Facebook Share

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sanibel Bike Rodeo Returns on Thursday, May 12.



The third annual Bike Rodeo will be held on Thursday, May 12 at the Sanibel School Pavilion, starting after school at 2:30 PM and running until 4:30 PM. All beginning and intermediate cyclists are invited to this fun and educational event. The Bike Rodeo is designed to teach bike riders the basic skills needed to cycle safely and confidently.

Admission is free, and parents are encouraged to “pass the word” about the Bike Rodeo to their children. Participants should bring their own bikes and helmets if they have them, but loaner bikes and helmets will also be available for use at the event.

Events at the rodeo will include:
• Bike Safety Check to make sure tires, brakes, handlebars and chains are in working order.
• Helmet fitting and inspection to insure proper sizing, fit and condition.
• Egg Drop Demonstration to show how a bike helmet can protect a fragile package like an egg…. or a rider’s head.
• Straight-line Riding Exercise designed to teach the skill of riding in a straight steady line.
• Proper Turn Exercise designed to teach the proper way to signal and execute a turn.
• Slalom Course Riding Exercise designed to teach proper control on a curving path.
• Stopping Exercise designed to teach proper use of brakes to anticipate and execute a safe stop.

Cold water and snacks will be available to all participants After completing the Bike Rodeo course, participants will also receive a gift package containing bike related items and safety information.

The Bike Rodeo is supported by numerous island organizations and businesses. The principal organizer is Billy Kirkland of Billy’s Bikes, supported by the Kiwanis Club of Sanibel Captiva and the Sanibel Bicycle Club, whose members will provide volunteer staffing for the event. Additional contributing sponsors include Finnemore’s Cycle Shop, Dairy Queen, Bailey’s General Store and Island Graphics.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Upcoming government meetings—May 2011



In May, there are several meetings that you might be interested in attending. Note: these meetings and details are included on the BikeWalkLee Calendar on the blog.

1. Lee County Government:
The County’s Transit Task Force holds its 5th meeting on Thursday, May 12th at the Lee County Annex Building, 1825 Hendry St., Fort Myers. Check the website for materials
• The Lee County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) will hold its next monthly meeting at 3 p.m. on May 18th. Click here for the link to the BPAC website and meeting agenda.
2. On May 18th at 6 p.m., the Lee Community Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) will hold its monthly meeting. Check the Sustainability website for the agenda package.
3. MPO Meetings:
• The MPO Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will meet on Thursday, May 5th at 9:30 a.m., and Citizens Advisory Committee will meet at 3:00 p.m. at the MPO’s Victoria Ave. office. Both Committees will review and make recommendations to the Board on the Countywide Bike/Ped Master Plan.
• The MPO Board meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 20th at 9:00 a.m. in the MPO’s Victoria Ave. office. This will be an important meeting. They will vote on adoption of the countywide bicycle/pedestrian master plan, and final approval of the 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), that they tentatively approved in December.
Click here for a link to the MPO website where you'll find agendas and briefing packets for each meeting.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New national Complete Streets report names Lee County resolution among the best in the country


April 27, 2011
Today the National Complete Streets Coalition released a comprehensive report documenting that states and local governments in every quadrant of the nation are adopting strong Complete Streets policies. The new report, Complete Streets Policy Analysis 2010: A story of growing strength, rates the strength of written policies that are designed to ensure that future transportation infrastructure investments provide safe options for everyone using the roadways.

The report rates more than 200 state and local written policies according to the established ten elements of ideal Complete Streets policies. Among the top scoring policies are state laws and policies in the deep South and Midwest, county council-approved policies in Florida and the Mountain West, and city ordinances and design guidance in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast. Lee County's Complete Streets Policy (adopted in 2009) was among the 15 top-rated policies in the country! Lee County’s implementation plan was highlighted as its strong suit.

Congratulations to the Lee County commissioners, the County Manager, the county complete streets team, the Community Sustainability Committee, as well as the BikeWalkLee team, for their role in achieving this national recognition. Keep up the good work!

Click here to read the NCSC Report.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last episode of Moving Beyond the Automobile: Parking Reform

by Elizabeth Press on April 26, 2011 from the series Moving Beyond the Automobile



In the tenth and final video in Streetfilms' Moving Beyond the Automobile series, we are talking about parking reform. From doing away with mandatory parking minimums, to charging the right price for curbside parking, to converting on-street parking spots into parklets and bike corrals, cities are latching onto exciting new ideas to make more room for people in our cities and repurpose the valuable public space that lines our streets.

"Historically the parking problem was defined as there not being enough convenient places to put your car," UPenn professor Rachel Weinberger told Streetfilms, "but increasingly cities are starting to understand that the parking problem could be defined differently and it could be the case that there is too much parking."

Monday, April 25, 2011

BikeWalkLee urges Governor Scott not to cut bike/ped funding as part of federal rescission

Background: As part of the 2011 Federal budget, enacted two weeks ago, $2.5 billion was rescinded from federal transportation funds. State DOTs have discretion in how they allocate this cut across transportation programs, and will be making decisions in the next 2-3 weeks. Some states make proportional cuts, while others do not (FL has historically fallen in the latter category). BikeWalkLee wrote the following letter to Governor Scott asking him and FDOT not to cut bike/ped funding.

April 25, 2011

Dear Governor Scott:
BikeWalkLee, a coalition working to complete Lee County’s streets, urges you not to cut funding for programs that support biking and walking as you decide how to distribute the recent congressional rescission of an estimated $121 million from Florida’s federal transportation funds. Last year, there was a similar federal rescission of unobligated balances and Florida took the bulk of the cut from two programs, Transportation Enhancements (TE) (which lost $25 million) and the Recreational Trails (RTP) program (which lost $3 million). That meant that the two programs which fund projects to make our roadways safer for walkers and cyclists lost 32%-36% of their funds--almost seven times their fair share.

These cuts were not isolated incidents; rather, they followed a pattern where projects to improve walking and bicycling facilities are marginalized and undervalued by our state government. This is particularly appalling when you consider that Florida leads the nation in unsafe conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, that improving our obesity rates and tourism industry are dependent on creating walkable and bikable roadways, and that biking and walking reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

These two programs enable government to do more with less, while enabling citizens to save money through reduced driving and health-care costs, and promoting local businesses and helping draw tourism to our communities. We need more, not less, walking and bicycling opportunities in Lee County and throughout Florida...and here's why:
1) Better biking and walking opportunities help attract tourists, new residents and new businesses, by enhancing an area's quality of life, transportation options and recreational infrastructure.
2) These projects create jobs -- more workers are employed by bike/walk infrastructure projects than by the same amount spent on motor-transport infrastructure -- and employment opportunities -- by extending the range someone without their own car can routinely travel to a potential workplace.
3) These projects can help Floridians improve their health as they lower their dependence on foreign oil for basic transportation needs.

Potential cuts in the TE program will directly affect Lee County’s ability to implement its first ever countywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan, set to be adopted by the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization on May 20. This groundbreaking plan identifies over $116 million in priority projects necessary to create a primary bicycle/pedestrian network. Several of these projects are already in the Florida DOT District 1 Work Plan for 2011-12 and could be in jeopardy if these funds are rescinded. This includes three sidewalk projects in Cape Coral and one in Lehigh, budgeted for a total of $1.8 million in TE funds.

Last year, Lee County—through adoption of complete streets resolutions by both the MPO and the Lee County Board of County Commissioners—embarked on a path to safer streets for everyone. The upcoming countywide bicycle/pedestrian master plan will provide the blueprint for a safe, accessible, and connected bicycle/pedestrian system. As the county begins to implement its adopted policies, it is critical that its state and federal partners provide our local elected officials with the tools and support they need to continue on the path to a balanced multi-modal transportation system that is vital to the sustainability and economic viability of our community.

We urge you and your administration to minimize the impact of this round of rescissions on critical walking and bicycling programs (TE and RTP), and at the very least, ensure that these programs are not disproportionately affected. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Darla Letourneau On behalf of BikeWalkLee

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lee County implements minor complete streets improvements from first resurfacing contract commitments


As we reported in a blog post on Feb. 19, 2011, the County has been evaluating its resurfacing contracts for opportunities to address the needs of all users when roads are resurfaced. As part of this review process, which was overseen by the Community Sustainability Committee (CSAC), identified some small interim measures that could be undertaken. At the April 20, 2011 CSAC meeting, LeeDOT reported that all of the recommended improvements in the 2010-11 resurfacing contract for arterials & collectors have been implemented. As a result the following improvements have been made:
1. Palomino Rd. has share the road signs, a lowered speed limit, and narrower lanes.
2. Orange River Rd. has share the road signs.
3. The crosswalk at Littleton Rd. has been improved.
4. The cross walk at Island Park Rd. has been improved.

Let us know if you notice the improvements & whether they're making a difference in making pedestrians and cyclists feel safer & improving driver behavior. We'd love to receive photos:(dletourneau@bikewalklee.org).

There are 18 other minor improvements that LeeDOT has committed to make as part of the two other 2010-11 resurfacing contracts, and we'll keep you posted. Thanks, LeeDOT for following through on these improvements!

Cycling Savvy : Upcoming Traffic Cycling Classes in Fort Myers



Check out the following classes being offered in Fort Myers in May & June: Please note that at least 10 people need to be registered for each session in order for it to take place. And there's a limit of 15 for the Urban Tour, 12 for the Group Tour, and 12 for the Truth and Techniques and Train Your Bike sessions. Toni Ferrell and Dan Moser will be instructing each session. On-line registration will be through Cycling Savvy.


Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling

Classroom-Based with Optional Additional Segment on Group Riding Offered at End of Class
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 6pm – 9pm
BikeWalkLee Headquarters (Offices of Harvey Software),
7050 Winkler Rd #104 (Myerlee Square), Fort Myers

Train Your Bike
Parking Lot Based Skills Training
Saturday, May 14, 2011, 8:30am – 11:30am
Edison State College, Fort Myers Campus (Lot on Southeast Corner)

Group Tour of Southwest Florida*
On-Street Group Riding in a Variety of Both Common and Unusual Conditions
Sunday, May 22, 2011, 8:30am – 12pm
Staging from Lee County Sports Complex (14100 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy)

Urban Tour of Southwest Florida*
Solo and Paired On-Street Riding in a Variety of Both Common and Unusual Conditions
Saturday, June 4, 2011, 8:30am – 12pm
Staging from Fort Myers Schwinn (3630 Cleveland Ave @ Hill Ave)

Discounted full package includes all three segments (Urban or Group Tour) for $75
or Truth & Techniques and Train Your Bike รก la carte for $30/each

*Both Tours of Southwest Florida require completion of the other two sessions.

Contact Dan Moser for Details and Registration Info: dan@floridabicycle.org or 239-334-6417

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Action Alert: Ask Governor Scott not to cut bicycle & pedestrian funding


April 20, 2011

League of American Bicyclists
Action Alert

Your state DOT may be getting ready to take away millions of dollars in bicycle and pedestrian funding.
Contact your Governor today!
In the latest budget deal between the Republicans and Democrats, the two parties agreed to rescind (read: take back) $2.5 billion in unspent federal transportation funds. Your state DOT has the power to decide which funds they send back. And based upon history we know what happens next.

Your state DOT may try to empty out the funds that pay for your sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and education programs.

We have seen this before, and it is happening again. Last year, when states had to send back $2.2 billion in transportation funds, almost half of that money came from programs that fund bicycling and walking projects. See our Rescissions FAQs for more information.

Please contact your governor today to tell them this is wrong. Funding cuts for the rescission should be fair and proportional across the board.

LAB has made it easy...all you have to do is click here and sign the letter online...it takes 1 minute. Thanks for adding your voice.

FREE RIDE DAY BUMPS LEETRAN RIDERSHIP 42%


LeeTran Press Release 4/20/11
FREE RIDE DAY BUMPS LEETRAN RIDERSHIP 42%

FORT MYERS, FL – LeeTran carried 15,359 passengers on “Try Transit Day” April 19, an increase of 42% over a normal travel day.

LeeTran staff reported helping many new riders navigate the system, and many were pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy their commute was.

“Thank you for a wonderful ride,” wrote airport employee Martha Suarez. She traveled from Cape Coral, made a smooth transfer at the Bell Tower Shops, and praised the helpfulness of both of her drivers.

LeeTran looked at the same Tuesday one year ago, when ridership was 10,814, to determine the increase. Based on the previous day’s ridership of 11,841, Try Transit Day showed a 30% increase.

Earth Week activities continue through April 23 all over Southwest Florida. Visit Commuter Services or UGottaGoGreen for a complete calendar of events.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column: Punta Gorda’s loaner bikes a hit


April 20, 2011

Want to make a positive impact during Earth Week? Being that we’re right in the middle of it, why not use your feet or bike rather than automobile for one or more trips you’d usually make by automobile, especially on Earth Day. And it’s not too late to include your steps or cycling miles so the pollution and energy savings can be measured as part of the“Taking it to the Streets” campaign.

Speaking of alternatives to our motor vehicles, other local communities should follow the lead of Punta Gorda and initiate a bike sharing program. In a model public-private partnership, for more than a year now, local businesses have been offering the use of loaner bikes at no fee for anyone who is willing to leave their credit card information and identification with the business until the bike is returned. According to the folks from Team Punta Gorda , the bikes are popular with visitors and locals alike. It’s no wonder Punta Gorda was named Florida Bicycle Association’s “2010 Bike Friendly Community of the Year.”

How about saving the electrical energy it takes to operate an elevator? Use the stairs instead. At the same time you’ll be training for American Lung Association’s “Fight for Air Stair Climb,” an annual event that takes place on Saturday, April 30, at High Point Place in downtown Fort Myers. Besides saving energy you’ll be doing yourself a favor whenever you use your feet rather than push a button. And by taking part in ALA’s climb you’ll be helping a very worthy cause while having fun, especially after the climbing is done.

Advocacy update

The cycling community is as anxious to find ways to reduce distracted driving because of the obvious potential for great harm that can be done by irresponsible drivers whose attention wanes when behind the wheel. Yet another case in point: This year’s Bike Florida, an annual week-long bike tour of a different region of the state each year, experienced its first fatality ever when a motorist who admitted to reaching for his dropped phone veered his full-sized pick-up into the paved shoulder, killing a tour cyclist. As is generally the case, unless there’s evidence of impairment or some other egregious aggravating factor, the driver will get little more than a violation of right of way as his penalty for causing the law-abiding cyclist’s death. Failure to responsibly operate a 4,000-pound vehicle traveling at high speed isn’t considered an egregious offense by today’s standards.

The Florida Bicycle Association and BikeWalkLee are working with organizations like Stay Alive….Just Drive! in an attempt to see that all road users, including the most vulnerable (i.e. cyclists and pedestrians), are better protected from those who misuse what’s essentially a loaded, pointed weapon. To that end, two bills intended to reduce distracted driving and make operators more answerable when impacting vulnerable road users are being promoted in the Florida Legislature. Whether either will succeed is anyone’s guess right now. Obviously, it would be much better if we all simply exercised personal responsibility rather than enacted laws that may or may not have an impact, but that seems unlikely, especially upon our roadways.

To help with this effort — and have a good time doing so — come to the third annual Ribs, Rides, & Rescuers Rib Cook-Off on Saturday, May 15, at Harley Davidson of Fort Myers on Colonial Boulevard. Better yet, enter a team in the competition. Go to Stay Alive...Just Drive to learn more about the organization’s efforts and the event.

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

— Dan Moser is a league cycling instructor/ trainer and a former bike/ped coordinator who cycles regularly for transportation, recreation, and fitness. He may be contacted at moserdeleon@juno.com or 334- 6417.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NPR story on Winter Park, FL Complete Streets Efforts


Here's a link to NPR's Transportation Nation about Complete Streets efforts in Winter Park and at the State level. The City Commissioners will vote on a Winter Park Complete Streets resolution within the next couple of weeks, which enjoys broad support among the Mayor and Commissioners.

Advocates of the “Complete Streets” movement hope they are on the verge of gaining ground in Central Florida. Planners at the City of Winter Park, located north of Orlando, say they have drafted a “Complete Streets” resolution for the city. Mayor Ken Bradley is also supporting the measure which is expected to come up for a vote in about two weeks.

Dan Burden, executive director of the Walkable and Liveable Communities Institute was in Winter Park this week to discuss improvements that could be made to local roads. He says a complete street is a thoroughfare “where a person can just naturally switch seamlessly from mode to mode”. That means encompassing walking, biking, driving, and even moving big trucks down the road. Burden presented those concepts to Winter Park commissioners while in town.

Listen to Dan Burden explain how “road” psychology impacts driving speeds

Dan Burden on visual friction


Meanwhile Orlando land use attorney Rick Geller is pursuing an effort to tack “complete streets” language to a state transportation bill, while the legislature is still in session this year. He says “complete streets” are needed at the state level to set standards for local communities to emulate. It’s not clear if Geller’s language will be picked up before the session concludes May 6th, but he says he’ll back next year if it’s not.
In March, we shared with you the first 5 episodes of a series by Streetfilms, called Moving Beyond the Automobile. This month we are sharing the latest three episodes. These topics are very timely for issues facing Lee County, so I hope you'll watch these short videos.



# 8 Episode: The Right Price for Parking

by Elizabeth Press on April 19, 2011 from the series Moving Beyond the Automobile

You might be shocked at how much traffic consists of drivers who have already arrived at their destination but find themselves cruising the streets, searching for an open parking spot. In some city neighborhoods, cruising makes up as much as 40 percent of all traffic. All this unnecessary traffic slows down buses, endangers cyclists and pedestrians, delays other motorists, and produces harmful emissions. The key to eliminating it is to get the price of parking right.

So what's the right price for curbside parking? According to UCLA professor Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking, "the right price is the lowest price you can charge and still have one or two spaces available on each block." Depending on the demand for parking at a given location, the right price could be higher or lower than the static prices you see at traditional meters. You need a dynamic system that adjusts the price based on demand.

The city of San Francisco has been putting Shoup's ideas into practice on an unprecedented scale with its SFpark program, which is set to launch later this week. In addition to strategically adjusting curbside meter rates, SFpark sets prices in city garages to make them an attractive alternative to on-street spots, and distributes real-time information about parking availability to help drivers find open spaces. It is the most ambitious project in the United States to cut traffic and improve quality of life by getting the price of parking right.

Seventh episode of Moving Beyond the Automobile: Road Diet

In March, we shared with you the first 5 episodes of a series by Streetfilms, called Moving Beyond the Automobile. This month we are sharing the latest three episodes. These topics are very timely for issues facing Lee County, so I hope you'll watch these short videos.


# 7: Road Diet
by Clarence Eckerson, Jr. on April 12, 2011 from the series Moving Beyond the Automobile

What’s a road diet? Quite simply, traffic-calming expert Dan Burden told Streetfilms, “A road diet is anytime you take any lane out of a road.”

The first time people hear about a road diet, their initial reaction likely goes something like this: “How can removing lanes improve my neighborhood and not cause traffic backups?” It seems counter intuitive, but taking away lanes can actually help traffic flow smoother while improving safety for everyone.

Road diets are good for pedestrians: They reduce speeding and make vehicle movements more predictable while shortening crossing distances, usually through curb extensions or center median islands. They’re good for cyclists: Many road diets shift space from car lanes to create bike lanes. They’re good for drivers: Less speeding improves safety for motorists and passengers, and providing left-turn pockets allows through traffic to proceed without shifting lanes or waiting behind turning vehicles.

And here’s something to keep in mind during this era of lean budgets: Road diets are a highly-effective infrastructure improvement that can be implemented quickly and at low cost.

Sixth episode of Moving Beyond the Automobile: Traffic Calming

In March, we shared with you the first 5 episodes of a series by Streetfilms, called Moving Beyond the Automobile. This month we are sharing the latest three episodes. These topics are very timely for issues facing Lee County, so I hope you'll watch these short videos.



# 6: Traffic Calming
by Robin Urban Smith on April 5, 2011 from the series Moving Beyond the Automobile

What’s the most effective way to make city streets safer? As Chicago Alderman Mary Ann Smith told Streetfilms, “Signs don’t do the job, even having police officers on the corner does not do the job.” To prevent traffic injuries and deaths, you need to change how the street functions and make it feel slower for drivers. You need traffic calming.

Traffic calming takes many forms and can describe any measure taken to reduce traffic speeds, improve safety, and make using the street a better overall experience. The most effective traffic calming measures are those that influence drivers to “behave in a civilized manner,” as Smith put it.

Changes like curb extensions, neck-downs, and bike lanes are all traffic calmers that save lives by sending the signal for drivers to slow down. In this Streetfilm we highlight some exemplary traffic calming projects from cities across the country.

News-Press Editorial: Look for new ways to travel


News-Press April 19, 2011


Remember that, through April 23, you can
take part in a campaign experimenting with
alternatives to the automobile.

"Taking it to The Streets" is backed by a
coalition of government and private groups
urging Southwest Floridians to walk, bike,
carpool or use public transportation.

Encouraging such alternatives can improve
our health and environment, reduce road
congestion and save money.

Employers might help their workers with
carpool parking or discounted transit fares.

Call 866-585-RIDE for worksite analysis
and carpool ride matches. LeeTran
provides a trip planner; visit the website:

On Tuesday, LeeTran will offer free rides
all day to celebrate "Try Transit Day."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Announcing the launch of BikeWalkLee’s Facebook and Twitter pages!



April 18, 2011

In an effort to find new ways to connect with our supporters BikeWalkLee is now on Facebook and Twitter. Please “like” or “follow” us to receive real time updates on BWL’s activities, blog and other useful biking and pedestrian related information. You can also use the pages to tell BWL what’s on your mind, share your perspective on bike/ped issues, and connect with other like-minded followers. Come on and join our conversation!

Send us your photos and videos. We want to hear from you!

Bicyclist killed in crash with SUV in Estero


Tragically, this is the second bicyclist fatality in Estero in 2 months. (Janet LoFranco was struck and killed at the intersection of Estero Pkwy & Three Oaks Pkwy on Feb. 19th). Our hearts go out to the victims' family and friends.

Naples Daily News
April 18, 2011


A bicyclist was killed after being hit by a sport utility vehicle Sunday afternoon in Estero.

Kenneth MacDonald, 50, was riding his Spitfire bicycle southbound on U.S. 41 in the center lane just south of Coconut Road. He was attempting to cross over into the right lane when a 2011 Kia Sorrento driven by John Sekely, 48, of Barefoot Beach, hit MacDonald, and threw him from the bike just south of the Tides of Pelican Landing entrance, next to the median, according to Florida Highway Patrol reports.

The Sorrento then drove into a palm tree on the median.

MacDonald was pronounced dead on the scene. No charges were filed in the accident, according to FHP.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mark your Calendar for May 18th Ride of Silence



As part of the annual national Ride of Silence event on Wednesday evening, May 18th,there will be 2 rides in Lee County: Both rides start at 7 p.m.

Fort Myers: Caloose Riders is organizing the ride in downtown Fort Myers. It starts at Centential Park, 2000 W. First St., Fort Myers (under the bridge at Heitman and Bay Streets). For questions, contact riderinfo@caloosariders.org, or their website.

Bonita Springs: The Bonita Bay Bicycle Club's ride starts from "Riverwalk Park" within Bonita Bay. It will be a 10 mph ride within Bonita Bay, escorted by BB security vehicles. It will be followed by a wine & cheese reception. Non-residents of Bonita Bay are welcome, but need to contact Claude Weir to be cleared in (cvwesq@earthlink.net).

Note that all riders must wear a helmet.

MPO's countywide bike/ped master plan moves through committee approval process


Finally, the MPO countywide bike/ped master plan has been completed and is moving through the MPO committee review process and is scheduled for MPO Board adoption on May 20th.

On April 14th, the MPO's Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinating Committee met jointly with the Master Plan Project Advisory Committee (where BikeWalkLee has representation), and recommended approval of the Plan to the Board. If you're interested in reviewing the report, here's the link to the plan on the MPO website. Note that there will be some changes to this plan as it goes through the committee review process. The final plan, after its adopted by the Board on May 20th, will be posted on the MPO website and we will also post it on our website. We have developed a matrix summarizing the recommendations and lead responsibilities for implementation and will be developing a summary fact sheet and talking points about this plan. Stay tuned.

BikeWalkLee pressed for this plan beginning in 2008 and has been actively involved in the development of this plan at every step in the process. We are pleased with the proposed master plan and are looking forward to having a blueprint for transforming the county into a more bike/ped-friendly community, which is part of the larger picture of changes we're advocating in Lee County to promote complete streets, better transportation and land use planning, and sustainability. The blueprint provides guidance to all jurisdictions in Lee County regarding facility improvements and policy recommendations aimed at accommodating bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation.

We hope you'll let your MPO elected officials know that you support this plan and urge their support at the May 20th MPO meeting. Click here for the list of members.

Update on bike/ped projects under construction



April 17, 2011
Periodically, we ask LeeDOT to update us on the status of bike/ped projects under construction. The following is the update we received from Sarah Clarke (LeeDOT Project Manager):






Projects completed:
Buckingham Rd. paved shoulders from Neal Rd. to Gunnery
Business Way sidewalk from Beth Stacey to Homestead
Hancock Bridge Parkway paved shoulder from Orange Grove Blvd. to 24th St.
Page Park sidewalks

Projects under construction:
Hickory Blvd. paved shoulders (should be completed by Sept.)
Colonial Blvd. from I-75 to SR 82 (I think this is shared use path)(due in July)
Bonita Beach Rd. (sidewalks on both sides & paved shoulders)(due Dec. 2012)

If you know of local projects that have been completed, send me info and I'll post (dletourneau@bikewalklee.org).

Also, if you have questions about other projects and want to know the status, send me an e-mail.

In addition to new facilities, LeeDOT is installing some new bike/ped safety signs. I noticed a new Share the Road sign on John Morris Rd. heading towards "beach". If you notice new signs, drop me a note and maybe a photo.

Progress is being made. Thanks, LeeDOT!

Friday, April 15, 2011

BikeWalkLee Testifies at FGCU Master Plan Hearing


Background: As required by Florida statute, FGCU has developed a draft campus master plan which will govern the use of land on campus, and held a hearing on Friday April 15th to hear from the public. Click here to view the plan: Campus Master Plan

Darla Letourneau, on behalf of BikeWalkLee, was one of 10 speakers who testified at the hearing. Click the following link for the full testimony submitted for the record:

Most public commenters expressed serious concerns about the transportation element, with its focus on an auto-dependent culture; and on the lack of focus on sustainability. Both the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL) and BikeWalkLee raised their concerns about the negative impact of the FGCU Master Plan on the MPO's long range transportation plans at the meeting of the MPO Board at its monthly meeting the morning of April 15th. As a result of that discussion, the Board requested that FGCU officials come to the May 20th MPO meeting to discuss their Master Plan with the MPO Board.

Click the links below to view or download a copy of the proposed Campus Master Plan.
Insight Journal is a publication highlighting the FGCU Campus Master Plan efforts. It explains what the Campus Master Plan is and what it seeks to accomplish. To open or download the Journal, click here. In particular, look at the transportation chapter.

Click here to read BikeWalk's statement
: Below is the opening paragraph:

• BikeWalkLee, a coalition to complete the streets in Lee County, works for a more balanced transportation system.
• Lee County, through the MPO and the BoCC, has made progress over the past 2 years on putting in place long-term plans and policies that promote sustainability, better land use & transportation planning, with a focus on multi-modal transportation, complete streets & more livable Lee County.
• Our expectation:
o The university would not only develop a master plan consistent with these county plans & vision, but
o FGCU would be a recognized leader in sustainability, transportation, and livability within Lee County and the Southwest Florida region.
• FGCU draft Master Plan is major disappointment and needs to be amended.

Below are a couple of the specific recommendations we made:

• Recommendation: The FGCU Master Plan should connect to these facilities (University Loop) by installing bike lanes on existing campus entrances.
• Not to do so sends a strong signal of disconnect from county plans & a terrible message to students & community re: not being bike-friendly campus.
• Bike lanes can be put in easily on FGCU Blvd. through a road diet, i.e., narrowing the car lanes by restriping to add bike lanes.
• Recommendation: Apply for a League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Campus. This would enhance the status of FGCU as a sustainable university and provide important tools for marketing a sustainable, livable, and walkable community to potential students.

To continue reading BikeWalkLee's comments, click here.

Welcome to BikeWalkLee’s 2011 Spring Survey!


In celebration of Taking It to the Streets, please share your opinions and experiences about transportation choices in Lee County Florida. By participating, you will help prioritize transportation issues, and broaden our voice. The survey is open to visitors and residents until May 31st, and answers are confidential. If you have questions, please contact Toni Ferrell tferrell@bikewalklee.org, or Ann Pierce apiercegardner@gmail.com. Thank you!

Prior to answering the survey, check out the distances between your residence and your office, school, and favorite grocery or farmer’s market. Click here for a Map of Lee County Florida, with local bike shops, farmers markets, and recreational places as a starting point.

Click here for BikeWalkLee 2011 Spring Survey

Ride Free on "Try Transit Day" , April 19th


LeeTran celebrates Earth Week on Tuesday, April 19 with "Try Transit Day," when everyone rides free!

Riding the bus is a great way to save money on gas and reduce air pollution and congestion. Tell your friends to give transit a try!

Dan Moser with Bike/Walk Lee will have an information table at Rosa Parks on Tuesday afternoon as part of Try Transit Day. He will be promoting bicycling as a way to access transit.

LeeTran to "LinC" with Collier


On Oct. 6, commuters who cross the county line will have a new option: taking LeeTran's new LinC bus and connecting to the Collier Area Transit (CAT) system.
The LinC bus will travel from Coconut Point Mall down to Immokalee Road in Collier County. There it will connect with CAT's Red Route 1 at the Creekside Business Park, approximately every 90 minutes.

At the same time, LeeTran will start a new east-west route running from Lovers Key State Park to the Publix at Bonita Grande Crossing.

These two new routes will replace the current 150 route serving Bonita Springs and provide better service to the community.

The LinC bus will charge the same fare as all other routes and will honor all LeeTran passes. Riders who transfer to a CAT bus will need to pay Collier's fare, which is $1.50 for adults or $.75 for seniors. For more information about Collier Area Transit, click here.

Sanibel Bicycle Club Honored By Florida Bicycle Association


Island Sun, April 15, 2011

At its monthly potluck last week, the Sanibel Bicycle Club had something special to savor in addition to the abundant dinner fare. As usual, the members reminisced about the experiences they shared this season……the rides they enjoyed, on Sanibel and off-island in other parts of Southwest Florida; the many meals they shared; the laughs they had together. But the highlight of the evening was the Club being honored as Florida’s Bicycle Club of the Year by the Florida Bicycle Association.

On hand to present the award to Club President Mary Miller was Dan Moser, Program Director of Florida Bicycle Association and long-time Lee County bicycle & pedestrian advocate. In making the award, Moser noted that the Sanibel Club is unusual in the way its members combine their cycling and social activities with a dedication to supporting community safe biking practices and improved infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. Moser said he often points to the Sanibel Club as a model for other clubs around the state to emulate....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

LMHS CEO, Jim Nathan links health care costs to unhealthy lifestyles


The April 14th edition of News-Press had an interesting article entitled, "Lee Memorial leader leery of plans".


Below are a couple of excerpts of interest:

Jim Nathan, president and chief executive
officer of Lee Memorial Health System, is
especially interested in what happens to
Medicare and Medicaid in the
Congressional budget battle.....

"It will also mean that we as a society focus
on dramatically improving our lifestyles to
being more health conscious with exercise
and nutrition as our sedentary and rapidly
fattening society is creating a massive
escalation in health costs. Our poor health
styles are helping to rapidly bankrupt our
nation in many ways including health care."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Invite to @nd Annual Fort Myers Bike Prom--Friday May 13th

News-Press: Editorial: Leave the car, take a bicycle



News-Press April 13, 2011

Using alternatives to the private motor
vehicle can improve your health, help the
environment and reduce road congestion
and the need for more roads.

Those are some of the benefits alternative
transportation advocates will be touting
during the next 10 days, as they urge
Southwest Floridians to walk, bike, car pool
or use public transit.

The “Taking it to the Streets” campaign is
sponsored by Lee County, the city of Fort
Myers, the Lee County Health Department,
LeeTran, the Collier County Health
Department’s Smart Growth, the Florida
Department of Transportation’s Commuter
Services, BikeWalkLee, Ugottagogreen.com,
and citizen advocates.

They make up a five-county coalition
pushing for safer access to alternatives
such as bike and pedestrian pathways and
public transit. Integrate those alternatives
up front when roads and other
infrastructure are built or expanded, and
you’ve saved money over what it costs to
retrofit.

Businesses and organizations can help by
offering, for example, free or close-in
parking for car poolers, or discounted
transit fare; giving flex time for walkers and
cyclists, and providing covered bike
parking. Free work site analysis or car pool
ride matches can be organized through
Commuter Services, by calling 1-866-
585-RIDE. And Lee Tran provides a trip
planner on its website.


Participants are asked to log onto the Commuter Services website,
registering through the Trip Track program link and
recording their Vehicle Miles Reduced.
There will be prizes for the greatest
number of VMRs, and everyone can get a
report of their total miles reduced,
greenhouse gas emissions avoided, and
money saved on fuel and maintenance.

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column: We spoke, but did they hear?


Florida Weekly
April 6, 2011

I went to the National Bike Summit expecting to be less than encouraged, but it was impressive and uplifting in more ways than I imagined. About 800 advocates for improvements to the cycling and pedestrian environment took our case to Washington, D.C., for the 11th annual National Bicycle Summit last month. We had hundreds of meetings with elected officials, as well as numerous mass gatherings that featured U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenhauer; bike/ped’s champion from Oregon, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; Secretary of the Interior Ken Salizar; and New York City’s commissioner of transportation among others ,who are important to the cause.

At the federal level, we focused on the many and varied economic benefits cycling and walking enhancements reap, from reduced need for expensive roadway expansion to significant health care cost savings. In attendance at the National Bike Summit were an impressive number of independent bike shop owners as well as manufacturer and distributor representatives. We brought to our meetings with members of U.S. representatives district-specific data about bike shop employment, tax revenue collection and federal tax dollars spent on projects. We did the same on a statewide basis for senators. One need not be an economist to see that bike/ped expenditures provide a significant return on investment and should be supported on that basis alone, never mind the social, health, and ecological payback. At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, I’m hoping facts and common sense (as measured in dollars) mean more than politics when it comes to reauthorizing the various programs that fund bike/ped infrastructure and other programs that make communities a better place to ride and walk.

Admittedly it wasn’t quite the same, neither in numbers or energy level, when some of us headed to Tallahassee a week later for the third Florida Bike Summit. Nevertheless, we did our best to get similar messages to our state elected representatives. In this case, FBA had identified a number of priorities for this legislative session, which include: distracted driving legislation that makes violations a primary offense; enhanced penalties for violations that cause serious injury or death; clarification of Chapter 316 statutes to reflect present-day needs of motorists and cyclists including the Mandatory Bike Lane Law; bicycle access to limited access highway bridges; and opposition to efforts to eliminate the Office of Greenways and Trails. We also asked that federal monies and other dollars intended for bike/ped and transit not be moved into roadway capacity projects that benefit only motor vehicles, something that’s got real potential to happen in this year’s session.

Besides our advocacy efforts in Tallahassee, FBA announced the winners of its 2011 annual awards. This year three came from Lee County: Elected Official of the Year went to the entire Lee County Board of County Commissioners; Bike Club of the Year to the Sanibel Bike Club; and one of two Volunteer of the Year awards went to a couple from the Sanibel Bike Club, Norm and Helen Flemington. Congratulations to each of them and all other winners.

Although at both gatherings we were generally well received by the elected officials we visited with, it’s hard to say if that sentiment will translate into good news for cyclists, pedestrians or transit users at either level of government. Your input is still very necessary.

Local happenings

FCGU is the location of a new 5K, Skirts On the Run; the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club is managing a new ride, the Immokalee Ride for Literacy , on Sunday, April 17 (there’s a 5K race / 1-mile run the day before); Taking it to the Streets is a multi-day, multi-event effort tied in with Earth Day on April 22. Finally, are you ready to ascend High Point Place’s 30 floors of stairs? Saturday, April 30, is the date for the American Lung Association’s signature event, Fight for Air Stair Climb.

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

— Dan Moser is a league cycling and instructor/ trainer and program director 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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

News-Press: Traffic circle meant to reduce crashes


April 12, 2011
by Brian Liberatore

A roundabout could soon replace the stop
sign at Crystal Drive and Plantation Road in
south Fort Myers.

To push forward what would be the third
roundabout in unincorporated Lee County
will require a buy-in from a skeptical
public.....

The angle of the designed roundabout
would force cars from all directions to slow
upon entering the circle, giving oncoming
traffic a chance to merge, said Bill
Baranowski, an engineer in Utah and the
founder of Roundabouts USA, an advocacy
group for the traffic feature. Because traffic
never stops, delays are cut down. And
because cars are slowed in the circle,
accidents seldom mean injuries.

Lee County in the past decade put in a
roundabout in Lehigh Acres and another in
Estero. Sarah Clarke, a project manager
with Lee County, said she has heard of no
complaints about those roundabouts.

The statistics largely favor roundabouts for
safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety 10 years ago studied 23
intersections that were converted into
roundabouts. Accidents with injuries
dropped 80 percent, while crashes
dropped by 40 percent....

"Roundabouts are more and more
becoming part of our tool bag," Baranowski
said. "Now they're so commonplace, they're
not considered a fad anymore."

To read the full article, click here.

County Commissioners honored & promote "Taking it to the Streets" campaign




At the April 12th Lee County Commission meeting, Dan Moser presented the commissioners with the Florida Bicycle Association's "Elected Officials of the Year" award for 2011. Kudos to the commissioners for their work in integrating complete streets into the county land use planning as part of the recently adopted EAR. As the FBA statement read, "This continued focus of changing the way this county government deals with transportation and community planning, even as budgets are stretched to their limits, is a shining example of the political will required to make our communities more walkable, bikeable, livable."

Also at the meeting, the Board adopted a resolution in support of the April 13-23 "Taking it to the Streets" campaign, which "encourages residents and visitors of Lee County and the City of Fort Myers to consider, utilize, and track alternatives to drive-alone commuting."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lee County website highlights Earth Day Transportation Transformation 2011



Transportation Transformation 2011
Get relief from the gas pump during Taking It to the Streets April 13-23. Walk, ride your bike, take a bus, carpool or vanpool—to win prizes, save time and money, reduce stress and get active! Watch the video.

Plus, Ride LeeTran for FREE on Tuesday, April 19!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Florida embraces U.S. Bicycle Routes



A new policy from the Florida Department of Transportation sets out four corridors for consideration to become U.S. Bicycle Routes. The four, each 50 miles wide, are described in the April 7 policy paper as:
US BR 90, along U.S. 90 from Pensacola to St. Augustine.
US BR 1, along U.S. 1 from Nassau County to Key West.
US BR 15, following the Gulf Coast from Madison County to Miami.
Alternate US BR CFG, along the Cross Florida Greenway from Daytona Beach to Tampa Bay.

An interactive map of the system may be found at Adventure Cycling, an early and very active advocate for creating the nationwide network.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Invite to April 15th (1-4 p.m.) public hearing on FGCU Campus Master Plan



Campus Master Plan

Florida Gulf Coast University proposes to adopt their 2010-2020 Campus Master Plan which will govern the use of land on campus.

A public hearing on the proposed Campus Master Plan will be held April 15, 2011, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the FGCU campus in Academic Building 5 (AB5), Room 112.

Interested parties are invited to attend the public hearing and share comments regarding the proposed Campus Master Plan. All speakers must register upon arrival and submit their comments in written form. Each participant will be allowed three (3) minutes to speak. If you wish to submit written comments without speaking publicly, you may do so. Each of your written comments should reference the Campus Master Plan "Element" and "Section" numbers that pertain.

Within five working days, following the the public hearing, the proposed Campus Master Plan shall be transmitted to the external review agencies identified in Section 1013.30 of the Florida Statutes. These agencies shall have 90 days, after receipt, to conduct their reviews and provide comment to the Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees.

Final Copy for Public Comment
Click the links below to view or download a copy of the proposed Campus Master Plan.
Insight Journal is a publication highlighting the FGCU Campus Master Plan efforts. It explains what the Campus Master Plan is and what it seeks to accomplish. Interesting facts and photos are provided, as well as future recommendations. To open or download the Journal, click here. In particular, look at the transportation chapter.

It's important for FGCU to hear from the bike/ped/transit community about what is needed on campus to be consistent with the county's complete streets policy and its EAR comprehensive plan vision for the future.

Transportation patterns of homeless population in Fort Myers


Report by Ann Pierce:

On March 11th the Transportation Disadvantaged Subcommittee of the MPO, met. Data was presented profiling the transportation patterns of the homeless population in Fort Myers. The data had been collected, as part of the census, through the office of Lee County Homeless Coalition whose Executive Director is Janet Bartos.

A total of 818 individuals were surveyed. Of these, 260 held valid driver’s licenses. As a group, the listed primary modes of transportation were as follows:
• 13.8% Bike
• 22.4% Bus
• 12.4% Own car
• 15.5% Walking
• 4.3% Ride with others
• 13% Other
234 persons indicated that they used transit at some point, with 21% of those saying they rode the bus three or more times per week.

The vast majority of this population is white, non-Hispanic, single, non-veteran, and unemployed. All were homeless or at risk of imminently becoming so. This group was rather evenly split by gender with 402 males and 416 females.

Destinations were varied with the most frequent being; grocery store, church, and doctor. Next most frequent were; employment search, AA meetings, services such as soup kitchens, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Veterans Services, and least often - work.
Subjective commentary regarding the hazards encountered, indicated traffic, bad drivers and fear of attack of some sort to be the most frequently cited. Problems with weather and police were also frequently reported.

The last category of information solicited was commentary regarding their unmet needs for transportation. By far, the most frequently cited all centered on public transit, with the desire for bus passes being the single greatest need expressed. Next, were more routes, shorter times between buses and closer bus stops. This was followed by requests for more and/or better sidewalks.

BikeWalkLee endorses the initial gathering of this census data and a continuation of such in future years, as well as incorporation into the county’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), to be adopted by the MPO Board on May 20th.

Letter to editor: County getting fit


News-Press
Letters to Editor April 7, 2011


In a presentation called "Health Planning,
Land Use and the Fit-Friendly Southwest
Florida Initiative," Dr. Judith Hartner of Lee
County Health Department illustrated how
local planning directly impacts individual
health.

She described a sedentary nation
transforming into a $450 billion obesity
problem in less than two decades.

The way our cities and counties are
planned and built essentially engender
poor health. We are forced to use a car for
even the smallest errand, while even the
simplest human activity of walking has
been made dangerous. Today, being active
means driving to the local gym!

Wholesale change is needed, but since
these plans have been literally set in
concrete, this change will not be easy or
quick.

With the advocacy of citizen groups such as
BikeWalkLee, the county has adopted
"Complete Streets" policies. This was
followed by an award-winning
comprehensive plan to implement those
policies in land use and transportation
decisions.

And now the Lee County health community
seeks to educate and motivate the public
through the Fit-Friendly Southwest Florida
Initiative.

I am grateful to Dr. Hartner and the
Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council
for providing the forum to discuss the
interface between the built environment
and daily physical activity and I hope this is
the beginning of a larger community
conversation.


ANN PIERCE
Fort Myers

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Naples wants crosswalk at US41 & 5th Ave

NBC-2 News, April 5, 2011
Huge crowds walk the streets of downtown Naples every year; and many of them cross what is considered to be a dangerous intersection because of the lack of crosswalks.

Right now, there are no crosswalks on the north side of the US-41 and 5th Avenue South intersection in downtown Naples.

But the city is set to move forward with permit requests to change that.

The goal is to make downtown safer for pedestrians as well as connect businesses on the eastern side of 41 to the busy tourist area.

"It's an essential first step of connectivity. Creating a walkable downtown area between Bayfront and 5th Avenue is absolutely essential," said Sam Saad, with the Naples City Council.

The crosswalk has to be approved by FDOT as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation since it will cross US-41.

Watch the video. Kudos to the Naples Pathways Coalition for their continuing advocacy on this important issue.

Cape Coral community meeting on sidewalks--April 13th


On Wednesday, April 13th at 7 p.m. at the Oasis Elementary School Cafeteria, the Southwest Cape Coral Neighborhood Association is hosting Ms. Persides Zambrano, Acting Director, Transportation Division of the City of Cape Coral. She will talk to the community about where new sidewalks should be installed in the southwest area in the near future.

The Southwest Neighborhood Association is also working to get more bike lanes in the area. Come to the community meeting to ask questions and to let the association know what you think about sidewalks and bike lanes.

If you have any questions, please contact Steve Chupack (schupack@comcast.net) or Pat Young (mspatriciayoung@yahoo.com), Chairpersons of the Schools, Park and Beautification Committee. To find out more about the association, contact the website.

Fort Myers considers lowering speed limits


Kudos to the Fort Myers City Council for recommending that speed limits be lowered to 25 mph on city streets in order to reduce crashes and improve safety! Slower speeds mean safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists. Stay tuned for the official council vote that is expected within the next four months. Below is the article in today's News-Press:

Written by Rachel Revehl, Apr. 4, 2011|

Lowered residential speed limits are on the
horizon in Fort Myers.

A public works study presented Monday to
council ended with a recommendation to
lower speeds to 25 mph in an effort to
reduce crashes and increase safety.

The move wouldn't affect busier state and
county roads, such as Martin Luther King Jr.
and Palm Beach boulevards, though council
did suggest the possibility of petitioning the
state for lowered speeds there, too.

For now, the focus is on residential streets,
downtown roadways, and streets like Ford
that are mixed residential and commercial
use - most of which now have a limit of 30
mph. Click here to continue reading the article.

LEETRAN OFFERS FREE RIDES ON "TRY TRANSIT DAY"



April 5, 2011 Press Release
FORT MYERS, FL – Lee County residents can save money, save gas and go green by riding LeeTran for free on Tuesday, April 19.

With fuel prices steadily rising, LeeTran hopes to attract new riders whose budgets are strained each time they fill their tanks.

“Many people are unfamiliar with our transit system,” explains Transit Director Steve Myers. “We may be able to take them to work, school, or shopping at a significant savings. We’d like them to consider us as an alternative to driving a single-occupancy vehicle.”

The cost of an all-day pass on LeeTran is $3.50 – less than one gallon of regular gas. The cost of an unlimited monthly pass is $35, or just $1.13 per day.

“Drivers can visit our website, and use a simple Transit Savings Calculator to find out how much money LeeTran can save them,” Myers said.

For those who are considering riding for the first time, LeeTran’s website also has a TripPlanner, which will create a step-by-step set of directions for any trip. Those without Internet access may call LeeTran customer service at 533-8726 (LEE-TRAN) Monday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

LeeTran’s “Try Transit Day” is part of a regional celebration of Earth Week called Transportation Transformation 2011: Taking It to the Streets SWFL. Its goal is to get Southwest Floridians to use alternate modes of transportation—walking, biking, taking the bus, carpooling or vanpooling. This joint venture among Lee County, the City of Fort Myers, Florida Department of Transportation and more, offers participants the chance to win prizes, save time and money, reduce stress and get active. For more information, visit Commuter Services website, call (866) 585-RIDE or visit UGottaGoGreen.