Facebook Share

Friday, April 30, 2010

Updated bike/ped crash data and map


The 2009 preliminary crash data is now available, which we are analyzing. Note that 15 pedestrian (vs. 14 in 2008) and 2 bicycle (vs. 5 in 2008) fatalities occurred in 2009. In total, the number of fatalities was down slightly from 19 to 17. In total, there were 141 pedestrian and 165 bicycle crashes. Overall, the share of all traffic fatalities in Lee County that were bike/ped was 24%, up slightly from the 2007-2008 share of 23%, compared to the national figure of 13%. Stay tuned for more analysis to come.

We have also posted a GIS map of the bike/ped crashes in Lee County (2000-2009), which identifies the fatalities separately. This map is being prepared as part of the MPO countywide master plan. Click here to see where the "hot spots" are in our county.

BikeWalkLee Letter to Governor & Secretary FDOT in support of complete streets

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Dear Governor Charlie Crist & Secretary Kopelousos:

The US Secretary of Transportation issued a significant new policy statement putting walking and bicycling on equal footing with motorized traffic. Washington supports complete streets and multi-modal transportation. Given this direction, the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ new Walkable Urban Thoroughfares Manual, and the example for statewide leadership on complete streets by California and their Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan, we call upon you, the Governor of Florida, and the Florida Secretary of Transportation to do the following:

• Adopt the New Federal Policy Statement as FDOT policy and integrate it into the state’s policies, planning processes and guidance documents, including the FDOT revisions to the “Green Book”—the manual used by local governments in designing their road projects.
• Provide leadership and support for a complete streets approach statewide, including aggressively promoting its adoption in communities throughout Florida so that a statewide complete streets program and action plan can be developed and implemented.

To read the full letter, click here.

Other advocacy groups in South Florida are also sending this letter, thanks to the work of the South Florida Complete Streets Task Force.

City of Sanibel promotes biking & walking to city events


Other communities may want to consider the City of Sanibel's approach: when they send out a press release (which is e-mailed to resident households) about a special event on island, they include the following language:

"The City of Sanibel is a “walkable and bikeable” community and features one of the most extensive shared use paths in the State of Florida. Attendees to these special events are encouraged to enjoy our good nature, bicycle to these events and stay FIT-4-LIFE."

Kudos to the City of Sanibel for promoting biking and walking! Check out their press release.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

REGISTER NOW FOR PROBIKE/PROWALK FLORIDA CONFERENCE

It's not too late to register for the 5th edition of ProBike/ProWalk Florida "The Dollars and Sense of Bicycling and Walking" May 11-13, 2010. The Lakeland Center and Hyatt Place at Lakeland Center are the conference headquarters and host hotel for three days of pre-conference and conference events, as well as FBA's Annual Meeting & Awards Presentation luncheon. Join other bicycle and pedestrian professionals, planners, landscape architects, health professionals, enthusiasts and advocates. Visit the website for more details. CEU credits are also applicable. Contact program director Dan Moser for details at Dan@floridabicycle.org.

AND NOW A WORD OR THREE FROM TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD


League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood teamed up for an all-star appearance on BicycleRadio Tuesday evening to discuss the state of national and local bike policy. Andy talked about upcoming National Bike Month, Bike to Work Day, and the Ride of Silence. The Secretary described his own love of cycling in the D.C. area with his wife (giving a shout-out to the C&O Canal trail) and the importance of providing transportation options for Americans.
The hosts asked the Secretary about some of the flack he's taken for his speaking up for bicycling. "We're on the side of the American people and American families," LaHood said, "We're not going to be dissuaded by our detractors." He then went on to remind the audience that "we're in a bicycling moment." What can we do to keep it going? The Secretary said, "I encourage people to get involved and join local bicycling groups, and if you have to, start your own."

At the end, Andy got a chance to mention LaHood's dedication to reducing distracted driving (Michigan passed a texting ban today) and the scourge of rumble strips.

At some point, you'll be able to hear all that and the Gary Fisher interview to find out where mountain biking is growing the most in the U.S. on the i-Tunes podcast.
Darren Flusche
League Policy Analyst

Bert Hamilton's Letter to Patricia Totten

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
Chairman
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.

Sincerely,
Bert F. Hamilton

Bicycle death point to danger on Del Prado


News-Press--April 29, 2010

By DENES HUSTY III

Ryan Michael Santos was an active,
friendly 13-year-old who liked fishing, playing
video games and listening to tunes on his iPod.

He was going with friends to a neighborhood park
Tuesday night in Cape Coral when he was struck
while crossing busy Del Prado Boulevard on a
bicycle.

He died later at Lee Memorial Hospital.

Now his friends, as they try to cope with their grief,
are focusing on the positive by remembering Ryan
and the fun they had together.

Ryan was the fourth person this year to be killed in
a traffic accident in Cape Coral, according to Connie
Barron, Cape Coral police spokeswoman.

He was the third bicyclist killed in the city during
the past two years, police said.

A city traffic engineer plans to study the accident
scene to see if new safety measures are necessary. To read the full story, click here.

Fort Myers ministry gives bicycles to homeless


News-Press April 29, 2010
Crucial transportation first earned with hard
work

By GLENN MILLER

Waldo Narro, 46, is unemployed, homeless, without
a car and a long way from his hometown of
Albuquerque, N.M.

At least he has local transportation, a dependable
Huffy bicycle.

"It will get me anywhere," Narro said Wednesday,
standing in the Lee County Bicycle Ministry at First
Baptist Church in downtown Fort Myers. "And a lot
faster than walking."

Narro received his Huffy through the Bicycle
Ministry, which, director Ken Nies estimated, has
provided more than 400 bikes to the homeless in
the past 2 1/2 years. The bikes aren't freebies. Folks
such as Narro must work for them by doing
community service for charities and walking in the
door with a letter from a community service
organization attesting to the work. Click here to read the full story.

Kudos to the Bicycle Ministry to filling a real need in our community. If you'd like to donate bikes, contact Ken Nies, 458-0075.

Cyclists in Charlotte County pressure officials to commit to bike safety


Florida Weekly--April 22, 2010
BY KITTY CAYO

Charlotte County was rated the most dangerous place for pedestrians in Florida. City Councilman Don McCormick met with the Peace River Riders last week to get them up to speed on the design of Punta Gorda’s Ring-Around-The-City project.

But the local cycling club says it's more concerned with safety than aesthetics. In 2007 and 2008, the lives of nine Charlotte County pedestrians and two cyclists were claimed by roadside accidents. Click here to read the full story.

Kudos to the Peace River Riders for their advocacy to improve biking in Charlotte County!


q

Saturday, April 24, 2010

River of Grass Greenway (ROGG) awarded $1 million grant



Great news! The River of Grass Greenway (ROGG), championed by the Naples Pathways Coalition, has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in the Parks Program.

The grant will be administered through RTCA (Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance program; National Park Service). The main objective of the grant is to do a master plan, to include preliminary engineering and design. This grant program is the same one that awarded an alternative transportation grant in 2007 (and now phase II in 2010) for the Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve on Sanibel.

What is the River of Grass Greenway (ROGG)?

Parallel to the Tamiami Trail (US. 41), the ROGG will be a hard-surfaced 12-14 foot wide corridor (separated from the highway) suitable for a range of non-motorized recreation activities such as bicycling, walking, bird-watching, photography, fishing, and general enjoyment of the greater Everglades natural area.

The goal of the ROGG is to extend from Krome Avenue (eastern edge of Everglades National Park near Miami) to the outskirts of Naples/Marco Island (western terminus to be determined). In the middle, there will be a three mile spur to Everglades City.

For more information, see the ROGG website, or contact Maureen Bonness,
River of Grass Greenway Committee, Naples Pathways Coalition
maureenb@evergladesROGG.org

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly column: Second Florida Bike Summit a Success


Unlike last year’s unseasonable monsoons that occurred during the Florida Bike Summit at the State Capitol, the weather cooperated this time. And as was the case last year, Florida Bicycle Association members and other advocates who took part made progress in moving forward the effort to improve conditions throughout the state for all cyclists. A number of bills FBA supports are making their way through the process, although their fate is unknown as of the writing of this column.

Capitol City Cyclists and others rode up St. Marks Trail to attend the event that began with a rally in the Capitol’s courtyard. Three state legislators, Sen. Paula Dockery, Rep. Adam Fetterman and Rep. Julio Rubaino, each pledged support for our efforts. The highlight was the announcement by Rep. Rubaino of the reformation of a statewide bike/ ped advisory council, something we’ve been working on for a long time.

Summit attendees conducted dozens of meetings with elected officials and their staffs. Officials were asked to support various initiatives, including: an anti-texting ban; ensuring bikes will be allowed on trains; increasing penalties for drivers who injure or kill vulnerable road users; and preserving the Office of Greenways and Trails, an important partner that’s been targeted the past two years. Reports from the meetings were generally very positive, with most appearing to at least understand the issues. Two local officials with whom I met, Sen. Dave Aronberg and Rep. Nick Thompson, are both strong supporters of efforts to make things better for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the state.

Next up: ProBike/ProWalk Florida. We’re holding our annual conference in Lakeland May 11 to 13. Click here for all the details.

Advocacy news

BikeWalkLee would like to see signs erected throughout the county that have been recently approved for use on roads without bike lanes or paved shoulders and that are too narrow to allow an average motor vehicle to share the lane safely. The 2009 edition of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a bible-like guidebook for transportation professionals, allows departments of transportation to post “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs. These regulatory white and black signs make sharing the road enforceable by law and not just a suggestion, as is the case with yellow and black “Share the Road” signs.

Specifically, the 2009 MUTCD says the “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” sign may be used on roadways where no bicycle lanes or adjacent shoulders usable by bicyclists are present and where travel lanes are too narrow for bicyclists and motor vehicles to operate side by side. For support, the MUTCD refers to the Uniform Vehicle Code, which “defines a ‘substandard width lane’ as a ‘lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the same lane (less than 14 inches wide).’”

Many important routes in Lee County that have inadequate bike accommodations (5-foot by 6-foot-wide sidewalks that are riddled with utility poles and others hazards are included in the list) could be signed this way. Cyclists who use — or would like to use — major roads such as College Parkway, Cypress Lake Drive, Bonita Beach Road. and scores of others would undoubtedly benefit from this informative tool. If you’d like to see these signs posted, or have other suggestions for ways road managers can help drivers and cyclists understand that the road is the best and safest place to ride, let them know. You can go to www.bilewalklee. org to learn how.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. 

— Dan Moser is league cycling instructor/ trainer and program manager for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at dan@floridabicycle.org or 334-6417.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Update on Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Development



On April 20th, the Lee County MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan Project Advisory Committee met with the consultant team and MPO staff to discuss the project tasks and provide input from the various stakeholders. The consultant team is developing an interactive GIS map that will be available in 2 weeks on an MPO webpage. This map will have input gathered from the two previous Lakes Park events about problem areas/gaps identified, and will provide an opportunity for the public to provide input on problem areas. Commenters will be asked to provide information on the location of the issue, a description of the problem, along with a photo, which will be e-mailed to the consultant, who in turn will post all the input onto the GIS map for everyone to see. This input will be part of the development of the Needs Plan.

As soon as the webpage is available, I will post the link on the blog and send out an e-mail. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the master plan project, contact the project manager, Patrick Vanasse: pvanasse@consult-rwa.com or 278-5419 x3218.

There are also opportunities for "ground-truthing" areas identified by the consultant that have some data gaps. If you're interested in helping in this effort, contact Steve Rodgers: gatewaycyclist@yahoo.com.

The process is off to a good start!

Lee County, FL inspires Lee County, MS!


According to the League of American Bicyclists, the Lee County MPO's 3/19 resolution in support of Secretary LaHood's policy statement on bike/ped accommodations inspired a city planner in Tupelo, MS (which happens to be in Lee County, MS!), to get their Mayor to sign a proclamation in favor of the Secretary's statement. Click here to read LAB's blog.

Secretary LaHood blogs about it today: "Tupelo MS on board for Complete Streets and DOT bicycle-pedestrian policy," Click here to read the Secretary's blog.


Way to go, Lee County MPO, for inspiring other communities around the country to endorse the Secretary's bicycle-pedestrian policy statement!! Maybe we should become "sister communities" with Lee County, MS?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guide to Federal resources for sustainable communities


The federal government now has a guide to federal programs intended to help communities identify resources available to support their efforts to promote livable and sustainable communities. This is part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities formed in June 2009 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the US Department of Transportation (DOT), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Click here to access the guide.

Participate in workshops on the Lee Plan to let county know complete streets are priority


As we continue to push for implementation, it is important to let the county know that complete streets are a priority for citizens. We have an immediate opportunity to get our message across at the county’s public visioning workshops designed to get feedback on the land use plan (the Lee Plan). The Lee County Division of Planning will hold workshops through May 2010 as part of their EAR (Evaluation and Review) process. The EAR is an every-7-year evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the Lee Plan. The current Lee Plan is one of the primarily barriers to implementing complete streets. Please make it a priority to attend and let the county know that citizens want better access to our destinations by walking, biking, and public transit. Meetings are held throughout the county. For more information and get on the mailing list click here.

If you can't make one of the workshops, please click here for a questionnaire that you can fill out and submit. Our input is very important to ensuring that the Lee Plan vision for the future reflects the communities desires for complete streets and livable communities. Thank you!

WORKSHOPS
Thursday, April 15, 5-7 p.m.
Lee County Community Development/Public Works Building
1500 Monroe St., Fort Myers

Tuesday, April 20, 5-7 p.m.
Riverdale Branch Library
14561 State Road 80, Fort Myers Shores

Wednesday, April 21, 5-7 p.m.
Pine Island Public Library
10700 Russell Road NW, Bokeelia

Tuesday, April 27, 5-7 p.m.
North Fort Myers Public Library
2001 N. Tamiami Trail NE, North Fort Myers

Wednesday, April 28, 5-7 p.m.
South County Regional Library
21100 Three Oaks Parkway, Estero

Tuesday, May 4, 5-7 p.m.
Lakes Regional Library
15290 Bass Road, South Fort Myers

Wednesday, May 5, 5-7 p.m.
East County Regional Library
881 Gunnery Road, Lehigh Acres

Tuesday, May 11, 10 a.m. - noon
Boca Grande Community Center
131 First Street West, Boca Grande

Thursday, May 13, 10 a.m. - noon
Captiva Civic Association
11550 Chapin Lane, Captiva

Contact the Lee County Division of Planning, (239) 533-8583, for additional information.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Upcoming Bike/Ped/Transit-related government meetings

In May, there are several meetings that you might be interested in attending:

On April 21st at 6-8 p.m., the County's Smart Growth Committee is scheduled to meet. Click here for a link to the County's Smart Growth website where you'll find the agenda and location of meeting.

Lee County Government:
On May 19th at 3-5 p.m., the Lee County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC)will hold its bi-monthly meeting. Click here for the link to the BPAC website where you'll find the agenda & location of the meeting.

MPO Meetings:
On May 6th at 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meets
and at 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. the Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC) meets.

On May 18th the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinating Committee (BPCC) meets.
On May 21st the MPO Board meets.

All MPO meetings are held at the MPO building at the corner of US 41 and Victoria Ave. in Fort Myers. Click here for a link to the MPO website where you'll find agendas and briefing packets for each meeting.

Successful symposium on transit-oriented development & walkable communities



On Friday, April 16th, Reconnecting Lee County, Lee County, FGCU’s Center for Public and Social Policy, APA Florida Promised Lands Section, and the City of Fort Myers held their second symposium in the Lee County Commission chambers. The symposium enjoyed participation by Lee county commissioners, the county manager, county staff, professionals, and citizens throughout the region. It was an excellent opportunity to put complete streets into the larger context of land use and transit-oriented development. The county commissioners and MPO board were recognized for their leadership in adopting complete streets policies.

Seth Harry spoke about U.S. and international transit-oriented development projects. Jeff Hays focused on how Gainesville in Alachua County is developing a multi-modal infrastructure plan to accommodate bus rapid transit, transit-oriented development, and an integrated bike/ped network. Finally, James Nicholas from the University of Florida gave a compelling argument for why the region should move in this direction. The current system is clearly broken and unsustainable, and he summed it up well by saying, "it's easier to ride a horse in the direction it's going". Clearly the horse is moving towards providing more transportation choices and more transit. To watch the symposium online, click here.

On Saturday, April 17, FGCU’s Center for Public and Social Policy sponsored an in-depth workshop with Seth Harry. Seth went into more detail about the important lessons Lee County can learn from other communities as it takes the next steps toward implementation. He incorporated both market and design considerations.

If you would like more information about these sessions, visit Reconnecting Lee's website.

Is your group interested in presentations from BikeWalkLee or Reconnecting Lee?

1. BikeWalkLee has started giving presentations to some of our partner organizations about the coalition, its work, and the concept of complete streets. Thanks to the Sanibel Bicycle Club and Caloosa Riders for inviting us to speak. If your group is interested in such a presentation, please contact me: dletourneau@bikewalklee.org.

2. Reconnecting Lee County
, one of our partners, is a group of area citizens and professionals dedicated to finding better ways for our community to grow through transit-oriented development and walkable communities. They have also developed a powerpoint presentation about their ideas. If you would like to schedule a speaker from RLC, visit their website.

New national professional manuals promote complete streets and enhanced accommodations for biking & walking


Not only has the USDOT issued a policy guidance on improved bike/ped accommodations (click here for that story), but two long-awaited professional manuals have been released recently that provides local and state transportation engineers and planners with the tools to put these new policies in place.

1. The DRAFT AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Bicycle Facilities (Feb, 2010) is a major improvement over the existing manual, which is the "bible" for state and local engineers and planner.It has adopted a lot of the League of American Bicyclists vehicular cycling and best practice principles, and it's chapter on bicycle master plans is excellent. Click here to check it out.


2. Walkable Urban Thoroughfares Manual Debuted by Institute of Transportation Engineers

The Institute of Transportation Engineers debuted its new Recommended Practice: Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach. This document represents years of work from the Congress for the New Urbanism and hundreds of transportation professionals and advances the successful integration of land use consideration and multi-modal roadway design. The new manual, produced in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and in partnership with the Congress for the New Urbanism, will be of great help as communities and states implement their complete streets policies. Click here to check out this manual.


3. California Releases Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan

In additional to national manuals, the California Department of Transportation has released its Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan, a set of actions to transform Caltrans's approach and create a statewide system of roads for California travelers of all ages and abilities. The ambitious and thorough Action Plan describes the management oversight and monitoring process to ensure implementation and lists a variety of Division and District tasks to pursue in the coming years. The priority actions include updating the Highway Design Manual, as well as system planning guidance, project development procedures, and reviewing data collection and performance measures. This action plan is a model for other states regarding how to implement complete streets statewide.

Collier County MPO Plans to Endorse Secretary La Hood Policy Statement on Bike/Ped Accommodations


At a follow-up to the Joint Collier/Lee County MPO meeting on March 19th, the Collier MPO discussed the 3/19 Lee County MPO resolution endorsing the new USDOT 3/15/10 Policy Statement on bike/ped accommodations, and unanimously agreed to write a resolution in support, which will be presented at their May MPO meeting. Kudos to Naples Pathways Coalition for their statements of support at this meeting. We look forward to having a regional approach to improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs in Southwest Florida.

BikeWalkLee promoting "bicycles may use full lane" and "bicycles sharing road" signs





At the MPO Traffic Operations Coordinating Committee meeting on April 14th, the committee discussed the installation of "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" new MUTCD approved regulatory signs and the installation of Bicycle Sharing Roadway signs on roads in Lee County. Both BikeWalkLee and the Lee County BPAC requested that the LeeDOT staff consider the installation of these signs.

At the 4/14 MPO committee meeting, BikeWalkLee argued that to implement the County's Complete Streets Resolution, all county departments should be using their discretionary authority to meet the goals of the resolution. Part of accommodating the needs of all road users is to address the safety needs of cyclists and pedestrians. The Secretary of Transportation's new policy encourages transportation agencies to go beyond minimum requirements to foster increased use by bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

The most recent Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD 2009) includes several approved signs for sharing the roadway with cyclists, including a new one, "bicycles may use full lane", which is intended to be used in locations where it is important to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane where no bicycle lanes or adjacent shoulders usable by bicyclists are present and where travel lanes are too narrow for bicyclists and motor vehicles to operate side by side (defined as less than 14 ft. wide). The yellow "bicycles sharing roadway" signs may be used on roads with wide curb lanes greater than 14 ft. wide. Erecting signs on roads like College Parkway and Cypress Lake Drive might actually move cyclists to the road and increase their efficiency and safety.

Both types of share the road signs are a means of alerting motorists to the presence of bicyclists and encouraging cooperative behavior. It is also an educational message--bikes have a right to the road as well. To date, LeeDOT has rarely been willing to use its discretionary authority to provide either of these signs, arguing that there are not enough cyclists on a particular road to merit signs and, besides, "the signs don't work".

At the MPO committee meeting, a representative from the Fiddlesticks Road three community master boards that had submitted a request in January for share the road signs, spoke about the need for these signs to give access to grocery, drug stores and bus stops for the 2500 homes that use Fiddlesticks Road. The fact that the communities have requested signs is an indication of latent demand that should be taken into account in determining where signs are warranted. In addition, there is no other route for cyclists trying to get to the shopping and path system up the road 1-2 miles. LeeDOT has refused to consider putting up signs arguing that "it's against the rules". We know now that it is not--Fiddlesticks Rd. meets the qualifications in MUTCD for a "bicycles may use full lane" sign.

The committee took no action, but BikeWalkLee is continuing to work with MPO and Lee County officials to request that objective criteria be established that promote the goals of the complete streets resolution, and that the criteria include such considerations as latent demand for cycling on that road, the number of houses along the road, the proximity to access to shopping and other transportation networks be considered, and whether or not there are alternative routes for cyclists to reach these destinations.

BikeWalkLee believes that putting up these 2 types of share the road signs are an important first step in demonstrating to the community that the needs of all roadway users are being taken into account and that cyclists have a right to be on these roads. These signs send an important message!

In related news from the East Coast, at the urging of the South Florida Bike Coalition, FDOT District 6 (Broward & Miami-Dade area)has just agreed to put in sharrows on the Sunset Drive project. Click here to read about it.

Tell us what you think--please share you comments below.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Ride of Silence May 19th--mark your calendars


DATE: May 19,2010
TIME: 7:00 PM
WHERE: Centennial Park, W 200 1st St, Ft. Myers (Under the bridge)
WHY: To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD

THE RIDE OF SILENCE WILL NOT BE QUIET!
On May 19, 2010, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession (max. 12 MPH) to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.
In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and killed.
The Ride of Silence is a free ride and is not sponsored. It will last no more than an hour, and riders will remain silent during the ride. The ride hopes to raise cycling awareness during bike safety month to motorists, police, traffic engineers, insurance companies, and city officials. The ride is also a chance to mourn, in funeral procession style, those who have already been killed.
The ride requests black armbands be worn, or red if you have had a bike/motor vehicle accident.
The Fort Myers ride co-leaders are Bill Garrison (239-292-8950) and Steve Rodgers (239-839-7926) . Read history and more at the web site:
The ride is posted on the national site:

Send a message to Florida legislators in support of texting ban bills

The national Advocacy Advance Team (League of American Bicyclists and Alliance for Biking & Walking) has made our job easier. Just click the links highlighted below to send a message to your Florida legislators in support of the texting ban bills. Spread the word!


Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 4:31 PM
To: people@peoplepoweredmovement.org
Subject: [People] Distracted Driver Update from The Advocacy Advance Team

Dear Advocates

On March 23, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 410 to 2 to name April “Distracted Driving Awareness Month ”. Let us know how your organization is capitalizing on this moment. Many of your colleagues across the country are supporting texting, cell phone and distracted driving bans.

We know that the Florida Bicycle Association made texting while driving one of their legislative priorities at the Florida Bike Summit. Florida residents may alert key committee and council members about the importance of the texting ban by clicking here:
For the House
For the Senate

If distracted driving is an issue your organization is working on, let the Advocacy Advance Partnership know! Contact Chanda Causer at chanda@peoplepoweredmovement org or Jeff Peel at jeff@bikeleague.org

If you haven’t already, check out the Advocacy Advance Distract Driving resources <

Chanda Causer
Grants Manager & Training Coordinator
Alliance for Biking & Walking

Sunday, April 11, 2010

At the Collier & Lee County line on SR 82

Bert Hamilton has been out riding SR 82 this weekend to assess the conditions for cyclists on that road. The photo above is what SR 82 looks like as you're crossing the line from Collier into Lee County (SR 82 heading north). On the Collier side there are nice wide shoulders and then it turns into a death trap when you enter Lee. Bert has added the red sign: enter at your own risk!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

BikeWalkLee's ongoing government interactions


BikeWalkLee steering group members have been busy attending the various MPO and county advisory committees to speak on behalf of bike/ped/transit issues. During March, there were two joint MPO meetings: one with Lee & Collier County MPO Boards and the other with Lee & Charlotte County MPO Boards. Both of these meetings allowed BWL to talk about the need for seamless bike/ped facilities on the Burnt Store Rd. corridor, the need for incorporating mass transit in the Babcock development project, and the need for the rail corridor study to address the connections for all users. We also encouraged both Collier & Charlotte to follow the Lee MPO's lead on adopting a complete streets accommodations policy, and embracing Secretary LaHood's new USDOT Policy Statement on bike/ped accommodations. We also suggested that there were immediate steps that the counties (including Lee) could take to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, such as posting signs that indicate cyclists' right to the road.

This week we met with the County Manager to discuss implementation of the County's Complete Streets Resolution, and we are pleased with her commitment to making complete streets a reality in Lee County. Next week we meet with the Tourist Development Director to discuss their involvement in these efforts.

BikeWalkLee has started giving presentations to some of our partner organizations about the coalition, its work, and the concept of complete streets. Thanks to the Sanibel Bicycle Club for being the "test run" on Monday for our new PowerPoint presentation. Next week, we make a presentation to the Caloosa Riders. If your group is interested in such a presentation, please contact me: dletourneau@bikewalklee.org.

Thanks to BWL team members Dan, Margaret, Bert, Steve, Ken, and Kate for being part of these efforts!

Sanibel bridge tollbooth and shoulders project almost done!





The biking facilities from the corner of McGregor and Summerlin up to the tollbooth to the Sanibel bridges are almost done! First, the roadway on Summerlin was resurfaced with improved shoulders for cyclists, then the Sanibel tollbooth project, funded with stimulus funds, was begun in February. The crews have been working at night for the past 2 months and, according to the LeeDOT project manager, Sarah Clark, the work should be completely finished within 2 weeks. We rode over yesterday and took the above photos. The last photo shows that the section coming through the tollbooth is what remains to be completed. Thanks to everyone at LeeDOT for this major improvement! See you on the Sanibel bridges!

p.s. In the News-Press Mailbag on 4/12/10, there was a letter to the editor thanking the MPO and Lee County officials for this project.

Florida to address bicycle and pedestrian safety


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
04/08/10

CONTACTS:
Ken Bryan, Florida Director Dick Kane, Communications Director
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Florida Department of Transportation
850.264.3067 850.414.4590
ken@railstotrails.org dick.kane@dot.state.fl.us

FLORIDA TO ADDRESS BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
Formation of New Council Sets Stage for Statewide Improvements


TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has announced its plan to establish a statewide initiative on bicycle and pedestrian mobility. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council, to convene in early June of this year, will make policy recommendations to FDOT and transportation partners throughout Florida on the state’s walking, bicycling and trail facilities. Their mission is to assemble the many different partners needed to make statewide improvements in safety and facilities integration.

“I am tremendously excited and thankful to FDOT for supporting this collaboration and recognizing the important role that walking and bicycling can play in increasing transportation options and helping make our communities healthier places to live,” says Ken Bryan, director of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Florida Field Office, a leading advocate for the state’s bicycle and pedestrian policy reform. “This council is uniquely positioned to provide statewide leadership.”

The formation of the Partnership Council is the result of many state leaders aiming to make Florida a national model for bicycle and pedestrian safety. Among the biggest supporters have been State Representative Julio Robaina, State Representative Gary Aubuchon, FDOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos and FDOT Assistant Secretary for Intermodal Systems Development Debbie Hunt.

“Our focus is building a partnership to make Florida a more friendly state for pedestrians and cyclists. Everyone on this council has a role in that effort,” said FDOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos. “This really will be a collaborative effort to make the Sunshine State a better place to get out and walk or ride your bike.”

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council will include representatives from multiple state agencies, local governments, and external stakeholders, including walkers, bicyclists and trail users. They will make recommendations on design, planning, safety and other programs involving bicycle and pedestrian issues.

The announcement of the new council came during the 2nd Annual Florida Bike Summit, hosted by the Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) in Tallahassee, Fla. FBA Director Laura Hallam says FDOT’s initiative “really sets the stage for this year’s summit and will be welcome news to Florida bicyclists.”

Click here for more information about Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

NOTE: BikeWalkLee's requests to the State Legislature in February included: "reinstate a state-level Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Board that would make recommendations to elected officials and FDOT." We are pleased that there has been some response to our numerous requests to the Governor, FDOT, and the State Legislature for bold actions to make Florida's roadways less dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sanibel will be constructing the "Captiva Connection" this summer


by Bill Sartoris of the Sanibel Bicycle Club:

The Shared Use Master Plan for Sanibel identified several areas for improvement on the 22 miles of shared use paths on Sanibel. One of the key safety issues was the gap in the completion of the path adjacent to Sanibel-Captiva Road. The path currently ends at Pine Avenue at the west end of the island. Prior to the repaving of Captiva Drive on Captiva Island, which included shoulders on both sides of the road, few people biked on the very narrow Captiva Road. Subsequent to the repaving the shoulders are seeing extensive use as an unmarked bike lane. Riders are forced to use the Sanibel-Captiva Road from where the path ends at Pine Avenue to the Blind Pass Bridge, which connects Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Both the City and the Sanibel Bicycle Club consider this a significant safety issue.

The Sanibel Bicycle Club and the City jointly applied for a grant to cover part of the cost of the construction of the path. When the grant was not received, the Sanibel Bicycle Club and the City agreed to jointly fund the construction of the path. The total project cost is $80,000 with the City contributing $65,000 and the Sanibel Bicycle Club contributing $15,000 from the Trails In Motion Fund. The Trails in Motion Fund was established by the Bicycle Club to raise funds to support and improve the path system on Sanibel. Bicycle Club representatives met with the City management, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and with members of the City Council to get approval of this project. The City Council approved the City's contribution for the project, and it should be completed sometime this summer. The path will be an 8 foot wide asphalt side path. This is the first new path segment to be constructed on Sanibel in several years. The City and the Sanibel Bicycle Club continue to work collaboratively to implement the recommendations that were contained in the Shared Use Master Plan.

Any persons interested in contributing to the Trails In Motion fund can get information by going to the Sanibel Bicycle Club website at and click on "Support the Paths".

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly column: More about responsibility and use of public rights of way



As I wrote in my last column, Lee Memorial Health System’s Trauma Center provides a twice-monthly class for traffic law offenders who are dubbed “high risk” by the court. Also offered once a month is a Young Driver Program, a short version of the other that’s intended for 15-21-year-olds (parents are encouraged to participate as well). As part of the team that teaches the courses, my part is twofold: help attendees get around using means other than a car, and remind them of the huge responsibility — especially toward the most vulnerable road users — that comes with the privilege to operate a motor vehicle.

The underlying theme for each of the presenters is personal responsibility. This column will highlight a few key facts and laws that apply to motorists that are included in my portion of both courses. To me, three laws make clear this obligation to drive in a safe manner:

1. “Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb or property of any person.” (Florida State Statute 316.1925)

2. “Speed shall be controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person… regardless of posted speed” (FSS 316.185)

3. “... exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or humanpowered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.” (FSS 316.130)

Other laws and definitions are also telling: All intersections have crosswalks across all roads, unless specifically signed otherwise. Except in rare circumstances, all streets have “sidewalks” on both sides. The legal definition of a sidewalk is the area between the roadway edge and the right of way line (in other words, crosswalks are continuations of the sidewalks across the intersection and exist at every intersection and across all roads, even when unmarked).

One very important law for all motorists to know is that the prohibition of passing in a no-passing zone does not apply when an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway. That means that bicycles may be passed by motorists in no-passing zones when the cyclist is traveling significantly below posted speed and when safe to do so. Additionally, 3 feet is the minimum legal distance that must be granted when passing a cyclist, but more distance should be given when speeds are higher than 30 mph.

We’re all familiar with the phrase “speed kills.” Well, here’s the reality: A pedestrian’s risk of death when struck by a motor vehicle at 20 mph is 15 percent, at 30 mph is 45 percent, and at 40 mph is 85 percent. I think we can all agree that it’s very common in both neighborhoods and business areas for drivers to be traveling at 30 mph or higher, regardless of the posted speed limit. That doesn’t bode well for our children, elders or anyone who shares the public space with two-ton machines. Please remember these numbers the next time you’re behind the wheel.

Advocacy news

BikeWalkLee’s gathering at Lakes Park last month was a big success. Many folks came out to provide their ideas, complaints, and praise to those who are developing our bike/ped master plan. Thanks to everyone who came out.

Thursday, April 8, is our annual Florida Bike Summit at the state capitol (www. floridabicycle.org/joinus/summit). I’ll have a report for the next column.

ProBike/ProWalk Florida takes place in Lakeland next month. Kevin Mills, vice president of policy for Rails-to- Trails Conservancy, is one of the keynote speakers who will talk about how advocacy efforts impact the resources we receive from various sources. I hope you’ll consider attending (www.floridabicycle.org/probikeprowalk).

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. 

— Dan Moser is league cycling instructor/ trainer and program manager for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitn e s. He can be contacted at dan@floridabicycle.org or 334-6417.

upcoming events

>>Running/Walking: • Eagle Valor 5K Road Race & Trail Run, Saturday, April 17, FGCU, Fort Myers (www. ftmyerstrackclub.com)

• For more Lee County running events, visit Fort Myers Track Club (www.ftmyerstrackclub. com) and 3-D Runners (www.3dracinginc. com). For Naples/Collier running, info it’s the Gulf Coast Runners (www.gcrunner. org). Charlotte County running information is at www.zoomersrun.com. Walkers can visit www.meetup.com/Walking-SWFL.

>>Cycling: • Ride for the Red (Cross), Saturday, April 17, Charlotte County (www.FLWestCoastRed- Cross.org)

• Florida Bicycle Safari, April 17-22, Live Oak (www.floridabicyclesafari.com)

• Fight For Air Challenge, May 1, www.fightforairclimbftmyers.org.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Try bikewise--website for reporting bike crashes & hazards



Bikewise is a place to learn about and report bike crashes, hazards, and thefts. Although it was designed in Seattle, Washington, the site is meant to be useful anywhere in the world. It allows the self-reporting of hazards, crashes, and near-crashes along with notations about location, weather, circumstances, and whether or not the crash was reported to law enforcement. It can help our local DOT agencies locate hazards (potholes, etc.) and it can flush out crashes and near crashes that aren't reported or that occur off the right-of-way (driveways, parking lots, etc.). Thanks to Toni for bringing this to our attention, and to Dan, who's already posted several Lee County hazard spots on the "hazards" page. Check it out.

Matanzas Pass Bridge--what are the biking rules??

We've heard from several cyclists about bad experiences that they have had while cycling across the Matanzas Pass Bridge to Fort Myers Beach. Dan Moser followed up and got the following response:

Mike Horsting, LeeTran Principal Planner

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention. You are right, bicyclists are allowed to use the trolley lane when crossing the Matanzas Pass Bridge towards Fort Myers Beach and trolley drivers are instructed to yield to bicyclists in the trolley lane. We will reiterate this with Operations staff to ensure that we are carrying through with our responsibilities of sharing the lane with bicyclists. As both you and Debbie have mentioned, we are working with FDOT towards the installation of railings on the western wall of the bridge along the trolley lane."

From Debbie Tower, Public Info Director, FDOT:

"Signs that existed at each end of the bridge (“No bicycles on sidewalk”) actually were replaced yesterday with signs saying, “Walk bicycles on sidewalk.” The department decided to update these signs based, in part, on some of the things you mentioned in your e-mail. Allowing cyclists to walk bikes on the sidewalk is good for those who may not be able to ride the bridge and who may not be comfortable using the paved shoulders. You’re right that we’re working toward installing railings on top of the western bridge wall."

If you have any other questions or concerns about the bridge, share your comments below.