Below is a letter Bert Hamilton, BPAC Chairman, sent to Patricia Totten who recently lost her husband on Palm Beach Blvd. and had written Commissioner Mann and Nick Thompson to request that the biking facilities be upgraded along this stretch of road so it does not happen again.
April 29, 2010
Bert F. Hamilton
Lee County's Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Fort Myers, FL
Patricia A. Totten
Fort Myers, FL
Dear Ms Totten:
Commissioner Mann's letter dated April 27, 2010 and yours to him, reminds me why I fight nearly every day to get our bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Lee County up to the standards they should be for our environment. Unlike Commissioner Mann and Debbie Tower, everything I do is totally voluntary. Every day I see someone needlessly die or get injured while using substandard facilities for bicyclist and pedestrians here in Lee County, I feel like not only I have failed in my personal mission but our government has also failed to do their most basic task of protecting "We the People" each time I see a case like yours.
Unlike most of the government officials and staff of Lee County and the state of Florida, I ride my bicycle nearly every day. I ride to work, for exercise, and for many other reasons. I also realize we are not alone with our concerns and desire to use alternate forms of transportation. In addition, I have had several friends hurt seriously as a direct result of our substandard conditions. I put in hundreds of miles monthly here in Lee County, so in this case I feel your pain.
As Commissioner Mann stated we do have an advisory committee of which I chair for bicycle and pedestrian issues. And, I am happy to see his concern for the need of improvement. The problem is we have a huge list and no budget. At a time when we seem to be able to come up with funding for millions for all sorts of projects, our basic needs like public safety are being cut and ignored. Our government seems to talk the talk but not walk the walk. I find this totally irrational since we live in the sunshine state, have more days per year where bicycling can be used for transportation, and that promoting bicycling could have a major positive economic impact on several fronts. On top of this, current economic conditions are forcing many people to turn to cheaper ways to get around! Because of all these issues I am trying to come up with innovative ways to improve our facilities, but it is not easy in the current environment. So as you can see I need the help of people, just like you, to make our concerns heard. For this reason I applaud your letters and want to thank you. If you know others, have them speak out as being silent gets us no where. I am going make sure your concerns are heard by many more too.
As per you and Commissioner Mann's request, I will add your request to BPAC's list to be reviewed. I will also personally bicycle this stretch of road so I fully understand the conditions. I really appreciate you taking the time to let everyone know about your concerns as actions like yours helps my cause. I am also very sorry for your loss. I hope all the Commissioners and DOT staff truly feel your pain and share in the concern of your loss. I will try not to let it be in vane.
Bert F. Hamilton