Friday, December 16, 2011
BikeWalkLee’s report from MPO meeting Dec. 16, 2011
At the December 16th MPO meeting, several topics were discussed of interest to the BikeWalkLee network. BikeWalkLee’s representative, Darla Letourneau, spoke at the meeting in support of the MPO’s staff proposal to include in the planning work plan a task to run land use scenarios ahead of the next major update of the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). BikeWalkLee is a strong supporter of scenario analysis of options to better inform decision-making on transportation planning. Letourneau suggested that part of this analysis incorporate changes to the current “level of service” methodologies so that the county begins to move from a congestion mitigation paradigm to looking at ways to build communities through transportation. Doing land use scenarios now, while Lee County and local jurisdictions are in various stages of considering land use changes, can assist all the players in finalizing their plans by showing how various land use options can affect transportation goals and plans.
During the MPO Board discussion of FDOT’s consultant’s presentation of its Advanced Traffic Management System, Councilman Flanders (City of Fort Myers) suggested that an alternative approach to dealing with intersection congestion was to use roundabouts. Flanders talked about the 76 roundabouts in Indianapolis, IN, that that saved $4 million in gas, reduced rive time by 25%, drastically reduced head-on collisions, and reduce intersection maintenance costs by 85%. There was support from other board members for using more roundabouts in Lee County. Commissioner Judah recommended that the MPO assess where roundabouts could be placed in the county. It was agreed that the first step would be to have the MPO committees consider the issue (starting with the Traffic Operations Management Committee) before bringing it back to the MPO Board.
The second major topic of discussion was the FDOT consultant’s Fort Myers Beach Trolley Lane Feasibility Analysis. The consultants developed five alternatives, most of which include bike lanes. The alternative that scores the best in terms of cost/benefit, is the alternative that incorporates a road diet concept, along with bike lanes. Board members had many questions and concerns about this analysis. The next step is for an Alternatives Analysis, that will include extensive public involvement. Stay tuned.
BikeWalkLee also reported to the Board on two developments coming out of Washington:
1. TIGER III grant awards. (See BikeWalkLee’s earlier blog posts for details). Letourneau requested that the staff ask USDOT for a de-brief so they we could learn the weaknesses of our application so we would be better positioned for the future.
2. Senate Commerce Committee bipartisan action on a safe streets policy(i.e. complete streets) provision. (See BikeWalkLee’s earlier blog posts for details.) Both FL Senators Nelson and Rubio are to be congratulated for their support.
Beginning in January, the MPO Board meetings will be held at the Cape Coral City Council Chambers and be carried on live TV. The next meeting is Friday, January 20th.
Report by Darla Letourneau