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Friday, September 30, 2011

Lee County's Complete Streets presentation to ITE SWFL/FZAPA



On September 28th, Andy Getch of LeeDOT and a key member of the County's Complete Streets team, made an excellent presentation on the county's complete streets efforts to the SW Florida chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Click here to link to the PowerPoint presentation that the county has posted on its Complete Streets web page.

The presentation is a comprehensive look at the various aspects of Lee County's complete streets efforts and its integration into the county's way of doing business. It also puts the County's efforts into the larger national context. Thanks to Andy and the complete streets team for their leadership,commitment, and hard work!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Billy Hattaway named FDOT District 1 Secretary



This is GREAT news for Lee County and its complete streets/sustainable communities efforts. Billy is a longtime advocate of a balanced multimodal transportation system with an emphasis on complete streets, transit-oriented development, and sustainable communities. His involvement in our complete streets efforts over the past 3 years means he’s starting his job with an understanding about Lee County and its new direction.


________________________________________
From: Blanchard, Brian
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:48 PM

Team FDOT—

Today Secretary Prasad named Billy Hattaway as the new District One Secretary. Billy, who brings more than 30 years of private and public sector experience to the Department, previously served as Managing Director of Transportation, Florida at Vanasse, Hangen and Brustlin. His start date is October 17.

Billy brings a proven record of achievement, together with his vast background and experience, to the Department. He will build on the strong foundation in District One and will help to deliver the bold transportation agenda the Governor has implemented. Billy’s private and public sector knowledge make him an outstanding addition to the Department.

Billy has more than 30 years of experience in the transportation industry, including 23 years with FDOT where he previously held the positions as Director of the Office of Design and State Roadway Design Engineer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his master’s degree in business (MBA) from Florida State University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in Florida.

We also want to thank District Secretary Don Skelton for serving as the Interim District One Secretary as well as filling his responsibilities as the District Seven Secretary. He has done, and continues to do, a great job. But he couldn’t have done it without the support of all those on the FDOT team, especially those in Districts One and Seven.

Brian A. Blanchard, P.E.
Assistant Secretary for Engineering and Operations

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reminder: Oct. 5th Open House on Cape Coral bike lane proposals



BikeWalkLee encourages you to drop in anytime between 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. on October 5th at the Cape Coral bike lane open house, at the Oasis Charter Middle School. Click here for the BikeWalkLee flyer.

Click the photo above to enlarge the maps showing how these 1.1. miles of new bike lanes will fill the gaps to provide 17.6 miles of connected bike lanes and bike paths. Thanks to Joe Beck for drawing the maps.

If you're interested in reading more about the benefits of paved shoulders & bike lanes, click here.

Invite to Oct. 6th BoCC inauguration of LinC ,new Lee-Collier bus route



BikeWalkLee is excited about the launch of this new cross-county bus route connecting Lee and Collier counties. Join with the County Commissioners in launching this new service on Oct. 6th at 10:45 a.m. at the Creekside Transportation Center. If you can make it, be sure to RSVP: 239-277-3963.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Looking for 3FeetPlease Stickers and Shirts?




From the Southwest Florida Bicycling blog post:


The following local Lee County bicycle shops have 3feetplease stickers available for free. Now you can help spread the word!

AJ Barnes Bicycle Emporium
http://www.ajbarnesbicycles.com/
15248 S Tamiami Trl # 150
Fort Myers, FL 33908
(239) 437-0373

Bike Route
http://thebikeroute.com/
8595 College Pkwy #200
Fort Myers, FL 33919
(239) 481-3376

Fort Myers Schwinn Cyclery
http://www.schwinncyclery.com/
3630 Cleveland Ave
Fort Myers, FL 33901
(239) 939-2899

Paradise Bicycles
http://paradisebicycles.net/
4391 Colonial Blvd
Fort Myers, FL 33996
(239) 939-0511

Paradise Bicycles
http://paradisebicycles.net/
1712 Del Prado Blvd S
Cape Coral, FL 33990
(239) 772-2453

Trek Bicycle Store of Estero
http://trekbikesflorida.com/
8001 Plaza del Lago Dr
Estero, FL 33928
(239) 390-9909‎

Friday, September 23, 2011

BikeWalkLee letter in support of Fort Myers' Complete Streets Resolution


As reported in our Sept. 17th blog story,the Fort Myers City Council will vote on the Complete Streets Resolution at their October 3rd meeting. Today BikeWalkLee sent a letter to Council members in favor of the resolution (see below).
We urge Fort Myers residents and everyone who uses Fort Myers streets and roadways to communicate your support to City Council members. If you can make it, please come to the council meeting in the Council chamber (2200 Second Street, Fort Myers)on Monday October 3rd, starting at 4:30 p.m. Public input occurs at the beginning of the meeting so you should arrive before 5 p.m. if you plan to speak.


If you can't make the meeting but want to communicate your support, please e-mail the council members:
mayorhenderson@cityftmyers.com
councilmanstreets@cityftmyers.com
councilmanbanks@cityftmyers.com
councilmanflanders@cityftmyers.com
councilmansimms@cityftmyers.com
tleonardo@cityftmyers.com
councilwomanwatkinsbrown@cityftmyers.com

BikeWalkLee's 9/22/11 letter:

Dear Honorable Mayor and City Council Members:

BikeWalkLee is a citizen based community coalition that works to raise public awareness and advocate 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, transit riders, and persons of all ages and abilities. We wish to make known our endorsement of the City of Fort Myers’ Complete Streets Resolution that comes before you on Oct 3rd. As a coalition with a large number of diverse stakeholders, we offer our full support for this resolution and its future implementation within the City of Fort Myers.

This resolution is a significant step forward for the city. It is comprehensive in its vision, practical in application 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 for comprehensive linkages and continuity, tying together various city land use, transportation, and bike/ped policies. It is a natural extension of the city’s current Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan and the elegant improvements to the streets downtown.

Complete streets save taxpayers money. By addressing the needs of all road users at the front-end of all road projects (new construction as well as road improvements) in the routine process of planning, design, construction, maintenance and operations, costly retrofits can be avoided. In these tough economic times, it is important to spend public resources in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible. "Doing it right the first time", addressing the needs of all users at the front-end, is key to this cost-effective approach.

This Complete Streets Resolution positions the city, in alliance with Lee County and the recently adopted MPO Bike/Pedestrian Master Plan, as a leader within southwest Florida in developing the highly desirable “livable communities” sought by people from across the nation and the world. Its adoption lays the groundwork for a new level of collaboration between city departments, the county and the MPO, each with their own areas of knowledge and expertise, bringing together parts to make a far greater whole. Complete Streets are most effective when contiguous governments can work together in achieving the principles and goals; for example, this resolution will offer benefits to the city in grant funding such as the MPO’s upcoming submission of an application for the federal TIGER III grant for a Bicycle /Pedestrian /Transit Complete Streets Project which includes a City of Fort Myers component.

Click here to continue reading the letter.

To read the background memo/"blue sheet" that went to City Council members, click here.

To read the Complete Streets Resolution, click here.

BPAC works with LeeDOT on new Summerlin & College overpass/intersection issues for bicyclists




Earlier this summer, BPAC raised concerns with LeeDOT about safety and flow problems for bicyclists at the new Summerlin and College overpass/intersection. In response, LeeDOT staff Clay Simmons and Mike Tisch conducted on-site meetings with various committee members and volunteers. The intent was to meet with bicyclists as they experienced their passage through the intersection and get first hand views of what could be done to improve the flow and safety for bicyclists. There were numerous right-of-way constraints for this project that was designed years ago and the newly completed result offers no bike lane or shoulder areas for east and west bound College Ave or for north and south bound Summerlin either on the overpass or on the surface ramps. The options now for bicyclists are to either stay on the road and take the right hand lane, or get off the road and use the pedestrian access if they are East or West bound on College. There are narrow shoulders north of College that disappear when you approach the overpass, so the same options arise. LeeDOT is considering the following options to improve the situation: Adding curb cuts, signage, and striping changes in order to route bicyclists on to the sidewalks.

Thanks to BPAC for addressing this issue and kudos to LeeDOT for setting up on-site meetings to get bicyclists’ perspective on the situation.

Pictured above are (L to R): Peter Ahlgren, BPAC at Large, Bill Garrison, Caloosa Riders, Clay Simmons and Mike Tisch, LeeDOT.

Reported by Steve Rodgers, BPAC member and Secretary.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Response from Senator Bill Nelson in support of Transportation Enhancement Porgram


It's great to see Senator Nelson's continued support for complete streets and the Transportation Enhancements (TE)program.


From: Bill@billnelson.senate.gov [mailto:Bill@billnelson.senate.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:03 AM
To: letournd@comcast.net
Subject: RE: Your response from Senator Bill Nelson

Dear Ms. Letourneau:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent amendment offered by Senator Coburn to H.R. 2887, the Surface and Air Transportation Programs Extension Act, which sought to strip out funding for transportation enhancements such as bike trails and pedestrian improvements.

I recognize the importance of making streets accessible to everyone and ensuring that children are able to make it to school safely without a car or bus ride. To help achieve these goals, I am a cosponsor of both S.1056, the Safe and Complete Streets Act and of S. 800, the Safe Routes to School Reauthorization Act of 2011.

As you know, many of Florida's roads are not designed to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic. This problem has become more evident as the price of gas continues to fluctuate, and more people begin to use alternate forms of transportation. I believe we need to make our streets more accessible to all kinds of traffic, so that folks have safe options to get around without using a car. Not only does this help people save money on gas, it's also better for the environment and it encourages daily physical activity, such as walking and biking.

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I understand the importance of maintaining our nation’s transportation programs. I appreciate hearing your views. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.

Sincerely,
Senator Bill Nelson

Monday, September 19, 2011

Invite to Oct. 5th Cape Coral open house on 2 bike lane extension proposals



Cape Coral residents and cyclists who ride in the Cape, especially in the Beach Parkway and Agualinda Blvd. areas) are encouraged to attend this open house on Wednesday, October 5th at 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Oasis Middle School (3507 Oasis Blvd.). You can drop in anytime during that 2 hour period and review the Cape Coral City's plans, ask questions of the staff and provide comments about the need for these bike lanes.

The open house is the next step in the process that began in May when the SW Cape Coral Neighborhood Association (SWCCNA) presented its request for these bike lanes to the City's Transportation Advisory Committee. The Traffic Engineer recommended to the TAC that these two bike lanes be approved. The open house provides an opportunity for public input focused on this specific SWCCNA request. (No other bike lane requests are pending before the TAC at this time.) A summary of the outcome of this open house will be presented to the TAC, which will then submit its recommendation to the full City Council for a vote.

While these two proposed bike lane extensions are only 1.1 miles, they fill gaps in our system which, once filled, will provide over 20 miles of connected biking facilities, extending in the north from the bike path along Veterans Parkway to Cape Harbour and Eldorado Parkway in the south. Having connected and accessible biking and walking facilities throughout Lee County is the goal of the Countywide Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan that was adopted by the Lee MPO Board(with representatives from all local jurisdictions in Lee County) on May 20, 2011.

In light of the 9/18/11 News-Press story [unavailable online] about this open house, with the provocative and misleading headlines of "bike lanes potential battleground," it is important that supporters of these 2 bike lane extensions make their voices heard by attending this open house.

For background: Click here to read the blog story on the June 17th meeting; and click here to read the post on the May 18th meeting.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Action Alert: Fort Myers City Council considers Complete Streets Resolution on Oct. 3rd


In May, the City of Fort Myers began consideration of a Complete Streets Resolution, following in the footsteps of the Lee Board of County Commissioners (who adopted a Complete Streets Resolution in November and is now implementing its Nov. 2010 complete streets action plan). The City’s Planning Board approved the resolution at its August 3rd meeting, followed by approval by the City’s Bike/Pedestrian Advisory Board. It has now been placed on the City Council’s October 3rd agenda for a vote. BikeWalkLee strongly supports this resolution and urges residents of the City of Fort Myers to contact members of City Council and/or attend the Oct. 3rd meeting to express your support for this resolution.

The Monday October 3rd meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. and is held in the Council chamber at the City Hall, 2200 Second Street in Fort Myers. The agenda for the meeting will be published on the city’s website on September 26th, so check back to see the agenda.
To contact the council members by e-mail or phone, click here for contact information.

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 posted on BikeWalkLee’s website. Click here to read this excellent resolution. (Insert final version as approved by Planning Board as soon as posted on BWL website.}
If you have any questions, contact Nicole DeVaughn, Planning Manager, mdevaughn@cityftmyers.com.

BikeWalkLee submitted a letter in support of the resolution on May 27th (click here) and will be submitting a letter to members of City Council soon. [Insert letter when finalized.]

Thanks for letting City Council members know that you support complete streets!

Highlights from Florida’s Traffic Crash Statistics Report 2010


Every year the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (which is not part of FDOT), issues a traffic crash statistics report analyzing traffic crash reports submitted by state and local law enforcement agencies.

On August 31st, they issued the 2010 report which includes some important information on overall trends as well as specifics on pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and injuries.

• Fatalities as a result of traffic crashes on Florida roadways decreased by 4.6% between 2009 and 2010.
• Over the past 5 years, fatalities have dropped every year, which is a 30.8% reduction.
Bicyclist fatalities decreased by 24% between 2009 and 2010 (from 99 to 76 respectively).
Pedestrian fatalities increased by 3.5% between 2009 and 2010 (from 482 to 499 respectively).

The report contains graphs charting both fatalities and injuries for both pedestrians and cyclists over the past 10 years (see p. 10 & 19).

The report also includes a 5-year crash history by county. The results for Lee County are a mixed bag:
• Lee County’s bicyclist fatalities are down to their lowest number in 2010 (3 from a high of 7) [Note: in the first 5 months of 2011 there have been 5 bicyclist fatalities so this trend has already been reversed.], but bicyclist injuries are at the highest level during this 5 year period (125 in 2010, up from 106 in 2009). Each year over the 5 year period the number of bicyclist injuries has increased significantly.
• Lee County’s pedestrian fatalities are at 13 in 2010, the 2nd lowest during the 5 year period. Pedestrian injuries have continued their decline in 2010, down to 176 from 190 in 2009, from a high of 230 in 2007.

Click here to review the full report.

FDOT’s recent analysis of Florida counties’ highway safety record



Editor's Note: There are many ways to measure, analyze and compare highway safety statistics. This post summarizes the recent FDOT report that compares Florida county and city highway safety performance over the past 5 years. In reviewing these results it's important to understand several things:
1. Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians and cyclists so that a relatively good ranking within Florida does not mean that the jurisdiction is very safe relative to other similar jurisdictions in other states.
2. Given the wide variation in county size, population density, and character (urban, suburban, rural), analysis by county is not the most meaningful measure. Most national comparative analysis is done by Metro area (the Census' Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA).
For example, in the 2011 national Dangerous by Design report (dealing with pedestrian fatalities over the past 10 years), Lee County ranked 17th (out of 67 counties) highest pedestrian fatality rate, but when measured by Metro area, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area (which is the same as Lee County in our case)had the 5th highest fatality rate (per 100,000 population) of the 20 major metro areas in the state.

3.Most national analysis is done using fatality numbers since reporting on fatalities is more standard across states than injury reporting. The FDOT report merges fatalities and injuries together.

Bottomline: It's important to put this report into the larger perspective and not reach a faulty conclusion. Darla

Highlights from FDOT report:
Each year the Florida DOT releases a ranking of each county and city on where they stand on highway safety. Categories measured include: Total Fatalities and Injuries, Alcohol Related, Bicycle, Motorcycle, and Pedestrian Fatalities and Injuries, Speed Related, Seat Belt, Teen and Older Drivers, and Aggressive Driving.

Lee County is grouped with the largest 23 counties. In the FDOT matrix, higher number ranking indicates fewer crashes per person or mile-of-travel than the lower number ranking. Lee County ranks in the safest quartile for Bicycle Crashes, Pedestrian Crashes, Motorcycle Crashes, Speed Related Crashes, Teen Driver Crashes, and Total Fatal and Injury Crashes.

Lee County is ranked 18th out of 23 (with 23 being the best and 1 being the worst) in terms of the best county performance on total fatalities & injuries. In terms of bicycle fatalities and injuries, Lee County ranks 17th (out of 23), and 17th in terms of pedestrian fatalities and injuries. Compared to 2009, Lee County’s ranking slipped one place for bicycle safety but improved by 2 places for pedestrian safety.

So, while Florida is the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists, at least Lee County’s standing among the counties has improved and is in the top tier of Florida counties of its size.

In looking at the data on cities within Lee County, Cape Coral is ranked with the 31 cities with populations of 75,000 or greater. Cape Coral ranks 23rd out of 31 cities (with 31 being the best and 1 being the worst) for bicycle fatalities and injuries and ranked 28th on pedestrian fatalities and injuries, making them in the safest quartile for cities their size.

Both Bonita Springs and Fort Myers are ranked as part of the 93 cities with populations 15,000-75,000. While Bonita Springs scores in the safest quartile for both bicycle and pedestrian safety (70 and 77 respectively), the City of Fort Myers scores in the lowest quartile on pedestrian safety (only 13th out of 93), and just barely above that in bicycle safety (28 out of 93). Clearly, the City of Fort Myers is the most unsafe part of Lee County for both pedestrians and bicyclists.

Click here for the FDOT matrix of the ranking of all counties and cities.

Thanks to Steve Jansen and Mike Tisch at LeeDOT for bringing this data to our attention.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Invite to Oct. 7th Seminar:Urban Land Institute Sustainability Symposium 4th Annual Sustainability Symposium-Active Living Through Design



This symposium will focus on the three elements – the building, the street, and the master plan - that result in efficient use of resources, encourage reduction in vehicle miles traveled, and provide the social framework to achieve personal health goals. There will be a panel discussion on the trends of sustainability and what the future holds and an optional guided walking tour of Downtown Fort Myers at the conclusion of this program. The event will be held in downtown Fort Myers at the Art of the Olympians Museum. For those who register for credit, there will be additional coursework in the form of a written assignment.

Registration Information:
CRN 82083
PAD 6934 ST: Building Livable Communities in SW Florida
Credits: 1
Date: Friday, October 7, 2011; Time: 8:00-12 noon
Instructor: Margaret Banyan
Location: Off Campus: 1300 Hendry Street / Fort Myers, FL 33901 Deadline to register and pay without late fee: 10/7/11 at 5pm

Invite to Oct. 14th Seminar: Plat-a-Palooza: Platted Lands Legacy in SW Florida



Here's a great opportunity to be part of the discussion about finding a solution to the economic development problems created by pre-platted communities, such as Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres.

Thanks to Reconnecting Lee and the American Planning Association of Florida for co-sponsoring this important seminar.

Where: Palmetto Pines Country Club When: October 14, 2011 8am-4pm
1940 SW 9th Court Credits: 6 AICP/CM Credit Hours approved
Cape Coral FL 33991 Cost: $10.00; Free to FGCU students


Business leaders, local legislators, planners and students want to solve an age-old problem: how to grow healthy, thriving communities in locales where each lot has already been platted, or spoken for by individual owners. Finding a solution to this issue could be a strong driver for economic development in pre-platted places like Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres and Port Charlotte.

Representative Matt Caldwell wants to take on the issue at the legislative level, and he went to the volunteer group, Reconnecting Lee County (RLC) to ask for input. This one-day seminar sponsored by RLC and the American Planning Association of Florida is geared to give Rep. Caldwell the fuel he needs to take a plan to Tallahassee.

At issue is the challenge of assembling individual lots to create large enough blocks of land for attractive development options. Another problem created by pre-platting communities is urban sprawl, which is costly to governments/taxpayers who must provide service to homes or businesses located in distant, mostly undeveloped portions of a community.

On October 14th, City and County leaders and planners from Lee, Charlotte and Collier Counties and the City of Cape Coral will join forces to explore the problem, potential solutions and look at a case study from Collier that’s being hailed a success.

Among the participants will be State Representative Gary Aubuchon, Lee County Commission Chair Frank Mann, former Charlotte County Commissioner Adam Cummings, Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan and former Mayor Joe Mazurkiewicz and a host of planners and others well versed on the topic. The conclusion will be moderated by former Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council Executive Director Wayne Daltry.

Other project partners include: Florida Gulf Coast University, Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, Florida, Florida Planning & Zoning Association, and the Urban Land Institute. The event is being hosted in Cape Coral, our area’s largest pre-platted City. Anyone interested in sponsoring or attending the event is welcome.

“Please RSVP and make checks payable to “Florida Chapter of APA”.
Please send to the following address.
Alexis V. Crespo, AICP, LEED AP BD+C
Waldrop Engineering, P.A.
28100 Bonita Grande Drive, Suite 305
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Office: (239) 405-7777
Cell: (239) 850-8525

Federal funding for bicycling and walking saved--for now


Last night, the Senate passed a clean extension of the Transportation Bill by a vote of 92-6. (Senator Nelson voted Yes and Rubio was absent & did not vote). This means that all current transportation funding and programs will continue to March 31, 2012--the date the extension expires. Senator Coburn (R-OK) had threatened to strip the Transportation Enhancements program (TE)(the program that provides significant funding for bike/ped programs)from the bill. However, he eventually gave up his opposition to the bill. THIS TIME. According to Living Streets Alliance, "John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn, says the Senator agreed to drop this opposition in exchange for assurances that a highway program that funds bike paths and other 'transportation enhancements' will be eliminated at a later point."

The League of American Bicyclists warns us that we will have to continue to fight to ensure that biking and walking programs are included in the long term transportation bill or another extension.

Thanks to everyone who responded to our calls for action and contacted Senators Nelson and Rubio....and be ready to take action again in a few months!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lack of funding halts Stay Alive…Just Drive operations


BikeWalkLee was saddened to read the news today that one of our partner organizations, Stay Alive...Just Drive! is ceasing operations this month. SAJD and its tireless leader, Jay Anderson, have led the fight against distracted driving in SWFL. The community owes a great debt of gratitude to Jay Anderson for his contributions to bringing public awareness to this issue. On behalf of BikeWalkLee, we thank you for your service to our community and for being so supportive of our efforts. The campaign against distracted driving must continue.

Florida Weekly, September 14, 2011
BY EVAN WILLIAMS


Stay Alive…Just Drive, which implores drivers not to use phones or be distracted while motoring about their lives on Southwest Florida roads, will cease most of its operations at the end of the month. The organization’s website will remain active.

Executive Director Jay Anderson has been frustrated by his efforts to raise money for the nonprofit, which he said takes a minimum of $30,000 per year to operate. “Like any business, if you don’t have any customers, you have to call it quits,” said Mr. Anderson.

In a nutshell, his message is that distracted driving causes violent traffic crashes. It’s been his life’s work since his wife, while on foot, was sideswiped by a driver using a cellphone. Although his wife recovered from her injuries, the time and resources he poured into Stay Alive…Just Drive took a toll on their personal life as well.

During those last five years, the former EMS captain’s colorful truck, billboards, bumper stickers, and his presentations to schools and other groups, have become familiar about town. Among other measures to stop distracted driving, he works in partnership with law enforcement, the court system and other agencies, and developed an education program.

“Since 2006, we have been actively and aggressively educating the public regarding the dangers of unsafe and distracted driving,” Mr. Anderson wrote in an e-mail. “Believing I could make a difference has exhausted my savings, cost me my marriage, home and is now on the verge of claiming my pride.”

“Stay alive, just drive” has been his mantra both before and after distracted driving became a national news story, and the Department of Transportation began its own campaign to warn the public that it’s not safe to use a phone while you drive — not to mention eating, grooming or lovemaking. News stories have dramatized some of the worst tragedies that sprung from, particularly, texting and driving.

“In 2010, 37,788 people in the U.S. died on our roads,” Mr. Anderson said. “That’s the equivalent to 90 people a day dying in a plane crash. If such a tragedy were to occur, we would quickly find a solution and end the carnage. So, why is it acceptable for that many people to needlessly die in traffic crashes that are preventable? Everyone knows someone who has been affected by a crash, either by being injured themselves, or through suffering a bereavement or serious injury to a family member or friend.”

Want to get involved? Apply to serve on MPO’s Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinating Committee




Based on the recommendations in the MPO’s countywide Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan adopted in May, the Bicycle Pedestrian Coordination Committee (BPCC)’s bylaws were amended (adopted by the MPO Board on August 19th), to expand the membership and broaden the mandate of this committee. This committee is now responsible for leading the implementation of the Master Plan, meets monthly, and reports directly to the MPO Board at each MPO monthly meeting, putting it on par with the other two major advisory committees.

Along with the addition of representatives from health, law enforcement, and tourism, there are four new seats for citizens. This is an opportunity to play an important role in making Lee County more bike/ped-friendly and ensuring that the comprehensive master plan becomes reality on the ground. We’d love to see representatives from the various jurisdictions in the county, and to see a representative who’s passionate about pedestrian issues.

I encourage you to take a look at the bylaws, and consider submitting an application (which is found on p. 10 of this attachment). If you’re interested, fill out the form & email it to Meghan Marion at mmarion@swfrpc.org.
If you’re interested in seeing who else is on the committee, check out the roster.

If you’d like to find out more about the assignment, contact Dan Moser, who chairs the BPCC. He can be reached on: 239-334-6417 or dan@floridabicycle.org .

Make a difference & step up to the plate!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good News: FDOT doesn’t take large share of 2011 Federal rescission from bike/ped programs!



Background: In recent years, Congress has enacted annual rescissions of unobligated federal transportation dollars and given states a great deal of flexibility in how to distribute those cuts across transportation programs. Unfortunately, both nationally and in Florida, those cuts have disproportionately come from bike/ed programs. Each year for the past 3 years BikeWalkLee has written the Governor urging him to minimize the impact of these rescissions on bike/ped programs. Click here to read BikeWalkLee’s April 25, 2011 letter to Governor Scott.

National Results: State DOTs implement a rescission of $2.5 billion, with a large share of bike-ped funding sent back to the federal government
This month, FHWA announced the final implementation of the $2.5 billion rescission of federal transportation funds required by Congress during a budget deal last spring. Through rescissions, the federal government recoups money that state DOTs have not yet spent. Each state DOT was notified of its required contribution toward the rescission and given considerable flexibility over which programs' unspent dollars would be returned to the federal government.

America Bikes recently analyzed 2011 rescissions coming from the Transportation Enhancements program, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, and the Recreational Trails program to determine whether state DOTs are disproportionately targeting the dollars in these programs that are intended to help fund biking and pedestrian improvements. (The Safe Routes to School program was not included in this rescission.)

Transportation Enhancements funds account for a less than 3% of total 2011 apportionments in every state. However they account for 11% of these rescissions, overall, and in 9 states (plus the District of Columbia) they account for more than 25% of the rescissions. Several other states left funds in these three programs untouched, finding all the required rescissions from other programs. Click here to see the state tables.

Florida: According to this analysis, Florida DOT took a small portion of the federal rescission from bike/ped programs. In total, 4.3% of the rescission came from these programs (3.4% for TE, which is approximately its “fair share” of total). Last year, FDOT cut over one-third of the funds from these programs as part of the federal rescission, so this is a significant change. Maybe FDOT listened to pleas from advocates such as BikeWalkLee, FBA, and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Or maybe since they had cut the programs so deeply last year, there were few unobligated funds remaining to rescind. Whatever the reason, we say “thank you FDOT”.

Further information about rescissions is available on America Bikes website and in Advocacy Advance's brief document on Understanding Rescissions.

A new Southwest Florida campaign: "3 Feet Please"



One of BikeWalkLee's partners, Harvey Software, Inc., has launched an effort in support of better bicycling in Southwest Florida., starting with a campaign to make the public aware of the "3 foot" passing law. This week, they announced the successful efforts working with Sheriff Scott. As the post states,

"It is Sheriff Mike Scott's policy to lead by example and in this case it is very clear. It also shows his value as a leader of our community. His actions have now opened the door to the possibility of getting stickers on many more Lee County vehicles in the near future. The Lee County schools and the County Manager are now considering putting stickers on other vehicles, in part, from the actions of Sheriff Mike Scott."

Click here to sign-up to receive their articles and updates. Kudos to Bert Hamilton for his leadership of this initiative.

BikeWalkLee's Op Ed in News-Press: Transportation plan already obsolete


Published in News-Press 9/14/11
Written by
Margaret Banyan, Ph.D.

Gov. Rick Scott and state Transportation
Secretary Anath Prasad recently announced
their Florida transportation plan for "the
21st century." Their plan promises greater
choices and a more efficient transportation
system. It delivers on neither.

They propose to develop more access for
automobiles with high speed / high
capacity, tolled corridors - the only choice
being offered to Floridians is what we will
pay to use our roads. Their plan lacks
meaningful alternatives to encourage other
modes of travel and is out of touch with
Florida's reality. Florida is the most
dangerous state in the nation for walking
and biking and its cities dominate the top-
ten list where residents cannot access work
through public transportation - and they
want only to build bigger, faster roads.

This approach is directly counter to the
FDOT 2060 Florida Transportation Plan, a
broad and engaged effort that created an
accessible, integrated and sustainable
vision for transportation.

One of the goals of the 2060 Plan is that
"Florida should provide residents, visitors,
and businesses with more choices among
transportation modes." The 2060 Plan promotes
increased capacity for urban
public transit systems, improved
connectivity of rail and increased access to
convenient, safe and affordable
transportation choices. The 2060 Plan
advocates strategic investments in an
integrated and connected multimodal
transportation network that will generate
jobs, economic competitiveness and
greater livability.

Ultimately, Gov. Scott's plan is a big-
government, top-down approach that
would take choice and control away from
local communities. Promoted as an engine
of economic revival, it is anything but.
Scott's plan will encourage sprawl and
serve special interests, at taxpayer
expense. Ultimately, it is the same failed
approach that has caused Florida's housing
and economic downturn.

Lee County has made significant strides in
promoting a more livable future consistent
with the 2060 Plan through policies that
integrate sustainability, efficient land use
and accessible transportation options. Lee
County's focus on multimodal transportation and complete
streets recognizes that it is a better use of our
tax dollars to invest in existing
infrastructure. It also recognizes that
funding transit, walking and biking facilities
offers cheaper and more efficient solutions to
congestion than simply building more and
more roads.

As part of the 2035 Transportation Plan,
elected officials of the Lee County
Metropolitan Planning Organization
adopted Resolution 2010-12 that would
"maximize the use of existing
transportation facilities and explore
opportunities for improved connectivity
before adding new facilities." The MPO also
moved the multimodal transportation
conversation forward by approving funding
for a study of the long-term feasibility of
commuter and freight rail options in the
Seminole Gulf Railway Corridor - one of the
ways to meet the area's growing
transportation needs. The success of these
local or regional plans requires cooperation
from the governor and FDOT - whose own
plan runs counter to our local smarter
growth initiatives.

Gov. Scott has simply resurrected an old
plan and dressed it up with toll roads - an
outdated plan based on poor assumptions
and failed models that ignore the
consensus built in the 2060 Florida
Transportation Plan process. Floridians
want a comprehensive and integrated
transportation system that will really move
us into the 21st century, not 20th-century
retreads.

We want and expect choices in where we
live and how we get to where we need to
go. We want the enhanced quality of life
that comes from living and working in safe,
walkable communities. We need state and
federal policies that support visionary
transportation and land use plans
developed at the local level. Finally, we
expect real leadership from the governor
and staff to implement the 2060
Transportation Plan - a 21st century vision
to enhance long-term sustainability,
livability and economic growth through
smarter transportation.

Margaret Banyan, Ph.D., serves on the steering committee for BikeWalkLee, a Community Coalition to Complete the Streets in Lee County; is the chairwoman of the Lee County Community Sustainability Advisory Committee; and is an assistant professor at FGCU. See more online at BikeWalkLee.org

Monday, September 12, 2011

ACTION ALERT: Contact Senators Nelson & Rubio TODAY to urge them to oppose amendment to eliminate federal bike/ped program


This year, around $700 million of Federal transportation funds, which is less than 2 percent of total transportation dollars, will be spent on bicycling and walking. In 2012 that figure might be a big fat zero.Please contact Senator Bill Nelson and Senator Marco Rubio and let them know you support continued funding for biking and walking.

In the next few days, Senator Coburn will ask Congress to eliminate the federal Transportation Enhancements program – the primary funding source for the past 20 years for bike lanes, trails, bike racks on buses, bike education etc. This isn’t safe or smart; it’s not good for the economy or the environment; this is bad health policy and bad transportation policy. But they are going to try because they don’t think bicycling matters.

Even though bicycling projects create more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects and cutting enhancements won’t impact the deficit – the money just won’t be spent on bicycling – some Members of Congress want to force us backwards to a 1950s highway-only mindset: as if oil embargoes, congestion, smog, the obesity epidemic and climate change never happened.

Now is the time to save biking and walking. As we expect the Senate to move first, we are asking you to contact Senators Nelson and Rubio and urge them to support continued funding for biking and walking. Don’t let them take away this vital investment program for smart, sustainable, safe transportation choices.

The League of American Bicyclists has made it easy. Just click here and it will take you to an e-mail already written to our Senators. Just type in your own address and zip code. It takes 30 seconds. Please do it TODAY.

Thank You.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sanibel Transportation Infrastructure Updates

City Improves Visibility at Four-Way Intersection

Responding to numerous suggestions from Club members, the City of Sanibel took on the project of improving visability at the northeast corner of the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Causeway Blvd. As a result, cyclists coming on-Island riding the path along Causeway Blvd. intending to cross Periwinkle, will now be able to see traffic from the East End departing the Island. And those vehicles will be able to see the cyclists. It may not be the ultimate solution, but it is a big step forward. Thanks to the Department of Public Works for the improvement.

Work Begins on Dunlop-Wooster Path Extension

The most significant shared use path extension in years is about to happen! Following final City Council approval in J u l y, construction has now started on the new path which will begin on the north side of Periwinkle at St. Michael’s Church, proceed east on Periwinkle, north along Dunlop, then west along Dunlop and Wooster to Palm Ridge Road. Thus, the Library, City Hall, and BIG Arts will all be conveniently accessible by bikes. The total cost is expected to be approximately $300,000. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

Construction Starts on Tarpon Bay Road Path -North of Periwinkle

The City has begun construction on the planned improvements for the Shared Use Path alongside Tarpon
Bay Road, north of Periwinkle. The new path will include a minimum of two feet of separation from the roadway and will be eight feet wide. As an extra bonus, the 'rumble strips' that cyclists have complained about for years, have been removed. 

Excerpts from Sanibel Bike Club News, August 2011, courtesy of Mike Miller. Check out the Sanibel Bicycle Club website for more details.