our letter has been met with deafening silence. In the absence of any leadership from the Governor on these issues, we are appealing to the Florida Legislature to direct FDOT to take necessary actions and to hold them accountable for results.
We look forward to working with you to make our roadways safer for all users.
a coalition to complete Lee County's streets
News-Press 3/6/10 editorial: Make roads safer for bikes/pedestrians
Links to related BikeWalkLee documents