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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Action Alert Update on Hickory Blvd bike lanes: LeeDOT to present plan to Bonita City Council on Jan. 5th


Updated on 12/1/10 to reflect change in plans decided at 12/1/10 Bonita Springs City Council meeting

Residents of Bonita Springs need to come to the Bonita Springs City Council meeting on Wednesday January 5th (5:30 p.m. at council chambers, 9101 Bonita Beach Road Southeast, Bonita Springs, FL 34135) to speak in support of the planned Hickory Blvd. bike lanes. At this meeting, Lee County DOT will make a presentation about their planned Hickory Blvd. project to add shoulders/bike lanes, and is seeking to get as many comments from individuals in the city as possible. After they hear from the Council, they will take the project to the BoCC for their direction. Members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments during the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting, as well as to pose questions to the LeeDOT Director after his presentation (most likely by filling out question cards that the Council will pose to LeeDOT).

Here’s the quick background: Hickory Blvd is a county maintained road and LeeDOT has included funding ($500 k) in the County’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2011 (using gas tax revenues allocated for bike/ped projects) to put in 4 ft. bike lanes on both sides of the road on Hickory Blvd. Residents and the Bonita Beach Improvement Association requested that the county provide these bike lanes 2 years ago, citing their concerns about safety for cyclists and pedestrians. The county reviewed the request and agreed to fund this project. With new bike lanes on this segment, they would connect with the existing paved shoulders on Hickory going north, and link up to the ones on Estero Blvd. along Fort Myers Beach.

LeeDOT provided its CIP plan to Bonita Springs (since road is in Bonita Springs) and the City Manager raised a list of concerns about putting in bike lanes. At the County Manager's request, the Bonita Springs City Council sent a letter to LeeDOT on 8/18 asking for its responses to the concerns raised by the City Manager. On 9/17, LeeDOT responded to the City Manager stating that “adding paved shoulders to Hickory Blvd. provides both improved operation and reduced maintenance. Paved shoulders have been shown to reduce the number of run-off-the-road crashes and provide a safer place for cyclists and pedestrians to travel.” LeeDOT supports putting bike lanes on Hickory Blvd. and sees this project as “following the concepts of complete streets, a policy that both the City and County are in the process of implementing.”

As reported in a News-Press article, some residents on Hickory Blvd have raised concerns about paying to rebuild driveways and move mailboxes. (see News-Press article 10/13/10 : “Bonita bike lane bill may fall on residents”.

While the City Manager had decided to pull the LeeDOT presentation from the December 15th agenda, Mayor Nelson took the issue to the full Council on 12/1 for consideration and they unanimously agreed to move forward with the LeeDOT presentation with the explicit understanding that this is a presentation and the Council will not be voting on the issue, as this is a county road. Councilman Spear requested that the meeting be moved to January 5th, which is an evening meeting (5:30 p.m.) so that more people could attend.

If you live in Bonita Springs or use Hickory Blvd. when you cycle and want to see bike lanes on Hickory Blvd. so you can connect to the biking facilities to Fort Myers Beach and up Hickory to the north, you need to mark your calendars to attend the January 5th 5:30 p.m. City Council meeting. If you can't make the meeting, send an e-mail to the city council members and the County Commissioners. See the addresses on the city website.

Update on local campaign to fight distracted driving


News-Press 11/27/10
Bonita staff texting unlimited

City last Lee government with no rules on in-
vehicle messages

By Christina Cepero
Only Bonita Springs is now without a
policy when it comes to employees texting and
using cell phones while driving.

Lee County earlier this month became the latest
government to approve a policy prohibiting
employees from using cell phones while driving.

“It’s long overdue,” said Jay Anderson, executive
director of Stay Alive.... Just Drive “I’m extremely
pleased to see the county taking the lead and hope
that ... municipalities will adopt the same policy.”

To continue reading the article, click here.

CELL PHONE POLICY

• Lee County

Employees and volunteers are prohibited from using
use electronic devices while operating any motorized
equipment unless operationally required. Cell phones
equipped with hands-free devices may be allowed at
the discretion of the department director or designee
for safety or emergency purposes or to facilitate
effective County operations.
Electronic devices include, but are not limited to, cell
phones, pagers, computers, hand held radios, and any
other battery-operated devices that are not
intentionally installed in a vehicle by the county.
Operating an MP3, iPod, or other electronic device
using earphone is prohibited while operating
motorized equipment.

Motorized equipment includes, but is not limited to,
driving a county vehicle or personal vehicle for county
business, construction equipment and any other
motor-driven equipment that would require the
operator’s full attention.

• Fort Myers
If a city employee needs to use a cellular device while
he is driving a city vehicle, he must pull over to the
side of the road in a safe manner to use the cellular
device. This includes answering a call, dialing a
number, talking on the device, reading or answering
e-mails, and reading or texting a message. Although
dialing must be done while the vehicle is stationary,
city employees using a hands-free device may use their
cell phone while operating a city vehicle.

• Cape Coral
No electronic texting or e-mail usage while driving city
vehicles.

• Sanibel

No texting and driving while performing city duties.

• Collier County
You can’t use a cell phone while driving a county
vehicle unless a hands-free device is being used.


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Lee County's Complete Streets implementation plan reported in National Complete Streets Coalition Newsletter



The following is from the November 17, 2010 Newsletter by the National Complete Streets Coalition:
COMPLETE STREETS POLICY PROGRESS

Lee County Puts Its Resolution into Action
On November 1, Lee County, Florida County Commissioners heard the first annual report on implementation of last year’s Complete Streets resolution. The County has created an inter-departmental Complete Streets Team and action plan and timeline to ensure the intent of the resolution is realized. Among the steps identified are modifications to transportation planning and budgeting, establishment of an exceptions process, and incorporation of Complete Streets principles into existing plans and codes. Notably, the Department of Health is identified as a key partner in helping to establish new measures on transportation impact on health and improve data collected from bicycle and pedestrian crashes.

Please participate in survey for Parks & Rec Department


The Lee County Parks and Rec Department is conducting a survey on park users needs in our county. Since a number of the park facilities in the county are bike and pedestrian-friendly, it's a good opportunity for us to comment.

Please take 5 minutes to fill out this easy on-line survey to let the county know that biking and walking facilities in our parks are important to county residents.

There's even a chance for survey participants to win free park registrations.

Click here for the survey.

Thanks!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Charlotte County bike/ped advocates want complete streets


Charlotte County edition of Florida Weekly
11/18-11/24/10
Planning for all modes of transport
BY EVAN WILLIAMS ewilliams@floridaweekly.com

Eric Stockley makes a 9-mile commute on his bicycle twice per week to and from his job as at The Charlotte County Health Department. The rest of the time, he drives to work.

“I’m a bicyclist, but I also own an automobile, so I can see both sides of it,” said Mr. Stockley. He is frustrated with fellow cyclists who balk at helmets, run red lights, ride on the wrong side of the road or don’t use lights at night.
Mr. Stockley, who is also a member of the Peace River Riders bicycle club, is speaking of an old issue: pedestrians and cyclists sharing the roadways with automobiles.

In most American communities, people who get around on two wheels or a couple of legs have historically been given short shrift by transportation planners. On the federal, state, county and city levels, roadways have been designed primarily for motor vehicles.

A national and local movement called Complete Streets, which Mr. Stockley is in favor of, insists that officials who plan for transportation infrastructures include all modes of getting around.

Dan Moser, program manager for the Florida Bicycle Association and
BikeWalkLee, has after years of advocacy, seen recent success in persuading officials in neighboring Lee and Sarasota Counties to commit to Complete Streets planning. In Charlotte County, that resolution hasn’t been adopted.

Mr. Moser spoke to a group of roughly 30 or 40 people at the Charlotte County Health Department last Tuesday evening. They included Mr. Stockley; Punta Gorda urban planner Mitchell Austin~ Gene Pawlowski, chair of the Spokes and Trails Committee of the grass-roots group TEAM Punta Gorda and Court Nederveld, activities director for Peace River Riders bicycle club. “I was preaching to the choir” Mr Moser said.

He advised them on obstacles they could face while making the case for Complete Streets to local transportation planners, as well as challenges at the state and federal level Members in the U.S. House and Senate introduced the Complete Streets Act of 2009, which has yet to be adopted. And Mr. Moser is wary that the new wave of elected officials, such as Gov.-elect Rick Scott and Senate-elect Marco Rubio, may shirk such roadway designs or retrofits when it comes to funding them.

‘We’re afraid of when you’re trying to save a few buck they’ll say, We don’t need Complete Streets; let’s just get our highways built,” Mr. Moser said. He added that the cost of not planning for all modes of transportation, citing poor health as one example, is even greater.

Gov.-elect Scott’s spokesperson declined to comment on the record about Complete Streets last week and Sen.-elect Rubio’s office didn’t respond to an e-mail asking whether he planned to support the resolution or not.

Charlotte County as a whole has had mixed reviews from groups that monitor whether a community is “friendly” or not~ when it comes to meeting the needs of people who make trips sans combustion engine. Last year, the county was rated one of the worst in the nation on safety for pedestrians and cyclists in a report titled “Dangerous by Design” by Transportation for America.

But Punta Gorda, the county’s only city last year received an honorable mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Cyclists, rare for a first-time applicant. And the Charlotte County Health Department this year was named a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League for measures such as providing children with free helmets and encouraging staff members to commute on a bicycle.

Court Nederveld of the Peace River Riders hopes Charlotte County commissioners will adopt a Complete Streets resolution. “Right now in Charlotte, all that money is going to serve one group and that’s those who drive automobiles,” he said. ‘We’re asking that next time (they) plan a transportation route, from the get go plan for all users, not just those who wrap themselves in two tons of steel and glass.”
Some sections of the county are cyclist havens, Mr. Nederveld said, noting the Harbour Heights neighborhood as one example and “a gorgeous place to ride.” But he added, “Getting to those sections (without a car) is very difficult. We would like to see some focus on connecting those areas.”

“What the Complete Streets project is really trying to say is bicycles are another form of transportation,” he said ‘I should be able to go from my house to the post office, my house to the bank, my house to the grocery store. I need to be able to do all the things on my bicycle that other people do in their SUVs.

Sanibel City Council special meeting to review alternatives for proposed Dunlop Rd. shared use path


Sanibel City Council will hold a Special Meeting at 9 a.m., Thursday, December 2, 2010, to review and consider alternatives for the alignment of the proposed Dunlop Road Shared Use Path. The meeting will be held in MacKenzie Hall, Sanibel City Hall, 800 Dunlop Road. Citizens are welcomed and encouraged to attend the Special Meeting to provide their input.

Copies of the maps of the alternatives and accompanying staff memorandums are available for viewing online by clicking here. and are available at Sanibel City Hall and the Sanibel Library.

The Dunlop Rd. project is just one of four shared-use-path projects funded in Sanibel's 2011 budget (a total of $400,000). In addition to the Dunlop Rd. project, they will be constructing a shared use path on the north side of Periwinkle Way from Sanibel Community Association crosswalk to St. Michael's crosswalk; installing signage and dark sky compliant lighting for the proposed Dunlop and interconnecting paths; and investigating improvements for the Sanibel Community Association crosswalk.

Kudos to the City of Sanibel--an LAB-designated Bicycle Friendly Community--for moving forward on implementation of its 2009 Shared Use Path Master Plan!

Calling all transportation engineers....


Confessions of a recovering engineer
by Charles Marohn

Published on Grist.org November 22, 2010

This is an excellent article on how to design roads by putting safety for all users first. It should be required reading for all road builders and traffic engineers. Click here to read the article. Thanks for sharing, Guy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Join "Everyone Rides": December 12th


On Sunday, December 12th, Everyone Rides takes place at Buckingham Park. You can ride 100, 62, 30, or 15 miles. The proceeds from the ride go to purchasing helmets and bicycles for the children of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lee County!

For more information and to register for the ride, click here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Safe Routes to School projects selected for applications


At this week's MPO Bike/Ped Advisory Committee (BPCC) meeting, the Lee Schools representative announced five Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects that have been selected by the municipality and the School District for application to the federal SRTS grant program.

The following are the projects selected (primarily sidewalks:
City of Fort Myers:
Franklin Park Elementary School--Midway Avenue
Orangewood Elementary School--Marvaez Street

City of Cape Coral:
Mariner Middle School--Chiquita Blvd
Diplomat Elementary & Middle School--NE 16th Terrace/Diplomat Parkway
Gulf Elementary & Middle School--SW 20th Avenue

For further information, contact:
Dawn Huff
Community Development Planner
Lee County School District
Phone (239)479-5661

Update on bike/ped facilities near new Red Sox stadium


Thanks to BPAC's work with LeeDOT, the bike/ped facilities near the new Red Sox stadium will be enhanced. Below is the latest update from LeeDOT of what is planned at this location:

Daniels Pkwy from Gateway to Chamberlain (by new Red Sox stadium)
– bids were opened on 11/17/2010, construction will begin in late Jan. to early Feb. 2011. Anticipated construction end date – Jan/Feb 2012. The project will include expanded paved shoulders (6’) on Daniels Pkwy between Gateway Blvd. and Chamberlin Pkwy, and (new) paved shoulders (4’) on Daniels Pkwy from Chamberlin Pkwy to Treeline Ave. The paved shoulders will be signed and marked as bike lanes. The existing asphalt/concrete bike path along the north side of Daniels Pkwy will see some safety modifications.

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly column:Bikers and hikers expect detours on their way to complete streets


Florida Weekly 11/17/10

My wife Maria and I recently had the opportunity to push ourselves in a way we don’t usually have the chance to. The two of us flatlanders were hiking in the mountains of North Carolina and north Georgia. Trips like this one always remind me just how good we have it here, at least from my perspective (Maria’s a hiking fool so may not agree). One thing we both concur upon is that the need to drive in order to do anything and everything is overwhelming and not something we could endure for long.

Because of this very real dependence on motor vehicles, the physical effects on locals are predictable. But those who are motivated find many opportunities to get in a good workout. We witnessed quite a number of people who, based solely on observation, did not routinely engage in difficult physical activity. Nevertheless, they truly enjoyed the difficult task of hiking up some of the mountains and features we visited — even if they were huffing, puffing and complaining a bit. From a public health perspective, this is very positive and illustrates that people will become active if conditions are right.

Some may not consider harsh mountain trails to be ideal motivational conditions, but when the air is crisp and clean, leaves are in full color and the views upon reaching overlook areas are spectacular, it’s as good as it gets. We in Southwest Florida obviously have our own version of ideal conditions, both water-oriented and among the rest of our natural surroundings. Man-made environments can be just as alluring — if done properly. Improving that aspect while ensuring the natural environment isn’t further damaged are aspirations that may have become more difficult because of recent events.

Advocacy update


I anticipate upcoming months and years to present quite a challenge for proponents of complete streets, transit and other sustainable community measures. Specific to Lee County, there’s good reason to believe that we’ll fare well, although much of the money needed for these efforts flows back to us from state and national sources that may not be as supportive.

As for how things might go in Florida generally, get ready for some setbacks and hard work just to keep what we thought we had achieved. Plan to attend the Florida Bicycle Association’s annual Bike Summit at the state Capitol on March 24, as it will be as important an event as any the organization has ever facilitated. In the meantime, there’s something to do. Ken Bryan, from Rails-to-Trails, has sent this message to everyone concerned about the future of our state’s bike/ped programs and projects:

“Campaign season is over, which means we must turn our attention to communicating our needs to Gov.-elect Rick Scott. He has set up a website to do exactly that, soliciting ideas to advance Florida and, at the same time, save money.

“Pedestrian and bicycle facilities are among the least expensive transportation infrastructure to build and maintain. We also know that shifting short trips to walking and bicycling saves fuel, lessens our dependency on foreign oil, keeps more money in the local economy, makes us healthier and gets people out of their automobiles and into their communities. Let’s show Gov.-elect Scott that there is great demand in Florida for safe, convenient places to walk and bicycle. Please leave a thoughtful message on his website that helps build our case for more walking and bicycling opportunities.”

Finally, leaders of local bike clubs can learn more about these issues, as well as other club-related matters, at FBA’s second annual Bicycle Club Leadership Workshop, being held in Clermont the day before Horrible Hundred. Click here to learn more and register for this free event.

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

— Dan Moser is a league cycling instructor/ trainer and program manager for the 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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letter to Editor: Don't forget helmet

Letters to Editor—News-Press 11/17/10
Don't forget helmet
Re: “Signs to protect bicyclists, walkers on Cape Coral roadway,” Nov. 3. As an instructor of first aid and emergency response programs, I was pleased to see Cape Coral’s warning signage cautioning drivers to “Look Both Ways For Bikes/Peds.” It was of interest to read that the pictured bike rider, Louie De Simone, rides his bike 20 miles a day, six days a week and was “almost hit by a driver using a cell phone.” May I suggest to Mr. De Simone to start wearing a helmet, which was apparently absent in the subject picture.

STANLEY BARTON
Fort Myers

Estero river district plan includes complete streets features


News-Press:Estero considers developing its own river district 11/17/10

Planning leaders hope more development near the Estero River will help establish an official town center, downtown or district to serve as a gathering
place for the community....Planners also said they want bicycle and walking paths and transit systems as well as signs to better define the area....

To read the full article, click here.

News-Press: Feds urge better traffic safety in Florida


News-Press 11/17/10

Florida should strengthen its driving laws to reduce fatalities involving children and teenagers, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday.

To continue reading the article, click here.

Next we need NTSB to highlight Florida's dismal track record on preventable pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Update on resurfacing contract


On September 28th, we reported on BWL's objections to the road resurfacing contract at the BoCC meeting. At that meeting the BoCC asked LeeDOT to apply the Complete Streets principles to the resurfacing projects included on the 2010-11 list. The report was a "walk-on" item at the November 9th BoCC meeting (i.e., it was not posted as an agenda item online).

Below is the message that went to the commissioners just prior to the meeting:

From: Schwartz, Holly
Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 3:50 PM
To: Dist1, Manning; Dist2, Bigelow; Dist3, Judah; Dist4, Hall; Dist5, Mann
Cc: LeSage, Tessa; Meurer, Douglas; Hawes, Karen; Getch, Andrew; Wingard, Paul; Winton, Peter; Owen, David; Kirton, Kim; mbanyan@comcast.net
Subject: Complete Streets/Road Resurfacing

Commissioners,
On Sept. 28th the BoCC asked that we apply the Complete Streets principles to the resurfacing projects included in Blue Sheet # 20100870. The original bluesheet will be on the recap sheet as a carry-over for the BoCC meeting tomorrow.
With the help of members of the Complete Streets Implementation Task Force (a sub group of the Sustainability Committee) a Complete Streets resurfacing matrix has been developed to help determine the eligibility for improvements to be made. The full Sustainability Committee reviewed and recommended approval of the matrix.
An internal Complete Streets implementation team has been formed to complete the matrix with representatives from the Office of Sustainability, DoT, Community Development, Human Services, Lee Tran, Human Services, County Lands and Park and Recreation to apply the Complete Street principles. The attached matrix includes the committee review and resulting recommendations . The matrix will also be applied to all future resurfacing projects.
The Management Recommendation is to approve Blue Sheet #20100870 with the recommendations made by the Complete Streets implementation team (add cross walks and bicycle sharing roadway signage where most appropriate). This recommendation will be added to the Revisions & Corrections section of the recap sheet for the Nov. 9th BoCC meeting.

BWL Report:
Based on this report, share the road signs will be posted on Orange River Road, Palomino Road, and Island Park Road, and possible crosswalk improvements will be made at Littleton Road and Island Park Road. The resurfacing matrix was completed by the Complete Streets Team. This Team is internal to Lee County represents a significant change in the process. We are pleased to see that LeeDOT is an integral part of the Team.

Margaret Banyan went to BoCC meeting and spoke on behalf of BikeWalkLee during public comment (see 29:35-32:18 on video). She told the Lee County Commissioners that we still have work to do to 1) clarify the cost estimates for putting shoulders on roads (which seem unrealistically high), 2) start the speed studies necessary to lower speeds on roads, 3) change the definition of resurfacing to allow for a broader range of improvements to be made during resurfacing, and 4) establish a prioritized list for next year where shoulders are identified and funded at the beginning of the resurfacing contracting process.

If you would like to see the full LeeDOT resurfacing report, send me an e-mail: dletourneau@bikewalklee.org.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Watch for pedestrian yellow access "pads" that are faulty and dangerous for cyclists


If you're cycling on Lee County roads and paths, watch for the above-pictured problem at intersections. Nearly every intersection where this style of pad is being used is coming up and creating a very dangerous situation at very busy intersections. There are tire popping screws sticking out of them and may are loose. This has been reported to the DOT, they agree they are a problem, they have not given me any information of fixing them and as of yesterday none reported are fixed.

Bert Hamilton

12/3/10 Update


From: "Simmons, Clay"
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2010 09:31:21 -0500

Following up on the yellow glue down truncated dome pads; we are going to remove the pads, and replace a small portion of the path with concrete so that we can install a less trouble prone “press in” pad that is embedded into the concrete. The locations that we have used these on have not reported any problems.

Also, regarding the sweeping, our sweeper was severely damaged when a car rear-ended it again and was in fact down for about a month. It has now been repaired so we should be back on schedule shortly.


William "Clay" Simmons, P.E.

Division Director

Lee County DOT Operations

Friday, November 12, 2010

Update on bike/ped projects under construction


updates on Lee county projects--Sarah Clarke

Buckingham Shoulders Phase II contract approved by BoCC on 9/21/10
The last update we had on this project was in May. Finally, the $391 K contract was awarded to Ajax Paving Industries of FL on 9/21. This section will provide paved shoulders from Neal Road to Gunnery Road. The work should begin by the end of October and be completed in 6 months.

Notice to proceed issued dated Nov. 8, 2010.

Six Mile Cypress from Daniels to Heritage Lakes – construction to begin 10/4/10; it includes paved shoulders and asphalt paths (new 8’ on the west side, resurface existing 10’ on the east side) on both side of the road.

Construction began 10/4/10

Daniels from Gateway to Chamberlain (by new Red Sox stadium) – preparing to bid; construction to begin late 2010/early 2011. 6’ paved shoulders on Daniels. Existing asphalt path on the north side of the road.

Project advertised for bids; bids due 11/17/10


Energy Grant
– Homestead Rd. sidewalk from Milwaukee to Veterans Park – Construction management contract is in process; to the BOCC in October/November; construction in early 2011.

CM contract under review expect to take it to the BOCC by the end of November.


The update for the ARRA sidewalk projects within the City of Cape Coral is as follows:

-Cape Coral Parkway from Chiquita Boulevard to Agualinda Boulevard: Completed

-Beach Parkway from Surfside Boulevard to Chiquita Boulevard: under construction; estimated completion date April 2011

-Nicholas Parkway from SR-78 to Santa Barbara Boulevard: Half completed (north-west portion); estimated completion date May 2011

Trafalgar Boulevard from Santa Barbara Boulevard to Chiquita Boulevard: Project began on October 25, 2010. Funding in the amount of $300,000 is provided through the TEA grant program. Construction is anticipated to start next month and the project is expected to be completed by summer 2011.

Submit your ideas to Governor-elect, Rick Scott



Request from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy--Florida Office 11/5/10

Campaign season is over, which means we must turn our attention to communicating our needs to Governor-elect Rick Scott. He has set up a website to do exactly that, soliciting ideas to advance Florida and, at the same time, save money.
Pedestrian and bicycle facilities are among the least expensive transportation infrastructure to build and maintain. We also know that shifting short trips to walking and bicycling saves fuel, lessens our dependency on foreign oil, keeps more money in the local economy, makes us healthier and gets people out of their automobiles and into their communities.

Let's show Governor-elect Scott that there is great demand in Florida for safe, convenient places to walk and bicycle. Please leave a thoughtful message on his website that helps build our case for more walking and bicycling opportunities.

Below are some talking points you can use, but we encourage you to be creative. Personal responses make a better impact than canned comments. Keep your responses positive and forward-looking. As Governor-elect Scott’s campaign ads suggested, “let’s get to work” by communicating our needs to him.

Sincerely,
Ken Bryan
Florida Field Office Director
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Talking points:
• The most cost-effective way to improve Florida's transportation systems in urban areas is to better accommodate walkers and bicyclists with active transportation infrastructure.
• Nearly half of all trips in the United States are within a 20-minute bicycle ride, and a quarter are within a 20-minute walk.
• Every trip made by a pedestrian or bicyclist increases the existing roadway capacity, improves the user's health, and reduces his or her carbon footprint—all of which can save Florida millions of dollars, according to the Florida Department of Transportation’s Conserve By Bicycle Study.
• Better active transportation infrastructure saves lives. Florida consistently has one of the worst safety and fatality records per capita in the entire country for pedestrians and bicyclists. Trails and other biking and walking facilities can keep more Floridians safe.

Communicate your thoughts with Governor-elect Scott now!

Quick action by LeeDOT in responding to citizen request


If you see safety hazards on the roadways or paths for cyclists or pedestrians, the county has a online "request for action" form that you should fill out. You can also call the Citizen Help Line: 239-533-2737. Below is a recent e-mail I received. Thanks to LeeDOT staff.

From: Tom
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 10:39 PM
To: dletourneau@bikewalklee.org
Subject: from tom Kelly

hi, Darla-

i used the summerlin rd. overpass this morning, and it has been swept clean. DOT did a great job. what a difference. the lady i spoke to was as good as her word. thanks for your help in directing me to the right person.

tom

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly column:End of rainy season means lots of cycling events


Florida Weekly 11/3/10
danMOSER dan@floridabicycle.org

For many, it’s always cycling season, but the organized ride is officially in full gear throughout the state, including a number to choose from this coming weekend and beyond. The problem will be deciding in which event to take part. Because there are so many, I can cover only a few, including some I’m familiar with, both near and far.

One that I’ve been part of before but that now is in a whole new location is the Bicycle Bash Classic/Cure on Wheels, taking place in east Tampa at Flatwoods Park on Sunday, Nov 7. A combination expo and rides, this event includes bicycle stores showcasing bikes, the SWAMP Bike Club holding mountain bike demos, exhibitors showing all types of bike equipment and accessories, a swap meet, music and food. The Florida Bicycle Association will be set up there as well. As for cycling opportunities, there will be multiple distances to choose from, including mountain bike rides.

A bit further away, in Chiefland (located between Tampa and Gainesville), the multi-day Chiefland Fall Bicycle Fest begins Thursday, Nov. 4 and runs through Nov. 7. Although I’m not familiar with it, the fact that many of the routes include one or more rail trails that are located in this part of Florida makes it sound interesting. A few years back the Bike Florida tour (see below) mixed road routes with rail-trail riding in this same area of the state. Tent and RV camping, as well as nearby motels, are offering special rates for participants.

Also on the weekend of Nov. 6-7 is one for those who want to experience some of the best rural road riding conditions in the state: The North Florida Tour is being staged from Madison, just south of the Georgia state line. The towns and roads around Madison are more like the traditional south than what most think of when in Florida, making the riding experience very laid back and enjoyable. Getting there might take a while but it’s worth the trip. Again, Bike Florida and other tours have incorporated this area into its rides because conditions are so good.

The following weekends are also laden with options, some taking place in our own backyard. Riverwatch’s annual Caloosahatchee River Ride is happening Sunday, Nov. 14. Staged from Caloosahatchee Regional Park in Alva, cyclists have a number of ride choices, from a family-oriented 15-mile visit to Franklin Locks to a more ambitious metric century (62 miles) to LaBelle and back. With all the attention that’s been on our river’s health recently, taking part in the ride is a great way to support Riverwatch’s cause to save the Caloosahatchee River.

Another I’ve not taken part in but is just up the road at the Village of Holiday Lake in Charlotte County is the annual Pasta Bash Ride, being conducted on Saturday, Nov. 20. Distances from a metric quarter century to a full metric century are part of the offerings.

Finally, don’t forget to make plans to join the annual Bike Florida week long tour, this year taking participants through “Florida’s Eden,” which includes the communities of Gainesville, High Springs, Micanopy and others.

Advocacy update

A special fundraising event to benefit Stay Alive….Just Drive!, the organization that promotes safe driving — including distracted driving awareness — is coming up. The first annual SAJD Golf Tourney will be held on Nov. 13 at Eagle Ridge Golf Club beginning with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. SAJD’s efforts to curb distracted driving and other bad habits when behind the wheel benefit vulnerable road users (e.g. pedestrians and cyclists) probably more than anyone else. So, if you’re a cyclist, runner, walker or skater who also enjoys golfing, your participation in this tourney will help support a cause that’s important to us.

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

— Dan Moser is a league cycling instructor/trainer and program manager for the 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.

News-Press:Signs to protect bicyclists, walkers on Cape Coral roadway


Click here to read the full article.

By Andrea Jackson • ajackson@news-press.com•
November 3, 2010

One of Cape Coral’s busiest roads has
new signs warning drivers, pedestrians and cyclists
that it is also not one of the safest.

The 11 signs, saying “look both ways for
bikes/peds” are up along Del Prado Boulevard
intersections, primarily north of Veteran’s Memorial
Parkway.

More than 50 people, either walking or on a bicycle,
were hit by vehicles between January 2006 through
December 2009, according to Stephen Jansen, traffic
engineer for Lee County Department of
Transportation, which maintains Del Prado from
Cape Coral Parkway north to Pine Island Road.

The yellow signs, with black lettering and
measuring 30 inches by 24 inches, were installed
recently at six cross streets from Southeast 27th
Street to Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Approximately 51,000 cars a day travel the stretch
of Del Prado, where most of the signs are located,
according to the county.

A Lee County study found signs at those spots
could help reduce crashes along the 45 mph, six-
lane boulevard lined with businesses.

Especially vulnerable were bicyclists. Of the 53
accidents, 29 were cyclists, including 20 who were
hit riding across sidewalks against traffic and 17
struck by drivers who were exiting driveways or
side streets at stop signs off Del Prado, Jansen said.

“They were primarily right turns into the cyclists
path,” said Jansen, who did the study. “Drivers turn
right and forget to look both ways.”

There was one death.

City officials helped the county install the $100
signs.

“It’s a reminder that might help save somebody’s
life,” said Rashad M. Hanbali, Cape traffic engineer.

The new signs, smaller than stop signs, were
missed by some.

Giovanni Flynn stood across from one at Southeast
13th Street. “I didn’t even notice them,” he said.

Jansen plans to look at other roads in the county to
see if more signs are needed.

Some Cape residents said they would not attempt to
cross the busy boulevard walking or cycling. Others
say the signs don’t go far enough.

Cape resident Dick Rosenquist calls it “walker
beware” because of the speed of the traffic.

Whether the signs are working may not be known
for some time.

“One typically looks at three years data to estimate
the efficacy of a safety project,” Jansen said.

This year, 81 pedestrians and bicyclists have been
hit on all roadways in the Cape, with 62 percent
pedestrians, according to the city. Four people have
died.

In April, 13-year-old Ryan Santos died trying to
cross Del Prado at Northeast 3rd Terrace, north of
the signs. He was going to the park across the street
to watch a softball game.

The boy’s mother, Kerri Santos, said she would like
to see signs or flashing lights at the intersection
and believes it’s too dangerous to cross.

“Something should go up over there,” Santos said
Tuesday. “I think drivers are not paying attention.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Get your walk score


Know Where You Live: Sure, you know your home address. But do you know what it means in terms of walkability or carbon cost? Click here and just enter your street address and zip code to know where you stand.

What makes a neighborhood walkable?

* A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it's a main street or a public space.
* People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
* Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
* Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
* Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
* Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
* Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

Abogo is a tool that lets you discover how transportation impacts the affordability and sustainability of where you live.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Walk Friendly Communities encourages towns and cities to support safer walking environments


USDOT Secretary LaHood's "Fast Lane" Blog: November 01, 2010

In an interview with Grist last week, I talked about livable communities. And one of the central features of livability is that you can get where you need or want to go without having to get into your car. For many reasons--the hassle of congested roadways, the need to reduce carbon emissions, the desire for better health--that's what Americans have said they want.

Making a community safer for walking is one way to improve livability. And a new program called Walk Friendly Communities encourages towns and cities across the country to make safer walking environments a high priority.

The Walk Friendly Communities program will recognize communities that are working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort. It is sponsored by DOT’s Federal Highway Administration along with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and FedEx.

As FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez said, "Walk Friendly Communities will show how cities and towns across the country are creatively improving walkability and demonstrating leadership in addressing pedestrian safety concerns."

To continue reading the story, click here.

Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program developed to encourage towns and cities across the U.S. to establish or recommit to a high priority for supporting safer walking environments. The WFC program will recognize communities that are working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort. It offers a comprehensive assessment tool to evaluate community walkability and pedestrian safety. Questions in the online survey cover a community's efforts in engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, and planning. The program will accept applications until December 15, 2010. Click here for the assessment tool.