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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BikeWalkLee letter of support for City of Fort Myers' Complete Street resolution



As reported in our 5/27 blog story, the City of Fort Myers is beginning consideration of a complete streets resolution. The first step in the process is a public hearing before the Fort Myers Planning Board on June 1st at 1 p.m. Below is the letter BWL sent to the board in advance of tomorrow's meeting.

May 30, 2011

Dear Planning Board Members:

BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets within Fort Myers and all of Lee County--streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. We want to make known our endorsement of the City of Fort Myers’ Complete Streets Resolution which comes before you on June 1st. As an advocacy group allied with a broad array of stakeholders, we offer our full support for this resolution and its future implementation.

This resolution is a significant step forward for the city. It is comprehensive in its vision, practical in applicable detail and wholly oriented towards a healthier, safer, economically vibrant and socially sustainable future for Fort Myers. The adoption and implementation of a Complete Streets Resolution will provide the basis of a comprehensive linkage and continuity tying together the various city land use and transportation policies. Click here to continue reading the letter.

Click here to read the complete streets resolution.

Friday, May 27, 2011

City of Fort Myers considers complete streets resolution


Great news! Following in the footsteps of the Lee Board of County Commissioners, (who adopted a Complete Streets Resolution in November 2009 & is now implementing its Nov. 2010 complete streets action plan), the City of Fort Myers is beginning consideration of a complete streets resolution.

As a first step in the process, the Fort Myers Planning Board holds a public hearing on its complete streets resolution at its June 1st meeting. The opening statement reads: "Fort Myers seeks to become a more livable and lively city, a healthy, economically robust community with system-wide choices of safe, convenient access to roadways and trails for all users with a more balanced, human scale environment, where a complete streets program is employed." "To reach this goal of a walkable and bikeable community, the City is proposing a resolution to initiate the process of developing guidelines, processes, and procedures for the implementation of the Complete Streets Program."

The resolution is now posted on BikeWalkLee's website. Click here to read this excellent resolution. If you have any questions, contact Nicole DeVaughn, Planning Manager: ndevaughn@cityftmyers.com.

Plan to attend the June 1st meeting at 1 p.m. in the City Council Chambers (2200 Second Street), or send a letter of support to ndevaughn@cityftmyers.com. BikeWalkLee will be attending and sending a letter of support. Citizen support will be needed as this resolution makes its way through the city processes and to the City Council for action later this summer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lee County & BikeWalkLee efforts highlighted in NATIONAL ped safety report!

5/24/11
Just discovered that the NATIONAL Dangerous by Design (ped safety) report highlights the positive actions that Lee County took to adopt a complete streets policy after the 2009 report & credits BikeWalkLee with leading the charge! Darla

Poor safety rankings in 2009 report yield substantive policy shift in Lee County, Florida
Within a day of the release of Transportation for America’s previous Dangerous by Design report in November 2009 that showed the four most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians were in Florida, a key region in the Sunshine State had already adopted one of the report’s key recommendations. In an editorial following the report release, the Ft. Myers News-Press encouraged officials in Lee County, located in Southwest Florida, to adopt a “Complete Streets” resolution, committing the region to making roads safe for all users. The editorial cited the Dangerous by Design report in its recommendation.

BikeWalkLee, a countywide coalition and T4 America partner advocating for safer, complete streets, led the charge for passage.
“During the public comment period, Commissioners heard from senior citizens who want to maintain mobility after they no longer drive; parents who want a place for their children to safely walk and bike; high school and college students who want a more livable community as they make their careers here; public health officials concerned about the obesity epidemic and emergency room doctors who see the tragic results every day of Lee’s dangerous roads,” said Darla Letourneau, a leader of BikeWalkLee.
By a unanimous vote, the Lee County Commission adopted a resolution endorsing complete streets principles. Commissioner Frank Mann called the measure “forward thinking” and “something that we should have been doing for a number of years.”


Check here to read the national report, and see the "box" on page 15 about Lee County.


Today's Rail-to-Trails Conservancy blog highlighted Lee County: "But there was some good news coming out of Florida. After a poor ranking in the 2009 Dangerous by Design report, Lee County in southwest Florida made immediate steps to adopt a complete streets program, committing to making regional roads safe for all users!"

National report: Florida ranked most dangerous state for pedestrians


Joint T4-America & BikeWalkLee press release 5/24/11
Pedestrians disproportionally injured and killed due to poor street design and lack of funding; BikeWalkLee urges Congress to support increased focus on pedestrian (and bicyclist) safety

Fort Myers, FL — Florida is the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians, a new report released by Transportation for America shows. During the ten years from 2000 to 2009, 5,163 Floridians were killed while walking – a total that's almost 11% of all those killed nationwide while walking during the same period.

Dangerous by Design 2011: Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths (and Making Great Neighborhoods), ranks America’s major metropolitan areas and states according to a Pedestrian Danger Index that measures the relative risk to pedestrians. It determined that the top four deadliest major metropolitan areas in the country for pedestrians are in Florida—Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami.

Lee County’s pedestrian fatality rate was more than twice the national average for the years 2000-2009. The Lee County pedestrian fatality rate was 3.4 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people, compared with 1.6 nationwide and 3.0 for Florida overall. In Lee County there were 178 pedestrian deaths during the last decade, comprising 17% of all traffic fatalities (same as the state average) -- which was 42% above the national average. The annual study was prepared and released by Transportation for America, a national coalition working for transportation reform.

“Lee County’s pedestrians are at increased risk because not enough resources are invested to protect all the users of our road system," said Darla Letourneau with BikeWalkLee, a local coalition working to encourage complete streets in Lee County. “With 22% of all traffic deaths in Florida being pedestrians or bicyclists (17% pedestrians and 5% bicyclists), it is unacceptable that Florida only spends 1.5% of its federal transportation dollars to improve the safety of walking and bicycling.”

Click here to continue reading.

Here are links to the related documents:

Joint BikeWalkLee & Transportation for America 5/24/11 press release
BWL chart: How Lee County compares with Florida and Nation

Dangerous by Design 2011: Florida report

Dangerous by Design 2011: National Report: Note: Lee County positive actions & BikeWalkLee advocacy efforts on complete streets are highlighted on p. 15.

Interactive map of fatalities (enter address & find pedestrian fatalities (2000-2007) within 60 mile radius)

For background on Lee County bike/ped safety issues and recommendations, see MPO’s countywide bicycle pedestrian master plan (adopted 5/20/11):(safety sections: p. 5, p. 31-35, & recommendations, p. 95-101)

Today's WGCU/NPR "Gulf Coast Live" program, titled "Pedestrian-Friendly Lee County," focused on a vision for growth and development in Lehigh Acres, and efforts to make Lee County more pedestrian friendly. Kathie Ebaugh from Lee County Planning office and Dan Moser from BikeWalkLee participated in panel. Listen to the program online (ped safety, with discussion of Dangerous by Design report, begins about halfway through). Click here to listen to the program.

Today's News-Press article: "Lee County has more than double US average in pedestrian deaths during last decade"

News-Press 5/25/11 edition also carried the USA Today Story, "Florida urban areas top danger list for pedestrians.

Report says that Florida owns title of most dangerous state for pedestrians, which discusses FL Legislature failure to enact any traffic safety measures.

Recording of Transportation for America’s 5/24/11 Press telebriefing on D by D report:
(note it’s a large file so give it time to download). The panel presentation takes about 30 minutes, then there was Q & A with national press for 20 minutes)
National Telebriefing Participants:
James Corless, Director, Transportation for America
Michelle Ernst, Principle Author, ”Dangerous by Design 2011”
Barbara McCann, Director, Complete Streets Coalition
Dr. Tony DeLucia, PhD, East Tennessee State University, James H. Quillen College of Medicine

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lee County complete streets work included in national newsletter


National Complete Streets Coalition May 2011 Newsletter (5/19/11)

Quick Takes: Policy Action
This new section of our newsletter will report on how Complete Streets policies are being implemented across the country.
Lee County, FL: After evaluating all of its resurfacing contracts for opportunities to address the needs of all users, Lee County made improvements on several community roads by narrowing travel lanes, improving crosswalks, and adding new signs.

Also check out the new Complete Streets Issue Brief.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Del Prado expansion officially opens: city official calls it "a complete street"

NBC-2 News 5/21/11



Construction is officially complete on a major stretch of road in Cape Coral.

From Kismet Parkway to Pine Island Road, Del Prado Boulevard has expanded from four lanes to six.

"It's a drastic difference," said Cape Coral Transportation Manager Steve Neff.

Not only is there more space for drivers, walkers and bicyclists have a place as well.

"They didn't just put in straight sidewalks. I like the way they're curved and they go up hills and down hills," says Cape Coral resident Emily Wolf.

Landscaping, bridge expansions, and extra sewer treatment facilities are also new.

"I think eventually you're going to see business up and along this roadway and in cross streets," says Mayor John Sullivan.

Leaders hope the $80 million investment will pay off and be the spark that jump starts the local economy.

Upcoming government meetings--June 2011





In June, 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 6th meeting on Thursday, June 9th at 1 p.m. 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 June 15th. Click here for the link to the BPAC website and meeting agenda.
• On June 15th at 6 p.m., the Lee Community Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) will hold its monthly meeting. Check the Sustainability website for the agenda package:
2. MPO Meetings:
• The MPO’s Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinating Committee (BPCC) will meet on Tuesday May 31st at 1:30 p.m.
• The MPO Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will meet on Thursday, June 2nd at 9:30 a.m.,
• The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) will meet on June 2nd at 3:00 p.m.
• MPO Traffic Management and Operations Committee (TMOC) Meeting - Wednesday, June, 8th at 1:30 p.m. in the MPO’s Victoria Ave. office.

• MPO Transportation Disadvantaged Local Coordinating Board (TDLCB) Meeting - Friday, June, 10th at 1:30 p.m.
• The MPO Board meeting is scheduled for Friday, June 17th at 9:00 a.m.
All MPO meetings are held at the MPO’s office on 1926 Victoria Avenue, Fort Myers. Click here for a link to the MPO website where you'll find agendas and briefing packets for each meeting.
3. Local Jurisdiction Meetings:
City of Fort Myers: Planning Board meets at 1 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. A public hearing on a Complete Streets Resolution is on the agenda. Stay tuned for more information!
City of Cape Coral: On June 15th, the Council’s Transportation Advisory Committee meets at 9 a.m. to follow-up on the bike lanes discussion at their May 18th meeting.

Friday, May 20, 2011

BikeWalkLee applauds adoption of countywide bicycle pedestrian master plan

BikeWalkLee Press Release Friday, May 20, 2011

Today, the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) unanimously adopted the county’s first ever comprehensive countywide plan for a network of bicycling and pedestrian facilities and a blueprint to transform the county into a more bicycle-and pedestrian-friendly community.

“This is a major milestone for Lee County and one more element in the constellation of policies that the MPO and the county commissioners have put in place in the last two years to promote sustainable/livable communities and complete streets,” said Darla Letourneau, a BikeWalkLee leader. “All of these policies working together are moving the county in a new direction on transportation, land use planning and sustainability.”

The vision of this master plan is a comprehensive and connected bicycle and pedestrian network that enhances economic development, livability, safety and social equity for all Lee County citizens and visitors. While Lee County has numerous bicycle and pedestrian facilities in place, they lack continuity and connectivity. This plan works to close those gaps and have a comprehensive network across the various county jurisdictions.

Community support for the plan was evident in the public comments made at this morning’s meeting. More than a dozen speakers from a broad spectrum of groups — health, tourism, environmental, planning, sustainable growth, real estate, community associations, safety, and bicycle and pedestrian advocates — all spoke about how the implementation of this plan will add value to the community in a whole host of ways. “It was gratifying to see such a groundswell of community support today and a commitment to the plan’s implementation," said Letourneau. "The board’s adoption of the plan creates a positive legacy for Lee County and its citizens."
To kick-off the implementation process, the plan calls for three demonstration projects that will provide quick improvements that will demonstrate how “top notch” bicycle and pedestrian facilities could function.

1. Lee Tour de Parks Route: This project provides a continuous route connecting Lakes Park, the Calusa Nature Center, Yarbrough Park, North Colonial Linear Park, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, Lee County Sports Complex and the new Red Sox facility off Daniels Parkway.

2. The University Loop: This project takes cyclist on roads with bike lanes and side paths in the vicinity of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), to encourage students, facility and residents to bike for their daily commutes to school, shopping and entertainment. BikeWalkLee looks forward to working with FGCU to connect their campus with this Loop.

3. The Winkler/Jefferson Complete Streets Project: The project will utilize publicly owned right-of-way on the south side of the Winkler Canal, turning it into a greenway trail to connect the two “complete streets” that don’t currently connect.

The MPO board made clear that continued federal funding of the current federal bicycle and pedestrian programs ― Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to Schools and Recreational Trails Program — is critical to the county’s ability to implement this bicycle pedestrian master plan. In light of the debate in Congress about potential elimination of these programs, the MPO board adopted a policy statement in support of continuing the current bicycle and pedestrian programs in the upcoming federal transportation reauthorization legislation, and requested this position be communicated to the county’s Congressional delegation.

“It makes no sense to shift federal funding away from pedestrian and bicycle facilities when Florida is No. 1 in the nation for pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates,” said Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah, sponsor of today’s motion. "Federal funding for these important programs should be increased, not decreased."

“Implementation of the master plan is just the beginning of a long process—it will take continued commitment and funding from the MPO, local jurisdictions, state and federal agencies; and involvement and commitment from other organizations, agencies, community groups, and citizens; to become a reality," said Letourneau. "The county is off to a great start, and BikeWalkLee is committed to working with all parties to make this vision a reality.”

The following are online links to documents about the master plan:
1. The Plan's Executive Summary
2. BikeWalkLee's fact sheet on the plan
3. BikeWalkLee's: What the plan means for stakeholder groups
4. BikeWalkLee's summary matrix of the plan recommendations
5. Link to the full Master Plan.

Media Coverage today:

NBC-2 News

Wink News

News-Press

To listen to the public comments in support of the plan at Friday's MPO Board meeting. Listen to the first 60 minutes of the audio tape.

News-Press letter to editor on Hickory Blvd shoulders project


News-Press 5/20/11
Here's an example of great community work in Bonita Springs in support of the Hickory Blvd. shoulders projects. BikeWalkLee adds its kudos to the Bonita Beach Improvement Association for working to make this project possible and to LeeDOT for their support and great project management.

Professional work
The Executive Board of the Bonita Beach Improvement Association, Winston Church, Neil Arnal, and Dennis Calabresa, deserve a huge thanks for their involvement with the county roadwork project on Hickory Boulevard.

I am extremely confident that 100 percent of our Hickory Island residents will be thanking you and the BBIA also.

The inconvenience has been low; the mailbox replacements and the replantings have been short and sweet, and I have watched several.

The handling of residents property in regards to removing partial brick driveways has been done with respect, professionalism, and with diligent care; with the stacking on the respected properties.

This is a win-win for the residents of Hickory Island, as well as the residents of Bonita Springs.

Finally, the cosmetic look will be consistent, and add value to the area, and bikers will be safer.

Also the new palm trees that BBIA has put in are magnificent! Your research, patience and supervision has paid huge dividends for Hickory Island.

ROBERT SHARKEY
Bonita Springs

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Island Reporter: Bike Rodeo stresses safety, being alert on island roads



By JEFF LYSIAK, May 19, 2011

Last Thursday afternoon, more than 80 youngsters and their parents attended the annual Bike Rodeo & Safety Fair, staged at The Sanibel School's outdoor pavilion, where riders of all ages were taught the most important lessons of riding safely.

"It's important for all riders, not just the youngsters, to know how to properly use the shared use paths on the islands," said Mary Miller, president of the Sanibel Bicycle Club, at last week's Bike Rodeo & Safety Fair. "Everybody should know that you have to be more aware of bikes using the roads here on the islands."

According to Miller, one of the most critical safety measures taught during the event included the importance of wearing protective head gear. She and her fellow Bike Club members demonstrated the point using an egg — wrapped in a thick foam pocket — dropped from shoulder height. Seeing the fragile egg survive a fall from four feet onto concrete was a real eye-opener for the young participants.

Click here to continue reading.


Kudos to the Sanibel Bicycle Club, Billy's Bikes, the Kiwanis Club, the Sanibel Police Department and other volunteers that put on this important safety training.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bicyclists take 'Ride of Silence' to honor those killed





News-Press article and photos:


Written by Evangelia Ganosellis

Donna Henault placed her right hand over
her heart as bicyclists coasted past her
underneath the Caloosahatchee Bridge.

In her left hand, Henault held a photograph
of her daughter, 46-year-old Tracey
Kleinpell, in bright pink running gear giving
a peace sign.

In silence, the bicyclists slowly made their
way out of Centennial Park, embarking on
an eight-mile ride in honor of Kleinpell and
other bicyclists killed in Lee County.

More than 100 people in Fort Myers
participated in the "Ride of Silence," which
started in Dallas in 2003.

This year, the event honored two women
killed in Lee County while bicycling in recent
months - Kleinpell and Janet LoFranco....

Dan Moser, a bicycle and pedestrian
advocate with BikeWalkLee, says many
motorists don't realize that bicycles are
allowed to be on the road, too.

"Most of us that cycle are also motorists,"
Moser said. "We've got to be conscious of
sharing the road with others."

What's most frustrating, though, is when
bicyclists are following all the rules and are
still injured or killed in a crash, he said.

"It makes you think the only way to survive
out there is not to get out of bed in the
morning," Moser said. "If you can't take a
bike ride on the causeway, then you might
as well not get out of bed in the morning."...

To read the full article, click here.

To read the News-Press story on the Bonita Springs Ride of Silence, click here.

Lee County website has new complete streets page


Kudos to the Lee County Manager and her staff! The Lee County's website has just launched a new complete streets page. Click here to check it out.


It's full of lots of useful links, so drill down for information: the process that Lee County is using to implement its complete streets plan; the projects underway (including the resurfacing contract recommendations; links to all relevant laws and rules of the road for pedestrians and cyclists; and links to other national resources and examples from other communities. Kudos to Tessa LeSage, the County's Sustainability Director, for putting together this valuable new resource!

Ghost Bicycle on Sanibel Causeway







Coming over the Sanibel Causeway on my way to the Ride of Silence tonight, I spotted this "ghost bicycle" in memory of the tragic death of Tracey Kleinpell on 5/7/11. Thanks to whoever put it there.

NBC-2 News: Debate continues on makes US 41 in Naples more pedestrian friendly



Click here to read the story.
This is the latest development in the ongoing saga of the efforts by the Naples City Council with support from the Naples Pathways Coalition, to make US 41 in downtown Naples more pedestrian friendly.

From the Naples Daily News, 5/19/11, a few excerpts below:


“I think it will be better for business and connectivity and just make it a bigger and more enjoyable downtown experience,” said Michelle Avola, executive director Naples Pathways Coalition.

Proposals in the hybrid option call for a reduction of traffic lanes on U.S. 41 from six to four, as well as the addition of on-street parking and a bike lane.

Cape Coral City Council Transportation Committee considers 3 bike lane proposals by citizen groups


5/18/11
Report from Steve Chupack, BikeWalkLee's Cape Coral representative

At today's Cape Coral City Council's Transportation Advisory Committee meeting, local advocates, led by Pat Young of the Southwest Cape Coral Neighborhood Association (SWCCNA), presented their proposal to install bike lanes on 3 roadway segments:
1. Agualinda (from Beach to Cape Coral Parkway)
2. Beach (from Oasis to Agualinda)
3. Cape Coral Parkway from Sands to SW 17th Place

In advance of the meeting, BikeWalkLee submitted a letter to the Committee in support of the request. Click here to read our letter.

In addition to Pat Young, the following other citizen groups were represented and spoke in support: The President of SWCCNA, Mr. Cervoni, Mike Swanson, President of the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club,Scott Balogna (Cape Coral member of MPO Citizen Advocacy Committee), the president of NW Neighborhood Assn., and Steve Chupack representing BikeWalkLee.

The following were the outcomes of the meeting:
1. Accepted Dr. Dr. Hanbali's (Safety Engineer) recommendation to approve bike lane on Agualinda from Beach to CC Parkway

2. Accepted Dr. Hanbali's recommendation against putting bike lanes on CC Pkwy from Sands to SW 17th Pl. Mainly because it is an emergency evacuation route, traffic count too high, etc. However, at suggestion of a TAC member Dr. Hanbali agreed to do traffic count west of Agualinda on CC Pkwy. Count apparently was taken east of Agualinda. Seemed to be general agreement on TAC that traffic count west of Agualinda is likely to be much lower than east of it. Dr. Hanbali will report findings. Possibly opens door to approving this important estimated .8 mile section that would enhance connectivity with Sands and Agualinda.

3. Did not accept, for now, Dr. Hanbali's recommendation against putting bike lane on .4 miles on Beach from Oasis to Agualinda. The issues was whether the need to keep the existing right-turn lane onto Oasis was justified. Pat's drawings showed several exceptions to this practice that seem to work quite well. Dr. Hanbali agreed to take another look at the issue and get back to TAC. Several TAC members were advocating for finding a creative solution, including the ones Pat described.

The TAC told Pat Young she could begin gathering signatures on the approved petition form. The petition will be circulated among the residents on the streets where the proposed bike lanes would be created, pending final approval by the TAC and City Council.

5/19 update:
The new counts for Cape Coral Parkway and the new analysis of the Beach/Oasis right turn are going to be presented at the TAC meting on June 15.

NBC-2 News was at the meeting and interviewed several of the participants. Nice job! Here's the video:


Thanks to the community advocates in Cape Coral who put together this terrific proposal and are working hard with the city to bring these bike/ped improvements to their community! Darla

Cape Coral dangerous intersections get stop signs



Watch this NBC-2 News video to see how residents' fight for safety improvements has finally paid off.

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column:Finally, a plan to get us where we need to be


May 18, 2011

Almost a year-and a-half in the making, a countywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan is finally complete. The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization commissioned development of the plan so that each of the county’s jurisdictions could be working off the same page in terms of bike/ped projects. This is important because many of our roads and trails actually cut across or run through various jurisdictions. For example, Del Prado Boulevard is a Lee County road, yet it is entirely within the city of Cape Coral. And U.S. 41 is a Florida Department of Transportation highway that runs through two cities and unincorporated Lee County. Likewise, Yarbrough Park (formally known as Ten Mile Canal Linear Park) is mostly within Lee County but its northern end is in Fort Myers and will eventually extend all the way to the Caloosahatchee River, all within the city.

Three demonstration projects are included in the larger plan and will be among the first to be implemented. Two of the three consist of only way-finding features, thus should be easy to complete since they only require signage and a few minor infrastructure tweaks, otherwise they’re ready to go.

Lee Tour de Parks is a loop that includes Lakes Park, Calusa Nature Center, Yarbrough Park, North Colonial Linear Park, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, Lee County Sports Complex (Twins and Miracle stadium) and even the new Red Sox facility off Daniels Parkway.

University Loop takes cyclist on roads with bike lanes and side paths that are in the vicinity of FGCU in South Fort Myers and Estero. Both will have consistent signage and markings that will help users navigate each.

The third is a bit more ambitious but will greatly improve access for cyclists and pedestrians in an area that’s currently difficult for us. Called Winkler/Jefferson Complete Streets in the plan because these two existing “complete streets” are almost directly across U.S. 41 from each other, it’s an example of “you can’t get there from here.” There’s an opportunity to utilize the publicly owned right of way running along the south side of the Winkler Canal by turning it into a greenway trail, potentially connecting U.S. 41 directly to McGregor Boulevard, or at least making it easier to get to Jefferson Avenue once you’re west of U.S. 41.

A big “thank you” is in order to all those who made this plan a reality: MPO staff; the consultant team, led by RWA consulting; Project Advisory Committee members; Florida Department of Transportation; and the numerous volunteers who provided input and did field work, including members of Caloosa Riders Bike Club and BikeWalkLee.

Click here to view the plan.

Advocacy update

Many of us who consider ourselves part of the local cycling, running, triathlon and health and wellness community are mourning the loss of one of our own. Although I didn’t personally know Tracey Kleinpell, the woman killed while cycling over the Sanibel Causeway with her husband, her death has resulted in a number of inquiries to BikeWalkLee asking how they could help prevent such tragedies in the future. Perhaps Tracey’s death will lead to even more focus on making our community a better place for cyclists and pedestrians, including enforcement efforts. In this case, I’m hoping the Florida Highway Patrol will make the right decision when determining charges against the motorist who killed Tracey, thereby allowing the rest of the justice process to take its course. By doing so, FHP will also send the message that the consequences of killing someone with a motor vehicle when the driver should have been able to avoid the crash will result in more than just a relatively small fine and points on a driver’s license. It shouldn’t take a DUI to impose significant consequences for those whose unsafe driving puts others at risk, especially those most vulnerable. My condolences to Tracey’s family and friends.

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

— Dan Moser is a league cycling and- CyclingSavvy instructor and programs 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.

Upcoming Events

Running/Walking:

Run on the Green 5K, Monday, Memorial Day, May 30, Eastwood Golf Course.

For more Lee County running events, visit Fort Myers Track Club and 3-D Runners. For Naples/Collier running info, it’s the Gulf Coast Runners. Charlotte County running information is here. Walkers can visit here.

Cycling: Ride of Silence, Wednesday, May 18, beginning at 7 p.m. from Centennial Park.

Visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club at , Florida Mudcutters; Naples Pathways Coalition ; and Naples Velo for more information on local bicycling activities, including weekly rides. The Florida Bicycle Association is your source for statewide happenings.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BoCC Declares May 2011 Bike Month


5-17-11 Bicycle Month
The County Commission adopted the following resolution:

Lee County has an interest in encouraging the use of bicycles, increasing education and awareness of bicycle safety; and Whereas: Lee County has invested millions of dollars to construct bicycle facilities as part of roadway improvements and as a retrofit to existing roads; and Whereas: The Board of County Commissioners adopted a Complete Streets Resolution on November 10, 2009; and Whereas: The month of May is being promoted by the League of American Bicyclists as National Bike Month, with the week of May 16-20 as Bike-to-Work Week and Friday May 20 as Bike-to-Work Day. NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE Board of County Commissioners of Lee County, Florida does hereby declare May 2011 to be Bike Month, with the week of May 16-20, 2011as Bike-to-Work Week and with Friday, May 20, 2011 as Bike-to-Work Day in Lee County.

On hand for today's ceremony were Bert Hamilton, Keith Kibbey, Joe Beck, and Margaret Banyan. As chair of BPAC, Bert Hamilton spoke, thanking the County for their efforts in working to make Lee County a more bike-friendly community.

Angie Ferguson's column in News-Press: Motorists challenge athletes' training


May 17, 2011

It was about 10 a.m. Saturday as we were
just finishing a nice 60-mile training ride.
Pleased with the pace and remarking to my
fellow riders how lucky we were to live in
southwest Florida and how doubly fortunate
that we had beat the heat that morning, we
were getting ready to wrap up our
delightful start, feeling quite satisfied and
pleased with ourselves, when it happened.

From around a corner came a barreling
pickup truck with passengers spouting less
than encouraging words and swerving
toward our lane to scare us. I tried to
alleviate the instant anxiety of my
comrades by telling them they were
confused and they were really just cheering
us on - but I know better.

Then there's the woman who pulled up
beside me while I was waiting in my bike
lane for a green light. She rolled down her
window to say, "You really are in the way
and you'd better watch out." Was that a
threat?

The stories go on and on and
unfortunately, the severity of accidents and
the number of memorials seems to have
grown.

So how can we tether this disconnect
between motorists and the rest of the
people sharing the roads? We're already
wearing neon outfits that scream "don't hit
me." We lobby City Hall and county boards
for more paths and bike lanes, but clearly
there seems to be some separation
between having a license and driving
responsibly when they're behind the wheel.

To continue reading the article, click here.

New video highlights dangerous risks of rolling stops on right turns


AASHTO Journal, April 29, 2011

The danger from motor vehicles rolling through red lights while making right turns is featured in a new video released recently by the Traffic Safety Coalition. The video, "Stop On Red -- It's the Law," uses actual red-light-running crash footage and close calls with pedestrians to remind drivers why a complete stop on red is always necessary before turning. In the video, the coalition advocates for more cities to install what it dubs "safety cameras" -- devices that photograph red-light runners so vehicle owners can be fined. The coalition is a non-profit organization comprised of citizens, traffic safety experts, law enforcement, public officials, victim's advocates, healthcare professionals, and industry leaders who are committed to working together to make American roads safer for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Click here to read the full article.


Click here to watch the video.

News-Press: Bus routes fail workers in Lee County


5/16/11
Written by
Brian Liberatore


Lee County’s buses give people about 1.5
million rides to and from work every year.
But according to a new national report, Lee
is near the bottom when it comes to getting
riders to their jobs.

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan
area ranked 67th on a list of 100 areas in
a study from Washington-based Brookings
Institute. The study looked at mass transit
systems and their ability to connect riders
to employment. Collier County was not
included in the study.

None of the eight Florida locations on the
list did well. The best Florida area for
transit was Sarasota, which ranked 57th.

Part of the challenge is funding, said
commissioner Ray Judah. And part of it,
said LeeTran spokeswoman Joanne Haley,
is Florida’s development: commercial
centers and housing spread across
hundreds of square miles.

“When we plan the routes, we make sure
that we serve major employment centers,”
Haley said, “which is challenging in Lee
County because they’re so spread out.”

The limited transportation, the study
suggests, limits people’s employment
options.

Click here to continue reading the article.

FDOT selects McGregor Blvd sidewalk options


FDOT selected a preferred alternative for 5 projects to add sidewalks to either side of McGregor Blvd. from south of College Parkway to south of Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers. FDOT selected Alternative B, which does not affect the Royal Palm trees along McGregor Blvd. Construction on the 5 segment projects are scheduled to start in early 2012. To see details on each of these projects, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Secretary LaHood's Blog: Are you ready for the 2 Mile Challenge?


FastLane
May 16, 2011


High gas prices are hitting American families in their wallets and pockets pretty hard these days. But did you know that more than 40 percent of urban trips in the United States are less than two miles, yet 90 percent of those short trip are taken by car?

Many of these trips could easily be taken by public transit, on foot or by bicycle--saving money, helping the environment, and even affording the chance to stay fit all at the same time. At the Department of Transportation, we know these are the kinds of alternatives people are looking for, and we're working to provide transportation options that don't require getting into the car.

That’s why I was pleased to hear about a new competition called the 2 Mile Challenge that demonstrates how many car trips could be replaced by bikes.

Click here to continue reading and to find out how to take the challenge.

Countywide bike/ped master plan scheduled for adoption at 5/20 MPO meeting


Friday, May 20th is the culmination of a 3-year effort, initiated by BikeWalkLee, to develop the first comprehensive countywide plan for a network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and provide a blueprint to transform the county into a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community. The blueprint provides guidance to all jurisdictions in Lee County regarding facility improvements and policy recommendations aimed at better accommodation of bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation.

At Friday's regular MPO meeting (starting at 9 a.m. at Victoria Ave.), it is anticipated that the Board will vote to adopt the master plan, with unanimous support from the three advisory committees and the MPO staff. We hope that statements in support of the plan during the public comment period will demonstrate broad community support for implementation of this plan.

The following are links to documents about the master plan:

1. The Plan's Executive Summary

2. BikeWalkLee's fact sheet on the plan

3. BikeWalkLee's: What the plan means for stakeholder groups

4. BikeWalkLee's summary matrix of the plan recommendations

5. Link to the full Master Plan

BikeWalkLee is 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.

Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to bring this plan to fruition. We know that adoption of the plan is just the beginning of a long process. Implementation of this important plan will take continued commitment and funding from the MPO, all the local jurisdictions, FDOT, and other organizations and agencies involved, as well as sustained support from the community and its citizens.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Are You a Distracted Driver?



This week's Lee County website features this new LeeDOT item:

Use this Pedestrian Injury Simulator to find out how speeding, using your cell phone and drinking alcohol can impair your ability to react while driving. For more information on road safety, visit Lee County Department of Transportation Traffic Section.

Approximately two-thirds of all crashes in which people are killed or injured happen on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less. At 30mph, vehicles are traveling at 44 feet (about 3 car lengths) each second.

Run the Pedestrian Injury Simulator to see the impact of speed and various driving impairments upon your thinking and braking distances.

Click here to try the simulator!

Local ‘Ride of Silence’ May 18




What began nine years ago in Dallas as a spontaneous outpouring of grief for a friend and fellow rider, struck and killed by the mirror of a passing vehicle, has rolled across the globe to become an international annual event memorializing and honoring cyclists who have been injured and killed while riding.

The many hundreds of events share the same goals: “To honor fallen cyclists, to promote road safety, and to make a difference.”

Bike safety is not a fleeting issue, especially here in Florida which ranks the very worst in the nation for cyclist safety with the highest fatality rate six years in a row. Just within the past two months, here in Lee County four cyclists have been killed in crashes with automobiles.

This year’s local “Ride of Silence” is giving special recognition to two of those riders, Janet Rae LoFranco (2nd photo) and Tracey Kleinpell (1st photo).

LoFranco, 59, was struck and killed in Estero on Feb. 20, 2011, leaving behind Ron, her husband of 30 years; two adult children, Justin and Jacqueline; and a first grandchild expected in early June. Janet, who loved all outdoor activities, was an experienced and avid cyclist, riding for pleasure and exercise. Kleinpell, 46, also a veteran cyclist and triathlete, was killed by a driver while cycling across the Sanibel Causeway. Tracey’s husband, Gordon, was riding with her when the driver crossed the centerline, resulting in Tracey’s tragic death. Both of these fatalities were preventable and unnecessary.

The Ride of Silence, in memorializing riders injured and killed, seeks to draw motorist’s attention to cyclist’s legal rights to full use of the roadways, to inform motorists that we are here, to watch for us – as if our lives depended on it. Locally there will be two Rides of Silence both departing at 7:00 p.m. Please come out to show your support and send the message that we deserve our right to operate on our own roads. We are not just bike riders but friends and neighbors and we must all Share the Road.

Fort Myers: Caloosa Riders is organizing a ride in downtown Fort Myers . It starts at Centennial Park , 2000 W. First St. , Fort Myers (under the bridge at Heitman and Bay Streets). The ride will be 8 miles at 10-12 mph. For information, contact riderinfo@caloosariders.org, or www.caloosariders.org.

Bonita Springs : The Bonita Bay Bicycle Club's ride starts from " Riverwalk Park " within Bonita Bay . It will be a 10 mph ride, about one hour long, within Bonita Bay , escorted by BB security vehicles. Non-residents of Bonita Bay are welcome, and must contact Claude Weir, BBBC President, at least a day in advance to be cleared at the gate: cvwesq@earthlink.net.

Note: that all riders must wear a helmet.


Cyclist, 46, killed in tragic accident along causeway

Island Reporter May 12, 2011
By JEFF LYSIAK, jlysiak@breezenewspapers.com

Officials from the Florida Highway Patrol are still conducting an investigation into a fatal accident that occurred on Saturday morning, which resulted in the death of a 46-year-old cyclist from Fort Myers and caused the closure of the Sanibel Causeway for several hours.

According to the police report, Tracey and Gordon Kleinpell were riding their bicycles along the causeway, heading off the island around 10:55 a.m. A truck driven by Theresa Lynn Shirley, a resident of Bokeelia, drifted into the bike lane along Span C, striking Tracey on her bicycle. Kleinpell hit the guardrail before falling off the bridge and into San Carlos Bay.

The victim was pulled from the water by a nearby boater, but attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.

Gordon Kleinpell was not injured in the accident.

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Owen T. Keen stated that they are investigating whether Shirley, 46, had fallen asleep at the wheel. It has not been determined whether the driver was under the influence of medication or suffered from any medical condition which may have triggered the accident.

"Something terribly went wrong and caused this crash," said Keen, who added that charges against Shirley have not been filed.

Born in New London, Ct., Tracey graduated from the New England Deaconess School of Nursing in Boston in 1989, and was in the top 10 in her class. In 1996, she earned her bachelor's degree in health care administration from Barry University in Miami, Fla. She worked as a registered nurse and began her career at Lee Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Treatment Center.

An avid athlete and marathon runner, Tracey was personal trainer and certified diabetes educator. She worked for the Cape Coral Wellness Center and had recently worked at Gateway Fitness Center and Fitness on the Move on Metro Parkway in Fort Myers.

The Kleinpell's were avid cyclists and traveled across the causeway together almost every weekend. The couple recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.

As a tribute to fallen riders, both the Caloosa Riders and Bonita Bay Bicycle Club have dedicated their annual "Ride Of Silence," scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, to the memories of Kleinpell and Janet Rae LoFranco, a bicyclist from Estero who was killed on Feb. 20.

The "Ride of Silence" memorializes riders injured and killed, seeks to draw motorist’s attention to cyclist’s legal rights to full use of the roadways and inform motorists to keep a watchful eye for cyclists.

Witnesses at the scene of the accident reported that traffic heading towards the causeway was backed up all the way to East Gulf Drive and far up Periwinkle Way on Sanibel while law enforcement officials conducted their investigation.

According to the Sanibel Police Department's incident report, the causeway was reopened to traffic in both directions shortly after 1 p.m.

Earlier stories:
News-Press

Fox News (interview with Mary Miller, Sanibel Bicycle Club President, emphasizing importance of 3 ft. passing law)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

US Mayors Want More Bicycle and Pedestrian Investments

According to the May 9th League of American Bicyclists newsletter, "America's mayors want more control over federal transportation money. That is according to a survey released today by the United States Conference of Mayors. And what would they spend it on? Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure would be near the top of their list..."

"Bicycling and walking rank high among the biggest challenges identified by the mayors: road/street maintenance (78%); bicycle/pedestrian projects (60%); public transit operating assistance (45%); public transit capacity (40%), and road/street expansion (36%)..."

SECT'Y LAHOOD CONCERNED HOW CYCLISTS TREATED ON STREETS

According to a May 10th Huffington Post article, "Ray LaHood 'Concerned' About Safety Of Urban Bikers, Unsure If He's A Hipster U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signaled on Tuesday that his department would be looking into measures to encourage automobile drivers to observe better safety standards when it came to bicyclists cohabiting the roadways. In an interview with The Huffington Post, the Illinois Republican praised various cities for restructuring transportation policy around cleaner forms of transit, singling out the construction of bike lanes to encourage biking as particularly effective. But with additional bikers on the road come additional risks. And as head of the Department of Transportation, LaHood noted his 'concern' over the 'way that bikers are treated when they are on streets.'"

"'I'm concerned that people that are driving cars have a level of respect for bikers, and that's the reason that we have these bike lanes,' said LaHood. 'Bikers have as much right to the streets as anybody driving a car and I am concerned about [their safety].' Told that his heartfelt defense of bikers came off like the musings of a run-of-the-mill hipster, LaHood professed genuine confusion. 'I don't even know what that term means,' he said."